Best PhD Industrial Organizational Psychology: Students Before Profits

If you’re interested in psychology and looking to make a meaningful contribution in the workplace, consider industrial organizational psychology. I-O psychologists use their insight into human behavior to solve workplace challenges while improving productivity at all levels. This is a specialty field that involves using principles in psychology and research methods to improve worker quality of life, while also improving productivity and quality for organizations. These psychology professionals work with an organization’s leadership to help guide policies, employee screening and training, and the development of the organization. I-O psychologists apply theories developed through research in this growing field. 

Methodology for our Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs Ranking

This list of 20 best industrial organizational psychology PhD programs was derived from an initial pool of 32 IO PhD programs. All programs listed in our industrial organizational psychology graduate programs ranking are accredited by nationally recognized accreditation boards. Ranking of these top industrial organizational psychology graduate programs is based on in-state tuition costs, national recognition, program length, and unique program features. IO PhD programs tuition cost was derived from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator website. Profile information was acquired from individual school websites. Contact your program of interest directly for the most recent tuition, financial aid, and program information. Both online and on-campus top industrial organizational psychology graduate programs are listed. 

  1. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  2. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
  3. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
  5. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  6. Teachers College Columbia University, New York, NY
  7. Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  8. Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
  9. DePaul University, Chicago, IL
  10. University of Houston, Houston, TX
  11. University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  12. City University of New York (CUNY) The Graduate Center, New York, NY
  13. Wright State University, Dayton, OH
  14. Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  15. Northcentral University, LaJolla, CA
  16. Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO
  17. Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL
  18. University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
  19. Liberty University, Charlottesville, VA
  20. Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA

Ranking the Top Industrial Organizational Psychology PhD Programs 

20. Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA

In-State Tuition $5,416

Out-of-State Tuition $10,147

WEBSITE

This program, one of the best programs on our list of the top industrial organizational psychology graduate programs, promises to prepare graduates for success. Students have opportunities for application of knowledge through research and applied projects with faculty through LTU’s Applied Research Organizational Solutions (AROS) group. This robust program prepares a strong foundation in psychology, research methodology, and statistical analysis. Students typically complete this program in three to four years of full time study. This I-O psychology program works to graduate culturally competent professionals equipped to serve a diverse population. 

19. Liberty University, Lynchburg, VAA logo of California University-Bakersfield for our ranking of the top online colleges for military.

Tuition $7,935

WEBSITE

Liberty University’s online 60-credit PhD in psychology is offered as an industrial-organizational psychology specialization that guides students in their study of human behavior in organizations and the work environment. Students in this online PhD program study individual, group and organizational behavior and apply that knowledge to develop solutions for workplace problems. This program is designed for graduates to become researchers and psychologists who demonstrate both academic excellence and high ethical standards while assimilating biblical values into their practice. Graduates of this program are equipped to work in academia, consulting, and research in a variety of settings. Liberty’s mission is to equip professionals to model Christ-like compassion in the workplace and to better help people who are hurting. This is one of the top top industrial and organizational psychology graduate programs available. 

18. University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK

Tuition $23,580

WEBSITE

This PhD program in I-O psychology follows the scientist-practitioner model, incorporating theory, research, and practice that is directed at improving employee well being and organizational performance. This is among the top industrial and organizational psychology graduate programs. Students graduate prepared for a wide range of employment possibilities including work in government, industry, academia, consulting, and research. TU’s I-O psychology program’s mission is to prepare graduates with the skills and knowledge useful to organizations for successful selection, training, and engaging workers, enabling organizations to be successful in their mission. Students develop the critical thinking and communication skills needed to solve problems in the real world. This 90-credit program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, and must be completed within 6 years. Students may transfer up to 12 credits from previous graduate work. Graduates must successfully complete a 200-hour field experience and a dissertation. 

17. Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FLA logo of California University-Bakersfield for our ranking of the top online colleges for military.

Tuition $22,338

WEBSITE

Florida Tech’s PhD I-O psychology program boasts a unique team based research approach with applied learning experience gained through a 300-hour practicum experience. This program earned a feather in its cap when a study published by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) cited Florida’s Tech’s PhD I-O psychology program as having the “best program culture.” This program is also top-ranked for student satisfaction on the national level. With a scientist-practitioner curriculum and team-based coursework and research projects, Florida Tech’s I-O psychology program with its small class sizes and one-to-one mentoring may be what you’re looking for. PhD students in the I-O psychology program can expect to gain expertise through case study work, team research, and consultation with businesses. Graduates of this program are well prepared to work and carry out research in organizations with a focus on cross-cultural theory, research design, cultural competency and international business. 

16. Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO

Tuition $21,420

WEBSITE

Saint Louis University’s PhD program in Industrial-Organizational psychology promises to prepare professionals with the skills and knowledge to make an impact in their workplace. Coming in at #15 in our ranking of top industrial organizational psychology graduate programs, this is one of the top IO psychology PhD programs available. Students complete a minimum of 73 credits, professional training activities, and complete and defend a thesis and dissertation. SLU’s doctoral students gain skill in conducting research and apply psychology theory, models, and principles in an organization. Although not a graduation requirement, most students complete a short-term practicum or a minimum of a 1-year internship, taking advantage of the I-O psychology program’s wide network. As a result, it is possible to graduate with as much as 2-3 years of professional experience, making graduates attractive to possible employers. 

15. Northcentral University, LaJolla, CA

Tuition $16,983

WEBSITE

This online PhD-PSY in industrial organizational psychology is aligned with the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) education and training guidelines, and is designed to prepare students for success in leadership positions in government, industry, education and consulting. Students learn from doctoral prepared faculty to apply I-O psychology theory to real-life issues in industry and business. Graduates of this program will be well versed in small group theory, team processes, leadership and management dynamics, and structure and procedures in organizational development. Tests and measurements and results interpretation and how it applies to hiring employees, performance assessments, and training evaluation is addressed in this industrial organizational psychology PhD program. Graduates are prepared to take leadership positions in government, industry, consulting and educational settings. Most students complete this PhD program in about 4 years. 

14. Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

In-State Tuition $16,285

Out-of-State Tuition $35,274

WEBSITE

This full-time doctoral program in I-O psychology from Wayne State University promises to prepare students to develop researcher and practitioner skills through the scientist/practitioner model. With an intensive research focus, WSU students are afforded opportunities to interact with I-O psychologists working in industry and business in this metropolitan area. Students can gain valuable work and research experience because of the school’s location. Graduates of this PhD program in industrial organizational psychology will be prepared to be effective practitioners and researchers in a wide range of work settings. Through research, students contribute to the practical and theoretical knowledge base. Students can expect to learn through collaboration, discussion, coursework and other interactive opportunities. Graduates of this program have gone on to positions in business, industry, academia, government, and applied research and consulting firms.

13. Wright State University, Dayton, OH

In-State Tuition $14,298

Out-of-State Tuition $24,286

WEBSITE

Wright State University’s human factors and industrial/organizational psychology PhD program is a unique program where students gain understanding between the relationship of human factors and I-O psychology through interaction from both areas of study. Students gain expertise to identify how behaviors and attitudes can be enhanced through hiring practices, employee training programs, and employee feedback systems. Students learn to design effective organizational structures to help organizations succeed, and choose the right employee for the environment. With opportunities in the school’s geographic area for interdisciplinary collaboration with fields such as defense, medicine, engineering and more, students can find learning and work that will enhance their education and networking opportunities. A human factors and industrial organizational psychology PhD from Wright State prepares graduates for professional success to help improve employee motivation and performance, training and job satisfaction, whether they are targeting a career in business, research, teaching, government or industry. 

12. City University of New York (CUNY) The Graduate Center, New York, NY

In-State Tuition $9,930

Out-of-State Tuition $23,160

WEBSITE

CUNY’s PhD program in I-O psychology promises to prepare graduates for careers in academic, organizational, and consultation settings. This program follows both scientist and practitioner models, and emphasises students’ skills in research and analytics in addition to the core knowledge and skills in industrial organizational psychology. With a collaborative atmosphere where students and teachers work together to develop student knowledge, skills, and excellence in research, graduates of this robust program can expect to be well prepared for success in the workplace. This program provides training and mentoring, with six full-time I-O psychologists with broad expertise. Approximately 25 students are in residence, in addition to students completing their dissertations. 

11. University of Georgia, Athens, GA

In-State Tuition $8,878

Out-of-State Tuition $25,186

WEBSITE

University of Georgia’s industrial organizational psychology PhD program is offered to develop, research, and apply psychology principles to improve quality of life in the workplace. This scientist-practitioner model program teaches students to improve function within organizations through teaching, research, and service. UGA’s I-O psychology program promotes an inviting and nurturing community for students and faculty with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, seeking to promote understanding of the importance of diversity within organizations throughout the curriculum. With three doctoral programs within the Department of Psychology, students may take classes from the other areas to prepare for careers in academia, government, industry and consulting. Students carry out research and internships to network and gain professional experience. They also complete a doctoral dissertation. 

10. University of Houston, Houston, TX

In-State Tuition $8,539

Out-of-State Tuition $17,681

WEBSITE

The University of Houston’s PhD program in industrial organizational psychology emphasises both theory and practical application, providing a firm foundation in I-O psychology, statistics, research methodology and general psychology principles. Students have the opportunity to pursue courses in personnel selection, worker motivation, performance assessments, personnel training, worker satisfaction, interviewing, productivity, occupational safety and health, worker compensation, and legal issues. UH graduate students also have the opportunity to utilize the computing resources for advanced topics in quantitative methods. This program typically takes 4-5 years to complete all courses, research, internship, and dissertation work. 

9. DePaul University, Chicago, IL

Tuition $19,370

WEBSITE

DePaul University’s industrial-organizational psychology program is a MA/PhD combined program that only admits students aiming to complete their PhD. This program can be completed in four years, with classes offered during the day. This program provides a solid foundation in psychological theory and essential training in methodology. I-O psychology graduate students collaborate with faculty to develop and carry out new research to contribute to this growing field. Students study motivation, leadership, training, performance appraisal, organizational theory, and consultation to name a few of the topics in this program. Students in this program may exercise their option to add an additional specialization with courses in communication, management, marketing or women’s and gender studies. 

8. Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

In-State Tuition $6,775

Out-of-State Tuition $19,048

WEBSITE

Texas A&M’s robust industrial organizational psychology PhD programs graduate professionals to be scientists and practitioners. Students gain a strong preparation in basic and applied research as well as I-O psychology theory needed for academic and applied work. This program seeks to continue in its excellent reputation through the conducting of basic and applied research, and emphasizes faculty and student collaboration through continuous research projects. This program’s major emphasis is on academic research-based training, but in addition to academic positions, graduates are qualified for work in research, government agencies, corporations, and consulting organizations. Graduates of this vigorous program can expect a solid foundation in areas such as testing, personnel selection, criterion development, training, performance assessment, organizational commitment, occupational health, workplace diversity, and group processes, to name a few. 

7. Hofstra University Hempstead, NY

Tuition $27,172

WEBSITE

Hofstra University’s industrial organizational psychology graduate program is based on a scientist-practitioner model, which enables students to be exposed to the application of research methodology, factual content, and theory to real-life problems within organizations. With 96 required credits, students graduate from this PhD in I-O psychology prepared with the ability to apply scientific methods to solve problems and succeed in their chosen career. Students in this industrial organizational psychology PhD program complete a required supervised internship and a doctoral dissertation. Graduates of this robust program can expect to have expertise in the application of research methods and statistics, and in the disciplines related to behavior within organizations. Students gain valuable experience conducting relevant research in laboratory and field settings. Hofstra University’s location affords students vibrant internship opportunities in the New York City area. This is among the top graduate schools for industrial organizational psychology on our industrial organizational psychology graduate programs ranking. 

6. Teachers College Columbia University, New York, NY

Tuition $42,432

WEBSITE

This PhD program in industrial-organizational psychology from nationally ranked Columbia University’s Teachers College is staffed by a national award-winning and recognized faculty. With an emphasis on both quantitative and qualitative research methods, this top I-O psychology PhD program is a full-time program that, on average, takes 6-7 years of dedicated study. Students may receive up to 15 credits for previous graduate work. Students in this program are required to serve as teaching assistants during their time at Teachers College. This rigorous program is for students seeking knowledge and skills in the science and application of psychology in organization and social scenarios. Teachers College Columbia University promises an environment that prepares scientist-practitioners ready for diverse responsibilities, including work in research, business and service organizations. 

5. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

In-State Tuition $17,580

Out-of-State Tuition $27,204

WEBSITE

University of Minnesota’s nationally ranked and highly reputable program in I-O psychology is designed to give PhD students a wide breadth of training in the areas of expertise of their psychology department faculty. Students and graduates of this robust program are known to be highly engaged in the I-O psychology profession and community and are recognized contributors to this growing field. Specialization options are available in areas such as personnel psychology, training and development, individual assessment, group and organizational processes, data science, research methods, work motivation and more. The I-O seminar is a series of classes that is designed to build deep expertise in the topics of your choosing, and develop professional identification within the field and associations and friendships with students and faculty. In addition to traditional coursework, students are immersed in research immediately with the first year research project. Students also attend monthly meetings of the local I-O psychology professional organization and have the opportunity to complete summer internships.

4. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

In-State Tuition $14,064

Out-of-State Tuition $29,140

WEBSITE

This Doctor of Philosophy from Georgia Institute of Technology is a degree in psychology with a concentration in industrial organizational psychology. It is a research-focused program. Students can expect to graduate with knowledge, skills and experience that are developed through an individualized program that includes seminars, laboratory and field research projects, elective classes, and I-O psychology training, which includes working within local organizations. Specialized coursework and research opportunities include cognitive and brain science, cognitive aging psychology, engineering psychology, industrial organizational psychology, and quantitative psychology. Each research area includes a firm foundation in general experimental psychology for this specialization. Students complete a doctoral thesis reporting on their individual independent research, which advances the psychological science in this important discipline.

3. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

In-State Tuition $8,350

Out-of-State Tuition $19,048

WEBSITE

Students in the University of South Florida’s industrial organizational psychology PhD program can expect a rigorous full-time residential program that provides students with important research skills and knowledge in quantitative methodology. Students complete research, coursework and experiences to to prepare students for academic and research positions in industrial and governmental work environments. This nationally ranked I-O psychology program emphasizes research experience and skills as foundational for both academic and applied career paths; it is among the top industrial organizational psychology graduate programs on our IO psychology program rankings. USF accepts approximately 30 students to this program, and students have the option to take courses in other departments in order to broaden their education to include minor requirements. Internships are available to be pursued locally or in other locations, as well as teaching experience. This program also offers a concentration in Occupational Health Psychology (OHP), which is completed within the structure of the I-O psychology program. 

2. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH

In-State Tuition $8,017

Out-of-State Tuition $14,009

WEBSITE

This nationally ranked I-O psychology graduate program from Bowling Green State University promises to prepare graduates to contribute to this important field. Students develop skills and knowledge through classes, research, and applied projects. BGSU’s doctoral students can expect to be well-rounded scientist-practitioners through the study of psychological theories and principles, research, and internships. Applied experience is gained through projects with local businesses, and many take summer- or year-long internships to gain further experience. With faculty engaged as active researchers in a wide range of I-O -psychology topics, students are encouraged to engage in research during their time as BGSU graduate students. Some students have presented their research at industry conferences and have had their research published in industry publications. BGSU’s I-O psychology program boasts a strong collaboration and cooperative culture, an extensive alumni network as a long-standing program, and a fast student progress rate with students completing their PhD in about 4.5 years. This is one of the top graduate schools for industrial organizational psychology, coming in high on the list in our IO psychology program rankings.

1. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

In-State Tuition $18,858

Out-of-State Tuition $37,056

WEBSITE

This top-ranked industrial organizational psychology program from Michigan State University attracts students from around the globe. This is among the best industrial organizational psychology graduate programs; it comes in at #1 on our IO psychology graduate programs ranking. This I-O psychology program enrolls between 15-20 full-time students. Students entering this program with a bachelor’s degree can expect to complete this PhD within five years. Students complete their master’s degree in the first 2 years of the program, and spend the remaining years completing their comprehensive exam, completing an internship and dissertation. Students’ interest determines their actual program, enabling flexibility to study areas where they would like to develop their expertise. While traditional I-O psychology areas are studied in depth, students may wish to delve into areas such as measurement, educational psychology, cognitive psychology, social and ecological psychology, counseling, labor relations, and communication, to name a few. Although MSU’s program focuses on research training for academic positions, more than half of their program graduates go on to work in applied I-O psychology within organizations. 

FAQ’S 

What is industrial organizational psychology?

The challenging field of industrial organizational psychology, also known as I-O psychology, is the scientific study of the workplace. Psychology methods are applied to issues relevant to businesses and other organizations that employ people. I-O psychology is applied to employee management, coaching, assessment, employee selection and training, organizational development, performance, and work-life balance. 

What are important aspects to look at in a PhD program in I-O psychology? 

Looking at the best industrial organizational psychology graduate programs can be daunting because of the major investment in time and money, but knowing what is important to you is a good place to start. Then there are a few other things to check out. When looking at programs in industrial organizational psychology, confirm that the program and institution are truly accredited. When a program is accredited, it gives students assurance of a quality program that is respected in the workplace. Accreditation impacts eligibility for federal financial aid and credit transferability. Of course, the cost of the program is always a big consideration, with in-state and out-of-state tuition to consider, as well as financial aid from the institution. The specifics of the program, such as field experience requirements, courses required, and the time to complete the program should also be considered carefully. Finding an IO psychology graduate programs ranking can be helpful when searching for top IO psychology PhD programs that suit your needs. 

How long does it take to earn a PhD in I-O psychology?

Industrial organizational psychology PhD programs typically require between 60 and 69 credits. Full-time students can expect to graduate in three to seven years. PhD programs in I-O psychology are not typically offered as an accelerated program. These demanding PhD programs typically have a specific amount of time that they must be completed in, so if you are completing this degree on a part-time basis, consult your program to map out your academic program to ensure you graduate within the time-frame required. 

Are online degree programs less expensive than brick-and-mortar programs?

Some programs offer special rates for online degree programs that are typically the equivalent of in-state tuition; however, many do not. You may find some programs offer discounted tuition rates to students in the military, international students, or a flat rate for online programs. Check with your program of interest to learn the specifics of the school’s tuition policy. 

Is industrial organizational psychology a growing field? 

Industrial organizational psychology is growing much faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With an anticipated growth rate of greater than 13% over the next 10 years, this field is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing fields of psychology between 2020-2030. 

How much money can someone with a PhD in industrial organizational psychology expect to earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an annual mean wage for an I-O psychologist in May 2020 was $112,690. The lowest 10% of earners earned $57,440, while the top 10% of wage earners made $192,800. Check out bls.gov to find more information on earnings and job outlook for this growing profession.

What are common character traits of people in the field of I-O psychology?

I-O psychologists typically deal with a variety of areas in psychology. Social psychology, experimental psychology, business, and statistics are just a few areas that the I-O psychologist deals with regularly. People in this exciting field often enjoy the practical application of psychological research to improve the workplace. 

What kinds of workplaces do industrial organizational psychologists find employment in?

I-O psychologists can expect to find work opportunities in a wide range of settings, including manufacturing plants, health care systems, education systems, labor unions, private agencies, and government agencies. I-O psychologists also work as consultants to companies needing their services. 

What are common things an industrial organizational psychologist can expect to do on the job? 

Professionals in this challenging field are often called upon to conduct psychological research and apply it within the workplace, train employees, work with HR on problem solving, increase business efficiency, help in company transitions, provide consultation on ergonomics to maximize performance, and enhance employee and employer quality of life, among other things. The I-O psychologist can expect to carry out the practical application of research in the workplace. 

What are the organizations that serve the industrial organizational psychology field? 

There are multiple professional organizations serving I-O psychologists professionals, with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) being the most prominent. This active organization keeps members current through their publications, as well as providing information on internships and job opportunities. I-O psychologists also get professional support through the American Psychological Association (APA). Professionals in this field may also find the Emotional Intelligence Consortium, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Society of Psychologists in Management, and Society for Human Resource Management helpful. 

What can I do with a PhD in industrial organizational psychology? 

If you’re wondering what you can do with a PhD in industrial organizational psychology, check out this article entitled “What Can You Do with a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology?” to learn more about career possibilities in this exciting and growing field. 

By Carol Dolan BS RN BSN CDCES

June 2021

Carol graduated with her BS in Nutrition from Montclair State University and her BSN in Nursing from Rowan University. She is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) currently working with adults and children living with diabetes in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

Related:

Free Colleges

Free College Courses

Largest Nonprofit Online Universities

Best Online Graduate Schools

Top Scholarships for Online Students

Affordable Nonprofit Online Colleges

This concludes our ranking of the top industrial organizational psychology PhD programs.