What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s Organizational Psychology Program?

Earning an online master’s in organizational psychology enables graduates to work within companies and groups to positively impact human capital and workplace performance. As a degree and career that is deeply rooted in psychological principal and paradigms, a master’s in organizational psychology enables work optimization through research, assessments and collaboration. Online degrees offer students flexibility in their studies at tuition rates that often are lower than typical college settings. Students can continue to work in their current careers while completing their academics. Additionally, they won’t have to worry about relocating just to work on a degree. Students can decide between many online learning opportunities to earn their master’s, choosing between set class times and asynchronous studies, as well as various program lengths, on-campus intensives, internship requirements and earned accreditations.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology

Graduate-level studies in organizational psychology fall into three main degree types. First, some organizations offer an M.A. or M.S. in psychology or applied psychology with a concentration in organizational psychology. Those programs offer a broader scale of core courses with organizational psychology studies available through electives. Second, other schools offer an M.S. in industrial-organizational psychology, which offers a slightly different scope than does the third option, an M.A. or M.S. in organizational psychology. Some programs require two-week campus intensives for in-person learning; many require an internship or practicum. Programs also differ in whether they offer a capstone course, final examination or thesis to complete the degree. Typically, students who anticipate furthering their education in the future with a PhD complete the thesis track.

During your master’s coursework in organizational psychology, you may encounter some of the following classes:

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology?

The length of time students will spend earning an online master’s in organizational psychology varies depending on the type of program and degree, any specializations or concentrations sought and the number of credits a student is able to take each term. For instance, an M.S. in psychology with an organizational psychology concentration may require between 38 and 51 credit hours, including practicums and internships. Those degrees may be completed in two to four years of study. Alternatively, an M.A. in industrial and organizational psychology may require between 30 and 36 hours to complete, often possible in under two years. Overall, most available classes for an online master’s in organizational psychology can be accomplished in about two years.

Other factors can increase or decrease the time necessary to finish this master’s degree. Students who have begun their graduate education in the past may be able to transfer credits related to psychology, particularly if they are similar to elective courses in the new degree program. Most schools limit the portion of credits that may transfer. That number varies by college but could enable a student to save between one and two semesters. On the other hand, students who choose to pursue more than one concentration or specialization may find their schooling extended by several semesters. Schools often enforce a timeframe in which all degree requirements are fulfilled, typically five years from the time the student began their studies.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Prepares For

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Degrees

Accreditations serve as a way for students to discern what external organizations have evaluated a master’s in organizational psychology program or the school offering the degree. Schools and programs may attain accreditation through regional and national organizations or through entities specific to the field of psychology. Prospective students should research which accreditations a school has earned. A few of the regional and national bodies that offer accreditation include:

Additionally, schools may hold accreditations through the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Organizational Psychology Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

A majority of jobs in the organizational psychology field require at least a master’s degree, with some organizations and job types requiring a doctoral degree. Very few positions are available for professionals with only a bachelor’s degree in psychology, most often entry-level jobs. With a master’s, organizational psychologists can effectively fill many professional roles, including those offered by global organizations or state and federal governments. Under the broad umbrella of psychology, organizational psychologists can expect to find above-average job growth.

Expected Salary

Industrial-organizational psychology is a very niche field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports only 920 in the profession as of 2017. That represents just 0.5 percent of the overall 166,600-strong psychology field that includes all specializations and degree levels. While the general psychology umbrella that includes all types of professionals earns a median salary of $77,030, median wages in industrial-organizational psychology total $87,100, while mean wages equal $102,530 per year.

A master’s in organizational psychology plus earned certifications opens many doors for career options. The highest number of organizational psychologists or consultants work for organizations designated as scientific research and development services, followed closely by management and consulting firms. The remaining three positions in the top five list of workplace types include government, schools and company management.

The table below ranks those industries in which an organizational psychologist may practice from highest to lowest mean annual wages.

Career Opportunities

Although a slim field, graduates with a master’s in organizational psychology have many employment opportunities in a variety of settings.

Professional Organizations

Organizational psychology is an ever-evolving field. Through membership in industry organizations, first as a student and later as a credentialed professional, organizational psychologists can stay up-to-date in emerging trends and the latest in thought leadership. Additional, membership in professional organizations enables access to continuing education programming, networking opportunities and financial aid for either schooling or external research, as well as professional certifications and guidance for post-doctoral licensure for students who continue their education beyond the master’s level.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology: SIOP touts “science for a smarter workplace” and provides learning and networking opportunities both to students in organizational psychology programs and degreed graduates. The organization provides webinars, continuing education, research grants and guidance for licensure for candidates who have finished their PhDs in the field.

American Psychological Association: The largest organization dedicated to psychology in the United States, the American Psychological Association provides those who practice in the many areas of psychology with robust resources, learning opportunities, professional development and networking through annual and regional events.

Society for Human Resource Management: The Society for Human Resource Management is the largest organization of its kind for members and nonmembers alike who work within human resources. SHRM provides a constant stream of legislative updates, best practices, continuing education opportunities, certifications and direct interactions.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Degree

The price tag associated with master’s level studies in organizational psychology varies widely between institutions, but most colleges and universities that offer this degree do so with more affordable fees than traditional graduate programs. Students interested in a degree in organizational psychology can find financial aid through a variety of sources. These include government grants and loans, private loans and scholarships, and workplace tuition matching programs. Prospective students may also apply for in-house scholarships from schools and discounts for individuals who are associated with the armed forces, as well as many other designations and defining characteristics such as single parenthood, disabilities or minority and other underserved demographic communities.

Begin the financial aid process by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This same application must be submitted each calendar year you work on your degree. Upon completion, you’ll learn about various federal programs available to help finance your degree in organizational psychology



Interested in a degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.