Virginia is an ideal place to get an education if you dream of a career in industrial organizational (I-O) psychology. Not only are there many different psychology master’s and Ph.D. programs available at the state’s universities, but Virginia also has one of the highest employment rates for I-O psychologists in the nation.
Getting a graduate degree in I-O psychology doesn’t mean you have to move to Virginia, either. Some of the state’s colleges and universities offer online psychology programs that can help you get your education started.
Below is a list of some of the best I-O psychology programs in Virginia. Whether you want a master’s degree or a doctorate, these programs provide you with the learning opportunities to meet your educational and professional goals.
Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs in Virginia
Radford University was originally known as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Radford when it was founded in 1910. In the 1920s, the school became known as Radford State Teachers College, which it was known by until the 1970s when the school’s name changed again to Radford College. Later that decade, the name Radford University was adopted.
Today, Radford University is a doctoral-level institution that has affordable tuition. In-state students pay less than $12,000 per year for their education. Speaking of students, the University has around 9,000 students, of which about 2,500 are graduate students.
Radford’s campus is a beautiful place to study, with modern amenities, dedicated faculty and staff, and a variety of majors and minors from which to choose.
Radford’s I-O psychology program includes two tracks: a Master of Arts and a Master of Science. The Master of Arts track includes a thesis component and prepares you for further I-O psychology studies in a doctoral program. The Master of Science program is a terminal degree that prepares you for entering the workplace as an I-O psychologist.
Over the course of this two-year program, you’ll explore topics like:
- Job Analysis & Employment Law
- Personnel Selection
- Change Management & Organization Development
- Psychometric Theory
- Training and Development
Additionally, you’ll have opportunities for directed studies and independent research in I-O psychology topics.
This is a cohort program. Whether you choose the MA or MS track, you’ll progress through your coursework with approximately 10-12 other students.
George Mason University
George Mason University is the largest public research university in Virginia, with more than 38,000 students. Its location just outside Washington, D.C., means you have many opportunities to get work experience in government agencies.
The school is highly diverse, with students from all 50 states and 130 countries. Likewise, more than 50 percent of the school’s students are people of color.
George Mason is a well-regarded academic school, too. It ranks among the top 100 universities in the United States and is among the top 300 universities in the world.
The MA in psychology program at George Mason University is a two-year, 32-credit program. George Mason offers various specialty tracks, including:
- Industrial organizational psychology
- Human factors and applied cognition
- Cognitive and behavioral neuroscience
- Applied developmental psychology
- Clinical psychology
The I-O track includes two degree programs: a Master of Arts and a Master of Professional Studies. Some of the differences between these two programs include the following:
- The MA program is 32 credits, while the MPS program is 30 credits
- The MA program takes two years to complete, while the MPS program takes 1.5 years
- The MA program’s courses last 15 weeks, while the MPS program’s courses last 8 weeks
- The MA program is primarily an in-person degree, while the MPS program is an online degree
Additionally, the MA program focuses more on research, and the MPS program focuses more on the practical application of IO principles in the workplace.
At Virginia Tech, you can study virtually any subject you wish – the university offers around 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs spread throughout eight academic colleges. This includes the IO psychology program discussed below.
Virginia Tech is a research-oriented institution. It’s one of the top five percent of universities in the United States in terms of research expenditures. Likewise, the National Science Foundation ranks Virginia Tech as 48th in the nation in research expenditures.
The Virginia Tech campus is in Blacksburg, a medium-sized city in western Virginia. As a student at Virginia Tech, you can enjoy the recreational opportunities in the area, which include hiking, camping, and biking, to name a few.
As a student at Virginia Tech, you can complete a Ph.D. program in I-O psychology that adheres to the scientist-practitioner model. You’ll learn the theoretical underpinnings of I-O psychology while also learning how to utilize your expertise to solve problems in businesses, organizations, and industries.
Your time in the program includes studies in:
- Research methods
- Predictive analytics
- Organizational psychology
- Personnel psychology
Additionally, an internship is strongly recommended at one of many off-campus businesses and organizations. In fact, Virginia Tech’s I-O students have studied at top-tier organizations like IBM, Marriott International, and Allstate Insurance.
If you don’t already have a master’s degree, Virginia Tech offers an option to get your master’s on your way to your Ph.D.
Old Dominion University
Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University is a four-year, doctoral-level university. With more than 23,000 students, ODU is also a large and diverse school with degree programs in seven colleges and three schools. This includes:
- Batten College of Engineering and Technology
- College of Arts and Letters
- College of Health Sciences
- College of Sciences
- Darden College of Education and Professional Studies
- Strome College of Business
- Perry Honors College
- The Graduate School
- School of Cybersecurity
- School of Continuing Education
All told, there are more than 175 degree programs available at the Norfolk campus and additional programs of study are available at satellite campuses and online. This includes nearly 100 undergraduate degrees, 50 master’s degrees, and 40 doctoral degrees.
Old Dominion’s Ph.D. program in I-O psychology requires at least 48 credits of post-master’s studies. Of those 48 credits, up to half can be related to dissertation research in I-O psychology.
Additionally, 18 of the required credits must be in the following areas:
- Psychometric theory
- Organizational psychology
- Personnel psychology
To enter the candidacy portion of the program during which you work on your dissertation, you must first pass a comprehensive written and oral examination. This exam covers broad topics in I-O psychology to gauge your understanding of core principles in the field.
Like many Ph.D. programs, this course of study takes around four years to complete. During that time, you will conduct research, get practical experience in the field, and participate in graduate student teaching opportunities as well.
Work Opportunities in Virginia
Virginia is in an ideal geographic location for working as an industrial-organizational psychologists. With Washington, D.C. on its northeastern border, Virginia has many I-O psychology jobs in the government sector.
As noted earlier, Virginia ranks among the best states in the nation for I-O employment. Not only that, but IO psychologists in Virginia also make very good money – a yearly mean salary of $108,700. That’s good enough for third in the nation!
Government jobs are just one of many opportunities for I-O psychologists in Virginia. Many I-O psychologists in the state work in academics, where they teach and conduct research at one of the state’s dozens of universities. Public and private research firms also employ a fair number of I-O psychologists in Virginia and across the country.
In other words, with the proper education and experience, you will be ready to enter the workforce to help businesses and organizations of all kinds meet their strategic goals.