Top Schools for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Learn about programs in industrial and organizational psychology, which emphasize the behavior and well-being of people in the workplace. Read summaries of three top programs, as well as an overview of other schools in the U.S. that offer training for industrial and organizational psychologists.

School Overview

Three of the top schools for industrial and organizational psychology include Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Minnesota. All three universities offer graduate programs in this specialized field of study, which can include coursework in hiring, staff assessments and training, as well as opportunities for research. Additionally, all three universities have previously received high rankings from U.S. News & World Report for the quality of their industrial and organizational psychology programs.

1. Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI

School Highlight: Michigan State University is a large research school that placed number one on the U.S. News & World Report list of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology programs in 2013, a rank it has maintained since 1999.

Michigan State University in East Lansing's small program has only 15-20 graduate students enrolled at a time. They work closely with 8 faculty members to complete coursework and research. While various research specialties are available, the program emphasizes an applied approach with internships at corporations and organizations. Half of Michigan State University in East Lansing's I-O psychology alumni have taken jobs in an applied field.

2. Pennsylvania State University - University Park

School Highlight: Pennsylvania State University, a Big Ten school, is often ranked among the top 5 I-O psychology doctoral programs in the U.S.

This program offers coursework in selecting personnel, developing training programs and assessing organizational behavior. In addition to coursework, 6 semesters of practicum experience is also required. The practicum allows students to apply their knowledge to real world problems. At least 2 independent research projects are required during the program. Students also have the chance to take part in many other research opportunities.

3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN

School Highlight: The University of Minnesota in Twin Cities, a research-based institution and another Big Ten school, had the second I-O psychology program in the nation for 2013, according to U.S. News & World Report.

A past study conducted by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology ranked the university 7th for productivity, as measured by publications in the top industry journals ( The Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in I-O. The emphasis may be on personnel psychology, employee assessment and motivational behavior in the workplace, among other areas.

Top Industrial-Organizational Psychology Programs

School Name Distinction Location
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign For more than 40 years, this Ph.D. program has ranked within the top in the U.S. Urbana, IL
University of South Florida Offers a degree in I-O psychology and a concentration in occupational health psychology Tampa, FL
Florida International University This program focuses on research Miami, FL
University of Maryland - College Park Classes are taught in the evening to accommodate working students College Park, MD
George Mason University Virginia's largest public research university Fairfax, VA
University of Akron Industrial/gerontological psychology program Akron, OH
Bowling Green State University The U.S. News & World Report ranks this program third in the nation Bowling Green, OH

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