Industrial and Organizational Psychology (I-O Psychology) is the fastest growing career in America according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I-O Psychology occupations have a median income of $83,580 a year, and a huge growth rate of 53% between now and the year 2022. The remarkable growth rate is higher than every other career field in the U.S. This is a ranking of the 22 Best Online Industrial Organizational Psychology Colleges.
I-O Psychology is a hybrid field of healthcare and business. It is the intersection of psychology and capitalism, and deals with the human element of industry and organizations. I-O Psychologists bring their psychology backgrounds to the study of the workplace, and make employee’s jobs and work environments better (safer, more healthy and satisfying, etc.) and thereby improve employee performance, which in turn makes the company more efficient and profitable. It is “Science for a Smarter Workplace” according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists (SIOP). I-O Psychologists are hired by companies to work in-house, or as independent consultants.
I-O Psychology programs are offered completely online at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degree levels. The ranking factors were academic reputation, variety of course offerings, access to professors and online resources, relevancy to I-O Psychology occupations, and psychology clubs and alumni networking.
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22 Best Online Industrial Organizational Psychology Colleges
1. University of Southern California, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
USC is a leading private research university. Founded in 1880 the school now hosts over 43,000 students and 3,945 full-time faculty. The University’s program in Applied Psychology has been consistently ranked in the top 25, and its graduate program is in the top 40 according to U.S. News and World Report.
USC’s online psychology program offers a concentration in Organizational Psychology, and has particular strength in Consumer and Business psychology. It also offers a Master’s degree that can be earned in a one year intensive program consisting of 34 units (credits). Students can also partake in internships and a capstone project completed at the end of their studies, which of course lends itself nicely to further graduate work at the Phd level.
Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology: Learn both Consumer Psychology and Organizational Psychology. Only Master’s degree in Applied Psychology from a Top 25 institution.
2. Penn State World Campus
The online program, or World Campus, at Penn State opened in 1998, (although Penn State offered distance learning for many years before that), making it one of the first major universities to provide distance education. A Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Business Option is provided for those students interested in I-O psychology. 123 course credits are required for the Bachelor level taken over a 12 – 15 week time period.
Internships may also be taken for course credit, which require a minimum of 120 hours of field work, in addition to an academic component. As a minor, I-O psychology requires a mere 18 credits. At the Master’s level, the Professional Studies in Psychology program requires 33 additional credits after the Bachelor’s program. Penn State World Campus also boasts of the first student founded, fully online Psychology Club. The club uses all forms of social media to keep in touch with members and to publicize networking opportunities and career availability.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Business Option: An online bachelor’s degree in psychology with a business option is an excellent choice for students considering further study in I-O Psychology.
Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership at Work: This program examines the nature and role of leadership across organizational settings.
3. Florida Tech University Online
Consistently ranked as a Tier 1 Best National University by U.S. News & World Report, Florida Tech University 0ffers both Masters and Doctoral level work in I-O Psychology. The master’s degree can be completed in two years, and is completed with an independent research project that can be further developed in the doctoral program if desired.
There is a minimum of 45 credit hours to complete the master’s level. The doctorate focuses more on current research within the field. Specific research teams are formed, supervised, and lead by professors. Within these teams, students are encouraged to write professional papers for publication or presentation at academic and professional conferences. The doctoral level requires 90 semester hours of credit. The center for Organizational Effectiveness is an excellent resource for students at any level to gain capital measurement and talent management strategies. There are over 60,000 alumni world-wide with whom graduates may network.
4. Colorado State University
Colorado State University is a world leading research university that was founded in 1870. It has grown to currently enroll about 22,425 undergraduate students and 3,800 graduate students. There are over 184,000 living alumni networking across the globe. Students are taught by 1,600 faculty members, many of whom are experts in their fields and have completed graduate level training. The resources behind this impressive tradition are now being used to build a growing online and distance learning network.
One of the rapidly growing fields within the online community is the Applied I-O Psychology online degree. Through CSU’s masters program students learn to apply principles of psychology to the workplace. Students will research, analyze, and assess employee performance and satisfaction as well as workplace conditions, diversity, and policies. This pracitcle online degree can be completed in as little as 2 years. Students can jump start this degree by earning a certificate in organizational psychology before being admitted to CSU. This degree easily lends its self toward the budding Human Resources and Management careers.
5. Kansas State University
Consistently recognized as one of the top colleges in the United States by the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report, Kansas state has provided a well rounded, superior level of education since its founding in 1858. The student body of about 24,300 bright minds represents all 50 states and over 100 countries. These students have over 250 undergraduate majors to choose from. For the busy adult or student who is interested in supplemental classes there are numerous online courses to choose from, ranging from the bachelor’s level through doctoral, as well as certificates/endorsements and minor programs.
The school’s Organizational Psychology program started in the 1960’s and has been successfully preparing students for numerous career choices from private consulting to public agencies ever since. The last semester of the program consists of students conducting a research practicum in their own organization under the supervision of faculty. Students take an average of 2 1/2 years to complete this 38-credit-hour masters program. There are 7 classes and 4 practicums required, including: Applied Research Methods I and II, Personnel Training and Selection, Practium: Job Analysis, and the final Practicum Report.
6. Northcentral University
Using the Oxford Learning Model of one to one teaching, Northcentral University has created a personalized learning experience for its students. The school was founded in 1996 as a fully online university. Its School of Psychology offers Bachelor through Doctoral level studies, including post Baccalaureate and Master level certifications. In these certification programs, a prior Bachelor or Master’s Degree is required, but does not have to be within the field of psychology.
Within the I-O psychology program, the Master’s level requires 36 credit hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree. The curriculum’s courses are 8 weeks long. A post master’s certificate requires 6 courses, or 18 credit hours. The university allows 2 years to complete these 6 courses. The PhD is an additional 60 credit hours beyond the Master’s level. Students are expected to complete graduate studies within 7 years while taking courses 12 weeks in duration.
7. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University has developed a truly unique way for students to create their own personal path through higher learning education. The school has developed a personalized learning system called intellipath, which furthers the over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs available. This adaptive learning technology recommends courses and can personally tailor class work based on student’s past performance. In addition to this personalized system, Colorado Tech also utilizes other online communities such as Facebook and Twitter, not only for out reach to students, but also to the 70,000 alumni networking world wide.
The online bachelor of psychology program covers more than just mental health and counseling. Colorado Tech’s program focuses on leadership development and problem solving for the cooperate world. With a concentration in Organizational Behavior, students will analyze employee behavior and develop strategies to improve work ethics and time management. Students within the field have found careers in teaching, business, government, and private consulting.
8. University of the Rockies
Initially founded in 1998 as the Colorado School of Professional Psychology, The University of the Rockies was formed in 2007. The University of the Rockies today offers graduate degrees online, including the Master of Arts in Psychology: Business Psychology Specialization. The degree consist of 39 credits, and classes offered include Human Development, Applied Research Methods, Theories and Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy, and Cultural Diversity and Individual Differences.
The program is intended to give an education for a professional psychology approach to business practices. Graduates should be able to foster an environment of teamwork, ethical behavior, and diversity in the workplace. This program is not a licensure program, rather it is intended to give the educational background necessary to do this kind of work. Psychology licensure requirements vary by state.
9. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 as a private Christian university by the Southern Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. The school retains its Christian affiliation to this day. Grand Canyon University has been consistently recognized for its excellent online education from numerous sources including Fortune, Small Business, Technology & Learning Magazine, Fox.com, and others.
The University offers a Master of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in I-O Psychology. Students will use problem solving and the principles of psychology for improved employee/employer relationships. Course material will include ethics in behavior, statistics, and research and development. Students must complete a final research project before graduating. Grand Canyon lets its students create and propose their own research topics. When completed the topic must be presented and discussed with fellow students and professors.
10. William James College
William James College is the new name and home of the prestigious Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology–which was a graduate college of Psychology founded in 1974. The institution averages 600 students per year. It utilizes an educational model which combines class lecture with clinical experience. The school uses the cohort method while maintaining flexibility within its scheduling. This means that students will be with peers who will take the same courses in the same sequence through out the program. This allows for a greater sense of community and collaboration between the students and faculty.
The program offers a number of unique concentrations in psychology including the Latino Mental Health Training Program, and the Train Vets to Treat Vets initiative, as well as I-O Psychology. Within this concentration students are supervised in the field starting their first year. A wide variety of settings are available to the students to intern from, including hospitals and schools, businesses, corporations, and even legal court settings. The Organizational Psychology program is offered as an accelerated 11-month Master’s degree.
11. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a not-for-profit school with more than 4,200 students (both on campus and online). It has over 20 degree programs to choose from. The institution utilizes the Engaged Professional Model of Education. This emphasizes the need for in-the-field training along with classroom and research experience. There are over 500 organizations across the country who network with the school to provide such opportunities. The online Masters degree in I-O Psychology can be completed in 22 months, which includes an applied research project. Along with the core curriculum, electives to choose from include: Consumer psychology, Human Capital Development, Consulting Skills, and Process Improvement. A certificate program in I-O Psychology is also available online for as little as 9 credit hours in about 5 months.
12. University of the Incarnate Word
The University of the Incarnate word, located in San Antonio, Texas, was founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. As the largest Catholic university in Texas, the school focuses on a Judeo-Christian perspective. The 9,188 students have access to 80 undergraduate and graduate fields of study.
Online instruction began in 2000. The I-O Psychology degree is offered at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. Students will develop analytic skills through class work and be able to apply the skills learned through their in-the-field experience. At the Bachelor’s level 38 hours of core course material and 15 hours of concentration work is required. The Master’s level requires an additional 15 hours of core course work and 15-18 hours of concentration work. A 3 – 9 hour comprehensive exam or masters thesis is required to complete the degree. The Master’s level work blends easily into the Doctoral level program for anyone wishing to complete their PhD.
13. Post University
Founded in 1890 Post University has been offering online programs since 1996. The online student body has grown to over 15,000 online adult learners acquiring an education through courses offered in eight-week modules throughout the year.
The Bachelor’s online psychology degree is extensive and challenging with a total of 120 credit hours required. From General education and core psychology classes to the elective concentration classes, the Bachelor’s in Psychology prepares students well for higher level education. As an online degree students will focus on theories, critical thinking skills, and research. Professors provide regular constructive feedback. The interactive online courses are offered in eight-week modules, six times a year. Students within the I-O Psychology track will take courses in subjects such as Social Psychology, Drug Use Behaviors, and Multicultural Psychology. Students will have access to the University Writing Center and to one-on-one online tutoring services 24/7.
14. University of Liverpool
Founded in 1881, the University of Liverpool is one of England’s most well established research universities. It has 23,000 students, over 400 programs, and 190,000 alumni. The school also boasts an impressive 9 Nobel prize winners and is the birthplace of the Fab Four. It has 8,000 postgraduate students studying online. Its library offers 2 million books and 40,000 electronic journals in 2 facilities.
Liverpool is also one of Europe’s largest providers of online education, including its 100% online masters program in organizational psychology taught in 8 modules. This program culminates in a final dissertation.
15. Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay, (pronounced “pea”), served as governor of Tennessee from 1923 until his death. During his service he lay the ground work for the founding of this four-year public Master’s level university. The state university offers over 56 majors and 63 different concentrations. There are 300 full-time faculty members teaching on three main campuses and within a growing online community.
The Master’s program provides the training in research methods of I-O Psychology. Skills from this program can be applied to many areas such as performance evaluations, motivational speaking, team performance, and leadership. Students must complete 12 courses (34 semester-hours) entirely online, including a comprehensive exam or thesis. All of this can be completed in under 2 years.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and 30,000 online students. The school was founded in 1932 and has offered online programs since 1996. At the Master’s level students may take courses in psychology with a concentration in I-O Psychology.
Southern New Hampshire is dedicated to “contributing to the advancement and organization’s performance through application of psychology theory.” Its 36 credit program includes a seven-course online psychology core and a capstone and seminar course that will “integrate all you have learned into a faculty and peer-reviewed project that focuses on a contemporary issue in Industrial and Organizational Psychology”. SNHU has an 80-year history of graduating successful professionals in this field, a track record that students can be confident will extend well into the future.
17. Adler University
Adler University was founded 1952 with the focus of encouraging a healthy society through community life and connections. Alfred Adler, the school’s namesake, was one of the first community psychologists who pioneered the idea that positive social changes would improve community health and individual well-being. The school has partnered with over 700 agencies providing internship sites for students to apply their knowledge.
Adler University offers 20 graduate-level programs, enrolling more than 1,200 students at campuses in Chicago, Vancouver, and online. It is the oldest independent psychology school in North America. Organizational Psychology is offered as a Master’s degree, which has a strong focus on social responsibility. It is a 46 credit hour program, and can be completed in as little as 2 years. Practicums, or supervised field placements, are required throughout the courses and start in the first year with a minimum of 150 hours in a community service setting.
18. Argosy University
Argosy University was formed in 2001 with the merging of three separate academic institutions—the American Schools of Professional Psychology, the University of Sarasota, and the Medical Institute of Minnesota. It now has 28 campus locations across the United States, 8 colleges, and a number of degree programs online, including one in I-O Psychology.
The program will train students for successful careers in a variety of settings including data analysis, consultation, leadership, and human resource management. Students study many subsets of the field, including applied subjects like job task and analysis or employee selection, as well as theoretical fields like ethics. Practice and theory combine in the senior capstone project.
19. Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University was founded in 1963 as an independent, Catholic University by Reverend Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. Sacred Heart is the second-largest Catholic university in New England. There are a total of 7,781 students: 4,232 full-time undergraduate students, 765 part-time undergraduate students, and 2,784 graduate students. There are over 36,400 alumni. Students are taught by 262 full-time faculty members.
Sacred Heart University offers over 55 degree programs which range from the BA through Doctorate, 100 study abroad programs in over 30 countries, and 4 fully-online programs. One of the online degrees is psychology, which offers a concentration in I-O psychology. It requires a minimum of 26 credits of core curriculum and 12 elective credits, totaling a minimum of 38 credits to graduate. The I-O Psychology curriculum emphasizes the study of behavior, thoughts, attitudes, and feelings of humans while they relate to each other, their material surroundings, and the events that they encounter in the workplace. A 2012 survey by the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology found that starting salaries had a healthy range between $47,000 and $92,000.
Capella University has over 35,000 students and 44,000 alumni. It offers 43 degree programs with 142 specializations. It was founded in 1993 as an online university for working adults, so from its inception Capella wanted to be a leader in distance learning education. Capella uses competency based education which includes a professionally designed curriculum taught by experienced professors who encourage hands-on experience within their fields.
This is why over 500 companies network with Capella University, providing numerous opportunities for students. Master’s and Doctoral levels are offered for I-O Psychology. FlexPath helps students keep classes organized and work at their own pace. Students need 55 course credits for graduation. The majority of students participate in 1 or 2 courses within a 10 week time frame, which require 10 to 12 hours of study per week. The Doctoral level requires not only the online course work, but also residencies, comprehensive exams, and a final dissertation.
Well known for its innovative approach to education through test preparation and professional training, Kaplan University uses a blend of online and campus based classes to reach out to more students every year. Currently there are over 40,000 degree seeking students with the majority, (94%), completing coursework online.
I-O Psychology is offered as a fully online Certificate program or Bachelor’s degree and can be pursued further to the Master’s level. 30 credits are required for the Certificate, 180 for the Bachelors and an additional 70 credits are required to complete the Master’s level program. Programs include a practicum for hands-on experience in the field. Numerous start dates are available for each level in an effort to enhance flexibility.
22. Touro University Worldwide
Touro University Worldwide is a Jewish-sponsored, nonprofit institution of higher learning with over 19,000 students enrolled. The school of Psychology offers a wide variety of degree programs from undergraduate to graduate and Doctorates. Online students interested in Organizational Psychology may enter either the Master’s or Doctorate programs. At the Master’s, students take 36 semester credits, nine of which include core courses and three include elective courses. The Doctorate of Human and Organizational Psychology includes several steps. First, students take basic courses on theory and research. They then enter the pre-dissertation/proposal stage. Finally, their work culminates in a dissertation.