We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Types of Industrial-Organizational Psychology Degree Programs?

By Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Industrial-organizational psychology degree programs typically are offered in two different orientations: practitioner-oriented and scientific-practitioner. The practitioner-oriented type of degree is usually a terminal master’s degree that prepares students to work as an industrial-organizational psychologist, while a scientific-practitioner model at the level prepares students to continue study at the doctorate level. At the doctorate level of study, students can almost always expect the rigors of the scientific-practitioner model. Within the field of industrial-organizational psychology, the difference in the type of degree qualification usually determines the type of career the professional will have. Those graduating with the terminal master’s degree will usually work for a company applying their qualifications to human resources and management issues, while those continuing on to the doctorate level usually end up working in academics or conducting research.

Students considering industrial-organizational psychology degree programs upon completion of a bachelor’s degree need to first understand what type of career they want. Working as an applied industrial-organizational psychologist often means working closely with human resource departments and managers on key issues related to employee or organizational performance. As such, a terminal degree at the master’s level is usually practitioner-oriented, and the student will focus studies on key theoretical areas of industrial-organizational psychology as applied in an organizational environment. Research training is often included; however, the training is rarely broad in scope at this level, often only consisting of one or two research courses. Graduates therefore are qualified as applied organizational psychologists upon graduation and often do not consider further study at the doctorate level.

Candidates that enter study into industrial-organizational psychology degree programs at the master’s level, which are not terminal in nature, but instead offer students a good balance between research and applied theory, are usually prepared to continue study at the doctorate level. While these students may also enter the workforce upon graduation, they are not prepared to take on research jobs, but also will not have all the theoretical knowledge usually required to take on some applied positions. Never-the-less, while prepared to study at the doctorates level, some students may take junior positions in the field and work their way into a psychologist or research assistant position with experience. Most often, however, these students will continue study for a PhD in the field of study.

Graduate study in industrial-organizational psychology at the PhD level is heavily grounded in research theory and application, including statistical methods and analysis. Preparation for leading research projects both in organizations as well as academic settings is the primary focus. Completion of PhD requirements will also give candidates the required qualifications to teach within or lead industrial-organizational psychology degree programs, which are often limited to the graduate level as undergraduate study usually focuses on general psychology.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.