Industrial Organizational Psychology Master's Program Guide

Updated October 7, 2022

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Interested in getting an organizational psychology master's degree? Learn about typical courses, careers, and advancement options in this field.

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Pursuing a master's in industrial organizational (I/O) psychology takes you one step closer to becoming an I/O psychologist and opens doors to other careers. I/O psychology graduate programs — which typically take two years to complete — explore advanced topics that give you a deeper understanding of the field.

If you are considering this path, you probably have a few questions. This guide outlines common master's courses in I/O psychology, how to use the degree, potential careers, and professional networking opportunities.

Degree Snapshot

  • Typical Admission Requirements

    Official transcripts from all previously attended schools, GRE scores, a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume, and a completed application.

  • Time to Completion

    Two years full-time, or up to four years part-time

  • Average Salary

Why Get a Master's Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology?

A master's in industrial organizational psychology prepares you to earn a doctorate and become an industrial organizational psychologist. But, you can also apply your organizational psychology master's degree in other positions.

Many organizations require I/O psychologists to have at least a graduate degree when hiring internally or as a consultant. Graduate degrees also offer you the opportunity to develop a deeper expertise and broaden your overall knowledge.

Online Psychology Master's Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Example Courses

The courses in an industrial organizational psychology master's program vary from school to school, but most programs offer some version of the classes highlighted in this section.

Learners can contact individual institutions to learn more about specific coursework and requirements. In general, I/O degree-seekers can expect to learn about human capital management, research, data analytics, leadership development, and maximization of strengths and productivity.

1. Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior examines how people behave within an organization and how to apply those findings to improve organizational performance. It includes topics like the psychology of leadership, motivation, and the formation of organizational culture and subcultures.

2. Methods in Human Measurement

Human measurements methods is a key topic in a master's in organizational psychology because it's the foundation for performing field research at the master's and the doctoral level. It covers research methodologies and how to analyze research.

3. Issues in Personnel Selection

Because staffing is key to an organization's success, personnel selection is a critical topic in an organizational psychology master's program. During this course, you will explore the psychology of recruiting and hiring staff, including theories of predicting performance and the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

4. Research Methods & Statistics

This course covers how to design a study, collect data, understand its limitations, and different approaches to analyzing data. It covers both qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology?

You can work in several different settings and roles with a master's in organizational psychology. During your studies, you will focus on a particular type of setting or approach in your electives, fieldwork, and research.

  • State and Local Governments

    You might use your organizational psychology master's in a government setting as a supervisor or manager in government offices, or in strategic organizational planning.

  • Private Organizations

    In a corporation, you can apply your degree to improving organizational performance. You might work in quality assurance, labor relations, or other roles that require understanding human behavior.

  • College University

    You might use your master's in organizational psychology as part of a school administration team or in an academic career path. At many schools, you can work as a teaching assistant while studying for your doctorate.

  • Scientific Research and Development Services

    These offices may hire staff with an organizational psychology master's degree to assist with research or to lead projects.

  • Independent Consulting

    Independent consultants use their degrees and experience for shorter-term consulting projects. They might address a specific issue, build a particular organizational strength, or help an organization manage change, such as rapid expansion.

Career Advancement

If you want to advance your career beyond a master's degree, there are several paths to help you do so. Individuals wanting to further their knowledge and expertise as industrial organizational psychologists may want to complete a doctorate in the field.

Doctoral Programs

Industrial organizational psychology doctorate programs prepare graduates for a variety of advanced roles. Many psychologist positions may require a doctoral degree, and some states may require a license. Doctorate programs typically require 3-5 years of study, depending on whether the learner enrolls full or part time.

Individuals who want to work as research scientists or university professors must also complete a Ph.D. Most labs, research facilities, colleges, and universities look for these credentials when hiring.

Licensure

Licensure is a standard part of the process for becoming a psychologist. This may not be a requirement for industrial organizational psychologists because they do not diagnose and treat individuals, but some states still require it. Check with your state's board of licensing to be sure.

In addition to receiving a license, individuals must complete continuing education requirements to keep their licenses active and unencumbered.

Professional Organizations

1. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

HFES benefits members by providing access to industry news, regional events, an annual conference, in-house publications, professional research, and online communities for networking and learning.

2. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

SIOP offers white papers, journals, a professional practice series, and podcasts. The organization also offers I/O professionals a job network, internships, career path resources, an annual conference, continuing education programs, and business resources.

3. Emotional Intelligence Consortium

The EI Consortium offers access to reports, articles, dissertations, and models for industrial organizational psychology graduate programs. It also provides reprints of existing articles, guidelines for best practice, and interviews with leading practitioners.


Page Last Reviewed September 27, 2022

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