Doctorate Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, PhD

Industrial and Organizational Psychology, PhD

Program Objectives

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program enables students to contribute to the profession through independent learning, scholarship, and research.

Upon completion of this program, students are able to:

  • Develop an advanced understanding of general psychological principals and theories to include motivation, learning, emotion, and behavior.
  • Appreciate diversity in individuals and the global community, demonstrated through application of ethical problems solving at the individual, social, and organizational levels in the field of psychology.
  • Apply principles of effective research methods, evaluating problems, developing research strategies, designing and conducting psychological research, interpreting and evaluating research data, and formulating grounded conclusions to add to the body of knowledge.
  • Develop an advanced understanding of Industrial/Organizational Psychology as a science and method for applying psychology to the practical problems faced by people at work in a variety of organizations
  • Prepare graduates whose research, teaching, and applied work is primarily informed by current scientific theory, research, and methods.
  • Develop and publicize new knowledge in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology through dissertation work.
  • Demonstrate professional communication skills in writing through organizing, thinking critically, and communicating ideas and information in documents, presentations, and publications.


Prerequisites for Major Courses:

  • Path One: Students may enter the Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with a Master’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Path Two: Students may enter the Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with a Baccalaureate degree in psychology or related behavioral science from an accredited institution. Students with a baccalaureate degree complete an additional 18 graduate semester hours of course work, to include a thesis.

Note: Courses in the Ph.D. program are eight-weeks in length and students are scheduled for one or two courses concurrently. Dissertation courses are eight-weeks in length and students are scheduled for two dissertation courses per semester.

Program Outline

To receive a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology degree, students with a Master’s degree must earn 60 graduate semester credit hours. Students with a Bachelor’s degree must complete an additional 21 graduate semester credit hours and complete a thesis to receive their Master’s degree while enrolled in the Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Fifty-four of the program hours (for students entering with a Master’s degree) must be completed through BSU.

Seventy-five of the program hours (for students entering with a Baccalaureate degree) must be completed through BSU. Program requirements are as follows:

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial and Organizational Psychology Major Core Courses ( 60.0 – 81.0 credit hours )
Prerequisite Courses ( 18.0 credit hours, for students without a Master’s Degree )
History and Systems of Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Health Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Psychopathology 3.0 credit hours
Evolutionary Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Master’s Thesis, Part I
( Prerequisite: PSY701, RSM701, RSM702 )
3.0 credit hours
Master’s Thesis, Part II
( Prerequisite: PSY502, PSY532, PSY542, PSY562, PSY730, PSY760, PSY770, PSY690 ) PSY699 is taken after 33 graduate semester hours have been completed, and must be taken alone.
3.0 credit hours
Foundation Courses ( 15.0 – 18.0 credit hours )
Research, Ethics, and Scholarly Writing 3.0 credit hours
Cognitive & Affective Basis of Behavior 3.0 credit hours
Human Development ( Baccalaureate entry only )
Theories of Learning and Motivation 3.0 credit hours
Sociocultural Basis of Behavior 3.0 credit hours
Cross-Cultural Methods of Tests and Measurements 3.0 credit hours
Research Courses ( 15.0 credit hours )
Quantitative Research I ( Prerequisite RSM702 ) 3.0 credit hours
Research Design and Qualitative Methods 3.0 credit hours
Quantitative Research II ( Prerequisite RSM700 ) 3.0 credit hours
Research Theory, Design, and Methods ( Prerequisite: RSM702 ) 3.0 credit hours
Advanced Research: Pre-Proposal and Literature Review
( Prerequisite RSM701, RSM800 and RSM802 ) RSM821 is scheduled as the last course and is not scheduled with any other course.
3.0 credit hours
Ph.D. in Industrial / Organizational Psychology Core Courses ( 15.0 credit hours )
Consumer Behavior Theory and Practice 3.0 credit hours
Organizational Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Personnel Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Interventions in Social Systems 3.0 credit hours
Organizational Applications 3.0 credit hours
Testing and Assessment in Organizations 3.0 credit hours
Dissertation Courses ( 12.0 credit hours )
Students must complete six DSS900 courses – Dissertation 1 2.0 credit hours
Residency Requirement
Doctoral students must complete two residencies, one in the first year of the program; the second prior to taking RSM820.
Doctor of Philosophy Residency
Doctor of Philosophy Residency II


The Doctoral Program includes a stimulating and instructional residency requirement. Residency is a time for students to gather to strengthen and continue building community.

Quality distance learning programs present both benefits and challenges for students. A key challenge faced by students and faculty within the doctoral program is to find alternative ways to create the personal interaction and connectivity that develops more naturally in the traditional face-to-face classroom course. Residency offers an incredible opportunity for cohort members to meet and build relationships with one another, faculty and staff that may last an eternity. In addition, residencies provide enriching in-person networking and mentoring opportunities for students with faculty and peers. It is during residency that the faculty and students truly become colleagues; engaging in both personal and professional dialogue, establishing friendships as well becoming professional equals.

What should students expect residency to look like? The overall experience is slightly different for each cohort. The specific focus for each cohort varies:

First Residency – Residency is a time of orientation. This is when the cohort comes together for the first time as enrolled students. During this first residency, students are oriented to how the online program functions, and are given time with the faculty and other students to develop mentoring and professional relationships. Students gather together daily for workshops and presentations on important concepts for their doctoral studies.  Students are also expected to begin seriously considering their dissertation topic and committee.

They will have opportunities to engage in face-to-face discussions with faculty.

Second Residency –This is the final residency required of doctoral students. Focus during this year includes continuing discussion of the student’s research interests and mentoring the student.  Students will have greater access to the faculty, including individual appointments and to fully discuss these topics.

Students should budget for the following residency costs: 1) transportation, 2) hotel accommodations and 4) some food costs. The residency fee will cover the cost of most breakfasts, lunches and some dinners, as well as classroom break snacks when courses are in session. Students are responsible for making their own travel, lodging and other meal arrangements.

The school assists with information on these, and helps facilitate students’ connecting to share rooms and rental cars to minimize expenses.

Students’ daily schedules during residency are occupied with many activities that they are required to attend. The coursework is intensive and requires a considerable amount of study and preparation time.

The program is committed to the historical foundations of the doctoral degree in which a community of scholars is created among faculty-mentors and student-scholars.

BSU mirrors this historical tradition by the utilization of student cohorts, intensive on-campus residencies and a variety of interactive discussion modes that extend beyond topical course discourse.

In view of this goal, the waiving of residency requirements will not be considered.


A dissertation serves two important functions. First, it is a demonstration of research, analytical and writing skill at the highest level of scholarly endeavor. The individual who plans, conducts, writes and defends a dissertation has shown that she or he is capable of pursuing a line of inquiry that requires the mastery of a large knowledge base, proficiency in analytical tools including statistics and narrative analysis, and the ability to articulate the meaning and application of that knowledge to both mentors and peers.

Secondly, the dissertation advances knowledge. Scholarship is advanced by the creative pursuit of answers to complicated questions. Dissertations are not just “really big class projects,” but serve to advance the method of addressing significant social concerns and problems. In that regard, dissertations are public documents designed to advance the culture.

The dissertation process begins early in the Ph.D. experience. Students are encouraged to pursue lines of inquiry, develop research agendas with faculty and participate in research groups. Papers and projects required in the core courses can facilitate the formation of dissertation projects, along with consultation and discussion of emerging ideas with the faculty.

During the second residency, students focus on the requirements and details of the dissertation process. During this time, students will seek three scholars to form the dissertation committee and guide them through their project. Students will draft a comprehensive literature review, research questions and method of inquiry to answer the questions in their second year. Following completion of comprehensive exams, students will defend their dissertation. Students must submit an application to the Human Subjects Review Committee and receive approval to complete their research prior to beginning their study.

Doctoral candidates work closely with their dissertation chair and committee to complete their research, analyze its meaning and significance, and present it in cogent and succinct written form.

The dissertation defense is the final and culminating experience of Ph.D. studies. It will consist of a public meeting in which the doctoral candidate formally presents the dissertation project, explains findings of the study and articulates its relevance to significant social problems. Dissertations are a reflection of the student’s comprehension of and capacity to address complex issues.

An associate degree is typically completed in two years of full-time study, but may take longer for part-time students. These undergraduate programs can be found at community colleges, vocational schools, technical

Masters Degree are graduate-level programs that typically take two years of additional full-time study after completion of a bachelor’s degree Because most graduate students are already working professionals

To be considered for an honorary doctorate degree, there are specific criteria that individuals must meet, and there are a variety of  that they may be awarded. There are also many non-honorary doctorate

April 2024

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