Schools with Industrial Psychology Programs: How to Choose

There are plenty of industrial psychology programs across the country, each with tailored approaches. Read on for more information on selecting a school with an industrial-organizational psychology program.

Industrial-organizational psychology (I/O psychology) is a specialty within the field of psychology that uses psychological theories and research methods to study and improve business and organizational operations. There are many schools that offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in this area of study, with many offering an internship component, as well.

Top 10 I/O Psychology Doctoral Programs

Below is a list of some of the top schools in the country that offer degrees in industrial-organizational psychology:

College University Location Program Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (In-State, 2015-2016)*
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, public Doctoral $16,122 (graduate)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, public Bachelor's, Doctoral $15,054 (undergraduate); $18,041 (graduate)
Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, OH 4 year, public Doctoral $8,996 (graduate)
Florida International University Miami, FL 4-year, public Doctoral $11,097 (graduate)
University of Akron Akron, OH 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,509 (undergraduate); $9,315 (graduate)
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 4-year, public Doctoral $17,289 (graduate)
University of Maryland College Park, MD 4-year, public Master's $12,896 (graduate)
Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 4-year, public Doctoral $20,270 (graduate)
George Mason University Fairfax, VA 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's $10,952 (undergraduate); $13,304 (graduate)
Texas A&M University College Station, TX 4-year, public Doctoral $8,657 (graduate)

Source: *National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Further considerations for students of this field:

  • Students should consider their career goals before choosing a program. A minimum of a master's degree is required in order to work as an I/O psychologist, and some positions require a doctorate. A bachelor's degree can prepare students for positions in general management, organizational behavior and human resources.
  • Some I/O psychology programs offer opportunities for supervised internships with different national organizations, such as marketing research companies or consulting firms, which can help students obtain a well-rounded education in the field.
  • Students should look for schools that possess the most state-of-the-art technology, especially if they plan on conducting research.
  • Since I/O psychology is essentially business management through a psychological perspective, students may seek programs that include a variety of business courses, such as human resource management, labor-management relations and organizational behavior.

Bachelor of Science

The bachelor's degree in I/O psychology is an interdisciplinary degree combining the fields of psychology and business management, with varied coursework in both of those fields. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a marketable and practical education in psychology. Many schools offer, and even require, internships to students in addition to their coursework. Some schools offer a Bachelor of Arts in I/O psychology, but the curricula for the B.S. and the B.A. are typically the same.

Master of Arts

The M.A. in I/O psychology is a 2-year full-time or 3-year part-time program that combines the same fields as the bachelor's degree. In many cases, the master's program includes supervised internships. The program also typically culminates with a required master's thesis or a comprehensive exam, depending on the student's choice.

Doctor of Philosophy

This is a primarily a research-based advanced degree that combines coursework with independent research for a doctoral dissertation. The coursework provides students with a foundation to continue doing research or work as a professional in the field. Doctoral students often have opportunities to teach courses to undergraduates. Some schools require students to take an oral examination and to create a portfolio that represents their collected education in the area of I/O psychology.

There are many degree options for individuals interested in studying industrial-organizational psychology, but it is important to remember most jobs require at least a master's degree. Regardless of whether students are interested in entering an undergraduate or graduate program, they should look for schools that offer a variety of internship experiences and business courses.


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