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Psychology Career Path: Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Potential Career Paths

  • Corporate Vice-President, Director, Manager, Staff Member of Organizational Development (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • President, Vice-President, Director, Consultant in private research or consulting companies (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Professor of Psychology, Management, Organizational Behavior, or Industrial Relations (M.S., Ph.D.)

Potential Graduate Programs

  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology (M.S., Ph.D.)

Action Steps for Students

To become more involved in industrial-organizational psychology or learn about the profession, here is what students can do:

  1. Visit Division 14 of APA, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, to learn more about careers in this field
  2. Obtain work in a relevant business setting.
  3. Complete coursework in industrial-organizational psychology.
  4. Schedule a meeting with an industrial-organizational psychologist to discuss the profession.

What is Industrial-Organizational Psychology?

The purpose of the Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychology career pathway is to provide students with a comprehensive background in psychology while insuring that students who want to become I-O psychologists complete the coursework necessary for graduate programs in I-O psychology.

I-O psychology is a branch of psychology concerned with the development and application of scientific principles in the workplace. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, I-O psychologists contribute to organizational success by improving the performance and well-being of the organization’s employees. More specifically, an I-O psychologist researches and identifies how individual and organizational behaviors and attitudes can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, and feedback systems.

An I-O psychologist may engage in a number of different activities including developing systems for hiring, motivating, training, and understanding people at work. Additionally, they may be involved in developing tests, promotion systems, and surveys, or engage in survey analysis, job analysis, and organizational design. The products and programs created by I-O psychologists can have a significant impact on the members of an organization and on the performance of the organization.

Many job opportunities exist for individuals with master’s degrees as well as doctorate degrees in I-O psychology. I-O psychologists are often teachers, researchers, consultants, or managers. To become an I-O psychologist, a student should attend a master’s or doctoral degree program in industrial-organizational psychology upon completion of his or her bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in industrial-organizational psychology should be sure to work with an adviser to develop an academic plan that is tailored to their interests. The plan should lead to the completion of coursework that is useful for admission to a graduate program in industrial-organizational psychology.

University and College Requirements

In addition to the suggestions for the child development career pathway, be sure to complete all other university and college requirements, including the foreign language requirement.

The center staff recommend beginning the foreign language requirement in the first year. NOTE: Students may begin with a class higher than 1110 depending on foreign language placement test results. It is possible to place out of the foreign language requirement. Therefore, it is recommended that students take the placement test for any foreign language completed in high school.

Required Courses in Psychology

The following courses are highly recommended for students planning on pursuing a graduate degree in degree in industrial-organization psychology:

  • PSY 2720 Psychology of Personality (3)
  • PSY 3110 Advanced Statistics (4)
  • PSY 3120 Tests & Measurement (3)
  • PSY 3330 Human Judgment & Decision Making (3)
  • PSY 3420 Adulthood & Aging (3)
  • PSY 3440 Psychology of Gender (3)
  • PSY 3510 Motivation (3)
  • PSY 3610 Industrial & Organizational Psychology (3)
  • PSY 3620 Advanced Organizational Psychology (3)
  • PSY 3630 Personnel Psychology (3)
  • PSY 3640 Occupational Health Psychology (3)

Additional Coursework

Below are additional courses outside of the Psychology Department that may be relevant to those interested in industrial-organizational psychology.

  • COMS 1030 Fundamentals in Public Speaking (3)
  • SOC 1000 Intro to Sociology (3)
  • SOC 3350 Economic Sociology (3)
  • SOC 4190 Group Processes (3)
  • SOC 4300 Sociology of Organization (3)
  • SOC 4330 Sociology of Work (3)
  • ECON 1000 Survey of Economics (3)
  • ECON 1030 Priniciples of Microeconomics (3)
  • ECON 3080 Behavioral Economics (3)
  • ECON 3320 Industrial Organization (3

Note: Be sure to check prerequisites for all coursework.

Business Minor

A business minor is not required for students who wish to enter human resources, but an understanding of business is desirable, especially for those students who expect to be employed in a business setting following completion of their degree. A total of 15 credit hours and a 2.0 GPA are required for the business minor. Note: Non-business majors are limited to 29 hours of coursework in the College of Business.

With the Ohio University Human Resources Certificate from the College of Business, you will learn how to work effectively on project teams, succeed in complex assignments, and meet strategic and operational objectives.

Human Resource Management

Whether or not students complete the business minor, they should consider coursework in management and human resource management, including any of the following courses:

  • MGT 2000 Intro to Management (3)
  • MGT 2590 Strategic Leadership (3)
  • MGT 2640 Intercultural Effectiveness (3)
  • MGT 3300 Human Resource Management (3)
  • MGT 3400 Organizational Behavior (3)
  • MGT 3500 Theories of Organizational Effectiveness (3)
  • MGT 4300 Managing Employee Relations (3)
  • MGT 4420 Gender Issues in Management (3)
  • MGT 4430 Managerial Decision Making (3)

Note: Be sure to check prerequisites for all coursework.

Fieldwork and Research in Psychology

It is highly recommended that students interested in child and developmental psychology participate in research in a psychology lab and engage in fieldwork in settings related to the student’s particular area of interest.