Industrial-organizational psychology is an ideal career field for anyone interested in both business and psychology. Professionals in this field apply the concepts of psychology to the operations of a business in human resources, management, sales, marketing, and administration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for industrial-organizational psychologists is nearly $83,000. If you’re interested in earning an organizational psychology master’s online, this guide will help you find the right program for your needs.
Choosing a Program
Organizational psychology programs analyze the behavior of people in business settings. Professional organizational psychologists use psychological principles to create methods and plans for optimizing productivity. The already highly-specialized nature of the degree means that further concentration options are not always available. Students can often personalize their program by choosing electives of interest.
Courses in an online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology program apply theory to practical settings. Students may take classes in subjects such as measurement and statistics, research methods, workforce training, and cross-cultural psychology. Specific classes and electives vary from school to school.
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Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Programs
1 Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology, located in the city of Rolla, offers an online master’s in industrial organizational psychology that teaches students how psychological science can be used to strengthen the potential and wellbeing of people in organizations. This master’s program offers a curriculum based on advanced leadership theory and practice, as well as ethics and professional responsibilities. While pursuing an industrial organizational psychology master’s degree online at S&T, students can select a thesis or a non-thesis path. The thesis track is a good choice for students seeking a research-intensive career.
To complete an online master’s in industrial organizational psychology at S&T, both thesis and non-thesis students must complete 34 hours of core content and method courses, with six additional hours in either a thesis research course or in two non-thesis elective courses. Distance learners have three years to complete a graduate certificate or six years to complete the graduate degree program. Students typically take one to two classes per semester and finish their degree in three to four years.
GRE or GMAT scores are only required for students applying directly into a master’s program; they are not necessary for individuals choosing to start with a graduate certificate. Students can also start the program by pursuing a graduate certificate and then decide to carry on and earn the corresponding master’s degree later. Industrial organizational psychology graduate certificates include statistical methods in psychology and applied workplace psychology. Students must earn a “B” or better in all core courses in order to continue on to pursue a master’s degree.
Missouri University of Science and Technology is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
2 Colorado State University – Fort Collins
Fort Collins, Colorado
Colorado State University in Fort Collins has an online master’s of applied industrial organizational psychology that teaches students to use research to solve practical workplace issues and leadership challenges within an organization. Distance learners at Colorado State can complete their online master’s of applied industrial organizational psychology in either two or four years. The program consists of 38 credits.
Through this online master’s in industrial organizational psychology program, students learn how to conduct research, analyze data, and drive lasting change in organizations. Key skills promoted by Colorado State’s program include the ability to identify training and development needs, address complex issues such as workplace diversity and anti-discrimination policies, and assess employee performance.
Students following the two-year plan take two courses each semester, including during the summer. Alternatively, in the four-year plan, distance learners only complete one course each term. Classes are the same for both programs and cover topics such as workforce training and development and applied cross-cultural industrial/organizational psychology. Students also need to complete a practicum to earn their online master’s of applied industrial organizational psychology.
A thesis is not required for this degree. Instead, students spend their time refining their skills by carrying out applied research and consulting projects with real organizations. Applicants must submit their psychology subject GRE test scores.
Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
3 Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, California
Touro University Worldwide, located in Las Alamitos, California, offers a master’s in industrial organizational psychology online. This programs trains students about the applications of psychological science, teaching them to help people in organizations function more effectively. Distance learners enrolled in this industrial organizational psychology master’s program online learn to deal with issues such as low morale, low productivity, lack of teamwork, and ineffective processes within organizations.
The curriculum at TUW consists of 12 classes (36 semester credits), made up of nine core courses and three classes selected from a specific concentration. These concentrations include coaching and consulting, human resource management, and occupational health psychology. Students also complete a final capstone course to earn their organizational psychology master’s online. This course focuses on an organizational or career-related situation relevant to a student’s interests. Full-time master’s students typically earn their degrees in about one year.
Applicants should have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum overall GPA of 2.5. Alternatively, transfer students must have a minimum GPA of a 2.75. TUW does not require any GRE or GMAT scores for admission. The master’s program accepts up to nine transfer credits for equivalent, master’s-level coursework earned with a “B-” grade or higher. However, transfer credits must have been completed within the last seven years.
Touro University Worldwide is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
4 Adler University
Chicago’s Adler University offers an online master’s in industrial organizational psychology. This program train students in the areas of strategy and measurement, learning and development, and performance management. Learners address complex organizational issues related to workplace diversity and inclusiveness, workplace safety, and team building.
To earn this master’s in industrial organizational psychology online, distance learners complete 37 credits. Courses range from consumer and employee attitudes to talent selection and recruitment. Adler University emphasizes social justice and inclusion in its intensive online coursework and real-world experiences through community projects. Each course is eight weeks long and delivered asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. Additionally, students progress through the program as part of a cohort, which helps encourage in-depth discussions and creates increased professional networking opportunities. It typically takes two years for students to earn this organizational psychology master’s online.
A maximum of 12 credit hours from other accredited institutions may be transferred and applied towards a master’s in industrial organizational psychology at Adler. Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA or higher and a degree from a baccalaureate institution. However, conditional acceptance may be awarded to students who earned a 2.5 GPA as an undergraduate. Adler does not require students to submit their GRE scores.
Adler University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
5 Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay State University, in Clarksville, Tennessee, offers a master’s in industrial organizational psychology. This program trains students to apply psychological principles to the workplace and builds upon strong foundations in research and developmental science. Students pursuing this online industrial organizational psychology degree learn to apply psychological theories and research methods to a variety of work settings, from private industry to government organizations. This program is offered exclusively online.
Students must complete 34 credit hours to earn a master’s in industrial organizational psychology online. It takes an average of two years to finish this program, and courses include foundations of applied psychology and leadership and organizational change. Students must pass either a comprehensive exam and take two approved elective courses or complete a two-semester thesis to graduate. Distance learners meet virtually with an academic advisor every semester to ensure that they stay on track to graduate.
Applicants to this program must have completed at least 12 hours of prerequisites in psychology or related courses, including coursework in management, public administration, and sociology. A minimum score of 350 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE and an undergraduate GPA of a 2.5 are required for admission.
Austin Peay State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
6 William James College
William James College is located in Newton, Massachusetts. The school has an online master’s in organizational psychology that teaches students the essentials of change management and how to apply this knowledge to help improve organizations. The program is built on multidisciplinary concepts drawn from the psychology of organizational development, human behavior, sociology, and education. Courses emphasize the human side of organizations and focus on real-world case studies and simulations to create environments that foster personal and professional growth.
To earn this master’s in organizational psychology online, students complete 30 credits (26 course-related credits and a four-credit internship/field project) and an 80-hour field project. Field placement work can be completed at a student’s place of employment, a self-selected organization, or at one of the college’s partner sites. Courses are five weeks in length and feature asynchronous readings, lectures, and discussion boards. Full-time students earn their degree in just 11 months and part-time students in 2 years. The program also offers a Blended option for attendance that includes an experiential weekend in residence at the campus for each course. A special concentration in talent management is also available; students in this track complete courses in talent acquisition and management, business strategy and organizational life cycle, and performance development and management psychology and training.
All applicants must hold a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Transfer students can transfer up to nine credits that were earned within the last five years.
William James College and the Masters of Organizational Psychology is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
7 Carlos Albizu University – Miami
Miami-Dade County, Florida
Carlos Albizu University, in Miami, Florida, offers an online master’s in industrial organizational psychology. This degree prepares students to be culturally competent professionals who can apply scientific knowledge to solve problems in the workplace. Industrial organizational psychology jobs can be found in a range of settings, from human resources and the government to research and education. This program is available entirely online, allowing students to complete coursework at their convenience.
To earn a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology, students must complete 42 credits of coursework and six applied research or capstone project credits. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Courses include topics such as small group theory and process, employment law, and performance and talent management. The applied research or capstone project provides an experimental component to the online degree, and students in the program can sometimes publish their research findings in professional journals. Students must complete the program within four years.
Applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above and hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. A maximum of six transfer credits with a “B” grade or higher may be applied towards this master’s in industrial organizational psychology.
Albizu University is regionally accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education.
Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Careers
Graduates usually work in large organizations or corporations. These professionals analyze employee behavior in order to help companies become more efficient. The careers below are just a few examples of the diverse options available to graduates of one of these programs.
- Training and Development Managers: These managers develop, implement, and manage training programs within businesses. These training programs may apply to new hires or to current employees in need of ongoing training. Graduates from organizational psychology programs can use their knowledge to create effective programs based on psychological principles.
- Median Annual Salary: $105,830
- Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Human Resources Managers: The communication skills taught in an organizational psychology program can make graduates effective mediators between managers and employees. In addition to overseeing the hiring and training processes, these managers also consult with executives and upper management to ensure that the needs of their employees are met.
- Median Annual Salary: $106,910
- Projected Growth Rate: 9%
- Management Analysts: Sometimes also called management consultants, these professionals evaluate how organizations operate and seek to optimize productivity, employee satisfaction, and efficiency. They may work on a contract basis or they may be employed by one specific organization.
- Median Annual Salary: $81,330
- Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics