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Organizational Psychology Schooling and Degree Program Information

Degree programs in organizational psychology, aka industrial psychology, prepare students to use concepts of social psychology to manage the workplace, screen workers, increase worker productivity and improve job performance.

Essential Information

A master's program in organizational psychology focuses on the study of individual and group dynamics within institutional and business settings, while a Master of Business Administration (MBA) traditionally focuses on business administration and management by utilizing core concepts from organizational psychology. Though a Ph.D. is not typically required to be a professional organizational psychologist, this degree program prepares students for employment in more competitive and specialized fields, such as market research, statistical analysis and academia. All degree programs emphasize research, with the bulk of the doctoral programs focusing on student dissertations. Many organizational psychology programs offer at least partial online course study.


Master's Degree in Organizational Psychology

For this degree program, special attention is given to job performance, organizational theory, job satisfaction and employee motivation. Program graduates also gain knowledge and skills in human resources fields, such as health and safety, job analysis and development, personnel recruitment and personnel management. Since the majority of organizational psychologists work in human resources, many benefit from a minor in business administration or management. The criterion for admission varies by the program. More research-oriented schools often prefer students to have a bachelor's degree in psychology, while programs that run in close collaboration with a business school favor prior courses in business or mathematics. Typical courses for this program include:

  • Research methods
  • Group psychology
  • Business ethics
  • Statistics
  • Psychology in the workplace

MBA in Organizational Psychology

Students in this major are trained to assess personnel, solve management problems and improve structural organization and worker productivity in a corporate or business environment. Graduates pursue careers in marketing, consulting and personnel management. The most successful applicants will have a bachelor's degree in business or psychology, competitive GRE examination scores and an exemplary cumulative G.P.A. record. Core requirements will include courses such as:

  • Personnel psychology
  • Management
  • Finance
  • Economics and global management
  • Workplace environment
  • Business ethics

Ph.D. Program in Organizational Psychology

Although this level of study is not required to be an organizational psychologist, advantages to pursuing a Ph.D. in the field include enhanced research skills, a specialized study focus and a better job outlook upon graduation. Ph.D. students enroll in graduate level courses and meet with department advisors while working on a final dissertation based on original research. The final curriculum depends on the student's individual interest and topic of research.


Career Outlook and Salary Information

Career growth for industrial-organizational psychologists is expected to rise by 19% from 2014-2024, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the average growth projected for all occupations. Most industrial-organizational psychologists are employed in management, scientific, and technical consulting services, earning an average annual income of $95,060 as of May 2015.

Graduates with an MBA in organizational psychology work in a business setting by managing personnel, screening employees, offering training and improving worker productivity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov,) the mean annual salary for organizational psychologists working in business management positions within companies and enterprises was $104,220 as of May 2015.

Job prospects are best for psychologists who hold a highly specialized Ph.D. degree, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). An organizational psychologist with a Ph.D. may be more appealing to employers seeking specialized consulting services in this growing field. Graduates with a Ph.D. in organizational psychology work as analysts, marketing designers, strategists, academics and researchers. Organizational psychologists working in the field of scientific research and development earn an average of $89,320 annually.

For most organizational psychologists, master's degree in organizational psychology or MBA programs teach them what they need to know to work in most business settings. Students with a deep interests in academia, research and scientific development may need to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the field.


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