An industrial organizational (I-O) psychology bachelor's degree provides an exciting pathway for professional and educational advancement. While an industrial organizational psychologist must hold a doctorate, a bachelor's degree is the foundational degree for pursuing this career as well as others in the field.
If an I-O psychology bachelor's degree sounds appealing, read on to learn more about common admission requirements, the benefits of these programs, common classes, and how this degree can prepare you for specific jobs and advanced education. We also provide a program database to start your search for the perfect school.
Typical Admission Requirements:
Most schools require official transcripts, ACT/SAT scores, letters of recommendation, answers to essay questions, and a completed application.
Time to Completion:
Four years of full-time study or six years of part-time study.
Why Get a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
Obtaining an industrial organizational psychology bachelor's degree offers numerous professional and personal benefits. We highlight a few in the section below.
- Transferable skills: A degree in I-O psychology can prepare graduates for careers in other fields such as business management, organizational management, or optimization.
- Foundational knowledge: These programs provide students with the base-level knowledge that advanced degrees build on, and prepares them for master's and doctoral classes.
- Higher pay: As studies continually show, individuals who hold bachelor's degrees make significantly more than those with only a high school diploma or some college experience.
- Networking: Even while you're still in school, you can network with professors, peers, and hiring managers to help you find positions after you graduate.
- Work for yourself: A bachelor's degree in I-O psychology can launch you into a career as a business owner, including as a business analyst, management consultant, or I-O psychologist.
Courses in an industrial organizational psychology bachelor's degree introduce learners to both general education and specialized studies, and prepare graduates for I-O psychology careers and beyond. Over the course of the program, students learn to assess company strengths and weaknesses, identify leadership styles, decipher how personality styles exist in professional settings, and make constructive recommendations. Courses listed in this section provide only a glimpse of what a school may offer; you should review individual plans of study to learn more.
Psychology of Leadership
This course provides a survey of various leadership styles and how they can be purposefully deployed to encourage productivity and teamwork. Students also explore some of the cognitive, psychological, and social factors affecting how leadership qualities are both built and perceived.
Social psychology courses introduce learners to the ways social interactions, influence, group behaviors, discrimination, stereotypes, gender, race, and religion all affect how individuals interact in both friendships and workplace settings. Degree-seekers also cover how these influences affect behaviors, workplace performance, and productivity and how they can be shifted through effective leadership.
Students examine the theories and research findings around organizational behavior, and learn about different frameworks that can be used to influence, shape, and improve organizational culture. Learners consider concepts such as power networks, corporate culture, ethics, and conflict management during the course of the semester.
Theories of Behavior
Theories of behavior courses essentially explore the question of why people behave as they do. Learners cover major methodologies and frameworks for behavioral development and how factors such as environment, group dynamics, leadership and management styles, and company culture can impact employee behavior.
What Can You Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
While graduates of an industrial organizational psychology bachelor's degree won't be able to call themselves an I-O psychologist — you'll need a doctorate degree to do that — these programs do open multiple professional roads worth considering. If you want to learn more, review our guide on I-O psychology careers.
Graduates of an I-O psychology bachelor's degree have plenty of options to continue their educational journey and pursue a career as an industrial organizational psychologist. The following sections review some of the steps you'll need to take in order to qualify.
Industrial organizational psychology programs are available at both the master's and doctoral levels. During the course of their studies, some learners may decide that industrial organizational psychology isn't their best option. Fortunately coursework in these programs transfers to many psychology and business-related careers, giving you multiple professional paths to choose from. Before enrolling in any graduate program, fully review the plan of study and talk to program administrators about potential career outcomes.
While not as crucial as for other types of psychologists, licensure is still sometimes required for those practicing in the industrial organizational arena. Check with your state's board of licensing. If licensure is required, most boards mandate that applicants complete 1-2 years of supervised experience post-graduation. They must also pass several examinations. Once licensure is granted, individuals must pursue continuing education opportunities and complete any other requirements to keep their license active and unencumbered.
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology SIOP supports members by providing access to research and publications, an active careers board, business resources, continuing education, an annual conference, and topic guides.
- American Psychological Association The APA is the leading voice across all psychology disciplines, offering membership groups, research, in-house publications, awards and grants, codes of ethics, and continuing education.
- Society of Psychologists in Management SPIM provides The Psychologist-Manager Journal, a mentorship program, opportunities for networking, continuing education programs, events, conferences, and professional resources.