Welcome to our 2020 ranking of the Top 10 Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology degrees.

In a competitive business environment, professionals with training in the area of Industrial- Organizational Psychology are an asset that many organizations are finding necessary. Individuals with a doctorate in I/O psychology are advanced learners who make a real difference in the business landscape. There are options in academic research, professional service firms, and businesses around the globe. 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. We narrowed our focus to programs offering a well rounded curriculum based on the scientist-practitioner approach which prepares graduates for a variety of different career settings. All programs require a dissertation and research experience which provide students with the necessary training and skill development to be successful in the field. We applied our ranking criteria using the average graduate tuition rate (realizing it may differ for PhD programs) and student to faculty ratio.

Ranking: Top 10 Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology 2019

Average Graduate Tuition

  • Less than $10,000 per year= 5 Points
  • $10,000 to $15,000 per year= 4 Points
  • $15,001 to $20,000 per year= 3 Points
  • $20,001 to $25,000 per year= 2 Points
  • Greater than $25,001 per year= 1 Point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • 12:1 or less= 5 Points
  • 13:1 to 15:1= 3 Points
  • Greater than 15:1= 1 Point

10. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois

PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

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Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $15,068/year in-state and $28,221/year out-of-state
Points: 4

The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana offers a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology that focuses on the study of psychological phenomena within work organizations. Faculty and students actively research areas including:

  • hiring/personnel selection
  • vocational interests
  • gender and leadership
  • effects of job loss

Students benefit from training in research and theory applied to individuals within organizations. Unlike several other programs in our ranking, the top PhD in I/O psychology at the U of I leans heavily toward independent study and advanced seminars. Each student’s program is as diverse as their unique personal and professional goals.

9. Hofstra University – Hempstead, New York

PhD in Applied Organizational Psychology

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Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $24,192/year
Points: 5

Hofstra University features a top PhD in Applied Organizational Psychology comprised of an advanced methodological and content based curriculum in I/O psychology. Unique to the program is a required internship. Students work under the supervision of a manager who is approved by both the organization and faculty. Students complete their doctoral dissertation in either a lab or field setting under the supervision of a faculty member. This top PhD I/O psychology program prepares students for diverse careers in areas like industry, government, or academics. Interested in applying? The PhD program welcomes students from diverse backgrounds and those with work experience.

8. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College – New York, New York

Doctoral Program in Industrial Organizational Psychology


Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,770/year in-state and $19,920/year out-of-state
Points: 5
Baruch College features a top I/O psychology PhD program with a curriculum that follows the guidelines set by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. This 60 credit hour program includes coursework, a master’s thesis, comprehensive exams, and a dissertation. I/O psychology courses include:

  • Staffing
  • Leadership in Organizations
  • Emotions and Attitudes in Organizations
  • Training and Development

This five year program also includes a non-credit teaching practicum to prepare them for teaching. During the final year, students may participate in an option part-time applied fieldwork experience or internship.

7. Columbia University in the City of New York – New York, New York

Doctor of Philosophy in Social-Organizational Psychology

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Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $46,216/year
Points: 6
The Teachers College at Columbia University offers a social-organizational psychology PhD program that follows the scientist-practitioner model. The program was created for full-time graduate students who seek advanced education and skill development in psychology as it applied to social and organizational situations and activities. Students benefit from an extensive breadth of coverage that includes:

  • organizational change
  • conflict and negotiation
  • power and authority
  • organizational dynamics

Strong emphasis is placed on both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Opportunities are available for students to engage in basic research, organizational consulting, and applied research activities under the guidance of faculty members.

6. DePaul University – Chicago, Illinois

Industrial-Organizational Psychology MA/PhD


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Student to Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $19,032/year
Points: 6
The College of Science and Health at DePaul University features an MA/PhD in industrial/organizational psychology for students who want to make a positive impact on the world’s workplaces. Students collaborate with faculty to develop and implement new research ideas. Secondary specializations can be added by taking coursework in communication, management, marketing, or women’s and gender studies. This combined degree program only admits students planning to earn their PhD. Students can complete the program in four years.

5. University of Houston – Houston, Texas

PhD in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology

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Student to Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,214/year in-state and $17,463/year out-of-state
Points: 6

University of Houston offers one of the largest and most respected I/O psychology programs in the country. Students are trained as scientist-practitioners, using state-of-the-art methodology and theory to solve real world problems across a variety of organizations. Students work with faculty on research that has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals and conferences throughout the world. Courses cover a variety of topics including:

  • productivity
  • performance appraisal
  • personnel selection
  • occupational health and safety

Within the I/O psychology program, the University of Houston houses The Center for Applied Psychological Research (CAPR). CAPR provides different professional services to organizations to help solve common challenges using evidence based solutions. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, ExxonMobil, and Willbros have used the CAPR, allowing students to assist in conducting high quality research.

4. University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia

The Industrial-Organizational Psychology Doctoral Program

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Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,704/year in-state and $24,692/year out-of-state
Points: 6

The Industrial-Organizational Doctoral program at the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences prepares students for a variety of career settings including consulting, academia, and government. I/O courses cover areas like:

  • leadership
  • organizational theory and design
  • training and career development
  • performance appraisal

Each doctoral student is encouraged to gain professional experience through an internship. Students carry out research under the supervision of faculty for both their masters’ thesis and dissertation.

3. Louisiana Tech University – Ruston, Louisiana

Industrial-Organizational Psychology (PhD)


Student to Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,592/year in-state and $13,333/year out-of-state
Points: 6

The top Industrial/Organizational Psychology program at Louisiana Tech University is rich with opportunities for hands-on experience. Students work on a variety of research and applied projects through the Applied Research for Organizational Solutions group. Coursework and hands-on activities give students advanced knowledge and training in psychological foundations, research methods, and I/O psychology. Most students can complete their PhD in I/O psychology in three to four years of full-time study. Cost generally isn’t an issue for accepted students since most students receive a graduate assistantship with a stipend.

2. Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Industrial Organizational Psychology

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Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,552/year in-state and $17,904/year out-of-state
Points: 6

The College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University features a top Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Organizational Psychology. The program prepares students to become both scientists and practitioners to be successful in both academic and applied work. Faculty and students collaborate on ongoing research projects. Students can complete the program in five years. The first year is spent primarily on coursework while the second year is spent on coursework, completing a thesis, and working with faculty on research. Third year students begin their dissertation research and continue any ongoing research projects. Fourth and fifth year students finish coursework, continue their research activity, prepare to take a set of comprehensive exams, and finish their dissertation. Graduates have found work in areas of social psychology, organizational psychology, human resource management, and organization change and development.

1. Saint Louis University – Saint Louis, Missouri

Industrial Organizational Psychology, Ph.D.

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Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $20,340/year
Points: 7

Our top choice for a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology is offered by Saint Louis University. SLU offers specialized training in industrial-organizational psychology based on the scientist-practitioner model. Courses cover areas like:

  • Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
  • Ethics and Professional Issues
  • Statistics

Through supervised advanced clinical research, practicums, and an internship in clinical psychology, students are trained as science-practitioners to develop their research or consulting skills. All students must complete and defend an empirical thesis and dissertation.

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 fill.  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

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