By OPD Staff
Why earn a master’s in organizational psychology online? While many people think of psychology as the study of mental health, there are many sub-disciplines of the field that extend far beyond these traditional boundaries. For example, industrial-organizational (IO) psychology focuses on human behavior in professional settings. Practically speaking, IO psychologists use their expertise to improve experiences for employees, employers, and customers. In doing so, they play a crucial role in the way businesses operate, from how they design products to how they train employees.
After completing your master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online, you could work in research, human resources, consulting, healthcare, recruitment…the list goes on. Of course, the first step is actually to earn your degree! Web-based programs make this a surprisingly convenient process. You can study on your own time at your own pace, furthering your education without compromising your work or family obligations.
We created this ranking to highlight the best master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online. To start, we collected a list of eligible online graduate programs* in industrial and/or organizational psychology, as well as related programs in business and leadership psychology. Next, we collected information on each qualifying college or university and ranked them in four categories: affordability, accessibility, experiential learning, and relevance of coursework.
The affordability metric is exactly what it sounds like. Using data available on College Navigator (a government-run education database), we calculated each school’s average annual price based on its resident and non-resident tuition rates and fees.
In rating accessibility, we considered what percentage of the program’s classes are available online (not including practicums). The vast majority of the programs in this ranking are 100% online.
Experiential learning refers to any opportunities that the program provides for hands-on education. This could come in the form of a final capstone/seminar class, research project, thesis, portfolio, or field experience (e.g., practicum or internship). For this ranking, we awarded each school points based on the number of hands-on experiences they incorporate into the curriculum. We also awarded extra points to programs that provide different options to allow students to select their preferences (e.g., the student can choose between writing a thesis paper or completing a practicum).
Lastly, we assessed coursework by looking at what percentage of the program’s classes focus specifically on organizational psychology. This category primarily serves to differentiate between comprehensive online IO psychology master’s programs and more general degrees that only offer IO as a concentration (in which case only 3-5 courses may be directly related to industrial and organizational applications).
After collecting all the data, we assigned points to each program in each category, tallied the totals, and calculated the final scores. The highest possible score was 21 points. Scroll down to find out more about the best online master’s degrees in industrial and organizational psychology!
*Note that we did not consider private for-profit institutions in this ranking, although there are plenty of for-profit colleges that offer graduate programs in organizational psychology.
Ranking Top 25 Master’s in Organizational Psychology Online
#25. University of Maryland – College Park, MD
Online MPS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
UMD has one of the best online IO psychology master’s programs for residents of the DC metro area. Due to its hybrid format, the program will require you to spend a significant amount of time on the College Park campus for evening classes. If that arrangement fits your schedule, you’ll want to give this program a look for its SIOP-approved coursework, evidence-based curriculum, and focus on career mentorship. You’ll even work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to identify your goals and plan your courses. And thanks to video conferencing, you won’t need to make extra trips to campus when you want to chat with your advisor.
Average Tuition & Fees: $23,145/yr
#24. University of Idaho – Moscow, ID
Online Master of Science in Psychology: Human Factors
Online learners at the University of Idaho pay the same tuition as in-state residents, making the school’s M.S. in Psychology: Human Factors one of the most affordable online organizational psychology graduate programs in the country. Another selling point is its broad-based curriculum, which touches on everything from ergonomics and biometrics to human-computer interactions. The unique skills you’ll gain in these fields will prepare you for work in product design, organizational safety, and other similar careers. And while the degree is available 100% online, local students may want to visit campus anyway for a chance to conduct research in the school’s high-tech labs.
Average Tuition & Fees: $8,530/yr
#23. Southern New Hampshire University – Hooksett, NH
Online MS in Psychology: Industrial-Organizational Psychology
If you’re hoping to put a top online master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology to work in a business environment, give Southern New Hampshire University a look. The school’s M.S. program will enable you to help organizations solve human resources-related problems, like how to enhance employee satisfaction and improve training outcomes. Plus, the curriculum comes in a convenient format for working adults and busy parents. In fact, by taking just two courses (all of which are asynchronous) per term, you’ll be out the door with your diploma in a mere 15 months.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,810/yr
#22. Missouri University of Science and Technology – Rolla, MO
Online Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Students who’d like their online learning to replicate an in-person experience will appreciate Missouri S&T’s M.S. program. As you earn this top master’s in organizational psychology online, you’ll attend a blend of asynchronous courses and live video classes that let you interact with classmates and instructors. This program also offers a thesis track for students hoping to pursue a career in research: If you choose this option, you’ll earn course credit (in place of electives) for conducting your research and writing a paper on your findings. And no matter which track you choose, you’ll enjoy a carefully designed curriculum that will help you understand how human factors influence the development of modern technologies.
Average Tuition & Fees: $19,697/yr
#21. Golden Gate University-San Francisco – San Francisco, CA
Online Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Washington Monthly rates Golden Gate University as one of the best schools for online learners, and it’s easy to see why. The school leverages affordability, a fully online curriculum, and top-notch internship opportunities to stand out on this master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online ranking. Also, required courses like “Executive Coaching Theory & Practice” and “Leadership & the Development of Managerial Excellence” indicate that the program puts a strong emphasis on leadership skills. To top it all off, you can provide focus to your studies by choosing electives in topics such as conflict resolution, training, and technology applications.
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,635/yr
#20. Austin Peay State University – Clarksville, TN
Online Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology (MSIO)
At Austin Peay State University, faculty members leverage technology to its fullest potential to provide online learners with a rich and varied experience. You’ll participate in discussion boards, visit virtual classrooms, and watch pre-recorded classes as you earn this top master’s in organizational psychology online. The SIOP-led curriculum includes a solid foundation in both research methodology and the foundations of the field, and core coursework addresses crucial topics like performance management and HR issues. You can also choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option; the latter incorporates a comprehensive exam and an internship to give you hands-on practice.
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,763/yr
#19. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
Online Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership
Penn State offers one of the best leadership-focused options on this online master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology ranking. Required courses such as “Full Range Leadership Development” and “Leadership for Creativity and Innovation” give you a taste of the curriculum, and you can further refine your studies with electives such as “Conflict Resolution and Negotiation.” The degree culminates in a supervised capstone experience and has no requirements for in-person work, whether on campus or as an internship. However, it does offer access to Psi Chi, a fully online psychology club that lets students and graduates network with professionals around the globe.
Average Tuition & Fees: $28,063/yr
#18. National Louis University – Chicago, IL
Online M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology (I/O Psychology)
The interdisciplinary I/O program at National Louis University represents a strong choice if you want a broadly applicable degree. By incorporating classes in myriad topics within the field, the school ensures that you can use what you learn in nearly any setting. Whether you want to jump right into the workforce after graduation or pursue further study, this curriculum can support your individual goals. As you earn this top master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online, you’ll also benefit from 100% web-based coursework, flexible scheduling, and a cohort model that encourages interactive learning.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,352/yr
#17. University of the Incarnate Word – San Antonio, TX
Online Master of Arts in Administration: Industrial & Organizational Psychology
The San Antonio-based University of the Incarnate Word has devised a unique schedule that lets you accelerate your path to degree completion. By completing six eight-week terms per year, you can earn your master’s in just 10 to 12 months (with full-time study)! This approach reflects one of the program’s primary goals, which is to help adult learners succeed. Another goal of this affordable online IO psychology master’s program is to help train students for work in human resources. To this end, the curriculum focuses on topics related to hiring, training, and employee satisfaction.
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,505/yr
#16. Sacred Heart University – Fairfield, CT
Online Master’s in Applied Psychology (MSAP): Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Flexibility is the name of the game at Sacred Heart, helping it shine on this online organizational psychology graduate program ranking. You’ll begin your degree by choosing from one of six start dates, then end it by selecting your capstone activity. Depending on your career and educational goals, you might choose to complete an immersion experience, a thesis, or an exam/essay. Keep in mind that Sacred Heart intends this to be a part-time degree, where students enroll in a single class per session and graduate in about two years. Also, the lack of a clinical component means that the program doesn’t lead to any certifications.
Average Tuition & Fees: $20,745/yr
#15. Franklin University – Columbus, OH
Online MS in Business Psychology
Franklin University leverages the latest research in both business and psychology to create its affordable online master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology. The result is a degree with a decidedly neuroscientific bent. For example, the “Behavioral Economics and Neurofinance” class offers a deep-dive into how “brain structures limit or reinforce economic and financial decision making.” But Franklin doesn’t sacrifice practicality in the pursuit of theory. In fact, the curriculum includes a bevy of business-focused classes – such as “Psychology of Marketing” and “Individual and Organizational Intelligence” – that will leave you well-prepared to apply what you’ve learned to the real world.
Average Tuition & Fees: $15,528/yr
#14. Azusa Pacific University – Azusa, CA
Online M.A. in Psychology: Industrial and Organizational Psychology
The WSCUC-accredited M.A. at Azusa Pacific has plenty to recommend it. At this evangelical Christian school, you’ll find a top online organizational psychology graduate program for comprehensive learning and hands-on training. To the first point, APU offers classes that cover both research/theoretical and more practical subjects. As for the second, the curriculum incorporates a required practicum and supervised field experience. Given these requirements, this I/O degree is perhaps best suited for students who are more interested in psychology than business, although skills you gain will give you the versatility to work in many fields.
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,444/yr
#13. CUNY Graduate School and University Center – New York, NY
Online Master of Arts in Psychology: Industrial/Organizational
If you’re looking for one of the top master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online, you can start your search by signing up for one of CUNY’s online information sessions. The school runs these hour-long gatherings on various days and times, so you’re bound to find something that fits your schedule. If you decide to enroll, you’ll find a culturally sensitive degree with research at its center. Students take courses in ethics and learn to be mindful of cultural differences and diversity as they delve into data collection, hypothesis testing, and more. You’ll also learn to work both individually and as part of a group so you’ll be prepared for any workplace environment.
Average Tuition & Fees: $15,343/yr
#12. Northcentral University – San Diego, CA
Online Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Northcentral describes its M.S. as one of the best master’s in organizational psychology online programs for learning “the science of work.” Although this 20-month degree doesn’t lead to licensure, it nonetheless provides opportunities for hands-on training. Specifically, the curriculum includes a non-clinical internship that will give you a chance to put your communication skills to work. The SIOP-influenced curriculum also touches on diversity issues, ethics, and critical thinking skills, and it includes a strong research component. What’s more, Northcentral has one of the more accessible options on this list thanks to weekly start dates.
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,781/yr
#11. University of Hartford – West Hartford, CT
Online Master of Science in Organizational Psychology
The affordable online IO psychology master’s program at the University of Hartford has plenty going for it. First of all, its average tuition of $12,570 makes this an eminently affordable degree. Second of all, its convenient schedule includes 100% asynchronous classes so you can learn on your own time. And last but not least, the program’s flexible curriculum enables you to customize a course of study that matches your career goals. The curriculum even offers ample coursework in research and experiment design, making this an especially attractive option if you want to go on to earn your Ph.D. after graduation.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,570/yr
#10. Eastern Kentucky University – Richmond, KY
Online Master’s Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Eastern Kentucky University’s “practitioner-focused” M.S. degree lets you put your skills to work in both the field (for business experience) and the lab (for research experience). It’s also a great choice if you’d like to work as a consultant, thanks to a focus on professional development and problem-solving skills. EKU also offers one of the best online master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology for service members. In fact, the veteran- and military-friendly school has a dedicated office for these students, and it offers plenty of perks: priority registration, book vouchers, and veteran-specific orientation courses, to name a few.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,720/yr
#9. Touro University Worldwide – Los Alamitos, CA
Online Master’s Degree in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology
Touro sets itself apart on this master’s in industrial-organizational psychology online ranking with three specialized concentrations: Coaching and Consulting, Human Resource Management, and Occupational Health Psychology. Each adds a unique spin to your studies and will help you stand out from the competition during your job hunt. More broadly, the M.A. curriculum shows you how to help businesses improve morale, productivity, and teamwork among their employees. The degree also includes a required capstone course, during which you’ll complete a project that explores a real-world situation in the I/O field.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,000/yr
#8. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Los Angeles, CA
Online M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
The Chicago School offers a top online organizational psychology graduate program for students who seek a structured, practical education. This non-licensure degree begins by introducing you to foundational topics in the field as you complete a series of hands-on experiences. In addition to providing an invaluable look into your future career, these experiences also serve another purpose: to ready you for an applied research project. This assignment brings together principles in the I/O field with a focus on consulting and lets you apply them to a “workplace situation.” The result of this rigorous course of study? You’ll graduate ready to work in myriad fields, from consulting to HR to the nonprofit world.
Average Tuition & Fees: $26,179/yr
#7. William James College – Newton, MA
Online Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology (MAOP)
Given that William James College solely grants psychology degrees, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it offers one of the best online IO psychology master’s programs in the country. This accelerated degree was designed with working professionals in mind, and takes just 11 months to complete with full-time study. Throughout the curriculum, a problem-based approach sharpens your critical thinking skills. You’ll also brush up on presentation and communication skills to help you interact with your employer professionally and sensitively. You can even opt for a Talent Management concentration. This specialization requires just three courses and is a great choice if HR work is in your future.
Average Tuition & Fees: $39,390/yr
#6. Kansas State University – Manhattan, KS
Online Industrial and Organizational Psychology Master’s Degree
Before deciding to pursue K-State’s best master’s in organizational psychology online, keep in mind that you’ll need to travel to campus twice during the two-year program. These two-week campus sessions take place during the summer and are packed full of lectures, hands-on work, presentations, seminars, and more. This terminal degree also incorporates a few other learning methods, including guided research and a practicum. The practicum includes both research work and job analysis and culminates in a final report where you’ll explore an HR issue — all guided by a dedicated instructor.
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,611/yr
#5. Colorado State University-Fort Collins – Fort Collins, CO
Online Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (M.A.I.O.P.)
CSU has developed one of the nation’s top online organizational psychology graduate program by focusing on one topic above all else: “data-driven decision-making.” The program is intended for practitioners and includes a heavy focus on quantitative analysis, research methodology, and the application of data to your work. Throughout the program, you’ll frequently collaborate with classmates on projects that mirror real-world situations. For example, you might perform an organizational diagnosis to determine how a company is undermining itself and preventing employees from succeeding. Whether you hope to work as an internal or external consultant, Colorado State’s M.A.I.O.P. equips you to find work in your field of choice.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,704/yr
#4. Johnson & Wales University – Providence, RI
Online MS in Organizational Psychology Degree
As the newest program in this master’s in industrial organizational psychology online ranking, Johnson & Wales’ M.S. degree boasts a curriculum that’s based on the latest trends in the industry. Courses introduce you to leadership theory, team dynamics, organizational theory, and more, and you can narrow your studies by choosing career-specific electives (think “Talent Development” or “Coaching and Consultation Skills”). This accelerated program also accommodates both full- and part-time study, with the ability to earn your degree in less than two years. And with average tuition hovering around $12,000, it’s a budget option that doesn’t sacrifice quality.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,498/yr
#3. Carlos Albizu University – Miami, FL
Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Industrial & Organizational Psychology
At the Miami-based Albizu University, you’ll find a faculty of industry professionals dedicated to helping you meet your own career goals. As such, they’ll help you choose enrichment opportunities that make sense, whether it’s developing an applied research project or seeking opportunities for experiential learning. Another standout element of this top online master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology is its commitment to diversity: In fact, one of the program’s goals is to help graduates become “culturally sensitive” so that they can work in myriad communities in a respectful manner.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,786/yr
#2. Bellevue University – Bellevue, NE
Online Master of Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology Degree
Experiential learning characterizes Bellevue’s approach to its top master’s in organizational psychology online. The school’s practitioner model means you’ll tackle projects based on real-world situations, complete applied assessments, and network with industry experts. Although there’s no formal concentration option, faculty will encourage you to select an area of interest that will guide both your practicum and your applied research work. And when it comes to convenience, Bellevue eliminates the stress of course registration. Once you enroll in the program, your advisor will assign you a cohort and a set schedule of classes, and you’ll never have to worry about registration ever again!
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,335/yr
#1. Salem State University – Salem, MA
Online Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
With an average tuition of just $8,000, Salem State University offers one of the most affordable online IO psychology master’s programs in the country. But price isn’t all that helps this degree stand out. It’s also extremely flexible, letting you incorporate a mix of online, hybrid, and on-campus classes to meet your schedule. You’ll also get to pick seven of your own courses as electives, granting you control over your degree path as you bring focus to your studies. Plus, you’ll get to complete a 300-hour internship with a company that reflects your interests in human resources or organizational development issues.
Average Tuition & Fees: $8,001/yr
You’ve reached the end of our list of top master’s in industrial organizational psychology online.
IPEDS Data Center
APA: Industrial and Organizational Psychology
APA: Human Factors Psychology