Students who are interested in business psychology may pursue a Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. These programs provide training in the concepts of human behavior and its impact on the effectiveness of an organization. Students study research methodology and engage in research projects, often culminating in a thesis that must be submitted prior to graduation.
Many business psychology programs are offered in traditional and nontraditional formats, in order to accommodate working professionals. Most take two to three years to complete, though that duration varies depending upon the type of program.
In addition to basic entrance requirements, such as a baccalaureate degree, some graduate programs in business psychology require professional work experience. Taking courses in psychology and statistics is strongly recommended. Such prerequisite courses must generally be completed early in the program if the student did not take them as an undergraduate.
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Master's Degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Industrial and organizational psychology programs include coursework in business and human behavior. Courses cover topics including hiring, training and organizational behavior. Possible course titles include:
- Organizational development
- Organizational leadership
- Personnel selection
- Research methods
- Performance appraisal
- Strategic change
Employment and Salary Info
Graduates can pursue employment in any business-related industry. Specific roles can include human resource specialist, systems consultant, manager or training coach. Graduates of a master's degree program in this field can also find careers as I-O psychologists without earning a doctoral degree.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 19% job growth for I-O psychologists from 2014 to 2024. This expected growth is largely due to business organizations seeking more psychologists to help them with employee retention and workplace environment concerns. I-O psychologists earned a median annual salary of $77,350 in 2015, according to the BLS.
Doctoral programs in I-O psychology are readily available. Because some master's programs emphasize research in the field and specifically prepare students for doctoral studies, while others focus on the practical applications of I-O psychology, students planning to pursue a doctorate should be sure to enroll in a master's degree program with a research emphasis.
By earning a master's degree in I-O psychology, students gain the necessary business and psychology expertise they need for a human resources-related career in almost any industry. In thesis programs, they also get the research experience they need for success in a Ph.D. program in the field.