our everyday life

Industrial Organizational Psychology Degrees

by Susan Sherwood, studioD

Customers are less likely to return to a place of business if employees are stressed, according to a study from the Keller Center at Baylor University. Employers with great products but problematic work environments hire industrial and organizational psychologists to improve the workplace climate. Industrial and organizational psychologists can help the human factor in organizations function better. These specialists often have doctoral degrees in the field, but bachelor's and master's programs are also available.

A Day in The Life

Any business, organization or institution can call upon industrial and organizational psychologists for help. These psychologists conduct research and consult on problems. They address issues such as discrimination, workplace culture, anger management and job satisfaction. Sometimes employers hire industrial and organizational psychologists to advise them on promotion and hiring practices, including choosing candidates for executive positions or law enforcement agencies. The psychologists use many methods, including interviews, tests and assessments, and training sessions.

At The Beginning

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and organizational psychology online or in the classroom at schools like Southern New Hampshire University and Washington University in St. Louis. In most 4-year bachelor’s program, students must complete general education requirements such as writing, mathematics, social and natural sciences and humanities. Beginning with introductory classes in general psychology, research and statistics, students move on to specific courses including human resource management, group dynamics, assessment techniques and social psychology. Business classes in marketing, management and technical writing are also important.

In The Middle

To get a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology, students must first have a bachelor’s degree. All master's programs have specific requirements for acceptance. For example, Kansas State University requires a minimum undergrad grade point average of 3.0 and two years of supervisory work experience. Graduate Record Examination scores are often necessary, as well. Master's students take classes in research methods, legal and ethical issues, motivation, tests and measurements, and a few electives. An original project or thesis often comes at the end of the program. A master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology takes about two years to finish.

The Final Step

To get into an industrial and organizational psychology doctoral program, prospective students usually need to meet minimum GPA and GRE requirements. Although a master’s degree is not always required, prerequisites in areas such as psychology, statistics and natural science may be needed. The multi-year doctoral program can be completed online or on campus. Students take a variety of advanced psychology courses. For example, the University of Phoenix offers graduate classes in personnel psychology, leadership and management theory, work motivation, and testing and measurement. After coursework is completed, students usually take written and oral exams and then start work on a dissertation, an original research study.

About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

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