In an ever changing business climate, employee performance, motivation and overall well-being is crucial to the success of an organization. The institutions on our list of the 10 most affordable top-ranked Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology offer high quality educational experiences that can help students gain traction in this breakout field. In the field of psychology, a master’s degree is required for even many entry level careers, so whether you are looking to break into the field or on your PhD path, these master’s programs have what it takes to get you moving in the right direction.
Using information gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator, accredited colleges were identified that offered a master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Of the 86 colleges that offered an advanced degree in industrial/organizational psychology, the colleges were then cross referenced with the US News and World Report’s list of Best Business Colleges and/or Medical Schools and ranked by affordability. Information regarding student population, student: teacher ratio, and courses/ specializations were noted.
- CUNY Bernard M Baruch College
- University of Nebraska
- University of Georgia
- SUNY at Albany
- Texas A & M University-College Station
- University of Illinois
- DePaul University
- Hofstra University
- Saint Louis University
- New York University
Ranking of 10 Most Affordable Top-Ranked Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology in 2018
1. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College
Masters of Science, Industrial/Organizational Psychology
The City of New York Baruch College of Business, located in downtown New York City, prepares students to pursue both practitioner and research based careers focused on human behavior in the workplace. This program is unique in that it is designed to meet the needs of full-time students as well as part-time working professionals. All courses are offered in the evening on the Manhattan campus. Students who graduate from the MS program in I/O Psychology are qualified to pursue careers in any organization concerned with human capital in the workplace. The 36 hour program consists of required courses as well as elective options including Performance Management, Leadership and Managerial Development, Survey Research in Organizations, Motivation. Training and Development, and Emotions in the Work place, Group Processes and High Performance Work Teams.
2. University of Nebraska
MS or MA in Industrial Organizational Psychology
The University of Nebraska, located in Omaha, offers both a Master of Science degree and a Master of Arts degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology. The MS degree is a perfect fit for students that are looking to enter the workforce directly after attaining the master’s degree. Careers in human resource departments, training and organizational development departments, and consulting firms are satisfied by this terminal master’s degree. The Master of Arts degree substitutes a 150 hour practicum for the thesis. Those students wishing to pursue research or a PhD should opt for the Master of Science degree, which includes an empirical research project and encourages students to continue through the PhD. Both options cover such topics as Job Analysis, Performance Appraisal and Personnel Selection, Leadership, Motivation, and Training.
3. University of Georgia
Professional I-O Psychology Master’s Program
The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences in the University of Georgia, is located in Athens Georgia. Students are educated on how to understand and apply the science of industrial organizational psychology in order to add real value to organizations. The program is designed for working professionals who would like to work in a collaborative environment. Uniquely formatted in five weekend classes per semester, the program allows working professionals to advance without taking off large amounts of time for continuing education. Students are given numerous opportunities for choice in elective courses and a practicum project.
4. State University of New York at Albany
Master of Arts in Industrial & Organizational Psychology
The State University of New York at Albany, New York offers a Master of Arts program in Industrial & Organizational Psychology. While many of it’s other master’s degrees in the subject are only available as part of a PhD program, the Industrial Organizational Psychology master’s degree is available as a terminal master’s degree option. A unique feature of the SUNY at Albany program is the research facilities that include research laboratories designed to accommodate studies of group and individual performance, and a large volunteer participant pool, providing an ample supply of participants for experiments.
5. Texas A & M University
Master’s in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychology
Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas offers a master’s program that emphasizes the application of psychological principles to human resource decisions and organizational behavior challenges. Although the master’s program and the PhD program overlap considerably, they are not one and the same, and those graduating with a master’s degree can find a number of very satisfying job prospects in the field. A similar program exists in the business school of Texas A & M, an MS in Human Resource Management, but the MS in Industrial Organizational Psychology, new in 2018, focuses more on the science of human behavior at work, as it relates to personnel functions, individual characteristics, and interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
6. University of Illinois
MS in Psychological Science Emphasis in Industrial Organizational Psychology
The University of Illinois, in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, offers a Master’s of Science in Psychological Science, where students are encouraged to choose an area of interest, or combine electives to create a composite focus. Elective coursework involves advanced research methodology and data analytics, Cognitive, Clinical/Community, Developmental, Industrial/Organizational, Personality, Social, and/or Quantitative Psychology. This master’s degree can stand alone or feed into U of I’s PhD program, which has been one of the top in the nation for over 40 years. Students in the Industrial Organizational Psychology field at U of I study a wide range of topics including hiring, personnel selection, personality, vocational interests, emotional intelligence, social networks, job attitudes, work withdrawal/turnover, narcissism, race and gender gaps in the workplace, psychometrics, motivation, and job performance.
7. DePaul University
MA in IO Psychology
DePaul University, located in downtown Chicago, prepares students for future employment in a wide variety of scientific, academic, and applied settings. The MA part of the program leads directly into the doctoral portion; it is not a terminal master’s degree. The program offers students a wide variety of topics throughout their study, including methodology, advanced statistics, measurement, research methods, motivation, leadership, selection, performance appraisal, training, organizational theory, consultation, communication, management, gender studies, and other areas. Graduate students work closely with faculty on teaching and research, and entering classes remain small, in order to offer a great deal of individualized attention and support.
8. Hofstra University
Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York prepares students new to the field and enhances the careers of those already working in business area’s such as human resources, training, management and organization development by teaching them to apply psychology to issues that develop in their organizations. Courses range from research design, statistics, selection training, performance appraisal, worker motivation and organization development. Students who complete this program can look forward to attaining such titles as specialist, manager, director, consultant, training and evaluation specialist, industrial relations manager director of human resources and organization development consultant.
9. Saint Louis University
Master of Science Industrial Organizational Psychology
St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, offers a combination Master’s/PhD program that requires students complete a minimum of 73 credit hours, which includes the master’s hours (or comparable, transferable degree). Some of the highlighted courses include Human Diversity, Ethics and Professional Issues, Advanced Experimental Methods, and Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design. Students in this program will also complete a Thesis/Dissertation research project. Students graduating from this composite degree are fully prepared to practice as industrial-organizational psychologists, applying the principles of psychology to human resources, management, marketing and more.
10. New York University
Master of Arts Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
New York University, in New York, New York offers a Master’s of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology that takes pride in offering students small classes, individual attention, and teamwork that simulates the real business environment. Trained graduates of the program apply cutting edge research and theory at work every day. They factor human behavior into the successful business equation by motivating productivity, building resilient leadership, supporting diverse cultures, and managing organizational change. The backdrop of NYC provides the hub for networking for faculty, students, partnering organizations, and alumni.
Why Industrial Organizational Psychology?
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the 2014-2024 job outlook for Industrial/Organizational Psychology is 19% growth, which far exceeds the expectations for many other careers, both in psychology and in other areas of business.
- The median annual salary for I/O psychologists is $80,000. The highest earners can make $250,000 or more each year.
- Industrial-organizational psychologists help improve recruiting, hiring and retention practices; they design and analyze performance evaluation systems; and they consult on a variety of issues related to employee training. In short, they make workplaces better, and that can be rewarding.
- Industrial Organizational Psychologists are needed in a wide variety of businesses, so people with an IO Psychology degree can choose a wide variety of areas to specialize in, and businesses with whom to work.
What Does an Industrial Organizational Psychologist Actually Do?
Industrial–Organizational psychologists apply psychology to the workplace by using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of work life. They study issues such as workplace productivity, management or employee working styles, and employee morale. They also help top executives, training and development managers, and training and development specialists with policy planning, employee screening or training, and organizational development. IO psychologists can be found developing interview techniques, rating scales, and psychological tests to assess competencies in selection, placement, and promotion, applying principles of learning and individual differences to design and evaluate the utility of training programs, conducting surveys and research studies to assess organizational climate affecting worker morale and motivation, and advising management on personnel policies and labor-management relations.
A primary difference between the types of job titles acquired between the psychologists who obtain a terminal master’s degree versus those who complete their PhD is the amount of research conducted. Although some students with terminal master’s degrees may find themselves with some amount of research to their credit, primarily professionals with a Master of Art or Master of Science degree in Industrial Organizational psychology will find themselves more involved in the direct instruction of business professionals. Conversely, those students who pursue a PhD in the field will find themselves in more research based careers, often in academia or research labs.
IO psychologists are relationship-focused, skilled in developing and maintaining interactions with others. They are data-driven, detailed-oriented, problem focused, and critical thinkers. I/O psychologists are persistent in their efforts and are also comfortable guiding and leading others. Like all psychology professions, good oral and written communication skills are essential to communicating ideas to others.
By OPD Staff
This concludes our list of the 10 Most Affordable Top-Ranked Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology in 2018.