Providing insight into motivation and productivity, industrial organizational psychology applies psychological theory to the workplace. Those with expertise in the field help managers and supervisors choose better employees, assess their work, and develop their talents. With a deeper understanding of factors that motivate individuals, organizations that incorporate psychological principles into their human resource management see significant increases in productivity. Graduates in industrial organizational psychology find work quickly as demand for their expertise continues to grow.
Frequently, people who join industrial organizational psychology graduate programs are professionals who want to improve their leadership skills and move into positions of even greater responsibility. The typical master’s in industrial organizational psychology degree takes at least two years to complete. Students should expect to take a full range of applied psychology courses, as well as participate in a practicum. Many programs may require a final project or thesis prior to graduation.
Why a Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those with a master’s degree generally earned 20% more in 2012 than counterparts with only a bachelor’s degree. Likewise, those with a master’s degree were also more likely to be employed, enduring only 3.5% unemployment, compared with the national average of 6.8%. Furthermore, the median weekly earnings of those with master’s degrees were more than 20% higher than the earnings of people with bachelor’s degrees. In fact, a recent study prepared by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce demonstrated that people with master’s degrees will have lifetime earnings nearly $400,000 greater than their colleagues with bachelor’s degrees.
Getting Into an Industrial Organizational Psychology Master’s Program
Graduate degree prerequisites vary; however, most industrial organizational psychology master’s programs require the following:
- Graduation from an accredited undergraduate program, preferably in psychology or a related field
- Sufficient undergraduate grade point average (GPA) – typically at least 3.0
- Sufficient Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score
Inside an Industrial Organizational Psychology Master’s Degree Program
With a typical industrial organizational psychology degree program, students should expect to take several courses that focus specifically on organizational psychology and development. Most programs also include instruction on workforce training and industrial psychology. Generally, two courses on research methods, including both quantitative and qualitative methods, are required. With its emphasis on employee assessment, separate courses in measurement theory and outcomes measurement design are also usually required.
In addition to at least four semesters of classes, the typical industrial psychology master’s program will also require a practicum; this hands-on setting offers invaluable experience for students by giving them a chance to apply what they have learned in a supervised setting. Many programs allow students to graduate after completing the practicum and a final project; however, some of the best online master’s degree programs also require students to present and defend a master’s thesis.
What’s Next for Industrial Organizational Psychology Master’s Degree Holders?
Professionals who graduate with a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology find work in human resources, organizational training and development, instructional coordination, and recruitment and benefit offices. Those who work as training and development managers should expect a median salary of nearly $90,000; others who take positions in human resource management earn a median salary of nearly $100,000 annually, according to data provided by the BLS.
Others choose to pursue a Ph.D.; according to a recent study published by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, those with doctoral degrees in the field of industrial organizational psychology typically earn $400,000 more more than those with master’s degrees during the course of their lifetime careers. Ph.D. programs in this field typically last three years. With the terminal degree, industrial organizational psychologists have even more options, including conducting and publishing their unique research in scholarly journals and teaching at the university level.