Top Industrial Psychology Programs: List of Top Schools

Dec 26, 2019

Industrial psychology is typically studied at the graduate level, and programs are available at several top institutions. Explore a few of these schools and learn about their distinct programs.

School Overviews

The field of industrial psychology applies psychology to organizational issues such as staffing, employee testing, management, employee productivity, sales and marketing. A program in industrial psychology includes classes in personnel selection, organizational behavior and statistics. Many industrial psychology programs are offered through graduate programs at the doctoral level.

Two of the highest-ranked industrial psychology schools offer doctoral degrees in the field, and one of these schools has the oldest industrial psychology program in the country. Learn more about a few of the top schools, according to U.S. News & World Report, and the programs they offer.

Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI

School Highlight: Graduate students in organizational psychology at Michigan State receive a stipend of around $15,000, covering both teaching and research assistantships over nine months.

Michigan State University (MSU) was ranked tied as the top school for industrial and organizational psychology by U.S. News & World Report in 2020. The school offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Organizational Psychology program with a focus on research. Themes studied in the program include motivation, assessment and individual differences, and research design skills. Students may also specialize in a subfield such as behavioral neuroscience, cognition, community and ecological psychology, social psychology, and clinical psychology.

Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH

School Highlight: Bowling Green State University is home to the Institute for Psychological Research & Application, which works with public and private organizations on issues pertaining to industrial/organizational psychology.

Bowling Green State University (BGSU) was one of the first schools to start an industrial psychology program in 1965. The program was ranked second among graduate schools offering programs in industrial and organizational psychology by U.S. News & World Report in 2020. A student survey highlighted by the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology ( named BGSU 17th among industrial and organizational psychology Ph.D. programs in 2004. The survey was also broken down into subcategories; BGSU ranked second in program resources, fourth in program culture and second in program costs.

The Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology program prepares students to perform research in areas like staff selection, workplace stress and psychometric theory. Classes ground students in contemporary psychological theories and principles relevant to industrial psychology, preparing them for careers as both scientists and practitioners.

Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA

School Highlight: I-O grad students work with multiple professors instead of one-on-one mentoring relationships.

Pennsylvania State University ranks tied at #57 by U.S. News & World Report for 2020 best national universities. The Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology program offers a doctorate that is unique in the program's flexibility, faculty interests and practical experience in teaching and research. The program consistently rates in the top five I-O psychology programs in the nation. Students will take courses that support core competencies that include topics like statistics, changing nature of work and work motivation.

Top Industrial Psychology Programs

Here we discuss additional top industrial psychology programs and what defines them.

  • The University at Albany, SUNY in Albany, NY, has resources available to I/O grad students that include research labs, a large roster of volunteers to participate in research and an interactive media center.
  • The University of Akron's main campus in Akron, OH, hosts the Center for Organizational Research, where consulting work is done by student/faculty teams or well-prepared students.
  • The University of Central Florida in Orlando was ranked #4 in research productivity by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2014).
  • The University of Oklahoma in Norman allows grad students access to extensive research space and state-of-the-art computer labs for their work.
  • The University of South Florida in Tampa ranked #2 among graduate schools offering programs in industrial and organizational psychology by U.S. News & World Report in 2020.
  • The University of Texas at Arlington hosts the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Center, a consulting group run by grad students.

Several top-ranking institutions, including Michigan State University, offer distinct graduate degree programs in industrial psychology to interested students. These programs vary in things like facilities and research opportunities.

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