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Change in industries and businesses worldwide not only concerns practices, economics, and technology, but also workplace culture as well.
Over the past few decades, significant progress has been made in the field of industrial and organizational psychology. These developments have led to a deeper understanding and increased knowledge of the dynamics within organizations and businesses.
As a result, organizations and businesses have been reshaped to better accommodate and consider the various layers of human behavior and interactions in the workplace. This has allowed for a greater understanding of the natural complexities that exist within organizations and how to effectively manage them.
Organizational Psychology is seen to be an area of growth in the field, projected at 12.5%, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is thus an interesting field to enter for professionals and practitioners, amid the overall perception of the importance of a deepened understanding of human dynamics as one of the keys to organizational success. Entry typically requires a terminal degree, such as a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program.
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As Industrial and Organizational Psychology is a specialized application/sub-field of psychology, many universities typically assume their prospective students to already be actively working in the field, and design their programs with this in mind, i.e. in a convenient format that lets students work their coursework into their normal schedules with minimal disruption.
This list features doctorate degrees, specifically Ph.D. degrees, which expect students to generate original research in the form of a dissertation.
We selected these Industrial Organizational Psychology online doctorate programs based on these characteristics:
- Delivers their programs in a primarily online or hybrid format, in a manner that retains the overall structure and rigor of their on-campus program equivalents,
- Features a comprehensive curriculum that develops students’ skills in scientific research while covering both theoretical and practical aspects that are crucial in their future practice in the field,
- Feature residencies, internships, or other experiential opportunities that give students valuable hands-on experience,
- Taught by faculty who hold terminal degrees in Organizational Psychology, with extensive experience as expert scholar-practitioners in the field,
- Features competitive tuition rates, as well as a host of other options that let students manage their educational costs, like financial aid,
- Holds the proper institutional and/or programmatic accreditation credentials that serve as assurance of educational quality.
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Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Degree Programs
The University of Arizona
The University of Arizona, through its Global Campus and the Forbes School of Business & Technology, offers its affordable online Ph.D. in Organizational Development and Leadership, which is aimed at preparing students’ skills in assessing organizations, anticipating the impact of strategic initiatives, and applying theories and models of human and organizational behavior.
The 4-year, 62-credit hour program is designed to develop students’ strength in research, as well as their critical thinking. The program’s coursework includes applications in a variety of subjects including employee motivation, ethics, performance management, organizational change, executive coaching, and more. Students take one course at a time, and courses are at accelerated 6 to 9-week lengths.
Students are also required to complete 3 non-credit In-Residence workshops. As this is a Ph.D., the program concludes with students successfully completing and defending a dissertation in their chosen area of focus, carried out using either quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research.
The University of Arizona also holds the Quality Matters Online Teaching Support certification, which ensures the quality of delivery of its online programs.
National University offers an online Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology, designed to prepare students to effectively apply psychological theories and principles to social and organizational contexts and critical issues in industry and business, work with various research methods, and be effective communicators.
The program is 100% online and consists of 20 courses for a total of 60 credit hours. The program spans a minimum of 4 years to complete. Aside from specialization courses, the program also covers tests & measurements, quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as scholarly writing. Specialization courses cover dynamics of leadership, employee motivation & engagement, structure and procedures of organizational development, and more.
The program concludes with a dissertation which students are expected to gradually complete before moving on to the final data gathering and completion phase. National University’s Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology is designed to align with the guidelines for education and training prescribed by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).
Liberty University offers an online Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, aimed at addressing the needs of solving a range of workplace problems and improving productivity. The program focuses on developing students’ professional and research skills in this regard, as they apply principles of individual, group, and organizational behavior in addressing workplace challenges.
The program contains a total of 60 credit hours and includes courses in test construction & validation, organizational behavior, organizational consulting & organizational change, personnel and performance management, as well as key theories and contemporary topics in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
The program concludes with the completion & defense of dissertation research, which takes up around 18 credits of the program’s total. Liberty is a Christian institution, and as such, adopts the unique practice of integrating Biblical principles into the understanding of human behavior.
Adler University offers an online Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, a program designed to prepare students to harness scientific research in deepening our understanding of human motivation and maximizing human potential in the context of organizations. The program is aimed at bringing expertise in the fields of psychology, leadership, decision-making, research, and statistics to workplace needs.
The fully online program contains a total of 90 credit hours since it is designed as a post-bachelor’s degree program. Those who have a closely related MA or MS can also opt to transfer in up to 36 credit hours, letting them complete the program within 3 years. The program includes courses in key areas of Industrial/Organizational Psychology and advanced research.
Students are required to complete 12 credit hours for their dissertation, on top of 24 credits worth of electives. A unique feature of this online doctorate program is the required 200-hour Social Justice Practicum, which serves to give students valuable real-world experience in a chosen civic-minded category and community outreach site. The program serves as good preparation for a number of fields and careers including consulting, academia, nonprofits, corporate enterprises, and the public sector.
Keiser University’s Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology is designed to develop students’ skills in leveraging psychological principles, understanding of human behavior, and academic research methods to aid organizations and companies in achieving greater success.
The program emphasizes preparing students for independent research and scholarship, as well as hard skills related to maximizing teams’ motivation, performance, and mental health.
The program consists of 20 courses, adding up to a total of 60 credit hours. Courses are in 8-week long terms, with the program having a completion timeline of 3 to 4 years. The program adopts the scholar-practitioner model, which encourages the integration of research with real-world application and classroom experience.
The program is offered throughout Keiser University’s various campuses, as well as online. Students can enter the program through the traditional post-master’s entry point, as well as a Baccalaureate entry, which adds an additional 18 graduate-level credits.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Ph.D. in Business Psychology, with an Industrial and Organizational Track. The program is designed with a multidisciplinary approach and blends business and organizational psychology with the aim of addressing the needs of individuals, groups, and organizations.
Students can enter the program either through a post-bachelor’s or a post-master’s entry point. The post-bachelor’s entry point sees students working toward a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology for the first 2 years of their study.
Students entering through the post-baccalaureate option will have to complete two 300-credit hour internships (for those enrolled in the on-campus program) or an Applied Research Project (for those enrolled online) which is approved and supervised by faculty.
The program also requires students to compete in two short residency stints which last around three and a half days each, as well as completing a comprehensive exam. The comprehensive competency exam is completed during their second residency.
Students are expected to complete a dissertation in a specific area of business psychology, taking the form of empirical research using either quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods.
Alliant International University
Alliant International University offers their Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology through their Los Angeles Campus or Online. The program, which follows a scholar-practitioner approach, is designed to develop students’ skills in conducting organizational diagnosis and intervention, helping organizational leaders make informed, evidence-based decisions, and generating new knowledge.
The program is structured to be a post-master’s degree program and contains a total of 66 credit hours. The program lasts 3 years and also has a part-time option. Students who have previous relevant doctoral courses can transfer in up to 25% of the program (16 credit hours). The online format includes asynchronous courses, with two yearly start dates (January or August).
The program also prepares students to take a consultation psychology approach in addressing the needs of individuals, teams, and organizations, and assessing and designing organizational interventions. Students who qualify can also avail of an internship option, with the program concluding with a dissertation.
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers a Qualitative Ph.D. in General Psychology with an emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. The program focuses on conducting qualitative research, designed to deepen the understanding of human behavior and dynamics.
The qualitative program requires students to create relevant data-gathering tools such as sampling plans, design, and field test their research tools, as well as collect and analyze data using a systematic approach. The program contains a total of 60 credit hours, with 8-week long courses.
The program also includes two or three hands-on doctoral residencies, with additional requirements for those who are planning to eventually pursue eventual licensure. The program’s curriculum covers the key areas of leadership psychology, social and organizational principles of business and industry, research methods (probability, descriptive and inferential analyses of data), personnel and human resources management, and more.
Walden University’s online PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology is designed to prepare students with the skills crucial in exploring the relationships between human behavior and organizational success, as they become industrial and organizational psychologists who are first and foremost catalysts and agents for crucial organizational change.
The program’s coursework includes key theories and principles and scientific research methods, with the curriculum designed to align with the standards and guidelines set by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Students can choose among 6 specialization areas which include:
- Consulting Psychology,
- Evidence-Based Coaching,
- General Practice,
- Human Resource Management,
- International Business,
- or a Self-Designed specialization option.
The Evidence-based Coaching specialization also serves to prepare students to sit for the Board-Certified Coach Examination.
Students who have a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology can automatically waive 6 of the program’s courses, letting them finish sooner. The program also includes 4 academic residencies, placed at 4 strategic points throughout the program. These residencies are designed to let students ease into the program and prepare them to complete the key steps of their dissertation.
Capella University offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis on Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The program is designed to develop students’ skills in advancing team performance and creating and maximizing efficiency in organizations, through the application of theory and research, ethical principles and professional psychology standards.
Students are also prepared to evaluate, administer, and interpret workplace-appropriate psychological tests, and effectively communicate psychological concepts.
The program is offered online, containing a total of 87 credit hours. This is divided into 7 core courses, 9 specialization courses, 3 doctoral project development seminars, and a comprehensive exam. Some of the program’s courses include:
- consultation psychology,
- work analysis and selection,
- psychology of motivation and performance,
- leadership psychology,
- as well as key principles of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
The program also includes a number of intensive in-person residencies that are designed to enhance the learning of online courses.
Students can transfer in up to 25 transfer credits of previous courses. On top of various scholarships, employer discounts and military discounts that students can access, Capella University also features GuidedPath, their own approach to a structured learning format that features faculty guidance and the support of an active peer community. Being a Ph.D., the program also concludes with the completion of a dissertation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some typical admission requirements for doctorates in Organizational Psychology?
Like any master’s and doctorate level degree, applicants must pass a specific GPA threshold, typically a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Potential applicants may also be required to have professional letters of recommendation and/or proof of relevant work in the field, as part of their filtering.
Also, since most of these programs are designed as PhDs (which involve a huge amount of scholarly writing, research, and analysis, students are also typically expected to submit a writing sample.
Does a Doctorate in Organizational Psychology specifically require students to have a Psychology-related master’s degree?
Some universities do require at least a nationally accredited master’s degree related to psychology, but in other cases, this can be more of an unwritten rule. While many programs do not specifically require students to have a background in psychology, these programs typically contain advanced-level coursework that requires students to have a good grasp of the fundamentals and key concepts of psychology, specifically in the field of organizational behavior, as well as strong research skills.
Most of the time, these needs may not be adequately covered by pre-requisite/foundational courses that may sometimes be required in other fields to get students coming from other fields up to speed, and they may end up struggling even more. Some universities, however, can be more considerate and may opt to assess individual students coming from outside the field for specific suitability to the doctoral degree.
How much time does a Doctorate in Organizational Psychology take to complete? How many credit hours are typically required?
These doctorate degrees vary in terms of their structure, but overall, they typically contain a total of 60 credit hours, including the required dissertation. Some degree programs also have accelerated formats that let students finish faster, but most of these industrial and organizational psychology doctorate programs take a minimum of 3 years to complete on full-time enrollment.
These are only minimum years, however, and it’s best to talk directly to particular universities regarding their maximum limits to complete the program, which is inevitably the more important figure to be mindful of for most students.
Does the typical online doctoral program in organizational psychology still have on-campus/residency requirements?
Generally, yes. The bulk of coursework in these industrial organizational psychology programs is delivered online, but they also typically have a set number of residency requirements that students are required to complete. These are scheduled in advance, however, and have regular lengths, so students can plan well ahead for their travel to campus.
- Industrial and Organizational Psychology is a specialized application of the field of psychology. Industrial and Organizational Psychologists’ work focuses on human behavior and dynamics and organizational culture as they pertain to workplace, business, organizational, or industry contexts and settings.
- Most doctorate degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology are designed as Ph.D. degrees, which place emphasis on research methods & skills and expect students to generate new and original knowledge and demonstrate virtual and global leadership in this field.
- As the doctorate programs featured in this list are all PhDs, students are expected to generate original research i.e. dissertations as part of their final requirements, as opposed to applied projects that are typical in professional doctorate programs.