The Best Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology
thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Are you ready to discover your college program?
Master's in Organizational Psychology
Organizational psychologists use psychology principles to improve businesses. They develop proposals to improve worker productivity, use psychology to solve marketing problems, and help businesses choose employees. Other titles for organizational psychologists include management psychologist, human resources psychologist, and organizational research consultant.
The best online organizational psychology master's programs prepare graduates for lucrative, in-demand jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial-organizational psychologists earn a median salary of $92,880 per year and benefit from 2.5% projected job growth between 2019 and 2029.
Unlike many other psychology jobs, organizational psychologists do not need a doctorate. Candidates with a master's degree meet educational requirements for organizational psychology careers. Our list of the best online master's programs in organizational psychology can help prospective students find the right program for their interests and career goals.
Featured Organizational Psychology Programs
What Is a Master's in Organizational Psychology?
Combining the principles of psychology and business, organizational psychology (also known as industrial psychology) is the scientific study of working. A master's degree in organizational psychology provides graduates with the critical leadership skills to drive structural and cultural change across an organization.
Online master's degree programs in industrial organizational psychology explore an array of topics related to human behavior and business, including workplace diversity, employee training, performance auditing, and change management. Students learn to use evidence-based best practice to effectively restructure organizations, promote teamwork, and enhance the workplace. Available concentrations in this degree track include talent management, human resources management, and coaching and consulting.
Online Master's in Organizational Psychology Programs
Each school offers its own unique program. For example, instead of traveling to a college campus for classes, some schools let distance learners complete all their work in virtual classrooms. This allows students to take classes and complete assignments in the comfort of their own home or office. It also opens the door for students to enroll in programs outside of where they live and work. Online students engage with their professors and classmates through email, web conferences, and discussion boards.
Instructors deliver online coursework synchronously, asynchronously, or as combination of both formats. Asynchronous programs do not require any specific login times, which means that students can complete work on their own schedules. Conversely, synchronous courses require students to sign on at specific times to participate in real-time video conferences or group discussions with classmates and instructors. Cohort-style online programs tend to mandate that students complete courses together at a set sequence and at a specific pace. Students in more flexible programs can choose their course loads and finish their programs at a pace that best suits their needs.
Online learning serves as a great option for students who require maximum flexibility, such as needing to balance work, family, or other personal commitments. The most successful distance learners are independent and self-motivated enough to complete their work.
The Advantages of a Master's Degree in Organizational Psychology
After earning an undergraduate degree, students often face the decision of whether to pursue a master's degree. A bachelor's degree in organizational psychology is a great steppingstone to a more advanced degree in the field. Professionals with bachelor's degrees in organizational psychology may find careers as training and development coordinators, instructional designers, personnel analysts, or human resources generalists.
However, many positions in this field require a master's degree. Earning an online master's degree in industrial organizational psychology opens the door to many job opportunities with higher earning potential, including as organizational consultants, training development directors, researchers, and employee relations directors. Some organizations may even prefer to hire industrial-organizational psychologists who hold their Ph.D. Earning a doctoral degree in industrial organization also qualifies graduates to become college professors. The following section describes five potential careers for students with a master's in organizational psychology.
The Best Online Master's in Organizational Psychology Programs
Online Master's in Organizational Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.
Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.
Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.
We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.
In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.
If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.
We thank you for your readership and trust.
Choosing an Online Organizational Psychology Graduate Degree Program
Organizational psychology programs analyze the behavior of people in business settings. Professional organizational psychologists use psychological principles to create methods and plans in order to optimize productivity. The highly specialized nature of the degree means that further concentration options are not always available. However, students 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 such as measurement and statistics, research methods, workforce training, and cross-cultural psychology. Prospective students should note that specific classes and electives vary from school to school.
Featured Psychology Programs
Courses in an Online Master's in Organizational Psychology Program
- Organizational Development and Change: An organizational development course equips students with fundamental knowledge of organizational structures, processes, rules, and functions. In this course, students explore planning, executing, and managing change in today's modern, fast-paced work environments. Topics include human behavior, program implementation, and organizational analysis. Courses typically cover intervention and resolution methods such as consultation, coaching, and behavior modeling.
- Psychology Research Methods: Research methods courses ensure that students develop a substantial understanding of the research process, including research design, hypothesis development, and experimentation. Research courses also cover the conception and implementation of a research study, from the planning phase to collecting data to analyzing results. Students may practice advanced statistical techniques, such as canonical correlation and logistic regression.
- Personnel Psychology: Courses in personnel psychology provide students with a social psychological perspective of industrial and work-related problems. Topics include human resources, personnel selection, talent management, job satisfaction, and performance appraisal. Students discuss work behavior, job satisfaction, group relationships, organizational effectiveness, and corporate social responsibility. Courses also explore current trends and future directions of the field.
- Talent Management: Talent management courses provide students with a strong understanding of topics related to human resources, such as how to recruit, select, develop, and retain employees within an organization. Courses explore talent acquisition, training and professional development, compensation, employee turnover, and labor relations. Students also discuss current challenges and explore various strategies and solutions.
- Social Psychology: Social psychology courses explore the impact of social factors on human behavior. In this course, students examine how people think, act, and interact within various social situations, including in the workplace. Students analyze the underlying causes of different behaviors and discuss diverse perspectives. Topics include prejudice, stereotyping, aggression, conformity, interpersonal attraction, social cognition, and intergroup relations.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Master in Organizational Psychology Degree Program?
Various criteria impact the length of time it takes to earn a degree. For example, most master's degrees require students to earn 30–40 credits, with some degrees requiring up to 54 credits. Whether distance learners take classes on a full-time or part-time basis also affects the length of time it takes to graduate. Some schools allow students to choose between full-time or part-time status; however, some programs only come in one format.
Students who take courses on a full-time basis may earn their degrees in 2–2 years, while those who opt for part-time programs may need 2–4 years to complete their degrees. Distance learners who wish to earn their degrees at a quicker pace should look for accelerated programs, which allow students to graduate in as little as 11 months. Additionally, students who transfer in previously earned credits may require less time to earn their degrees, as taking fewer credits results in a cheaper total program cost.
Accreditation for Online Organizational Psychology Programs
The accreditation process involves an evaluation of a school's academics, faculty, resources, and more. Accredited institutions are approved and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The ED and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a non-governmental organization of colleges and universities, ensure the credibility of accrediting organizations.
Two types of accreditation apply to higher education: regional and national. Regional accreditation is the highest standard of accreditation, and seven ED- and CHEA-recognized regional accreditation agencies oversee accreditation in the U.S, including the Higher Learning Commission and the Middle States Commission of Higher Education. Schools with regional accreditation boast nonprofit status and typically serve as the more reputable institutions.
The ED also recognizes national accreditation agencies, including the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. National accreditation focuses on specific trades, vocations, or faith-based careers. Students should note that attending a school with only national accreditation comes with some downsides, such as employer skepticism regarding the degree conferred and credit-transfer issues.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Organizational Psychology?
Working at the intersection between modern business and traditional psychology, industrial-organizational psychologists often partner with business or government professionals to develop employee training programs, evaluate organizational structures, and assist with change management programs. Students with their online master's degree in industrial organizational psychology also apply these principles to a variety of business operations within administration, human resources, and marketing. Professionals in this specialized field can also opt for careers in academia to conduct research, write papers and books, and instruct students.
Industrial organizational psychologists analyze human behavior in the workplace. Their work includes research design, creating assessment exercises, conducting surveys, and interpreting results. Industrial-organizational psychologists generally hold a master's degree and state licensure, though some organizations prefer a doctoral degree.
As the industrial-organization field grows, so does the demand for professors. Industrial-organizational professors teach college-level courses, conduct research, and mentor students. They also present lectures, assign coursework, and grade assignments. Colleges and universities require adjunct professors to hold at least a master's degree; however, most tenured professors hold a Ph.D.
Training Development Director
Training development directors create and implement employee training programs. They establish training objectives and ensure that goals align with an organization's larger strategic initiatives. Most positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree; however, many employers prefer a master's degree.
Research consultants collect and analyze data, and then they present their findings. Industrial-organizational research consultants solve business problems related to employees and the workplace. Most positions require at least a bachelor's degree; however, many employers require or prefer a master's degree.
Employee Relations Director
Employee relations directors typically work in human resources departments. They manage the workforce, guide employee actions, conduct training sessions, and ensure compliance with labor regulations. Employee relations directors must hold at least a bachelor's degree; however, most employers prefer a master's degree.
Featured Psychology Programs
More topic-relevant resources to expand your knowledge.
Popular with our students.
Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.
Take the next step toward your future with online learning.
Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.