Online Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology Programs

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Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology professionals apply psychological theories and principles to the workplace. The field focuses on worker productivity, especially the impacts of mental and emotional states on employees’ job performance.

Industrial-organizational psychology degree-holders can pursue careers as human resources organizational development managers, trainers, and talent management specialists. A master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology can also qualify graduates for roles as behavior analysts, consultants, and research analysts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for psychologists to increase 3% from 2019-2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. According to the BLS, psychologists earn a median salary of $80,370 per year.

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Industrial-Organizational Psychology Common Asked Questions


  • Q. What is the difference between industrial-organizational psychology and human resources?

    I-O psychologists study employee behavior to measure employee satisfaction and enhance company productivity. In contrast, human resources managers help recruit, interview, and hire new staff members. They also serve as a link between an organization’s management and employees.


  • Q. What can I do with a master's in industrial-organizational psychology?

    I-O psychology degree-holders can work in many areas. Industrial-organizational professionals can work for organizations of all sizes, in almost any industry.


  • Q. Is industrial-organizational psychology in demand?

    The BLS projects psychology careers to grow 3% from 2019-2029, which is about the same as the projected growth rate for all occupations.


  • Q. Where do industrial-organizational psychologists work?

    Industrial-organizational psychologists can work in a variety of organizational settings. Degree-holders can secure positions in factories, plants, and construction sites. They can also work in office buildings or as consultants.


Why Get a Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?



Individuals who enjoy applying practical solutions to psychological research often succeed as industrial-organizational psychologists.

Many schools offer online master’s degrees in industrial-organizational psychology. Online learning is often more affordable than on-campus programs. Institutions often waive campus fees for distance learners, and online students usually save money on housing and transportation costs.

Distance learners often study at their own pace, and many students work full time while earning their industrial-organizational psychology degree online.

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How Much Does an Industrial-Organizational Psychology Degree Cost?



According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate tuition and fees at public institutions cost an average of $12,171 for the 2018-19 academic year. Graduate tuition and fees at private nonprofit schools cost $27,776 on average for the same time period.

Online learners may pay reduced tuition rates. However, distance students may also be responsible for additional technology fees.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

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Users input details about their income, cost of living, loans, expenses, and expected scholarships. Students can also provide anticipated financial aid amounts and the cost of equipment and supplies. Based on these factors, the calculator shows the tuition rate students can afford without additional loans or grants.

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How Much Do Industrial-Organizational Psychology Majors Make?



Industrial-organizational psychologists earn a median salary of $92,880 per year, according to BLS data. This is higher than the median annual salary of $80,370 for all psychologists.

Industrial-organizational psychology degree-holders can pursue careers in management and in scientific and technical consulting services. According to the BLS, the highest-paid psychologists work in government, healthcare settings, and elementary and secondary schools.

Individuals can earn a doctoral degree, such as a Psy.D. or Ph.D., to qualify for advanced positions in the field. Psy.D. programs focus on practical skills and direct applications, while Ph.D. curricula emphasize research.

Courses in Industrial-Organizational Psychology



Students earning an industrial-organizational psychology master’s degree explore the current business landscape. Many online master’s programs in industrial-organizational psychology require a final project or a research thesis. During this culminating experience, learners demonstrate proficiency in skills such as motivating employees and leading organizations.

Students may also complete a specialized course or seminar that synthesizes topics from previous coursework. During the seminar, learners explore industrial and organizational problems and solutions. Available courses vary by school, but the sample curriculum below features classes common to many I-O psychology programs.

Students in this course prepare to apply psychological theories of motivation to workplace settings. Learners identify issues that can inhibit motivation, and they gain skills necessary to solve real-world workplace issues.

The course covers theories and applications for addressing contemporary leadership issues in the field. Learners explore research and case studies relevant to improving leadership in organizations. Students gain foundational skills necessary to develop their individual leadership style.

Learners in this class examine the steps for diagnosing organizational issues. Students learn to use measurement, assessment, and psychological methods. Coursework explores ethical standards and the professional responsibilities of I-O psychology consultants.

Certifications and Licensure for Industrial-Organizational Psychology



Depending on their state and position, industrial-organizational psychologists may need a license to practice. Professionals in the field can also obtain voluntary certifications to improve their career prospects.

State Psychology License


Psychologists in many states need a license to practice. Candidates for licensure must often pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Additional licensure requirements vary by state and may include a doctoral degree and supervised experience.

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Certified Employee Assistance Professional


The International Employee Assistance Professionals Association offers this certification for professionals with at least one year of experience in an employee assistance setting. Candidates must have completed professional development hours in several areas and must pass an ethics course.

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Organizational & Business Consulting Psychology Specialty


I-O psychology professionals can pursue this credential from the American Board of Professional Psychology. Candidates must demonstrate competency in specialization areas through coursework, training, or experience.

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Scholarships for Industrial-Organizational Psychology



Industrial-organizational master’s students can qualify for various scholarships from companies and professional organizations. Learners can also apply for institutional grants and scholarships.

  • APF Graduate Student Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Psychology graduate students enrolled in a terminal master’s program and who intend to pursue a Ph.D. can apply for several awards from the American Psychological Foundation. Recipients can apply the funds toward research costs associated with their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. Applicants must submit a recommendation letter and a brief outline of their thesis or dissertation research project.

    Amount: $2,000-$5,000

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  • Leslie W. Joyce and Paul W. Thayer Graduate Fellowship in I-O Psychology

    Who Can Apply: This award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology supports doctoral students in I-O psychology programs. Applicants must be a student affiliate of the society, demonstrate commitment to a career as a practitioner, and possess relevant professional experience. Recipients may apply for a second year of funding.

    Amount: $10,000

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