With 135 schools offering higher education studies, North Carolina has opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed to become an industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologist.
You can study at a public college, a private university, on campus, or online. You can also learn about I-O psychology at small schools, large schools, in undergraduate programs, and in graduate programs as well.
North Carolina is home to the Research Triangle, the area of rich innovation anchored by Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. Many businesses and organizations have operations here to take advantage of the rich academic and research environment.
As a graduate with an industrial organizational psychology degree, you can tap into the strong business-academic partnership of North Carolina’s colleges, universities, and businesses to find employment. You can make a difference in how businesses are run, how employees are trained, and the quality of products and services that consumers enjoy.
Industrial Organizational Psychology Programs in North Carolina
Eastern Carolina University
Eastern Carolina University is a public, non-profit school in Greenville, North Carolina. The school was established in 1907 and in the more than 100 years since it has grown to more than 28,000 students.
ECU offers a wide range of degree programs, including nearly 90 undergraduate degrees, nearly 70 master’s degrees, and nearly 20 doctoral programs. Nursing, management, and biology are the three most popular undergraduate majors. Graduate students enroll in business administration, nursing, and medicine more than any other programs.
ECU has many recognitions for its academic programs as well. Newsweek ranks ECU in the top 10 online colleges in the nation, while Princeton Review names it one of the best colleges in the southeast.
The Master’s Program in Industrial Organizational Psychology at Eastern Carolina University requires the completion of 45 semester credit hours. The program typically takes two years to complete. In addition to classroom studies in industrial organizational psychology, you also have the opportunity to complete a master’s thesis, an internship, or both.
The thesis component involves significant research on a topic in IO psychology, a lengthy research paper, and a defense of your research in front of a committee of faculty members. Although the thesis is optional, it is an excellent opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in class to a real-world scenario.
Likewise, though the internship component is also optional, it presents a unique opportunity to get familiar with the field of I-O psychology under the tutelage of an experienced I-O psychologist. Both the internship and thesis components occur toward the end of your studies.
This program also requires you to pass a comprehensive I-O exam after completing your coursework.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte got its start in the late 1940s as a night college. Its purpose was to help alleviate overcrowding at institutions of higher education in the years following World War II. Eventually, the school became Charlotte College, and was part of the North Carolina Community College System, and in 1964, it became a four-year university.
Today, UNC Charlotte offers more than 170 majors and programs for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. The school is part of the University of North Carolina System which has more than 250,000 students enrolled in 17 institutions around the state.
UNC Charlotte accounts for more than 30,000 of those students who are enrolled in courses in one of seven colleges:
- Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Arts and Architecture
- Health and Human Services
- Computer Science
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology is a 31-credit program. Most students complete the program in two years, though doing so requires taking classes in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
This is a cohort-based program, which means you’ll complete the degree requirements with the same set of students. Cohort-based learning can build collegiality among students, which can be beneficial later in your working lives.
You’ll learn advanced I-O psychology principles while in this program. This includes classes in:
- Organizational research methods
- Organizational development and change
- Talent acquisition
- Topics in Talent Management
- Field and lab-based quantitative research methods
At the conclusion of your coursework, you must pass a comprehensive I-O psychology examination. You can choose to complete a thesis instead, though. The thesis requires an additional six credits of coursework, significant research and writing, and a defense to a committee of faculty members.
Meredith College is in North Carolina’s capital Raleigh and offers more than 90 majors, minors, and areas of concentration for undergraduate students and nearly 30 graduate and certificate programs, including a master of arts degree in psychology with a concentration in I-O psychology.
Meredith College boasts small class sizes of around 15 students and a student-to-faculty ratio of just 10:1. With such small class sizes, you will get the individual attention you need to learn and grow as a student.
Many recognitions have been bestowed upon this school over the years. This includes:
- A top regional and national college, according to US News and World Report
- A ranking in the top 20 percent of colleges in the country by Forbes.com
- A ranking in the top three liberal arts colleges in North Carolina by Niche.com
The Master’s degree program in I-O Psychology from Meredith College is a two-year residential program, meaning coursework is completed on campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The program is based on the scientist-practitioner model, which means your studies focus on the application of I-O psychology principles in the workplace. As such, your courses focus on helping you build the skills needed to:
- Improve employee performance
- Select the best candidates for jobs
- Improve the work-life balance for employees
- Measure employee work performance
- Improve employee training and retention
A semester-long internship is required to graduate. The internship is done locally with the guidance of an experienced IO psychologist to help you apply your coursework to an employment setting.
This program also includes one-to-one coaching, professional development, and career guidance to help you find employment after you graduate.
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University was founded more than 125 years ago in Boone, North Carolina. App State’s original purpose was to provide access to higher education for people in the state’s western region. However, today, the school provides educational opportunities for students throughout North Carolina and the region.
Today, the school offers more than 150 undergraduate degrees and 80 graduate degree programs in seven colleges:
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Fine and Applied Arts
- Reich College of Education
- Walker College of Business
- Hayes School of Music
- Beaver College of Health Sciences
- Williams School of Graduate Studies
One of App State’s unique student programs is the Accelerated Master’s Degree. This program allows you to begin taking graduate classes during your senior year. This, in turn, helps you finish your graduate degree sooner, often in about one year after completing your undergraduate degree.
The Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology and human resources management from Appalachian State University is a 51-credit program. Despite the large number of credits, the program can be completed in two years of full-time, year-round study.
As part of your studies, you’ll take general psychology courses, 30-credits of functional interdisciplinary courses, and nine hours of electives. Additionally, you must complete either a thesis or an internship. A comprehensive oral examination is also required.
Some of the classes you’re required to take in this program include:
- Performance management
- Training and development
- Leadership, groups, and teams
- Employment law
- Quantitative methods in psychology
Work Opportunities in North Carolina
As noted in the introduction, North Carolina is a hotbed of innovation and academic research. Businesses and organizations of all types are interested in employees with experience in research, including those needing the services of industrial organizational psychologists.
With a degree from a North Carolina school, you might find employment in the Research Triangle conducting cutting-edge I-O psychology research. Likewise, you might go to work for small or medium-sized North Carolina companies that want to improve output and employee satisfaction.
The great thing about working in industrial organizational psychology is that there are many opportunities to work in highly varied fields. You can find a job in manufacturing, finance, or academics, just to name a few.
You might also become a consultant and work for yourself! With the right degree from a North Carolina school, the possibilities for your future employment are virtually endless.