Organizational Psychology Programs

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What is Organizational Psychology?

Organizational psychology is the area of study and practice the applies psychological principles and methodologies to understand and affect organized groups in a variety of settings. Psychologists will use information and understanding in order to improve work conditions, as well as productivity and morale. Some individuals may also work alongside managers to discuss methods for improving various areas related to employment.

Top Organizational Psychology Degrees

Earning a degree in organizational psychology will help drive success in an organization by providing key insights into individual and group behaviors.  From that basis, management can help develop techniques to improve overall performance and productivity.

Degree programs in organizational psychology include undergraduate and graduate programs at a number of institutions.  To help prospective students make a great decision, we have provided a summary of the degree programs with a tool to quickly reach out to qualifying colleges and universities.

Organizational Psychology Bachelor’s Degree

Online bachelor degrees in organizational psychology can be earned from a number of accredited colleges and universities.  Bachelor degrees are 4-year programs for full-time students and longer for part-time students.  Degrees at the bachelor level are conferred as Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) depending on the curricular emphasis of the program.

Bachelor degrees blend liberal arts education with core classes to provide students with a set of integrative thinking skills.  General education classes will include courses such as: communications, philosophy, history, sociology, statistics, and creative writing.

Core classes in a BA or BS program generally include the following: psychology, leadership, psychology of organization behavior, leader development, consulting for organizational change, ethics, research methods, quantitative reasoning, professional assessments, and personnel psychology.  The BA and BS degree culminates in a capstone course bringing together all classes in the program.

Organizational Psychology Master’s Degree

An online master’s degree in organizational psychology is conferred as a MS (Master of Science) at most colleges.  Master degrees will take 2-3 years to complete for most students with part-time students taking longer dependent upon pace and course load.

Graduate-level programs in organizational psychology provide students with the ability to select an area of concentration or a general course of study.  Specializations within the master’s track include organizations diversity, leadership development, organizational change, coaching, international business, human resource management, consulting psychology, and forensic psychology.  Coursework for graduate students will be a foundation of the area of specialization taken and the school’s requirements.

Graduates from an MS program in organizational psychology will be prepared to launch a career in several types of organizations.  From nonprofit organizations to publicly traded multinational companies, an organizational psychology professional will help make an impact in a variety of firms.  Careers within these entities can include the following: consultant, data manager, health project coordinator, data analyst, college instructor, project manager, research specialist, human resource manager, organizational consultant, and employee development trainer.

PhD in Organizational Psychology

A doctorate degree in industrial and organizational psychology is conferred as a PhD degree.  Doctoral degrees will take 3-5 years of matriculation to complete that includes a board-approved dissertation project.

Coursework in the PhD program will depend on the area of concentration chosen by each student.  Areas of specialization can include the general industrial and organizational psychology track, research, organizational diversity, leadership coaching, social change, international business, forensic consulting, human resource management, and consulting psychology.

By earning a PhD in industrial and organizational psychology, students will be ready to launch a career as a professor, data analyst, political strategist, career services director, research director, training director, employee development consultant, or organizational consultant.

Requirements in Organizational Psychology

Student who wish to study organizational psychology, also known as industrial and organizational psychology, will earn at least a master’s degree in order to be able to find employment. Individuals will become familiar with psychological principles and how they apply to groups rather than individuals.

As a result this field and education will focus on the differences when dealing with groups, how to improve the mental well being of employees and workers, and explain what tools and methods are available to do so.  A curriculum in this degree path may include:

  • Physiology
  • Organization Behavior
  • Human Behavior
  • Biology
  • Group Mentality
  • Workplace Psychology

Ideal schools in this field will have labs and programs that allow for practical development alongside normal classroom education in order to become familiar with the application of methods and principles prior to entering the field. Students should also research what ancillary programs, research opportunities, or internships may be available in order to narrow their selection.

Organizational Psychology Goals

While classes students take in organizational psychology may vary slightly from school to school, the outcomes should be uniform.  The list below is a summary of the top outcomes students can expect to learn while in an organization psychology program.

  1. Adopting growth mindset to advance the field of organizational psychology and help promote lifelong learning across an organization
  2. Engaging in ethical business practices to promote positive social change
  3. Applying the foundational principles of organizational research methods
  4. Articulating the unique aspects of the organizational psychology specialization and real-world applicability
  5. Understanding how key management and organizational issues impact organizations from performance management to motivation and team dynamics to organizational culture
  6. Summarizing the vital aspects of research and development in organizational psychology
  7. Prudently applying effective organizational intervention practices
  8. Analyzing individual and group dynamics in diverse groups and influences on the organization
  9. Describing organizational behavior utilizing relevant theory and research in organizational psychology

Employment in Organizational Psychology

Graduates will seek employment as consultants, private practitioners, or employed by large corporations.  Regardless of the organization type, OP's strive to establish effective methods and policies to maintain a healthy and productive work environment. Job growth is expected to increase in this field dramatically, as more and more businesses become interested in creating healthy work environments.  Wellness programs can include initiatives like improved motivational tools and removing tension from organizations.

The mean annual income for organizational psychologist currently $102,530 with the top earners in excess of $184,000 a year.  Part-time OP's and the lowest ten percent average nearly $51,000 annually based on the latest survey by the BLS.  Compensation will vary by geographic location, employer, and job scope.

Resources for OP Majors

Organizations such as the American Psychological Association work to advance the cause of psychology and psychology professionals through research, communication, information sharing, providing resources, and lobbying for the advancement of the field.  Additional associations include the Society for Industrial and Organization Psychology (SIOP), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Society of Consulting Psychology (SCP).

For more information, check out our Career Guide in Psychology on the MatchCollege blog.  Further research is available by reading our blog that illustrate the Top Jobs in Psychology by degree type, industry, and specialty.

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Career Summary: Organizational psychology Major




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