Online Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology

Online masters degrees in organizational psychology provide individuals with an understanding of the behaviors of those working in businesses to maximize productivity and well-being within the workplace. They develop research and measurement skills to solve practical workplace issues and learn how to apply the principles of psychology to human resources and management systems in place today. Students can pursue this degree from a number of different backgrounds, though it is best suited for those possessing a bachelor’s degree in psychology or human resources management.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Applied Organizational Psychology

Program curriculum vary from school to school, though most place an emphasis on evaluating personnel and strategy through quantitative research methods. During the degree, students will learn skills and strategies for recruiting, selecting and retaining high quality employees, identifying training and development needs, addressing issues in anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, and assessing employee performance. An online masters degree program in organizational psychology usually takes two to three years to complete, depending on the requirements, student’s prior education, and whether it’s part time or full time. Some courses you may take during that time include:

  • Applied Industrial Psychology
  • Organizational Development
  • Succession Planning
  • Leadership Development
  • Competency Modeling and Criterion Development

Typically, online masters degree programs in organizational psychology require students to complete a final thesis or capstone project. The student might display a mastery of the subject matter covered through a written paper, or by demonstrating a way that a certain principle or method learned in the program can be applied in the workplace. The latter option is usually only available to individuals already working as a professional in the field while pursuing the degree. In addition, most programs will require students who are not currently employed in a related field to participate in some form of work study program.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Organizational Psychology

An online degree in organizational psychology can be applied to a number of different fields, though the most applicable position is as an industrial-organizational psychologist. Industrial-organizational psychologists typically work for large businesses, corporations, and organizations and apply psychological principles to improve the quality of the employees’ work lives. They focus on improving things like productivity, morale, and manager/employee relations. Some may even be called upon to develop company policy and organizational development. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for organizational psychologists is extremely competitive, with only 1,230 people working in the field as of May 2011. Management, scientific, and technical services companies employed the highest number of industrial psychologists, with 580 employees. The BLS also states that any working psychologists will need at least a master’s degree in the subject and must be licensed in the state where they work.

Human resource management is another popular career path for online organizational psychology master’s degree graduates. Human resources managers plan, direct, and implement all administrative functions of an organization. They oversee everything from recruiting, including interviewing and hiring employees, to resolving conflicts, and even participate in strategic planning with top executives. According to the BLS, there were more than 71,000 jobs for human resources managers in 2010. The majority of these jobs were divided equally among government, privately held companies and businesses, and manufacturing. The BLS also reported that the field is expected to increase by 13% through the year 2020. Because the growth of human resources management positions is heavily dependent on the global economy and the performance of individual companies, the BLS predicts that competition for positions within the field will be strong. Since a bachelor’s degree combined with the appropriate amount of experience is usually enough to gain entry to the field, earning an online masters degree in organizational psychology can be a great way to set oneself apart from other applicants.


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