Best Online Master's Degrees in Industrial/Organizational (IO) Psychology

Learn about industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology master's degree programs, including admission requirements and common coursework. Then, get tips on how to choose the right I/O psychology master's program for you and explore your job options. Schools offering Nonprofit Management & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology Master's Degrees

To assist you in your search for the industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology master's degree program that best fits your needs and career goals, we've compiled our list of the top programs. The rankings are based on criteria like program flexibility, affordability, and unique features.

1. Colorado State University - Fort Collins

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Fort Collins, CO $12,495

Colorado State University - Fort Collins' online Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MAIOP) degree program requires 38 credits and includes coursework in topics like organizational development, workforce training, and cross-cultural psychology. This is a self-paced program that allows students to choose a 4-year format or a 2-year format. Along with online classes, students participate in virtual consulting teams (paired with their peers) and complete a range of I/O, leadership, and organizational diagnosis projects that build their professional skills within the field.

2. Touro University Worldwide

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Los Alamitos, CA $9,000

The online 36-credit Master of Arts in Industrial & Organizational Psychology degree program at Touro University Worldwide offers students the opportunity to concentrate their degree in one of three unique areas, including coaching/consulting, human resource management, or occupational health psychology. All students take core courses in organizational behavior, performance assessment, and leadership along with their concentration electives. Also required is a final capstone project that allows students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have learned in the program.

3. Carlos Albizu University - Miami

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Miami, FL$12,740

Carlos Albizu University - Miami offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Industrial & Organizational Psychology degree that requires 42 credits of coursework, with six of those credits being an applied research capstone project. Students in this I/O psychology program benefit from receiving personal attention from their professors and can choose to participate in applied research. Many students in this program have gone on to publish I/O psychology research findings in a number of professional journals as well.

4. Purdue University Global

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Davenport, IA$11,414

At Purdue University Global, students can earn an online Master of Science in Psychology degree with a concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. This program features a practicum and non-practicum track as well the option to either complete a thesis or a comprehensive exam. All students take courses in workplace motivation, human resources management, and organizational leadership, and students who choose the practicum option complete a field placement that allows them to apply their academic knowledge to a real-world I/O psychology-focused setting.

5. Missouri University of Science and Technology

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Rolla, MO$11,372

Missouri University of Science and Technology's online Master of Science (MS) in Industrial-Organizational Psychology degree includes courses in psychometrics, personnel selection, and small group dynamics. This 40-credit program also allows students to choose a thesis option or a non-thesis option that requires more electives. The online program replicates the same classes as those taught on campus, and students can fully participate and interact with their professors and peers through live streaming as well green screens and projection systems. For students who are participating in an employer reimbursement program in order to pay for their degree, the school offers a deferred tuition option so that students can pay their tuition 4 weeks after final grades are posted.

Rank School Name Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6 Franklin University Columbus, OH $16,080
7 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE $11,025
8 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA $22,601
9 Baker College Flint, MI $12,610

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online I/O Psychology Master's Degrees

I/O psychology is a field of study that applies psychology theories and practice to workplace environments. Usually, students study concepts related to individual, group, and organizational behavior within the context of how to help employees and workplaces optimize productivity and improve work environments. I/O psychology also focuses on employment issues, such as conflicts or hiring/training.

I/O psychology master's programs can lead to a Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree, and these types of programs usually require around 36 to 42 total credits. Generally, students can complete their degree 100% online, either through synchronous or asynchronous classes. Real-world field placements or practicums are usually optional parts of these programs.

Most online I/O psychology programs don't require a thesis but will include a final capstone course, which could require students to complete an intensive research project or a consulting project with a real-world organization. A limited number of programs may give students the option of completing a thesis or a comprehensive exam.

I/O psychology programs don't lead to licensure as a psychologist.

Length of Online I/O Psychology Programs

The length of time it takes to earn an I/O psychology master's degree depends on several factors, including the format of your program and your enrollment status. Typically, if you are attending full time, you can earn your I/O psychology master's in about two years. For those attending part time, it may take around 3-4 years to earn your degree.

Prerequisites for Online I/O Psychology Master's Degrees

To apply to an I/O psychology program, you must already hold a bachelor's degree. There is generally no requirement as to the type of degree needed; however, some schools prefer that you have completed some psychology coursework. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is also usually required, although a 2.5 could suffice at some schools.

GRE requirements vary by university. A limited number of programs may require both general and psychology GRE test scores. You must also usually submit the following materials:

  • Application and fee
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • CV or resume
  • Statement of purpose

Common Courses in Online I/O Psychology Programs

I/O psychology programs usually have a curriculum that is focused on workplaces, leadership, and employees, as well as courses that center on research methods and design. Below, you can explore some course topics that are common in I/O psychology programs.

  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology - This is an introductory course that provides an overview of the most important theories and research in the I/O psychology field, such as leadership, job attitudes, and work culture.
  • Organizational Development - A class that explores organizational development concepts and research, such as organizational diagnosis and techniques for implementing organizational changes.
  • Job Analysis and Performance - This course focuses on the practice and theory for completing job analysis projects, including the collection and analysis of data.
  • Training and Development - A course that covers methods and theories for evaluating training needs and developing job training programs.
  • Recruitment and Selection - This course teaches methods for recruiting and selecting employees, including using assessments and tests that measure non-cognitive and cognitive abilities.

How to Choose an Online I/O Psychology Program

Attending graduate school is a big commitment in terms of cost and time, which means you want to make sure that you pick the right I/O psychology program for your unique needs and professional goals. To guide you through this important decision-making process, we've put together some helpful tips that include thinking about cost, accreditation, and unique program features.

Cost

The most important factor to consider when choosing a program is the total cost of earning your I/O psychology degree. Typically, these types of programs range from $420 to $950 per credit with most programs falling in the $500 to $800 range. However, some universities use a per-semester tuition structure. Current military members, veterans, military spouses, and in-state students usually qualify for lower tuition rates and could pay less than $420 per credit.

Most universities also charge additional fees, such as technology, library, and distance education fees. So be sure to check with your school to see if they require additional fees or not.

Accreditation

Accreditation should also be a major consideration, as it proves a school has met high standards in terms of academics and quality. Your university should be regionally accredited by an agency approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), such as the:

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Only students who attend an accredited institution can receive federal financial aid, and most universities only accept transfer credits from other accredited universities or colleges.

The American Psychological Association (APA) is an organization that accredits psychology doctoral programs but doesn't specifically accredit I/O psychology master's programs. When choosing a program, however, you can still research whether the department your prospective I/O psychology program is housed in offers a psychology doctoral program that is APA-accredited. That way you know that those in charge of your program strive to meet high academic standards across the board.

Program Features

Another way to make the right choice about what program to choose is looking at the unique features. For example, if you don't have any real I/O psychology experience, then you may want to choose a program that allows you to complete a practicum or field experience in order for you to gain valuable professional experience that can help you land your dream job. Also, if you're someone who loves interacting with your peers, then choose a program that allows for online group projects or live class sessions.

Career Options with an I/O Psychology Master's Degree

Graduates with I/O psychology master's degrees will be able to become I/O psychologists; however, they could also pursue careers in human resources management or in employee training and development.

I/O Psychologist

I/O psychologists use their knowledge of psychology to help organizations solve issues that are related to productivity or employee management. Their ultimate goals are to increase productivity, create a positive work environment, and help train or select employees.

Human Resources (HR) Manager

An HR manager supervises the administration of an organization's employee relations, including employee hiring, employee benefit programs, employee training, and payroll. They may also manage staff, handle conflicts or behavioral issues, and consult other departments. Some HR managers specialize in one aspect of HR management, such as payroll managers or staffing managers.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers are mostly responsible for the training of employees, and their exact job duties could include assessing gaps in employee skills and knowledge, creating training programs, and appraising the effectiveness of those programs. A training and development manager must also oversee staff, create budgets, and constantly update their training programs.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
I/O Psychologists $92,880 13%
Human Resources Managers $116,720 7%
Training and Development Managers $113,350 8%

Salary information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Professional I/O Psychology Organizations

Those in professional I/O psychology associations work hard to promote and advocate for others in the field, and by joining one or more of these organizations, you may be able to advance your career and access a wealth of resources.

American Psychological Association (APA)

The APA is the leading psychology association in the country with over 121,000 members, including professional psychologists, educators, and students. APA produces a range of books, journals, and magazines about diverse psychology topics, accredits psychology doctoral programs, and offers psychology help to the public. As a paid APA member, you get free continuing education credits, discounts to the APA conference, and a listing in APA's Psychologist Locator.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)

SIOP is an association dedicated to I/O psychology, and, as such, it offers education, career, and research resources to SIOP members and the public. By joining SIOP, you can get subscriptions to SIOP publications and discounts for the annual SIOP conference, and you can also advertise your services through the SIOP Consultant Locator Service.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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