5 Key Courses in a Master’s in Organizational Psychology Program

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Updated August 4, 2020

Key Classes in an Organizational Psychology Master's Program

  • Applied Organizational Psychology
  • Psychological Research Methods
  • Competency Modeling and Development
  • Employee Training and Development
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology

Master's in Organizational Psychology courses explore the behavior of individuals and groups in business to understand performance and improve productivity. Students in these graduate programs use research tools and measurement skills to guide executive leaders, solve workplace issues, and apply psychology principles to HR management. Here are five key courses that will help the student gain consulting skills and practitioner-oriented knowledge.

Resource: 19 Most Affordable Master's in Organizational Psychology Online

1. Applied Organizational Psychology

This fundamental class teaches students that organizational psychology is the scientific study of how human attitudes and behavior are affected by policies, peers, culture, decisions, and structure. Main topics include motivation, leadership, job attitudes, team performance, business culture, industry climate, and organization development. Advanced classes will teach students about applied industrial psychology, which examines the theories related to understanding, predicting, and supervising employees. Some of the important tools and methodologies are related to recruitment, selection, job analysis, competency modeling, performance management, and talent development.

2. Psychological Research Methods

This class introduces students to fundamental psychological research tools, models, and best practices. Students will learn about hypothesis designs, testing, research, and evaluation. These classes will study linear modeling, dependent variables, and interpreting data. Students will learn about ANOVA and other standard models and software programs. Advanced statistical topics will be covered, such as logistic regression, multiple regression, and canonical correlation. This class will explain the scientific method, how to conduct a literature review, and threats to data validity. Students may be required to propose a controlled lab or field study in a real-world setting.

3. Competency Modeling and Development

This class explains the fundamentals of competency modeling, conducting job analyses, and application of results to business processes. Criterion development involves things like performance appraisals, peer-based reviews, and 360-degree feedback models. Students may explore the implications, advantages and disadvantages of competing competency models and approaches. Students may be asked to create design ratings, evaluation instruments, and constructive performance feedback systems. This fascinating subject may involve factors that continually change the context of operations, such as globalization, technological innovation, and market changes.

4. Employee Training and Development

This class reviews adult learning theories within the framework of industrial/organizational psychology. This course teaches how to identify training needs, design effective programs, promote transfer of knowledge, and evaluate system effectiveness. Part of this will involve succession planning and leadership development through coaching, mentoring, cross-training, and professional development plans. The application of personnel psychology theory and practice to HR activities may be studied. This will examine the abstract factors that may impact individual employee's training needs, job performance, professional decisions, and critical issues.

5. Cross-Cultural Psychology

This class examines how social, cultural, language, and ethnic differences impact individual performance and organizational behavior. Global corporations can only improve communication, organizational effectiveness, and the utilization of human capital through understanding and embracing cross-cultural differences. Students may learn how to adjust previously taught applied tools and research strategies through cross-cultural perspectives. Cross-cultural psychology often reexamines familiar HR and psychology topics through different lenses, such as power, politics, group dynamics, and conflict management.

Other Master's in Organizational Psychology courses may teach students about global business, consulting psychology, employment law, HR management, and evidence-based research, coaching, and assessments. Find more about this specialization on The American Psychology Association (APA) Division 14: Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) website.

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