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Master’s Degree Programs in Business Psychology Overview

Majors Overview December 30, 2015

Those with an interest in business and human resource work should look into master’s degree programs in business psychology, also referred to as industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology. This article talks about these programs and their educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Business Psychology

Interdisciplinary Master of Arts (M.A.) in Industrial and Organizational Psychology programs are devised to train enrollees in human behavior, whereby program graduates are imparted an understanding how workers impact the effectiveness of an organization. They will engage in research projects and study research methodology. Some schools may require a thesis.

Schools accommodate working professionals by offering many business psychology programs in non-traditional and traditional formats. Students take 2-3 years to complete most programs though the type of program can determine its duration.

Educational Requirements

Apart from basic entrance requirements, such as completion of the GRE and submission of baccalaureate grade point averages, some schools offering graduate programs in business psychology insist on prior professional work experience. Prospective students will benefit from completing courses in statistics and psychology. Applicants must complete such prerequisite classes early in the program if they have not already completed them in their undergraduate years.

Coursework

Coursework in human behavior and business comprises industrial and organizational psychology programs. Topic areas covered include hiring, organizational behavior, and training. Core coursework may cover subject areas such as:

•Performance appraisal
•Personnel training
•Personnel selection
•Organizational development
•Organizational behavior
•Statistics
•Strategic change
•Organizational leadership
•Research methods

Job and Wage Outlook

Business psychology graduates enjoy various career options as they can seek employment with various types of organizations. All business-related industries hire these professionals. They may opt for specific roles such as systems consultant, human resource specialist, training coach or manager. Program graduates need not earn a doctoral degree in order to pursue careers as I-O psychologists.

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, I-O psychologists are expected to see a 35% job growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This growth is due to the burgeoning demand for psychologists among business organizations who seek assistance from these professionals with workplace environment and employee retention concerns. In 2014, I-O psychologists brought in an average annual wage of $90,070 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Many schools offer doctoral programs in I-O psychology. However, only some schools devise master’s programs with an emphasis on research in the field aimed at specifically preparing students for doctoral studies. Some schools offer programs with a focus on the practical applications of I-O psychology. Enrolling in a master’s degree program with a research emphasis would benefit those planning to earn a doctorate.

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