The Best Online Master’s Degrees in Organizational Psychology

  1. University of Southern California
  2. Florida Institute of Technology
  3. Kansas State University
  4. Chicago University School of Professional Psychology
  5. Golden Gate University
  6. William James College
  7. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  8. Thomas Edison State University
  9. Austin Peay State University
  10. Franklin University

This is a ranking of the best online master’s degrees in Organizational Psychology in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Organizational Psychologists earn $111,150.00 mean salary as of 2019.

Organizational Psychology | Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by Organizational Psychology?

Organizational Psychology is the application of psychology and its practices to improve organizations, instead of the traditional application of being applied to individuals for self-understanding and so on. Organizational Psychology falls into the category of an “applied psychology”. “Applied psychology” means putting psychological methods and modes into actual practice. Any form of psychology is “applied” when its tenets are used in practice in the relevant domains. Organizational Psychology takes an organization’s structure and assesses it by psychological measurements and standards, with the goal of improving and optimizing the productivity and profit of the organization.

What do Organizational Psychologists do?

The function of Organizational Psychologists is to improve the company, ideally for all involved, such as the employers and employees. Their purpose is to gain psychological insights that can accomplish this end. The Organizational Psychologist employs psychological tools to discover any areas of improvement, and suggest the relevant changes. This involves interviews with the rank and file of employers and employees, for starters. It involves conceptualizing things like workflow and how that can be optimized. Hiring practices (such as qualification criterion), Human Resource guidelines, and compensation and benefits are put into a psychological framework and their viability ascertained.

Why is Organizational Psychology important?

Organizational Psychology is important to businesses who want to take care of their employees and improve their profitability. Organizational Psychology sheds light on ongoing impediments and offers improvements. As such, these improvements may result in bettering the working conditions of employees, and the profitability of employers.

What is the difference between industrial and organizational psychology?

There isn’t a difference on the macro-level. If there is a difference at all, it’s in the small details, which depends on which university you study at and how fine the distinctions are. According to Appalachian State University, the distinction is this that Industrial focuses on the individuals within the organization and how they operate and are hired and managed, whereas Organizational Psychology focuses on the organizational structure and groups as a whole.

The Best Online Master’s Degrees in Organizational Psychology | Ranking Method

These colleges and universities were selected and ranked after conducting research of each online program. The main ranking metric was which programs will likely gain employment to graduates. Variety and breadth of courses, and academic reputation were also considered.

The Best Online Master’s Degrees in Organizational Psychology

No. 1: University of Southern California

School Type: Public

Degree Information: Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology

The University of Southern California is one of the most prestigious schools in the U.S., known for its academics and athletics. Not only do they rank No. 24 among Top National Universities according to U.S. News & World Report, they are the only school to have a gold-medal in every Summer Olympics event since 1912. There is no better school to sign up for and earn an Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology than USC.

The purpose of the MSAP is to assist working professionals further their careers in applied fields where they can merge together psychology and business interests. Through problem-solving and enhanced knowledge in consumer and organizational psychology, students will have a stronger understanding of what makes a business successful and reach its potential.

The curriculum in the program prepares students for a multitude of career opportunities, including People Operations Manager, Director of Culture, Project Manager, Social Media Manager, People Analytics Researcher, Talent Development Manager, and Organizational Development Consultant. A full-time schedule will require two courses per term and allow students to finish the degree in 16 months.

As part of the coursework, students will sign up for the experiential learning requirement. This requirement is an internship designed to give students hands-on practice in the field and then report their results to their professor. In course meetings, students will evaluate, reflect, and extend their research through journals, presentations, and structured experiences. A total of 240 hours of practice outside of the classroom is required to fulfill this piece of the program. Students may also take two elective credits tied into the Psychology program. USC’s main campus is located in Los Angeles.

Credit Requirement: 34

Sample courses:

  • Pro-seminar in Human Behavior: Foundations
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology Internship
  • Applied Psychology Treatise
  • Consumer Psychology

Admissions Information:

All students interested in applying must supply the admissions office with official transcripts, a personal statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and a professional resume. All candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and be in good standing before submitting an online application.

Accreditation:

Western Association of Schools and Colleges

No. 2: Florida Institute of Technology

School Type: Private

Degree Information: Master of Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Small-class sizes are something every student can benefit from because it means more one-on-one time with the professor, closer mentoring, and less distraction. It’s one of the distinct advantages of attending school online at the Florida Institute of Technology and studying for a Master of Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The average class size consists of 10 to 12 students and makes learning easier with quicker feedback provided.

The purpose of the program is to train individuals who wish to study current complex situations in different businesses and organizations and help better understand human activities, solving some of the problems that exist in different environments. The coursework is considered rigorous and allows students to further study methods that are pertinent to coaching, talent management, organizational development, assessment, and work-life balance. Professors provide students evidence-based research, coursework, and outside opportunities to further prepare them and enhance their knowledge of the mindset of a professional. As part of the coursework, students will do a practicum that involves work experience outside the classroom, getting a more beneficial hands-on understanding of the work in the field.

Students have the opportunity to choose a concentration in International I/O Psychology, a program that focuses on doing evidence-based research and coursework in multinational organizations, cross-culture theory, and research design. By completing the degree, students can choose careers relevant to being a director of certification programs, a senior analyst in talent development, a research assistant, a merit systems manager, an analytic manager, and even a special consultant for business and government agencies. Students also have the option to further their education and continue in the doctorate program. A student’s knowledge in industrial psychology can have a profound impact on the success of an organization.

Located in Melbourne, Florida Tech is a very diverse school, ranking No. 3 for Most International Students among National Universities, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Credit Requirement: 45

Sample courses:

  • Talent Management
  • Contemporary Leadership
  • Cross-Cultural Theory and Research Methods
  • Group and Team Development
  • Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Admissions Information:

The university requires that all applicants hold a bachelor’s degree in a psychology-related field. Furthermore, along with the application, students are to provide the admissions office with three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a personal statement, and a professional resume. A GRE or GMAT is not required.

Accreditation:

Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association

No. 3: Kansas State University

School Type: Public

Degree Information: Online Master’s Degree Psychology: emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

The Princeton Review recently ranked Kansas State University No. 1 on the list of Colleges with the Happiest Students, further proof that those that attend the Kansas state school, whether it be online or in-person, enjoy their experience. Success follows students who earn an Online Master’s Degree in Psychology that has a special emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, a program that aims to train students about what makes an organization successful.

The major focuses a great deal on the human resources profession and dives deep into different factors that affect an organization’s performance. Students will gain a better understanding of federal and state laws and how they affect the human resource profession, both past, present, and future. Teachers use behavioral science methodologies to best train students when they take their learning outside the classroom and into the real world.

The 38-credit hour program offers a hybrid plan as an option to full-time online schooling, allowing students who live close to the university to attend some courses in-person. During the first two summers, students will attend on-campus workshops and sessions that allow collaboration and further training in the program.

The third year, students will have to complete a practicum and submit a final report in Industrial Organization. Most of the practicum work will be fieldwork outside of the classroom.  A degree in the program prepares students for careers in staffing and hiring, testing evaluation, human resources, job training, and consulting. Kansas State University ranks No. 83 among Top Public Universities in the Nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Credit Requirement: 38

Sample courses:

  • Applied Research Methods I
  • Personnel Selection
  • Personnel Training
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Performance Appraisal

Admissions Information:

All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in either Psychology or a related field. A GRE is not required unless a student has less than a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate work. The admissions office also requires at least two years of human resource managerial or supervisory experience.

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

No. 4: Chicago University School of Professional Psychology

School Type: Private

Degree Information: Online Master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology

The Chicago University School of Professional Psychology is truly diverse, allowing students to study online as well as at various campuses located throughout the country in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. With an Online Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology, graduates will study in-depth what makes an organization succeed and the human behaviors that play a role in its progress or regression.

Industrial Organizational Psychology is the fastest growing field that professionals are moving into, according to The Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The program at Chicago University School of Professional Psychology teaches its students foundational skills in a variety of organizational areas including engagement among employers and staff, retention levels, assessment and evaluation techniques, and productivity of workers. Professors teach students skills that will enhance their knowledge of an organization’s training, leadership, personnel selection, performance appraisal, and motivation. The school provides its students with a wide area of knowledge of the scientific literature and theoretical principles of industrial and organizational psychology.

The degree can be earned entirely online and at a student’s own pace. For students who take the Applied Research Project Track, a full-time course load can be completed in two years while a part-time course load can take up to four years.

The project in this track includes fieldwork that must be approved by a faculty member who will supervise the work. There is also a writing component attached to the project which a mentor will guide the graduate student through.

By completing this degree, students will master skills in diversity, professional practice, professional behavior, and scholarship. Students who choose to take on an internship with the coursework must complete 300 hours and include the work with their thesis.

Credit Requirement: 40

Sample courses:

  • Organizational Culture and Design
  • Performance Management
  • Personnel Psychology
  • Organizational Team Dynamics
  • Job Analysis and Employee Selection

Admissions Information:

The admissions office requires a list of documentation that must be included with the application. While the completion of a GRE is not listed as one of the requirements for students with a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies, the admissions office does ask that students submit official transcripts, a professional resume, a 500 to 75-word essay, three letters of recommendation, and preparatory coursework.

Accreditation:

Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

No. 5: Golden Gate University

School Type: Private

Degree Information: Online Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology

Located in San Francisco, Golden Gate University is ranked No. 4 for among the Top 20 Online Schools in California, according to BestColleges.com. With an Online Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology, students are supplied with a variety of initiatives which include recognizing and improving employee training, assessing internal problems, managing market research, and enhancing productivity by improving employee relations.

The online, 42-credit curriculum prepares students to accept leadership roles in industrial-organizational psychology in small, medium, and large organizations in a wide range of fields. Students are equipped with the necessary skills to take their work into the real world or continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree in the field. The foundations of the program place an emphasis on organizational behavior, team and individual productivity, and leadership in a broad context.  It also examines the dynamic and ever-changing nature of professional practice with an emphasis on careers in industrial-organizational psychology, as well as executive coaching, management consulting, and human resources.

Thirty of the credits in the curriculum will be selected from core coursework while the remaining nine credits are selected from an elective bank that students can choose from. An internship is optional but not mandated. Additionally, students can choose a hybrid plan if they want to take some of their courses on-campus, although during COVID-19, all classes are currently online.

Credit Requirement: 39-42

Sample courses:

  • Diversity in Organizations
  • Tests & Measurements
  • Conflict Resolution: Skills and Technique
  • Applied Psychological Research
  • Executive Coaching Theory & Practice

Admissions Information:

All applicants are required to submit official transcripts alongside their application. Any student who has a GPA under 2.5 in their undergraduate coursework must also submit a resume and a personal statement that addresses the reasons behind their underperforming academic performance.

Accreditation:

Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

No. 6: William James College

School Type: Private

Degree Information: Online Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology

William James is most known for finding psychology, and thus, the school near Boston was named after him. William James College offers students an Online Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology in which it teaches them evidence-based practices to implement them in present-day organizations in highly valuable ways.

Part of the program’s purpose is to help workers understand self-motivation in organizations. It also teaches students how to drive change through an organizations’ culture, structures, values, and beliefs.  By completing the program, students will be able to manage their own strengths and biases to see organizational and human resource challenges and solutions more distinctly. Curriculum focuses a great deal on human behavior, organizational development, sociology and education within a workplace.

The major offers a special concentration in Talent Management. The 30-credit curriculum can be completed in as quickly as 11 months on a full-time schedule, 23 months on a part-time schedule. Professors in the field have real world experience and offer students the best practices in their interest area by bringing together academic knowledge and professional experience. With this degree, students are most suited to pursue positions in change management, management consulting, human resources, talent management, leadership training and development, and executive coaching.

Part of the coursework includes an 80-hour field project that culminates the program. The project is six-credit hours and integrates all content given to the students. While the course is 100 percent online, there is an eight-week residency option that students can partake in. Core courses are small in size and taught through reading, online lectures, discussion and written assignments.

Credit Requirement: 30

Sample courses:

  • Talent Acquisition & Management
  • Organizational Assessment: Qualitative vs. Quantitative
  • Leadership and the Use of Self
  • Participatory Action Research and Appreciative Inquiry
  • Capstone Project

Admissions Information:

Applicants are required to complete an interview with a faculty or board member from the university prior to being considered for eligibility. The admissions office requires official transcripts be submitted alongside the application as well as three letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Submission of GRE scores are not required. Undergraduate work in Psychology is recommended, but not mandatory for consideration.

Accreditation:

American Psychological Association

No. 7: Missouri University of Science and Technology

School Type: Public

Degree Information: Online Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology

According to a Forbes study in 2017, Missouri University of Science and Technology ranked No. 15 among all public colleges for having the highest-paid college graduates. Earning a Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology will give students a great opportunity to achieve their salary aspirations. This degree provides the strategies needed to measure performance and professional development.

The program’s primary goal is to develop assessments of people for employment selection and placement, develop constructive training programs, comprehend strategies for organizational development, compute job performance, and discover ways to enhance the quality of work-life balance. Students will be empowered with a strong core foundation in statistics and research methods, as well as industrial and organizational psychology.

The 40-credit program offers a thesis and non-thesis path with additional certification programs in statistical methods psychology and applied workplace psychology. If a student takes the non-thesis track, they must complete an oral assessment demonstrating their mastery of all course material. Students also have the option of completing an internship and receive further experience in the field and be credited towards..

Credit Requirement: 40

Sample courses:

  • Job Analysis and Performance Development
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Small Group Dynamics
  • Introduction to Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibilities

Admissions Information:

Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology or a related field. The admissions office also requires that students have sustained a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be eligible. GRE scores are required if a student’s GPA is under 3.5.

Accreditation:

The Higher Learning Commission

No. 8: Thomas Edison State University

School Type: Public

Degree Information: Online Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Industrial Organizational Psychology

Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey is known for an abundance of things, including its diversity. Students at the university comprise of more than 60 countries and of all different age ranges, the median age being 35 years old. Each state is represented at TESU. It’s also known for its psychology program and offers students an Online Master of Liberal Arts with a concentration in Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Professors will teach students how to apply psychological theories and investigate a variety of organizational problems and situations. They will also train students in areas of recruitment, selection, placement, and appraisal.

The 36-credit program focuses on six overall areas of study: Digital Humanities; Online Learning and Teaching; Learner Designed Area of Study; Geropsychology; Industrial Organizational Psychology; and Professional Communications. The Industrial Organizational concentration focuses on four specific courses. The program includes two capstone projects and fieldwork experience.

TESU ranks No. 2 on the list of Top 25 Quick and Easy Online Degrees 2020 by ValueColleges.com.

Credit Requirement: 36

Sample courses:

  • The Psychology of Leadership, Motivation, and Teamwork
  • Unearthing and Enhancing Organizational Talent Through Psychology
  • Psychological Factors in Selecting and Growing Organizational Talent
  • Change, Conflict, and Resolution
  • The Species: The Individual and Community

Admissions Information:

Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree and submit official transcripts to the Office of Admissions. A personal statement and resume are only required for students who have a GPA that is under 3.0.

Accreditation:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

No. 9: Austin Peay State University

School Type: Public

Degree Information: Online Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Ranked No. 53 in Top Regional Universities South, according to U.S. News & World Report, Austin Peay University is most known for being a provider of higher education to military-affiliated students, the largest provider in Tennessee. The Online Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology teaches students about all the factors that into an organization’s progress, including recruitment, motivation, the selection process, training, and leadership.

On a full-time schedule, students can earn the degree in less than two years. Each semester is fully online and 15 weeks in length. The coursework focuses on three main objectives: learning, analyzing, and being competitive. Students will learn about different ways to improve an organization, research data and apply scientific theories to workplace situations, and train workers how to beat the competition through motivation and ambition.

The 34-credit curriculum includes a comprehensive exam which includes a short essay focusing on all the content learned through the coursework. The 90-minute exam must be arranged in advance and provides students different essay options from which to choose from. Students can bypass the exam and culminate their studies by choosing the thesis route.

Classes are relatively small with the average class size consisting of just 11 students, allowing for more one-on-one time with the professor.

Credit Requirement: 34

Sample courses:

  • Performance Management
  • Training and Development
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Personnel Psychology
  • Leadership and Organizational Change

Admissions Information:

Interested applicants are required to submit official transcripts along with their application. The GRE is only needed for students who fail to score a 3.0 GPA or higher in their undergraduate coursework. Three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement are also required to be submitted.

Accreditation:

The American Psychological Association

No. 10: Franklin University

School Type: Private

Degree Information: Online Master of Science in Business Psychology

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin University has a 100 percent acceptance rate and is widely known for being one of the best business schools in their state. An Online Master of Science in Business Psychology provides students with the knowledge to recognize what motivates human behavior and how it impacts an organization.

The fully online program allows students to use the most up-to-date analytical research and apply it to different working environments. The data can help solve managerial issues, recruit top management, and influence consumer behavior. It teaches graduate students leadership skills and gives them a broad view of business principles and how to utilize them to produce business success. Students will also learn the valued importance of marketing in the workplace how economic performance affects production.

The 36-credit program can be completed in just 14 months on a full-time track. At the end of the coursework, students will complete the Business of Psychology Mastery Demonstration which is a project that integrates all skills and content learned throughout the previously earned credits. Students will work with an assigned instructor and may work on this throughout the duration of their major. 

Credit Requirement: 36

Sample courses:

  • Psychology of Organizational Coaching
  • Psychology of Human Resources
  • Psychology of Marketing
  • Psychology of Creativity, Innovation, and Change
  • Managerial Psychology

Admissions Information:

Students interested in applying must have a completed bachelor’s degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA in their undergraduate coursework. If the GPA does not meet that standard, applicants must submit a GRE along with a statement that explains why they did not meet the 2.75 criteria. Official transcripts must also be submitted to the Office of Admissions.

Accreditation:

International Accreditation Council for Business Education

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