Degree programs in corporate psychology explore traditional psychological frameworks in the context of the contemporary workplace, with topics in productivity, leadership, and employee development. At the bachelor's level, students develop a foundation in the basic principles of psychology theory in addition to learning about workplace psychology.
Students who study at the master's level could aim for a career in industrial-organizational psychology, which requires state licensing. Programs may focus on psychology in general, with a few courses in organizational psychology, or they may specialize in industrial-organizational psychology. Students learn through classes, seminars, research and field experiences.
Doctoral programs look at advanced topics in corporate psychology and prepare students for careers in research or as college professors. Students may be required to work as teaching assistants. Areas of study may include performance evaluation and personnel psychology.
Bachelor's Degree in Corporate Psychology
Formal education of corporate psychology at the bachelor's degree level can lead to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Corporate or Organizational Psychology. While a Bachelor of Arts degree program focuses strictly on topics pertaining to psychology in the workplace, a Bachelor of Science degree program takes a slightly broader approach, offering some business-related courses in finance and marketing.
Applicants to a bachelor's degree program must first hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Colleges and universities also take into consideration letters of reference and test scores on SAT and ACT examinations.
A bachelor's degree program curriculum blends general education requirements, as outlined by the particular college or university, with introductory and advanced courses specifically designed for the corporate psychology major. Students may take seminars in the following topics:
- Organizational psychology
- Group dynamics
- Statistics in psychology
- Tests and measurements
- Social psychology
Master's Degree in Corporate Psychology
Graduate studies in corporate psychology can lead to a Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology with an emphasis on industrial and organizational psychology or a Master of Applied Industrial or Organizational Psychology (MAIOP). While an M.S. program takes a slightly broader approach to the study of psychology with some additional courses on corporate psychology, a MAIOP program is designed for students interested specifically in the field of corporate psychology. Students study group dynamics, contemporary personnel evaluation, training methods and current trends in statistical analysis.
Students seeking entrance to a master's degree program should first have a bachelor's degree in a related area. Additionally, applicants are usually asked to submit graduate record examination (GRE) scores, letters of recommendation and a resume detailing any previous professional experience. A master's degree program allows students to focus specifically on the field of corporate psychology. The curriculum involves attending lectures, academic research and practical application of learned theories and principles. Course topics include:
- Applied organizational psychology
- Research methods
- Leadership development
- Competency modeling
- Training development
- Workforce development
Doctor of Philosophy in Corporate Psychology
Doctoral candidates explore advanced topics in corporate psychology, such as personnel training and evaluation, legal issues, motivational tactics and advanced theories of leadership. Students conduct academic research, analyze statistical data and apply psychological principles and theories to scenarios in the workplace. Doctoral candidates may also be required to serve as teaching assistants for select courses.
Students and working professionals applying to a doctoral degree program must first have a master's degree in corporate psychology or a closely related field. Admitting colleges and universities also take into consideration previous academic achievements, letters of reference and any previous applicable professional experience. Doctoral candidates spend the vast majority of their time attending topical lectures and conducting academic research for their dissertation. Topics of some lectures include:
- Personnel psychology
- Advanced statistics
- Organizational psychology
- Legal issues in corporate psychology
- Testing and performance evaluation
Possible Career Options
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in corporate psychology can find positions such as:
- Human resources assistant
- Research assistant
- Marketing associate
Graduates of a doctoral degree in corporate psychology may be eligible for positions such as:
- Human resources manager
- Independent consultant
Graduates of bachelor's degree programs are equipped to apply for internships or entry-level employment in a variety of fields, such as psychology, business, sales, human resources or marketing. Individuals interested in educational enhancement or eventual career advancement might look into a master's degree program in corporate psychology. Students interested in furthering their education can study corporate psychology at the doctoral level. Students engage in advanced study of corporate psychology and conduct extensive academic research.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for industrial-organizational psychologists was expected to grow by 19% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted that the median annual salary of these workers was $77,350 in 2015.
There are multiple educational options to consider for students who are interested in industrial-organizational psychology. In general, they combine interdisciplinary studies in business and psychology to prepare students for human resources-related work in corporate settings.