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Industrial Organizational
Psychology Specialization

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Complete your studies on your own time.

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Start your first course when it’s convenient for you.

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Finish your PhD-PSY in just 20 courses.

Online Ph.D. Industrial Organizational Psychology

In the PhD-PSY in Industrial Organizational Psychology, you will learn from professors who all hold doctoral degrees to apply psychological theories to critical issues in the fields of business and industry. You’ll become adept at small group theory and team processes, dynamics of leadership and management, and the structure and procedures of organizational development.

Why Earn Your Industrial Organizational Psychology Ph.D. with National University?

The application of tests and measurements and the interpretation of their results as applied to employee selection, performance appraisals, and training evaluations will also be addressed. This specialization is aligned with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) guidelines for education and training and will prepare you to assume leadership positions in industry, government, consulting, and education.

Note on Licensure: Note on Licensure: NU’s psychology programs are not licensure programs, and do not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology or counseling professional. Students in the PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program may choose a non-clinical internship. At this time, internships in North Carolina for the PhD in Psychology specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology are not permitted.


Industry Alignment

This specialization is aligned with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) guidelines for education and training.

Unmatched Flexibility

NU offers weekly course starts, no scheduled lecture hours, no group assignments, weekly assignments, and the ability to schedule courses around your personal and professional obligations.

100% Doctoral Faculty

No matter the degree level you pursue, you can rest assured that you will be mentored by doctors in your field of study.

One-to-One Engagement

You won’t have to fight for facetime as one of many within a classroom. At NU, you’ll have the opportunity to interact one-to-one with your professor, receiving personalized mentoring.

Course Details


Credit Hours : 60

Courses: 20

Estimated Time to Complete: 48 months

*Credit hours and courses reflect new students meeting credit requirements and utilizing no transfer credits. Est. Time of Completion reflects new students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for the program.

Course Name

Students in this course will be prepared for success in the psychology doctoral program at the University. Students are introduced to relevant academic communities, professional standards, and doctoral-level expectations. Essential skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology are emphasized, including critical thinking, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and effective written communications. Students will identify and begin to explore potential research topics for use in their doctoral studies and complete the course with a roadmap to navigate their way to degree completion.

This course focuses on scholarly and academic writing with an overarching goal of critically analyzing and thoughtfully synthesizing research findings while adhering to APA style and the principles of Academic Integrity. The emphases in this course are on how to (a) conduct effective literature searches; (b) critically review and summarize research studies; (c) write comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature; (d) formulate ideas and convey them in an ethical fashion; and (e) use feedback to revise and improve one’s work.

This doctoral-level course focuses on the fundamentals of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches to psychological research. Students gain an understanding of the strengths and limitations of each approach, and how these methods apply to a research topic. The concepts of critical evaluating, published research, research ethics, and developing a research proposal will also be explored and practiced. In addition, it provides a foundation for subsequent research courses in preparation for successfully completing a dissertation at the University.

This course provides an introductory exploration of statistics for the graduate student. It includes instruction on the calculation, use, and interpretation of descriptive statistics, and introduces inferential statistical analysis. The emphasis of this course is on providing a working knowledge of basic statistical concepts to help the student understand statistical methodology used in psychology, and also more generally, developing a working knowledge of statistical usage in everyday life.

This doctoral course in tests and measurements provides the student conceptual as well as practical guidelines in test and scale construction. This course will expose the students to concepts and theories including: the nature of psychological constructs and concepts, measurements and measurement error, item construction and analysis, Classical Test Theory, and the different approaches to establishing instrument reliability and validity. Students will have the opportunity to apply the skills and concepts to a construct relevant to their own research interests.

This doctoral-level course will introduce the student to psychological test construction, administration and interpretation as well as current research in the area. Commonly used tests to assess cognition and personality will be studied.

This course will provide a foundation for knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods used in the social sciences, including psychology. Knowledge of research methods is essential both for successful completion of the dissertation and for being a skilled consumer and creator of scholarly knowledge in your field. Topics explored will include the purposes of the two basic research methods (quantitative and qualitative), the nature of multiple research designs within each method, analytic strategies used within each method, factors in quality research within each method, and ethical issues in research methods. Scholarly writing and appropriate use of the scholarly literature will also be reinforced through all topics. This course is intended to provide a broad understanding of research methods to support deeper exploration and application using more refined resources in future courses.

The purpose of this course is to acquire deeper knowledge of the quantitative and qualitative designs. The focus is on active learning to develop applied research skills that will help you in design development, data collection, and data analysis reporting phases. During the course, you will also examine how your research reflections and analysis are grounded in the empirical literature.

This course focuses on how to conduct effective literature searches, specifically in preparation for the dissertation, develop a plan for writing comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature, and critically review and write about underlying theoretical frameworks that lay the foundation for future research. The overarching goal of this course is for students to conduct an extensive search of the peer-reviewed empirical and theoretical literature in their topic area and identify potential areas of inquiry for their dissertation.

The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is intended to ensure students have mastered knowledge of their discipline prior to candidacy status and demonstrated the ability to design empirical research as an investigator before moving on to the dissertation research coursework. Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize empirical, peer-reviewed research to support all assignments in this course. The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is completed only after all foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed.

Students in this course will be required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertation proposal including a review of literature with substantiating evidence of the problem, the research purpose and questions, the intended methodological design and approach, and the significance of the study. A completed, committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is required to pass this course successfully. Students who do not receive approval of Chapter 1 to minimum standards will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Chapter 1.

Students in this course will be required to work on completing Chapters 1-3 of their dissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal (DP) in order to pass the class. Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter 3 covers the research methodology method and design and to includes population, sample, measurement instruments, data collection and analysis, limitations, and ethical considerations. In this course, a completed, committee-approved Chapters 2 and 3 are required and, by the end of the course, a final approved dissertation proposal (against the minimum rubric standards). Students who do not receive approval of the dissertation proposal will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of these requirements.

Students in this course will be required to prepare, submit, and obtain approval of their IRB application, collect data, and submit a final study closure form to the IRB. Students still in data collection at the end of the 12-week course will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to complete data collection and file an IRB study closure form.

In this dissertation course students work on completing Chapters 4 and 5 and the final Dissertation Manuscript. Specifically, students will complete their data analysis, prepare their study results, and present their findings in an Oral Defense and a completed manuscript. A completed, Committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Dissertation Manuscript and successful Oral Defense are required to complete the course and graduate. Students who do not receive approval for either or both their Dissertation Manuscript or defense can take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of either or both items as needed.

*The Elective course in the PhD in Psychology degree can be satisfied by any 8000-level course in the Department of Psychology.

Specialization Courses

In the PhD-PSY in Industrial-Organizational Psychology specialization, you will learn to apply psychological theories to critical issues in the fields of business and industry. Specifically, you’ll gain expertise in the dynamics of leadership and management, the best practices for enhancing employee motivation and engagement, and the structure and procedures of organizational development. You will become adept at applying the scientific method to investigate issues of critical relevance to individuals, businesses, and society; including employee stress and well-being, workforce diversity, and work-life balance. The application of tests and measurements and the interpretation of their results as applied to employee selection, performance appraisals, and training evaluations will also be addressed. During the program, you will have the option to complete an internship, where you can apply your newly gained knowledge and skills in an organizational setting. The internship course offers you the opportunity to train in the field, build your professional resume, and network with organizational practitioners. This I/O specialization was created to align with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) guidelines for education and training, and thus it offers course work which allows for the development of key competencies required for success in the field. In particular, the I/O specialization will prepare you to assume leadership positions in industry, government, consulting, and education.

Course Name

The course provides an overview of Industrial/Organizational Psychology (I/O), which involves application of the specific method to investigate issues of critical relevance to individuals, business, and society. Key concepts, tools, and research related to I/O psychology will be addressed in this course. Specifically, you will review the historical foundation of the field as well as explore topics of significance to industrial psychology (e.g., personnel selection, training and development, performance) and organizational psychology (e.g., employee motivation and attitudes, leadership, organizational development, and psychological health and well-being).

In this course, you will gain an appreciation of leadership and how it differs from management. You will approach these topics through a review of literature. Self-assessment on key leadership scales will help you to understand your own profile as leaders, as well as gain additional insight in the characteristics of leaders.

This course focuses on contemporary theories and research surrounding job attitudes and motivation in the workplace. You will explore the methods used to measure job attitudes and motivation. You will also examine strategies for increasing motivation and improving job attitudes. In addition, important issues such as generational diversity, affectivity, occupational stress, and organizational withdrawal will be addressed.

In this course you receive an overview of theory, research and practice related to the implementation and management of change in organizations. The role of culture, climate and leadership in planned organizational change is explored.

This course provides a focus on Personnel Psychology topics including recruitment, personnel selection, performance, and training. Specifically, you will review the fundamentals of job analysis and measurement which serve as the foundation of many human resource management systems. In addition, you will explore recruitment, personnel selection, and placement as well as the legal ramifications of these critical staffing decisions. Job performance models will be examined and you will apply criterion theory to understand performance measurement. Key concepts, tools and research related to career development and training will also be addressed in this course.

This course involves an examination of univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses commonly used for research in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. It will prepare you with the skills required to plan, conduct (using SPSS), report, and interpret advanced quantitative statistical analyses. Specific analyses include: correlation, regression (simple, multiple, polynomial, and logistic), analysis of variance (ANOVA) and covariance (ANCOVA), multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and covariance (MANCOVA), discriminant analysis, factor analysis, linear modeling, and structural equation modeling.

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology Learning Outcomes

  • Apprise theories and principles in psychology to inform professional contexts
  • Evaluate research methods and data analysis in psychology
  • Select psychological principles and research for application to personal, social, and organizational issues
  • Evaluate ethical principles of psychology in academic and professional issues
  • Critique diversity issues in professional contexts
  • Design clear and effective communication for fellow professionals and the public
Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.