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Best Online Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

If you have a mind for business and are interested in human behavior, this could be the article you have been looking for. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a career with endless opportunities to help businesses grow and become productive? Do you like the idea of helping others realize their potential and experience personal growth? If you would like to learn about human behavior and personalities, business management styles, and ways to promote success on individual and corporate levels, online industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs can help you do that. In this article, I will share some of the best online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs for 2021 with you. You will find information about the programs, what you need to do to begin a career in industrial-organizational psychology, ideas for places you may work after graduation, and much more.


What Exactly Is a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program?


Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology programs are graduate degree programs designed to equip students with the skills needed to study the behavior of individuals in organizations and businesses and determine how to improve productivity and performance. Graduates of accredited industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs online work to identify and improve employee training, evaluate problems within organizations, and conduct market research.


8 Reasons Why Online Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Programs Are Currently in High Demand


Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology programs are in high demand. With an anticipated growth of jobs in the industry, now could be a great time to make a career move. Here are a few reasons online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs are in demand.

1. Long-Term Job Security: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, industrial-organizational psychology will be one of the most rapidly growing psychology specialties between 2018 and 2028. Industrial-Organizational Psychology programs are in high demand because they help prepare qualified professionals to meet the ever-evolving needs of businesses and corporations, creating the potential for long-term job security.
2. Businesses need help, and I-O Psychology Programs prepare people to fill the need. Businesses and corporations realize there are competitive advantages associated with managing the talent of their employees. Business owners want to leverage employee talents and need help to do it. Industrial-organizational psychology programs equip students with the skills necessary to help employers accomplish this goal. Industrial-organizational psychologists use evidence and science to help employers identify those talents and show them how to help their employees how to use them. Doing this creates what many people call a “win-win” situation. Employers benefit from having productive workers, and employees benefit because they realize their value in the workplace.
3. Competitive Pay: Graduates of accredited master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs online earn nearly $70,000 yearly. Experience, place of employment, and job responsibilities may all impact an industrial-organizational psychologist's earning potential. Some I-O psychologists earn as much as $150,000 annually.
4. Diverse Job Opportunities: Industrial-organizational psychologists work in a broad range of employment settings. Some work in healthcare facilities, labor unions, manufacturing corporations, or commercial enterprises. Other I-O psychologists work as faculty at colleges and universities or work as private consultants. Industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs online prepare students to succeed in whatever role they choose.
5. Have an active role in adding value to work environments. Industrial-organizational psychology program graduates have the knowledge needed to improve employer-employee-client relationships, resolve conflicts in the workplace, and boost morale in the workplace. By using these skills, you can add value to the work environment.
6. Industrial-organizational psychology programs help students learn a broad range of skills needed in diverse work environments. Many industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs online combine coursework from different specialties, such as business, psychology, and statistics, to create a curriculum that prepares students with various skills necessary to meet in-demand needs in diverse environments.
7. Opportunity to learn from professionals experienced in the intricacies of business management and the promotion of workplace productivity. Industrial-organizational psychologists work with a broad array of people in various settings. Because there is such diversity in the type of job or setting where they work, aspiring I-O psychologists need to learn from qualified professionals who have real-life experiences.
8. Earn a degree that is sought-after and well-respected. Industrial-organizational psychologists are influential in the success of businesses and corporations. This program is in high demand because it prepares students to positively impact individuals and companies, improving not only company production but also adding value to the relationships between employers, employees, and the people they serve.


How Long Are Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master's Programs?


Online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs take from fifteen months to four years to complete. Students who enroll part-time can expect to need at least one year longer to meet all program objectives than their peers who enroll full-time.

At Colorado State University, students in the online I-O psychology program learn from expert faculty with an average of fifteen years of experience in the field. The timeframe for completing the program ranges from two to four years.
The University of Hartford has earned recognition as one of the best industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs online by being named as one of the top online Master’s in Organizational Psychology programs in the nation by TheBestSchools.org. The program is a thirty-six credit hour program. Students can choose to participate in an optional three-credit practicum course designed to provide clinical experience within an organizational setting. Although most students complete the program in two years or less, the online learning path has no designated class or login times, and students can move through the program at their own pace.
Students enrolled in the Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at Baker College have two options to choose from for their study path. The traditional path of study can be completed in two years and the accelerated path with an average completion time of twelve months.
Salem State University uses STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) emphasis to combine psychology and business courses with specialized classes in organizational development and human resources for its Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program. S.U.'s program, one of the best master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online programs, includes forty-two credit hours of coursework and can be completed in twenty-four months.


How Much Will Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master's Programs Cost?


One of the most important factors people consider before going to college or earning a higher degree is the financial obligation the program requires. For some, price is the determining factor in pursuing a college degree or going back for a graduate degree. While the cost of online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs varies, they typically average between $18,000 and over $50,000. The chart below indicates the cost of some of this article's featured programs, as well as the number of credits required and the length of each program.

School# of Credits RequiredAverage Length of ProgramTotal Cost
Kansas State University382 years$29,070
Touro University Worldwide361 year$18,000
Eastern Kentucky University362 years$21,996 (Military discounts available)
Southern New Hampshire University362 years$22,572
Golden Gate University3930 months$42,510


What Is the Curriculum Like?


The curriculum plans for online industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs are designed to give students the knowledge they need to work with companies or organizations of all sizes in any industry. While each school determines the curriculum for its program, the framework for industrial-organizational psychology programs is quite similar. Core coursework is usually comprised of content that provides a basis for evaluating and applying psychological data and research to help address real-world problems with a scientific view. Students in these programs study advanced concepts in cognitive psychology, social psychology and learn to implement leadership theory and practice.

The Master of Applied Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University is a coursework-only degree, not requiring any clinical hours or completion of a thesis. The program, which is offered in two and four-year formats, requires thirty-eight graduate-level credit hours. Sample coursework for students enrolled in the MAIOP program at CSU is as follows.

◦ Applied Psychological Research Methods
◦ Competency Modeling and Criterion Development
◦ Applied Organizational Psychology
◦ Applied Cross-Cultural Industrial/Organizational Psychology
◦ Succession Planning & Leadership Development

Albizu University prepares students in its M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program to observe culturally competent business practices as they develop and apply the scientific knowledge necessary to solve issues in work environments. In this program, which is one of the best industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs online, students can complete their degree in as little as two years after earning forty-eight credit hours in relevant coursework.

◦ * Small Group Theory & Process
◦ Industrial-Organizational Statistics
◦ Work Motivation
◦ Personnel Psychology
◦ Psychological Assessment Techniques in the Organization

Students enrolled in the Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program at Austin Peay State University learn to apply psychology concepts to workplace environments, contributing to the success of businesses by improving employee well-being and performance. This program, which is offered 100% online, requires completion of thirty-four credit hours, including the following coursework.

◦ Occupational Health Psychology
◦ Performance Management
◦ Personnel Assessment and Selection
◦ Research Methods and Statistics
◦ Leadership and Organizational Change

Ranked #7 out of 26 for the Best Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Programs, Grand Canyon University offers one of the best master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online programs. The program curriculum, which consists of thirty-six credit hours, includes the following classes.

◦ Contemporary and Ethical Issues in Psychology
◦ Social and Cultural Psychology
◦ Organizational Behavior and Development
◦ Graduate Statistics
◦ Strategies for Effective Leadership and Consultation


Admission Requirements


Colleges and universities set their own admission requirements that are program-specific. While admission criteria for most master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs is similar, it is important to verify requirements for each school you are considering. A few examples of admission criteria for this article’s featured programs are listed in this section.

At Missouri S&T, one of our featured online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs, a previous major in psychology is preferred. However, individuals with other related degrees may apply. Although admissions decisions are typically made by April 15 each year, early decisions may be made within two weeks of an application being submitted. To be considered for an early decision, applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or greater, have completed courses in research methods, statistics, have relevant research experience, a total GRE greater than 300, and an undergraduate psychology GPA of 3.5 higher. Minimum admission requirements for the Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at Missouri S&T are as follows.

◦ Possess a bachelor’s degree in a related field
◦ Evidence of undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale
◦ Minimum GRE composite score of 300

National Louis University combines content from psychology, organizational development, organizational behavior, and human resource management disciplines in its Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program. This interdisciplinary program explores the science of psychology as it applies to solving workplace issues, resulting in employee satisfaction, and maximized productivity. Prospective students who wish to apply must comply with the following admission criteria.

◦ Official scores from the Criterion Online Writing Assessment taken within the last five years, or a professional writing sample
◦ Two professional letters of recommendation from individuals who know the applicant from a professional or academic perspective and who can comment on the applicant’s likelihood of success in a graduate program
◦ Faculty Review or Interview

The Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at Johnson and Wales University is designed for students who have either an undergraduate psychology degree with a minor in business or an undergraduate business degree with a minor in psychology. However, students who have not achieved the recommended undergraduate coursework may apply for conditional admission pending the completion of additional prerequisites, as determined by program directors. Prospective students can choose from multiple start dates throughout the year, making it easier to begin the program at a time that is most convenient. Admission to the program requires, at a minimum, submission of the following.

◦ Have an undergraduate degree in a related field
◦ Provide official academic transcripts reflecting undergraduate study
◦ Statement of Purpose that reflects educational background, professional experience, the reason for pursuing the degree, and describing something unique about themselves

The University of Hartford combines courses in the Department of Psychology, Barney School of Business, and School of Communication, making it one of the best master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online programs. Prospective students should submit the following documents with their applications.

◦ Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate schools attended
◦ Letter of Intent detailing goals and interest in the program
◦ Professional resume and/or curriculum vitae
◦ Letters of recommendation


5 Must-Follow Tips to Get into Top Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master's Programs


Now that you have decided you want a career in industrial-organizational psychology, it’s time to start planning your degree. Admission to the best industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs online is competitive. Here are some must-follow tips to help you get into the program of your choice.

1. Get well-written professional letters of recommendation. Previous college professors with whom you have worked are excellent choices for preparing letters of reference. Be sure to choose people who can speak well of your abilities and the likelihood of success in a graduate program. If you have experience working with many professors as a research assistant, make sure you ask them for a recommendation. As you choose people to write letters of recommendation for you, be sure to tell the person why you have chosen to pursue this career path and why you value their opinion of your abilities.
2. Get some experience in Research Methods and Psychology. Although some online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs offer admission to applicants who do not possess an undergraduate degree in psychology, many typically prefer students with a previous psychology degree or experience. It is generally desirable. If you have not studied psychology or been involved in any research, do yourself a favor and get involved.
3. Your resume needs to rock! Graduate programs, such as accredited master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs online, have competitive admission processes. Before instructors or admission faculty ever see you, they will see your resume. Your resume needs to be updated frequently with your current contact information, employment history, and skills. Everything about your resume should reflect your commitment to professionalism and indicate qualities that would make you a good candidate for admission.
4. Practice for your admissions interview. Most graduate programs require applicants to participate in an interview at some point during the application process. An admissions interview is your opportunity to make a lasting first impression. Be prepared to answer questions about your previous work and academic experiences and describe how those experiences could be helpful as you pursue your graduate degree to become an industrial-organizational psychologist.
5. Know your purpose. It is common for admissions criteria to include the submission of a statement of intent. This statement is a written explanation of what you hope to accomplish from the program and how you will use what you learn to enhance your profession. Although a resume lists skills and personal interests, a statement of purpose gives details about how your skills and interests can benefit the program you attend and how they can be applied to help you meet your career goals.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 17 BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAMS FOR 2021


1. Colorado State University - Fort Collins, CO


2. Albizu University - Miami, FL


3. Austin Peay State University - Clarksville, TN


4. Kansas State University - Manhattan, KS


5. Touro University - Los Alamitos, CA


6. Missouri University of Science and Technology - Rolla, MO


7. Eastern Kentucky University - Richmond, KY


8. Southern New Hampshire University - Manchester, NH


9. Grand Canyon University -Phoenix, AZ


10. National Louis University - Chicago, IL


11. Northcentral University - San Diego, CA


12. Golden Gate University - San Francisco, CA


13. Johnson & Wales University -Providence, RI


14. Liberty University - Lynchburg, VA


15. University of Hartford - West Hartford, CT


16. Baker College -Owosso, MI


17. Salem State University - Salem, MA


View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities Post Completion of This Program


Graduates of online industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs find career opportunities in various settings, each requiring a broad range of skills. Some examples of job opportunities after completion of this program are listed below.

Business Development Consultant: Responsible for helping companies identify weakness or challenges and establish plans to resolve those issues.
Strategy Development Professional: Guides business owners in the development of strategic efforts that play pivotal roles in building long-term strategies to strengthen the business and promote growth.
Behavioral Analyst: Behavioral analysts focus on the behavior of people that can be measured and observed. They consider factors such as environmental and biological influences and are skilled at understanding, predicting, and changing behaviors.
Talent Management Specialist: In this position, I-O psychologists develop and implement programs used to train leaders and supervisors within an organization. They work closely with organization management to understand the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to succeed in leadership positions.
Human Resources Organizational Development Manager: Organizational Development managers plan and coordinate company initiatives by developing and implementing human resource programs used company-wide. They create H.R. policies designed to attract valuable employees and help achieve operational and business goals.


Earning Potential Post Completion of This Program


As reflected in the chart below, graduates of online industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs earn $112,690 yearly, an average of $54.18 hourly. Factors including experience, company size, and geographical location of the company are influential in determining salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top ten percent of industrial-organizational psychologists with experience make close to $192,800 annually.

Per Hour $54.18
Per Month $9,390
Per Year $112,690
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Job Outlook Post Completion of This Program


As businesses and corporations continue to realize their most valuable assets are reliable employees, employers become willing to invest in measures focused on keeping employees productive, motivated and satisfied with their work. To meet the demand for qualified professionals who can guide employers in employee retention, conflict resolution, and company growth, increased employment opportunities will be made available to graduates of online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, industrial-organizational psychologist jobs are expected to increase by 12.5 percent through 2028.


The Bottomline


If you are ready to begin a career as an industrial-organizational psychologist, the best online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs for 2021 are a great place to start. You could achieve this high-demand degree and become a strong influence on the success of individuals and businesses alike.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


Do I need prior work experience to get into an online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology program?

Students entering master’s programs in psychology typically have at least one year of work experience in psychology. However, the level of required work experience is determined by the institution offering the program. Although some graduate students have the opportunity to become research assistants, many professors prefer them to have some relevant work experience.

Do I have to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology to enroll in a master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online program?

While having a bachelor's degree in psychology can undoubtedly make it easier to transition to a graduate program, not all schools require them as a condition of admission to their programs. Some colleges or universities accept applicants with undergraduate degrees in related fields. When you have chosen schools that interest you, check with admissions faculty to verify their minimum requirements to be certain.

Will I be able to keep working while I’m enrolled in an online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology program?

One of the most attractive things about online programs is the freedom many students have to study or complete assignments on a schedule that works with their lifestyle. Only you can decide if working during the program is something you should do. It could be helpful to talk with an academic advisor at the school(s) you are considering and ask about the course load and schedule you will have, and then decide if the program schedule and requirements are achievable with your current work schedule.

Do online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs require GRE scores for admission?

While some colleges or universities that offer graduate programs still require GRE scores, many have removed this as a stipulation for admission. Each school sets its own minimum standards for admission criteria. Therefore, speaking with admission faculty is recommended.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.