Industrial organizational psychology integrates traditional psychological methods and human resource management. The insights provided by this field help managers and supervisors make better choices when selecting candidates, assessing work and developing talent within an organization. By improving motivation, industrial organizational psychologists also increase productivity. This exciting field is growing quickly as organizations avidly snatch up qualified graduates.
Most industrial organizational psychology Ph.D. programs take four years to complete. Frequently, students take a full load of coursework during the first three years. At the doctoral level, nearly all of the coursework is taken in the major field of study, although most programs allow students to explore other fields with electives. With the field’s strong focus on research, a doctoral dissertation is universally required prior to graduation.
Why a Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people who stopped their education with a master’s degree typically earned 20% less in 2012 than their doctoral degree holding counterparts; furthermore, doctorate holders generally also had a 40% better chance of finding employment in 2012, compared to those with a bachelor’s degree. A recent report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce noted people with master’s degrees earn $400,000 less over their lifetimes than those with doctoral degrees. If you have the time and the will, a Ph.D. is a good investment.
Getting Into an Industrial Organizational Psychology Ph.D. Program
Although requirements vary, most Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology programs share prerequisites. The most common include as follows:
- Master’s degree from an accredited psychology program or demonstrated knowledge in several areas of core competencies
- Sufficient undergraduate and master’s program grade point average (GPA) – typically, 3.0 or higher
- Sufficient score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Letter of intent or a statement of goals
- Prerequisite course work in certain program areas such as psychology, statistics, and human resource management
Inside an Industrial Organizational Psychology Ph.D. Program
Programs offering a doctorate in industrial organizational psychology are universally rigorous. Students should expect to spend three years taking challenging courses that cover various aspects of industrial and organizational psychology. Legal and ethical issues in psychology are also covered. Organizational development, diversity in the workplace, and career development are frequently required courses, and many students also take specialized courses in leadership, motivation, talent management, assessment, work-life issues, and career development.
Doctoral students should anticipate thorough and detailed instruction on both qualitative and quantitative research methods and design. Statistical modeling, factor analysis, linear models, and survey research will certainly be covered. While completing their coursework, students design an independent research project that will form the basis of their doctoral dissertation. After they successfully defend their research design in a dissertation proposal, students complete their doctoral dissertation. Typically, the last task of the doctoral student prior to graduation is a dissertation defense.
What’s Next for Industrial Organizational Psychology Ph.D. Holders?
With a Ph.D. in hand, industrial organizational psychologists can take top positions in a number of fields. Those who take positions as compensation and benefits managers expect to earn median annual salaries in excess of $90,000. Others who work or consult in workplace training and development can likewise expect to earn nearly $90,000 annually. Both of these fields are expected to grow through 2020.
Some with a doctorate in industrial organizational psychology take positions as human resources managers, earning nearly $100,000 annually. Others decide to put their hard-earned research skills to use by conducting research and and publishing the results in scholarly journals. Those who choose to go into academia and teach or conduct research at the university level can expect to earn roughly $60,000.