PSU's industrial-organizational psychology program makes Top 20 in national ranking
Author: Cristina Rojas, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Posted: April 17, 2018

Portland State University's industrial-organizational psychology program is being recognized among the top 20 graduate programs in the field, according to a new ranking released by the journal The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist.

In the journal's rankings, a study asked students nationwide to rank the quality of their program based on 25 criteria. PSU's program was ranked the best overall Ph.D. program based on what respondents deemed important and how they rated their program. It also tied for first in faculty quality, fifth in program culture and seventh in learning practical skills.

PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Science's psychology department offers a Ph.D. program in industrial-organizational psychology, an increasingly popular subdiscipline that uses research to improve the well-being and performance of employees and their organizations. There are about 15 students in the program.

Psychology faculty members said the rankings are an acknowledgment of the work they've done to build a strong program and provide students with an outstanding education that can lead to jobs. 

"This means that the PSU psychology Ph.D. program is on the map as one of the leading industrial-organizational Ph.D. programs in the U.S. and in the world," said Donald Truxillo, a professor in the industrial-organizational and occupational health psychology programs. "This sort of reputation will only add to the quality of student applicants and faculty that can be attracted to the program."

The student perceptions survey was part of a larger project by the academic journal that sought to use methods other than research productivity to rank programs. Five research teams used different indicators, and as a result, each set of rankings is different.

The findings were published in the spring issue of The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, a publication of the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

PSU's industrial-organizational psychology program was ranked in three of the five studies. In a study about the development opportunities offered to students, it ranked 13th in research opportunities, 16th in applied practice and 21st in teaching.

In another study, researchers looked at journal publications to understand the degree to which programs contributed to and influenced disciplines beyond industrial-organizational psychology. PSU's program tied 29th out of 53 in interdisciplinary publication counts. It also ranked 12th in industrial-organizational publication counts, 25th in interdisciplinary citation counts and 16th in industrial-organizational citation counts. 

The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist rankings are meant to be used as a guide both by faculty members to evaluate the department's strengths and weaknesses and by prospective students choosing which program would be the best fit for them.

"Whether you love rankings or hate them, people use them, and so it's worth doing them in the best way possible," wrote the journal's editor, Tara Behrend. "To me, that meant identifying measures of quality that previous rankings projects may have overlooked. The truth about graduate education is that different programs do different things well."