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Online Masters in Business Psychology: Degree Program Info

Get info about online master's programs in business psychology. Read about important program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and find out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

A few schools offer online master's degree programs in industrial-organizational psychology, which covers business psychology topics. Students in these programs learn to use business skills to analyze workplace behavior, and they examine the use of psychology in employee evaluations, workforce training and hiring. Some programs can be completed entirely through online study, but others are offered in a hybrid format that requires brief on-campus residencies or clinical experiences that can be done near the student's home. Some programs allow students to work in teams, completing projects through online collaboration. Applicants to these programs may be required to hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, possibly with a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement.

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Master's Degree in Business Psychology

The online degree program in this field awards master's degrees such as the Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MAIOP) or Master of Arts (M.A.) in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. These master's degree programs typically consist of approximately 30 credits in different facets of business and psychology.

Students will develop skills from both fields, including leadership, management and policy development, as well as how to effectively analyze workplace environments. At this level, most students are usually working in a human resources or other organizational career, and are looking to transition into a role as a business psychologist.

Program Information and Requirements

This online master's degree includes primarily didactic courses, with no research or thesis requirement. Admission into the program may require a background in counseling or human resources, in addition to an accredited bachelor's degree. Due to keen competition for many business psychology programs, students are expected to have maintained a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (GPA).

Online psychology programs typically deliver their instruction through a blend of message boards, video streams, digital presentations and email. Some programs require a locally arranged practicum or on-site summer workshop as part of the graduation requirements.

Course Topics

Business psychology program are unique among psychology programs in that they give nearly equal focus to human resources and business study as they do to psychological concepts.

Introduction to Industrial Psychology

This course gives new graduate students an overview of the psychological skills typically used in a business environment. Such skills include employee evaluation, candidate selection, motivational techniques, organizational behavior and more.

Psychological Research Methods

Students in this course will learn how to establish basic research and analyze the results from various human resource information systems. This course can encompass as much as nine credits of a business psychology curriculum.

Workforce Training

This course looks at both the methods of training employees as well as system for determining the extent of an organization's training needs. Students will learn to apply adult learning theory in evaluating the need and efficacy of employee training.

Organizational Psychology

Organizational psychology discusses the role that individuals play in an organization, as well as the dynamics of organizational structure on individuals. Topics covered include communication, group processes, organizational change and more.


Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that a master's degree is the most common credential for entry into the field of business psychology. Industrial-organizational psychologists earned a median annual salary of $77,350 as of 2015. This is expected to be a fast-growing occupation, with 19% growth projected from 2014-2024, according to BLS analysis.

Continuing Education Information

Students may choose to also pursue their Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in the field of business psychology. Programs typically last between 3-5 years, include over 60 credits of coursework and a dissertation defense. A doctorate can help a graduate become a highly sought-after organizational or management consultant.

For students who want to become industrial-organizational psychologists, an online master's degree program can help them develop the business psychology expertise and the analytical and communications skills they need to design and implement strategies that foster positive workplace environments.

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