If you’re contemplating pursuing your education to seek a Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology, you are to be applauded. Although receiving accolades about academically moving forward is all well and good, you have more on your mind than praise. You certainly have some essential questions about what to expect from an industrial-organizational psychology doctorate degree program.

As a refresher, industrial-organizational psychology is an applied discipline within psychology more broadly. Industrial-organizational psychology is one of 16 recognized specialties by the American Psychology Association.

Related resource: 10 Most Affordable Top-Ranked Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Essential Elements of an Industrial-Organizational Psychology Doctorate Program

Because of the nature of the work of an industrial-organizational psychologist, specific courses cover a broad range of different topics and issues. Examples of the types of course topics that can be a part of an industrial-organizational psychology doctorate program include psychology research methods, effective training, effective professional development, fostering healthy work environments, and increasing productivity.

Focus of a Student’s Doctorate Program

Due to the fact that an industrial-organizational psychologist can work in a variety of areas when armed with a doctorate, a Ph.D. program will typically have a specific focus for a student. Examples of a student’s focus when in an industrial-organizational psychology doctorate program include a variety of areas:

  • Job analysis,
  • Personnel recruitment and selection,
  • Performance appraisal and management,
  • Individual assessment and psychometrics,
  • Occupational health and well-being,
  • Remuneration and compensation,
  • Training and training evaluation,
  • Remuneration and compensation,
  • Motivation in the workplace,
  • Occupational stress,
  • Occupational safety,
  • Organizational culture
  • Group behavior,
  • Productive behavior,
  • Counterproductive work behavior, and
  • Leadership.

In some cases, a student may elect to develop a focus for his or her course of study to obtain a doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology that involves more than one of these specifically enumerated areas.

Support Organization While a Student

When studying to obtain a doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology you can access supportive services. You don’t have to embark on this course of advanced study on your own. An important resource for a person employed in the field of industrial-organizational psychology or interested in pursuing an advanced academic degree in this area is the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology. The organization offers full professional memberships as well as affiliate memberships for students.

At this juncture in time, the field of practicing industrial-organizational psychologist remains a rather “exclusive” profession, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By that, it is meant that there is a relatively small number of people who are engaged in industrial-organizational psychology, including doctorate degrees.

The highest concentration of industrial-organizational psychologists is in four U.S. states, with the larges number of such professionals in Virginia. Indeed, more than 50-percent of industrial-organizational psychologists work in the commonwealth. 25-percent of people with industrial-organizational psychology degrees work in Massachusetts. The other two leading states for employment as industrial-organizational psychologists are California and New Jersey.