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.

Top U.S. Schools with Industrial and Organizational Psychology Programs

1. Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI

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 2009, a rank it has maintained since 1999. As of 2011, this small program had only 15-20 graduate students enrolled at a time, who work closely with eight 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. As of 2011, half of I-O psychology alumni have taken jobs in an applied field.

2. Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Pennsylvania State University, one of the Big Ten schools, ranked second for its I-O psychology program by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. The program offers coursework, research and seminars in a variety of topics, which can teach students how to select personnel, develop training programs and assess organizational behavior. Much of the graduate work is done in cooperation with industrial psychologists in the university's Smeal College of Business Administration.

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

The University of Minnesota in Twin Cities, a research-based institution and another Big Ten school, had the third-best I-O psychology program in the nation for 2009, according to U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, a past study conducted by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology ranked the university sixth 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, with an emphasis on personnel psychology, employee assessment and motivational behavior in the workplace, among other areas.

List of Ten Good Schools with Industrial-Organizational Psychology Programs

School Name Distinction Location
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities All Ph.D. students complete a first-year research project Minneapolis, MN
Michigan State University Consistently ranked as the best I-O psychology program in the nation East Lansing, MI
Pennsylvania State University - University Park Students can tailor their curricula to their research interests University Park, PA
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Awards a terminal master's degree 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 Undergraduates majoring in psychology can take courses in I-O psychology Miami, FL
University of Maryland - College Park All students must be actively involved in research; consulting may also be required College Park, MD
George Mason University Global Group allows students to research organizational behavior on an international scale Fairfax, VA
University of Akron Industrial/gerontological psychology program Akron, OH
Bowling Green State University Institute for Psychological Research and Application offers additional research opportunities for students Bowling Green, OH

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