Best Master’s in Organizational Psychology Programs Online

Are you ready to pursue a high-level career that combines business leadership skills and psychology? Read on to learn more about the best online master’s degree programs in organizational psychology.

Do you see yourself helping organizations run more smoothly and find the best talent using psychological principles? Do you want to go back to school to earn your master’s, but you need a flexible study plan that doesn’t require you to drop your current work and personal responsibilities? If this sounds like you, earning your master’s in organizational psychology online could be a great choice.

Often called an industrial organizational (I/O) psychology master’s, these programs teach you how to apply psychological principles and research skills to improve today’s modern workplace. This degree prepares you for roles in employee recruitment and training, organizational development, employee performance management, and beyond. To get you there, many colleges and universities today offer this degree entirely online at a price you can afford.

This guide offers you information on the best online industrial organizational psychology master’s programs, highlights the advantages of online learning, and helps you find the best program for your needs. If you’re ready to take your training in psychology and business to the next level affordably and conveniently, read on.

College Spotlights: Best I/O Psychology Master’s Programs Online in 2021

These college spotlights showcase the best online master’s programs in organizational psychology today. Focused on affordability and flexibility for remote learners, this list of the top three rated master’s programs in industrial and organizational psychology will help you find an accredited school to earn the credentials you need without breaking the bank. This list is only a sample of our full rankings list that will arrive later in 2021.

Purdue University Global

Established in 2018 as part of the Purdue University System, Purdue Global is a public institution focused on adult education, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Remote students can take advantage of its online master’s in psychology with a concentration in industrial organizational psychology.

This program is designed for working professionals who want to expand their understanding of psychological principles and how it affects businesses and organizations. The curriculum explores traditional advanced theories, methods, and applications of industrial organizational psychology. The flexible schedule offers multiple starting dates in March, April, May, or June.

Degree-seekers best complete 60-75 credits for graduation. Courses are 10 weeks in duration and typically demand 15 hours of work per week. Prospective students need a bachelor’s degree. Out-of-state online students pay $420 per credit, while Indiana residents pay $378. Discounts are available for active-duty military and veterans. Incoming students with military training, related work, and life experience or professional certifications and training may be able to earn credits toward their master’s degree to save time and money.

Northcentral University

NCU is a private online university founded in 1996. Headquartered in San Diego, California, the school today serves approximately 11,000 students and offers an online master’s in industrial organizational psychology.

Online graduate students must complete 10 asynchronous courses, or 30 credit hours, for graduation. In most cases, learners complete the program in 16 months. Coursework for this master’s degree focuses on personnel psychology, research design, statistical analysis, and organizational behavior. Students will learn how to synthesize essential psychological theories and principles, master various research methods and data analysis tools, employ empirical research strategies, and follow ethical principles of psychology in professional matters. Upon completing the program, master’s degree holders will possess the necessary skills to pursue careers in consulting organizations, government roles, and most industries.

Interested learners must submit an online application, including their official undergraduate transcripts. Incoming students may transfer up to six graduate semester credits from previously earned graduate-level courses, provided they have a “B” or higher grade. Online I/O psychology master’s students pay $889 per credit. Competitive applicants for the master’s in organizational psychology online may be eligible to receive a limitless scholarship offered to five students per year.

Austin Peay State University

Located in Clarksville, Tennessee, Austin Peay is a public institution with approximately 10,000 students. Established in 1927, today’s school offers one of the best online master’s in industrial organizational psychology.

Master’s degree-seekers in this fully online program need to complete 34 credit hours for graduation. Required courses include personnel psychology, organizational psychology, leadership, organizational change, training and development, and performance management. Learners must also choose between taking a comprehensive exam or completing a traditional master’s thesis for graduation.

For admission, Austin Peay expects applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 or higher GPA. GRE scores are optional. Upon graduation, Austin Peay industrial psychology master’s students typically pursue work in the government or military, private and public businesses, nonprofit institutions, or consulting firms. Out-of-state learners pay $727 per credit, while in-state students pay $450.

Advantages of Earning an Online I/O Psychology Master’s

In comparison to earning a graduate degree in-person, earning your master’s in organizational psychology online comes with a variety of great benefits and advantages. Online learning isn’t a universal fit for everyone, but here are some great benefits to keep in mind as you look into hybrid or fully remote master’s programs.

  1. Flexibility

    Online industrial and organizational psychology master’s students often enjoy the high level of scheduling flexibility that comes with remote programs. Fully online learners in these programs typically have no on-campus obligations, which means that you’ll save time and money by avoiding commutes to campus. Similarly, hybrid learners will be making fewer trips to campus since they’ll have a mix of in-person and online classes. Many remote programs offer asynchronous learning formats, allowing some diligent students to progress through a program more quickly than traditional in-person or synchronous coursework. Some full-time students can complete their master’s degree in less than two years when taking advantage of self-paced or accelerated programs.

  2. Career Advancement

    A master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology can position you for higher-level management or leadership roles in the field. Whether you are interested in working as an HR consultant, talent manager coordinator, human resources administrator, or change management specialist, these top positions are typically reserved for professionals with a master’s degree or higher.

  3. Earning Potential

    By earning a master’s in organizational psychology online, you’ll also be a more competitive candidate for more lucrative positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most I/O professionals work in two industries: scientific research and developmental services or management, scientific and technical consulting services. These professionals earn an annual mean wage of $162,590 or $96,000, respectively. Without a master’s in organizational psychology online, many of the top careers in these industries are out of reach for professionals today.

What You’ll Learn in Online Industrial Organizational Psychology Programs

Since you’ll primarily focus on understanding human behavior in occupational settings and organizations, much of your required and elective coursework for the online master’s in organizational psychology online degree will be built upon foundational psychological principles. Psychology departments ensure that their I/O curricula strike a good balance between business- and human resources-driven coursework, along with research-centered training. Employee training and assessment tools and how to utilize relevant data also play a large role in I/O master’s degree programs. Since many organizational psychologists work with diverse groups of people, you can also expect to receive training in culturally focused psychological principles.

Popular Courses

  • Cross-Cultural Psychology

    To make progressive interventions, utilize the skill of personnel in a company, and improve organizational effectiveness, this cross-cultural study helps master’s students understand the cultural differences that should ultimately affect business decisions and research strategies. Faculty help students use previously learned skills with a cross-cultural perspective.

  • Psychological Research Design

    This class helps students in online I/O psychology master’s programs to develop more effective research plans and related skills. Students focus on advancing their use of the scientific method, creating literature reviews, carrying out lab and field studies, and more. The class focuses specifically on those skills commonly used in industrial organizational psychology.

  • Training and Development in the Workforce

    Learners in this course explore adult learning theories, focusing on how industrial organizational psychology can help professionals identify needs within a company’s training procedure, develop more effective learning modules, and ultimately evaluate the advantages of changes they’ve made to their processes. This class also offers insight into a broad range of performance management strategies.

  • Leadership and Psychology

    Using a series of case studies and real-world scenarios, faculty teaching this class present a combination of theory and practice to help students address contemporary issues in the workplace. Students focus on understanding how psychological practices can help organizations offer better leadership and how these leadership practices should grow and change over time.

  • Organizational Consultation

    Industrial organizational psychologists need a diverse skill set to deliver successful organizational consultations. This course helps learners understand the myriad tools and strategies to carry out consultation efforts in the field. The faculty will focus on the standards of ethical practice and the significance of professional responsibility in consulting scenarios.

Specialization Options

While many online master’s programs in organizational psychology today are part of a larger psychology program, some colleges and universities offer this degree with several specialization options. The role of I/O psychology professionals covers a lot of ground, and taking coursework in a concentration area can help you further refine your skills to be a more competitive candidate when you hit the job market. Here’s some specialization areas to consider as you search for online I/O psychology master’s programs that fit your personal and academic needs.

  • General Practice I/O Psychology

    A concentration in general practice in industrial organizational will help you develop a wide range of skills to help organizations and business teams become more productive. You’ll explore statistical and research skills to help create better employee training and development programs, improve leadership and administrative actions, and increase the effectiveness of human resource management.

  • Consulting

    With more coursework that focuses on the psychology of organizational behavior, I/O theory, and research design and methods, a concentration in consulting psychology can prepare you for careers in professional development consulting roles. This specialization will give you robust training in handling different types of issues related to human behavior in the workplace, improving employee motivation and attitudes, and more.

  • Evidence-Based Coaching

    If you are interested in becoming a board-certified coach and consultant for organizational change, a specialization in evidence-based coaching might be a great fit for you. While completing courses that focus on psychology, organizational behavior, and consulting for organizational change, you may be able to acquire the necessary prerequisite hours to sit for the Board-Certified Coach (BCC) exam.

  • Human Resource Management

    A concentration in human resource management helps you understand how I/O psychology, business, and human resources concepts can improve hiring and talent selection, development and training, and help inform strategies for organizational change. Required coursework in this concentration includes ethical considerations in human resource strategy, quantitative reasoning, and human resource talent management.

  • International Business

    A concentration in international business can help you better understand today’s increasingly culturally diverse business landscape. You’ll develop your skills in performance management, worker motivation, organizational development, and talent assessment to meet the demands of global organizations today. Courses in this concentration include strategic planning and management in the global context, dynamics of international organizations, and personnel psychology.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Programs

Colleges and universities today often hold regional or national institutional accreditation. This credential is awarded by a recognized accrediting body and indicates that your school will offer you a valuable education and credentials that will help you advance your career. Regional accreditation is the gold standard and often held by those schools that offer a wide range of degrees in traditional academic areas. National accreditation is often for trade and vocational schools that are career-oriented and help learners prepare for specific areas of employment upon graduation. For an online master’s in organizational psychology, your school should possess regional accreditation. You can search for accredited programs using the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) site.

Some online I/O psychology master’s programs online will also pursue programmatic accreditation in addition to its institutional accreditation. For this online master’s, you’ll probably find that the psychology department that houses the industrial organizational psychology degree will possess programmatic accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). While it is not a deal-breaker if your prospective school does not have APA accreditation, it’s a good sign that the program goes above and beyond to provide quality education and earn this distinction.

What You Can Do With a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology

With the specialized training you receive in a master’s in organizational psychology online program, you’ll be able to pursue a wide variety of top-tier jobs in human resources, marketing and sales, organizational development, and more. Many of these roles also have room for growth after gaining some work experience, whether in human resources or employee-centered positions or a research or consulting role. Depending on your interests, training, and work experience, I/O master’s degree-holders can find themselves working for commercial enterprises, labor unions, manufacturing companies, healthcare facilities, and beyond. Here’s a look at five valuable careers for organizational psychologists.

Human Resource Manager

These professionals ultimately run the administrative side of an organization, from recruiting and hiring new staff to coordinate plans with top executives. A master’s degree in organizational psychology online will help you develop the best skills for getting the most out of a company’s workforce, improving employee benefits programs, handling staffing issues, and meeting stakeholders’ goals.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$68,300 $116,720 $205,720

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Training and Development Manager

These managers help organizations develop the most effective leadership training options to better hone employees’ talent in the workplace. They often lead professional development workshops or work one-on-one with employees to improve their performance. An online I/O psychology master’s program will ensure that you can apply principles and theories from psychology to improve company performance and better utilize employee skills across the board.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$64,720 $113,350 $196,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Behavioral Analyst

In business settings, these research-focused professionals evaluate behavioral and social issues among employees. Their goal is to improve company performance by developing ways to remove negative behavioral patterns. A master’s in organizational psychology online will give you the necessary research design and psychological knowledge to assess employer behavior, develop solutions, and carry out effective redirective strategies.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$45,380 $80,370 $132,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Postsecondary Teacher

Colleges and universities that offer master’s degrees in industrial organizational psychology need experienced and effective teachers to prepare students for the workforce. As a college-level teacher, you may be able to take on a dual appointment conducting psychological research while teaching students. Many schools expect teachers in these positions to possess some relevant work experience before working with students. Higher education institutions typically require a master’s degree or higher.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$40,480 $79,540 $174,960

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Management Analyst

Sometimes referred to as management consultants, management analysts with training in industrial organizational psychology work to improve an organization’s efficiency by employing specialized research and training techniques. They may use their psychology training and qualitative and quantitative data to recommend new procedures or organizational changes. Hyperlink to the salary source here, along with the data of the salary data. See the example below for proper formatting.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$49,700 $85,260 $154,310

Source: PayScale, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Organizational Psychology

Earning a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology online can be a serious financial undertaking for many students. You must know what kinds of costs you might face and which financial aid options might be available to you. Many colleges and universities today offer some type of funding opportunities for their graduate-level students. These often come in the form of a monthly stipend for living expenses in addition to tuition assistance. These opportunities vary among schools, so you must check out prospective departments to ensure you have your bases covered and don’t miss out on any funding. If you currently have a job, you can check with your employer about any employer tuition assistance opportunities they may offer. Additionally, be sure to search far and wide for external scholarships and apply to as many as you can, provided you’ll be a competitive candidate.

What Your Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Colorado State University

38

$770

$29,260

Southern New Hampshire University

36

$627

$22,572

Grand Canyon University

36

$550

$19,800

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Organizational Psychology Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in organizational psychology?

Colleges and universities today require prospective students to submit a variety of materials for consideration. Bear in mind that these requirements will vary among schools. You can expect to have to submit your official transcripts, which should reflect a competitive GPA for online I/O psychology master’s programs, which usually means a 3.0 or higher GPA. Additionally, while some schools are waiving the GRE requirement that’s traditionally a part of their application because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll still want to double-check if your prospective school requires you to submit scores.

  • Official transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Competitive GPA (often 3.0 or higher)
  • Application fee
  • An updated resume or CV
  • GRE score (may be optional)
  • Letters of recommendation (may be optional)

How long will it take to finish my master’s in organizational psychology online?

Most online I/O psychology master’s programs require master’s degree-seekers to complete 35-40 credit hours for graduation. For full-time students, that usually equates to about two years or less of study. Part-time learners can expect to spend three years or more finishing their program. If your school requires you to complete an elaborate final project or a traditional master’s thesis, this may extend your time in school. Final projects and theses are quite individualized efforts and the time it takes to complete them depends on the student, their chosen topic, and how much research it will take to finish the final requirement. The FAQ section for online master’s in organizational psychology at New York University helps illustrate this question and beyond.

Can I earn a master’s in organizational psychology 100% online, or do I need to visit campus?

The majority of programs offering a master’s in organizational psychology will offer most, if not all, of its courses online. You’ll also likely have no on-campus commitments outside of coursework. If your school requires learners to complete a traditional master’s thesis and requires an oral thesis defense as part of that process, you’ll need to find out whether or not you can satisfy that requirement remotely.