Organizational Behavior Degree and Certificate Program Overviews

Oct 20, 2019

Students interested in studying organizational behavior can find both undergraduate and graduate program options. Organizational behavior explores the role of the individual within the context of a company.

Essential Information

Students in a bachelor's degree program learn about topics such as organizational leadership and communication. At the master's level, students study topics such as teambuilding and conflict resolution through a combination of classes, research and field experiences.

Certificate programs are more common at the graduate level, though a few undergraduate programs exist. Undergraduate certificate programs can be completed in less than one year and provide a general introduction to organizational behavior. They often prepare students to enter an associate's degree program in business. Graduate certificate programs provide students with the skills and knowledge to secure more advanced human resources or organizational behavior positions.

Bachelor of Science in Organizational Behavior Program

Undergraduate degree programs focus on human behavior in the workplace. Students look at behavioral theories, develop critical-thinking abilities and study the application of common theories. The goal of a bachelor's degree program is to prepare students for internships, entry-level employment or graduate studies. Applicants must have a high school diploma to gain admission. An organizational behavior bachelor's program curriculum is comprised of general educational requirements along with introductory and advanced courses in the major. Typical course topics include:

  • Organizational leadership
  • Organizational psychology
  • Organizational communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Group structures
  • Contemporary issues in organizational behavior

Graduate Certificate in Organizational Behavior Program

Graduate certificate programs in organizational behavior can be taken as independent programs or as part of a master's degree program in industrial/organizational psychology. Some programs are designed for professionals already working in an organizational behavior-related field who are looking to expand their skills, while others are designed to introduce students to the field. Organizational behavior graduate certificate programs often include 5-7 courses, including:

  • Group processes
  • Training and development
  • Organizational development
  • Personality assessments
  • Behavior analysis
  • Topics in organizational behavior management

Master's Degree Programs in Organizational Behavior

Advanced study of organizational behavior often leads to a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Organizational Behavior. Degree programs blend case studies, research application, practical experience and academic evaluation of organizational behavior principles. While a Master of Arts program may take a more humanistic approach to organizational behavior, a Master of Science track typically focuses on the research and practical aspects of the industry.

Prospective students must have earned a bachelor's degree before they can start graduate studies. Some schools offer their organizational behavior program as a specialization option of an organizational psychology degree program. Identification, assessment and training of quality personnel, as well as conflict resolution, team building and morale boosting are some of the vital subjects explored.

This curriculum pairs a somewhat fixed set of core courses with more flexible options in the form of electives and customizable research classes. Common topics include:

  • Conflict resolution and crisis management
  • Principles of teambuilding
  • Personnel assessment and training
  • Organizational development
  • Organizational leadership principles

Popular Career Options

Most often, graduates gravitate towards occupations in human resources. Graduates are poised to take on internships or entry-level employment in a variety of career fields, such as:

  • Human resources assistant
  • Administrative assistant
  • Research assistant
  • Training specialist
  • Recruiter

Employment Outlook and Salary info

Graduates may gravitate toward careers in human resources, personnel management or industrial/organizational psychology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resource managers are predicted to see a 7% growth in employment opportunities from 2018-2028, while industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to see a 13% growth. The BLS reported that human resource managers earned a median annual salary of $113,300 and industrial-organizational psychologists made a median annual salary of $97,260 as of May 2018.

Continuing Education

Those interested in teaching at a college or university may wish to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in this field. However, a doctorate is not necessary for work, and those with a master's degree are qualified to take on leadership positions and charge higher salaries than those without. They may wish to join a professional organization for human resources news, seminars and networking, such as WorldatWork or the Society for Human Resource Management. Voluntary certifications are also available from organizations like the Society for Human Resource Management and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Students who are interested in organizational behavior can choose from the various levels of training and education available. Graduates can gain employment in almost all fields that need human behavior experts.

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