Home > Top 5 Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Programs for 2017

Top 5 Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Programs for 2017

Now, more than ever, graduates with an online master’s in organizational psychology are in high demand among employers across industries. The Occupational Information Network projected the field to grow 14% from 2014 to 2024. Employers in many fields want candidates with a master’s in organizational psychology, making it easy for graduates to find positions uniquely suited to their interests.

WHAT IS ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY?

Organizational psychologists, also known as industrial-organizational psychologists, study the principles of human behavior and how they apply in the workplace. Fundamental psychological aspects of individuals, groups, and organizations affect every facet of a company’s performance. Industrial-organizational psychologists analyze these trends to enhance a company’s productivity, management efficacy, workforce morale, and consumer appeal.

Companies in all types of business are interested in improving productivity and increasing profits, creating organizational psychology positions across the entire spectrum of industries. Organizational psychology jobs are most prevalent in research and academic settings, state governments, and consulting firms. The consulting or contract nature of most jobs in industrial organizational psychology creates opportunities to work in stimulating, ever-changing environments.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAMS?

1

Colorado State UniversityFort Collins, Colorado

CSU offers several online graduate degrees, including a master's of applied industrial/organizational psychology. The program features research-based coursework that emphasizes how to apply psychology to human resources and leadership challenges within any organization or business. The curriculum includes coursework that focuses on quantitative analysis with classes on topics like measurement theory, cross-cultural organizational psychology, and more.

This 38-credit online master's in organizational psychology can be completed in two years of full-time study or four years of part-time study. The program does not include a thesis requirement, but instead provides several opportunities for students to engage with real organizations through research and other projects. Students must enroll in summer courses to graduate. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace.

2

Missouri University of Science and TechnologyRolla, Missouri

Missouri S&T was founded in 1870 and was one of the first technological institutions created west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school offers 17 online graduate programs, including an online master's of science in industrial-organizational psychology. This program emphasizes the use of psychology to enhance the wellbeing and performance of employees within organizations. The 24-credit program features both synchronous and asynchronous coursework, as well as several degree-specific classes in psychometrics, ethics and responsibility, and other subjects.

Students in this online master's in organizational psychology can choose either a thesis or non-thesis path, depending on their career goals. Applicants must have previously completed coursework in general psychology, statistics, research methods and three of the following six courses to be considered: cognitive psychology, social psychology, neuroscience, sensation and perception, personality theory, and abnormal psychology.

3

Touro University WorldwideLos Alamitos, California

TUW offers an industrial organizational psychology master’s online program that emphasizes the psychology behind interpersonal communications in business and helping organizations run more effectively. This degree does not provide students with licensure, but instead prepares them for advanced industrial organizational psychology jobs in human resources management and consulting psychology.

The 36-credit program consists of 12 classes and features three concentrations: coaching and consulting, human resource management, and occupational health psychology. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as organizational theory and behavior, facilitating organizational change, and improving customer relations. Students must complete a capstone course where they complete a project focused on an organizational situation related to their career goals. Freshman applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to be considered, while transfer students must have a minimum of 2.75.

4

Austin Peay State UniversityClarksville, Tennessee

APSU is a public university that was founded in 1927 in Clarksville, Tennessee. The school offers an online master's of science in industrial-organizational psychology that emphasizes research, science, and the principles of applied psychology in the workplace to prepare students for a range of careers in industrial organizational psychology. The program features both synchronous and asynchronous classes and offers extensive online learning resources, including discussion boards as well as messenger, phone, and email support.

This 34-credit program can be completed in just two years of full-time study. At the end of the curriculum, students must pass a comprehensive exam and complete either a thesis or two practical electives, which include an internship, a cross-cultural psychology class, or an occupational psychology class. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, have previously completed 12 credits of psychology coursework, and submit satisfactory GRE scores to be considered.

5

Adler UniversityChicago, Illinois

Adler has focused on its founder Alfred Adler's concept of social interest through community engagement, social justice, and inclusivity for the past 50 years. The school offers an online master's in industrial organizational psychology degree that emphasizes the importance of social responsibility among leaders. This program prepares students for careers that involve reshaping organizations, creating healthy business environments, and encouraging organizational innovation.

This 37-credit program features eight-week courses and can be completed in two years of full-time study. At the end of the program, each student must develop a social responsibility action plan to address a real-world problem, and then presents their research and analysis in a formal paper and presentation. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered. This online master’s in organizational psychology also requires students to take a brief orientation course prior to enrollment.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Program

Online master’s in industrial organizational psychology programs differ in length and curriculum. Students interested in a particular industry should ensure that the program they choose offers the appropriate degree concentration. Some programs offer or mandate completion of an internship, and some require field experience, which may conflict with existing obligations for working students. Generally, graduates with an online industrial organizational psychology degree will need further education to become a clinical psychologist.

Students should confirm each university’s accreditation status, particularly if they intend to pursue licensure. Tuition costs and financial aid opportunities vary by school, and some programs require students completing the industrial organizational psychology master’s program online to attend one or more sessions on campus.

Careers for Graduates of this Program

Graduates from organizational psychology master’s online programs often become industry consultants, helping employers create welcoming, supportive, and productive work environments. Organizational psychologists work full- or part-time, and many open consulting businesses. Because a cohesive team atmosphere is vital to business success, online industrial organizational psychology graduates are highly valued.

Job Outlook and Salary

Industrial organizational psychology jobs are increasing at a higher rate than average, but the pool of available jobs is still relatively small. This is likely to change as employers learn that organizational psychologists can increase job satisfaction and output of the workforce. Salaries vary based on the specific position, industry, geographic region, and experience level.

Employment Growth for Organizational Psychologists
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
2,000 2,300

Source: BLS

SALARY GROWTH BY EXPERIENCE

As organizational psychologists accrue years in the industry, they develop an advanced skill set and are more highly valued, leading to increased salaries. Graduates with an online degree in organizational psychology can expect to receive higher pay as they gain experience.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Membership in a professional organization can be invaluable to graduates of organizational psychology online programs. These organizations provide resources, networking support, and continuing education. Members attend conferences to stay apprised of developments in technology and new strategies to improve performance.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)

SIOP is a division of the American Psychological Association, which supports its members through research and community fora and by advocating for education and increased public awareness of the field.

HR People + Strategy

This organization unites professionals in human resources, spreading knowledge and tools, and helping professionals apply the fundamentals of human behavior to the organizational strategies of their business.

Society of Psychologists in Management (SPIM)

SPIM aids in the development and fellowship of professionals who incorporate psychology into the field of management. The organization provides education, training, and professional development opportunities.

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

This organization advances the study of human interaction as it applies to the workplace, aiming to impact the way systems and devices are designed to work with human psychology.


To determine the best online master’s in organizational psychology programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in organizational psychology programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.