Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Graduate Focus Area

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

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Area Description and Program Goals

Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology concerns the application of psychological theories, research methods, and intervention strategies to workplace issues. I/O psychologists are interested in helping organizations to be highly productive while ensuring that their workers are able to lead physically and psychologically healthy work lives. Topics focused on at Portland State University include Personnel Psychology, Employee Motivation and Leadership, Employee Training and Development, Organization Development and Guided Change, Organizational Behavior, and Work and Family.

The Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology program trains students to apply psychological research to applied settings. Although most of our graduates go on to work in government, consulting, or private industry, our program prepares students for both academic and practitioner settings. Our program places a strong emphasis on research, but does not emphasize laboratory-based research designs, and few faculty conduct laboratory-based research. 

Occupational Health Psychology

Portland State University offers specialized training in Occupational Health Psychology (OHP). Occupational Health Psychology focuses on the science and practice of psychology in the promotion of safety, health, and well being in the workplace. OHP training is available to students in all areas of psychology as well as students from other fields. Ph.D. students may complete a specialization in OHP which is described in detail on our PSU-OHP web site.


Core Faculty

Those interested in applying to the I/O PhD program for Fall 2021 should directly contact the faculty member with whom they would like to work.

Affiliated Faculty


Our faculty members have a very strongly applied orientation to research and as such, work closely with local and national employers, unions, and members of state, local, and federal government. Thus, our program has generated many connections with members of the local community as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Our students have had opportunities to complete internships and other applied experiences (e.g., project work) at several local organizations, ranging from small firms and local non-profit organizations to I/O consulting firms and large multinational corporations. Although students often locate their internship positions on their own (e.g., through summer employment or project work), the program assists in the process of matching students to positions. Further, although most internships are completed locally, interested students may complete an internship position at an organization located elsewhere in the country or internationally (students typically locate and apply for such positions on their own, although PSU faculty may advise them during this process).  


All students complete both major research projects and applied experiences as part of their graduate training. These experiences include an empirical thesis research project and possible internship and an empirical doctoral dissertation for the Doctoral program.

Graduate Seminars

  • PSY 5/610 Work and Well Being
  • PSY 5/610 Occupational Health and Safety
  • PSY 5/616 Advanced Applied Organizational Psychology
  • PSY 5/616 Advanced Applied Industrial Psychology
  • PSY 536 Performance Appraisal and Feedback
  • PSY 544 Job Analysis
  • PSY 545 Employee Development (Training)
  • PSY 548 Psychology of Work Motivation
  • PSY 567 Work and Family
  • PSY 578 Leadership and Group Effectiveness
  • PSY 579 Women and Organizational Psychology
  • PSY 610 Occupational Health Psychology
  • PSY 635 Psychological Consulting in Organizations
  • PSY 646 Personnel Selection
  • SySc 610 Organizational Theory and Dynamics


  • PSY 6XX Research in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Where Our Alumni Go

Graduates of our program have gone on to work at Sequent Systems, Medical Consultants Northwest, Northwest Natural Gas, Tektronix, Anderson Consulting, Intel, Washington County (OR) Sheriff's Dept., Kaiser Permanente Veterans Administration, Sun Micro Systems, SAP, Mentor Graphics, Pacific Learning Systems, University of California-Fresno, Liberty Mutual, SC Johnson.