Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology is the scientific study of human cognition, motivation, emotion, behavior, and social interaction in work contexts, and the application of this research to help solve practical problems in organizations. I/O psychology uses the scientific method to generate new knowledge that aims at helping to improve working conditions in organizations while also improving organizational efficiency and effectiveness. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has named I/O psychology one of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation for the years 2012 and 2022. In 2015, President Obama issued an executive order in support of applied psychology.

The goal of industrial and organizational psychology is to promote the improvement of working conditions in organizations while at the same time ascertaining and improving organizational performance. I/O psychologists can improve hiring practices, develop training programs, and conduct such training, and they can conduct research to help solve organizational problems. They work in human resource departments and in research departments, or as internal or external consultants.


Psychology, Industrial and Organizational—Group Processes and Organizational Behavior, M.A.
Psychology, Industrial and Organizational—Personnel and Human Resources, M.A.

Job Descriptions

Some of the I/O areas of employment include: employee testing and selection, training and development design, improving workplace productivity, improving management, synthesizing work styles, policy planning, and overseeing analysis. Here are job descriptions in industrial and organizational psychology as they are listed in O*Net, a premier resource for I/O psychologists and particularly all those working in HR departments.

Professional Societies

Two professional societies are directly relevant for this field:


Two different degrees, one in group processes and organizational behavior (previously human relations) and one in personnel and human resources (previously organizational behavior), prepare students for entry-level positions in consulting firms that offer services in organization development areas or for comparable-level positions in the areas of personnel and human resources in organizations.

Both programs follow the Scientist-Practitioner Model by focusing on systematic, scientific, and empirical research to help solve problems in organizations and enhance organizational functioning. Both programs share a common core of five courses. Courses in research methods, statistics, and area-specific psychological research and theory provide the foundation for field applications. The concentration in group processes and organizational behavior provides specialization in organizational development, organizational effectiveness, group processes, team performance, culture, and leadership. The concentration in personnel and human resources provides specialization in areas related to human resource management, such as job analysis, recruitment, selection, training, compensation, retention, and outplacement.

Is This Master’s Degree for You?

Both programs in industrial and organizational psychology are designed for:

  • recent graduates from a baccalaureate institution, and
  • professionals who are currently working in various fields in practice and are interested in the field of organizational development, organizational consulting, training, or human resources.

The programs prepare for entry-level positions in organizational development, consulting, and personnel and human resources. They provide valuable resources for individuals who plan to seek advancement in their current careers.

Stay Connected

Subscribe to relevant LinkedIn groups:

Be Sure to Read

Contact Information

Graduate Program Assistants

Tonia Hucey
5401 James Hall
P: 718.951.5601

I/O Program Director

Professor Elisabeth Brauner
5603 James Hall
P: 718.951.5601

Graduate Deputy Chair

Associate Professor Benzion Chanowitz
4414 James Hall
P: 718.951.5601

Brooklyn. All in.