The field of industrial and organizational psychology takes an in-depth look at human behavior in the workplace. I/O psychologists are an asset to any organization in todays competitive business environment. Doctoral level psychologists have advanced training in areas like human performance and human factors and job analysis. They are able to address issues in areas like training and development, recruitment, and workplace motivation. Industrial/organizational psychology is a great fit for psychologists who want to help teams succeed and organizations achieve their business goals.
We created this ranking of the top I/O psychology docroate degrees to showcase some of the best programs in the country. We used information from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator to identify accredited colleges offering 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 then 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 2021
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. DePaul University – Chicago, Illinois
Industrial-Organizational Psychology MA/PhD
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $19,370/year
The College of Science and Health at DePaul University features an industrial/organizational psychology MA/PhD program. Students can tailor the program to meet their professional goals by choosing a secondary specialization in:
- women’s and gender studies
Students are engaged in forward-thinking research that helps prepare them for successful careers. 100% of I/O psychology graduates from DePaul were employed or pursuing other goals within six months of graduation.
9. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois
PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $15,016/year in-state and $27,187/year out-of-state
The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois offers a top PhD program in industrial organizational psychology that prepares students for research and to apply theory to organizations around the world. Students will participate in research tackling tough challenges like:
- hiring/personnel selection
- race gaps in HR
- effects of job loss
The curriculum covers the breadth of I/O psychology and general psychology through coursework with faculty and the depth of the field with an individualized program of study created by the student and their advisor. Program alumni include prominent I/O psychologists and journal editors.
8. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College – New York, New York
Doctoral Program in Industrial Organizational Psychology
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,090/year in-state and $20,520/year out-of-state
The City University of New York Baruch College offers a top doctoral program in industrial-organizational psychology. The program supports a collaborative culture of faculty and student support in research excellence. Diversity is a core value, emphasized by student and faculty research in areas like demographic diversity and LGBTQ issues in the workplace. The program attracts some of the top talents in the field and faculty are widely recognized for their contributions to I/O psychology. Graduates are ready for a wide variety of career paths in academic and consulting settings.
7. Clemson University – Clemson, South Carolina
PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,600/year in-state and $22,050/year out-of-state
The top PhD in industrial-organizational psychology from Clemson University follows the scientist-practitioner model and follows the doctoral program guidelines set by the SIOP. Students gain experience in quantitative research techniques and design and in solving complex organizational issues. Students complete dissertation research and internships to gain professional experience. The program is designed to be completed in four or five years.
6. Columbia University in the City of New York – New York, New York
Doctor of Philosophy in Social-Organizational Psychology
Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $49,024/year
The Teachers College at Columbia University offers a top PhD in social-organizational psychology for students interested in research, practice, or scholarship. The program is designed for full-time graduate students. A unique aspect of the program is the theoretical, research, and applied focus that allows students to study organizations from a variety of perspectives. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods are used to tackle complex issues. Most students can complete their degree in six or seven years of post-baccalaureate study.
5. University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia
The Industrial-Organizational Psychology Doctoral Program
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,878/year in-state and $25,186/year out-of-state
The top industrial-organizational doctorate degree at the University of Georgia is a highly customizable program. Students can choose to focus exclusively in the area of I/O psychology or complete a blended program that includes measurement and individual differences. Students will participate in research and select courses that align with their career goals. Professional experience opportunities are available through internships approved by the faculty. Graduates are ready to pursue exciting I/O psychology careers in settings like academia and government.
4. University of Houston – Houston, Texas
PhD in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,920/year in-state and $17,568/year out-of-state
The University of Houston offers the oldest and largest I/O psychology graduate program in the United States. Students produce high-quality research featured in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences. Courses include:
- Multilevel Modeling
- Personnel Psychology
- Statistics for Psychology
The program structure allows students to work with their advisors as well as other program faculty, including business school faculty and faculty at other universities. Students are trained to be academic faculty members and real world practitioners through the scientists-practitioner model. Most students can complete their degree in four years.
3. Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Industrial Organizational Psychology
Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,775/year in-state and $19,048/year out-of-state
The industrial/organizational psychology doctoral program at Texas A&M University prepares students to be scientists and practitioners. The program emphasizes academic research-based training, but graduates are also prepared to work in government agencies, consulting firms, and research organizations. Faculty are renown scholars in areas like performance appraisal, group processes, and workplace diversity. Students can complete the program in about five years of post-baccalaureate study.
2. Louisiana Tech University – Ruston, Louisiana
Industrial-Organizational Psychology (PhD)
Student to Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,416/year in-state and $10,147/year out-of-state
The College of Education at Louisiana Tech University features a top industrial/organizational psychology PhD program rich with hands-on learning opportunities. Courses cover areas like:
- Job Analysis and Performance Appraisal
- Organizational Consulting
Students complete 84 semester hours of coursework, a dissertation, practicum training, and must pass a doctoral comprehensive examination. Students work on research and applied projects through the Applied Research for Organizational Solutions group. Most students take between three and hour years of full-time post-baccalaureate study to complete the program.
1. Saint Louis University – Saint Louis, Missouri
Industrial Organizational Psychology, Ph.D.
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $21,420/year
Our top choice for a PhD in industrial-organizational psychology is offered by Saint Louis University. Saint Louis University features the oldest psychology department at a Jesuit university, offering courses in psychology for over 100 years. This top I/O psychology PhD program covers areas like:
- Occupational health
- Systems and process consultation
Students are involved in supervised research and professional experience while gain competence in research and organizational consultation. Graduates are employed at top organizations like Nike, the US Secret Service, and Pfizer.
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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