Industrial/Organizational Psychology

The industrial-organizational psychology (IOP) specialization is for students who are primarily interested in a career as a psychologist, but who would like to practice his/her skills in a business or similar organizational environment. 

IOP is an area of study within the field of psychology that is concerned with how industrial and non-industrial organizations work. Individuals who specialize in IOP usually work within business organizations, but also may be employed in government, health care institutions, universities, or research and consulting firms. In these organizational settings, those trained in IOP apply their scientific knowledge of human behavior to do basic research and/or solve practical problems in one or more of the following areas:

Human Resource Specialist

Selection and Placement: job analysis and classification; development of selection programs; optimal placement of key personnel; early identification of management potential.

Organizational Development: analysis of organizational structure; maximizing the effectiveness of individuals and work groups; engaging in consulting activities; facilitating organizational change.

Training and Development: identifying training and development needs; formulating and implementing technical training, management and supervisory development programs; evaluating the effectiveness of training and development programs relative to productivity and satisfaction criteria.

Personnel Search: developing assessment tools for selection, placement, classification and promotion of employees; validating test instruments; measuring the effect of cultural factors on test performance; assessing readiness for multicultural living and working.

Consumer Psychology

Assessing consumer preferences; identifying consumer reaction to new products; developing market segmentation strategies.

Engineering Psychology

Designing work environment; optimizing person-machine effectiveness; developing systems technologies.

Industrial-Organizational psychologists may engage in these activities while employed as staff members of large organizations, where they may also occupy managerial positions. Or, IOP professionals may work as independent consultants or advisors. Many IOP practitioners find their primary workplace in educational institutions where they also may engage in part-time consultant work. In all these settings persons trained in IOP use their skills in scientific investigation to provide solutions to organizational problems and to do basic psychological research that adds to our knowledge of human behavior.

How do I Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist?

Generally speaking, persons seeking a career in IOP should plan to go on to a university program leading either to a master's degree or a PhD in psychology with a specialization in IOP. These graduate programs are the best preparation for a career in IOP and are essential for professional recognition. Those willing to commit themselves to such advanced training will find positions whose salaries are among the highest in psychology. Also, most future employment projections emphasize a continuing strong demand for persons in this area. Additional information about graduate training is available from your Psychology Department advisor.

Practicum Program

Upper-level students are eligible to enroll in a practicum or internship program. This program enables the student to obtain course credit for supervised professional-like activity. The practicum's basic purpose is to give students an opportunity to apply in an actual organizational setting the concepts and methods learned in their formal courses.

Practicum Prerequisites

Satisfactory completion of IOP courses selected during regular consultation with IOP advisor.


Active participation in the Canisius College chapter of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is highly recommended for students who wish to pursue the minor in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, as it is for students pursuing the minor in Business Management.

Students who wish to pursue this minor should contact Harvey Pines, PhD, (HSC 209, (716) 888-2510,, Judith Larkin, PhD, (HSC 209, (716) 888-2510 or Michael Gent, PhD, in the college's management/marketing program (CT-508, (716) 888-2638,

For more information on minor requirements, please click here.