Top Doctoral Organizational Psychology

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Welcome to our ranking of the Top 10 Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology degrees.

In an ever changing business landscape, professionals with training in the area of Industrial- Organizational Psychology are an asset that many businesses are finding themselves unable to live without. With a doctorate in this area of study, advanced learners can make a real difference in the business landscape. With options in academic research and large businesses nationally and internationally, business minded professionals who want to help employers and employees make the business of work better are finding Industrial-Organizational Psychology to be a perfect fit.


Using information gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator, accredited colleges were identified that offered a doctoral degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Of the 78 colleges that offered a doctoral 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. Information regarding student population, student: teacher ratio, and courses/specializations were noted.

Ranking: Top 10 Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology 2018

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2.  University of Houston

PhD in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology


University of Houston PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology

University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business in Houston, Texas joins business and psychology in it’s PhD in I/O Psychology. Bauer’s Management Department works in close collaboration with the UH doctoral program in industrial-organizational psychology, and doctoral candidates often find courses in other disciplines such as psychology, economics and sociology relevant to their research. The program focuses on theory-based research, coursework, the acquisition of both technical and social competencies, and applied collaborative research.  Students in the program work in the University’s Center for Applied Psychological Research that offers a variety of professional services to both public and private sector organizations to hone their skills and gain experience in areas such as Cross-Cultural Training, Employee Engagement, and Organizational Change & Development.

3.  University of Georgia

The Industrial-Organizational Psychology Doctoral Program


University of Georgia PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology

The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia offers a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology that develops, researches, and applies psychological principles to raise the quality of life for working individuals. The Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program is one of three doctoral programs within the Department of Psychology at the University of Georgia. Students may concentrate in the areas of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Measurement and Individual Differences, or they may develop a balanced program in both areas.  Students with a doctoral degree in IO psychology can find careers in academia, industry, consulting, government, and the military.

4.  Texas A & M University

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Industrial Organizational Psychology


Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Organizational Psychology.  Students who obtain this degree receive a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of his or her professional field and training in methods of research.  The program has a major emphasis on academic research-based training with the objective of placing students in academic careers, research organizations, government agencies, corporations, and consulting firms. With a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology, students will find work in areas of social psychology, organizational psychology, human resource management, organization change and development, negotiation and conflict resolution, research and statistics, leadership, work-family, coaching, compensation systems, and organizational dynamics.

5.  University of Illinois

PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology


University of Illinois PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology

The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois offers a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology that focuses on the study of psychological phenomena within work organizations that has been an industry leader for forty years.  Faculty and students currently affiliated with the I/O Program are actively pursuing research in areas such as 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.  One of the unique aspects of the program is the relative lack of formal requirements, which means that a student’s individual program is largely guided by the interests of the student.

6.  Columbia University in the City of New York

Doctor of Philosophy in Social-Organizational Psychology


Columbia University PhD industrial organizational psychology

Columbia University in the City of New York explores the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology through coursework, field projects with organizations, and close working relationships with faculty members and fellow graduate students. Doctoral students are provided with advanced training in the theoretical concepts, research methods, and applications of social-organizational psychology. A breadth of study includes coverage including human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational change, leadership, conflict and negotiation, coaching, diversity, organizational demography, motivation, power and authority, group processes, and organizational dynamics. Graduates from this PhD program find their careers as faculty members in university or business school settings, consulting positions in consulting firms, industry positions, and public sector positions.

7.  DePaul University

 PhD in I-O Psychology


DePaul University PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology

DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois offers students both essential training in methodology, with courses in advanced statistics, measurement, and research methods and core I-O courses in motivation, leadership, selection, performance appraisal, training, organizational theory, and consultation. Students who attend DePaul have the opportunity to collaborate with experts to develop and implement new research ideas and contribute to new developments in the field. Because of the unique, highly urban setting, graduates often go into corporate, consulting, and academic careers. Some choose to stay in Chicago while others take positions around the country and around the world.

8.  Hofstra University

PhD in Applied Organizational Psychology


Hofstra University PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology

Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York’s PhD in Applied Organizational Psychology is composed of an advanced methodological and content based curriculum in I/O psychology.  A unique feature of this program is the required internship in which the doctoral students work under the supervision of a manager designated by the organization and approved by the faculty. A doctoral dissertation under the supervision of a faculty member in a laboratory or field setting is required.  This program prepares students for careers in academics, business, industry, government, and other private and public domains.  The program collaborates with many organizations in the greater New York area, including businesses, industries, public agencies, health systems, and nonprofit organizations. The PhD program invites students from diverse backgrounds and those with work experience.

9.  Saint Louis University

Industrial Organizational Psychology, Ph.D.


St. Louis University PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology

Saint Louis University, in St. Louis, Missouri, offers  Specialty training in industrial-organizational psychology at Saint Louis University is based on the scientist-practitioner model. The program prepares doctoral-level professionals with the research, assessment and intervention skills to advance the scientific study of the workplace and improve organizational performance and individual well-being. Through supervised research and professional experience, students are trained as science-practitioners and are expected to develop competence in research and, if their career goals warrant, organizational consultation.  Required courses include Human Diversity, Ethics and Professional Issues, Advanced Experimental Methods, Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design, Advanced methods or statistics course, and finally Thesis/Dissertation research.

10.  New York University

 Doctoral Program in Social Psychology


New York University PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology

New York University, located in downtown New York City, New York looks at the field of Industrial Organizational Psychology  through a wide range of topics, including the study of social cognition and attitudes, motivation, emotion,  self-regulation, relationships, personality, social development, groups, organizations, and societies, as well as strong study in social neuroscience. The goal of the NYU program is to prepare students to be highly competitive in the job market for the type of career they seek, and they boast the steady success of their students over the past 15 years in obtaining academic positions at the best research universities as well as important teaching colleges.

Should I Obtain My Masters or PhD in Organizational and Industrial Psychology?

As a student begins to plan for their ultimate careers in the field of IO psychology, the decision should be made as to how much education is desired, a master’s degree or a doctorate. Typically speaking, in a master’s program, the student is training to be an IO professional.  An IO professional will consider how to apply the principles of IO psychology to solve specific organizational problems. Simply speaking, IO professionals are trained to help organizations; IO professionals practice IO psychology.

In a Ph.D. program, students are training to become an IO scholar.  An IO scholar will do the same tasks as the IO professional, but will also use those experiences to advance our general understanding of IO through research. For students that would like to teach at a collegiate level, the only suitable degree is a Ph.D.  Ultimately, IO scholars are trained to advance organizational science, helping organizations along the way; IO scholars conduct research.

In practice, this means that an I/O psychology Ph.D. will generally be making the big decisions, while the IOs with Master’s will aid with implementation or conduct background research.

A student should decide if he or she wants to pursue a terminal master’s or continue on to a PhD as early as is possible in his or her educational career.  This will help the student tailor his or her coursework through the undergraduate and graduate years specifically to the degree and future job prospects that he or she desires.

Job Descriptions for I/O Psychologists

According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions in industrial and organizational psychology are expected to increase by 53.4% from 2012 to 2022, placing trained I/O professionals in high demand. I/O psychology is still fairly uncommon in the grand scheme of psychologists, but the number of practitioners continues to rise exponentially.

I/O practitioners typically find employment in public and private industries, educational institutions, and government agencies in a number of areas. But because the skills they possess are so varied, it is sometimes difficult to enumerate the jobs that an IO psychologist could successfully fulfill.  One obvious area where IO psychologists thrive is in human resources. Typically these types of jobs include working directly with employees in such areas as employee training and development, employee relations, and even employee compensation and benefit negotiations. Many times, the human resource skills brought to the table by IO psychologists make for solid general managers, as well.  Another area where IO psychologists thrive is in government.  Those with an advanced degree in social (industrial organizational) psychology are especially adept in labor law, affirmative action cases and policy, and union relations. Finally, many industrial organizational psychologists, especially at the PhD level, find their home in the area of research.  Studying such areas of business such as personnel selection, work motivation, talent development, and organizational change can make monumental improvements in the working lives of millions of people.

Additional job titles held by Industrial Organizational professionals are: HR Practice Leader * Behavioral Analyst * Behavioral Scientist * Talent Management Specialist * HR Organizational Development Specialist * Executive Coach * Career Coach * Leadership Coach * Employment Testing Professional * Testing Specialist * Tests and Measurement Specialist * Assessment and Selection Specialist * Employment Law Expert * Research Analyst * Organizational Development * Organization Effectiveness * Organizational Capability * Talent Management * Management Development * Workforce Insights * Human Resources * Human Resources Research * Employee Relations * Training and Development * Professional Development * Leadership Development * Selection Systems * Evaluation & Assessment * Testing Programs * Leadership Research * Assessment * Applied Behavioral Research * Optimization * Managing * Leadership * Learning & Performance * Career Planning


Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Websites

OPD Staff
February 2018

This concludes our list of the Top 10 Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology 2018.