Doctorate (PhD) — Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Program overview

Change the world of work as an Industrial-Organizational psychologist

Why pursue a Industrial-Organizational Psychology doctoral degree? To gain the theoretical foundation to meet the real-world challenges you see all around you. In this STEM-approved I-O psychology doctoral program, you’ll benefit from field-practicum experiences while focusing on the science and rigor associated with this field. Prepare to be trained to design and deliver interventions, conduct research — and change the world of work.

See how a PhD in Industrial-Organization from Seattle Pacific can enable you to meet your professional goals.

Professor Joey Collins leads a discussion | photo by Chris Yang


PhD program distinctives

The doctoral program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology is designed with a focus on the science and rigor associated with quality degrees in this field along with an equal emphasis on the practice of industrial-organizational psychology. This doctoral program will prepare you to:

  • Develop a strong theoretical foundation for meeting real-world challenges through program curriculum.
  • Design and develop interventions, conduct research, and develop leaders through field-practicum experiences.
  • Achieve your individual vocational and professional goals when you tailor the program's wide variety of electives. 

The curricula for these programs have been structured according to the guidelines for graduate training in industrial-organizational psychology published by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), a division of the American Psychological Association.

Doctoral program

The doctoral program is a 168-unit program (134 credits of required coursework and 34 credits of electives) and is designed to be taken over four years/16 quarters, with an integrated research and dissertation sequence. As a full-time doctoral student, you will take 8–14 credits each quarter.

Outside of the required coursework, you may complete electives from a variety of disciplines (Marriage and Family Therapy, Clinical Psychology, Business Administration, Theology, and Education).

The doctoral program begins in Autumn Quarter. You will complete a master’s level final project and portfolio in the second year and be awarded a master’s degree upon completion of the equivalent MA requirements.

By the summer of year three, as a doctoral student, you are working full time on your dissertation. The fourth year in the program includes full-time dissertation work and professional placement credits. View this sample four-year course sequence for the program.

The SPU I-O program is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion; and equipping our students to become practitioners and researchers who will make a difference in organizations where they serve. Consequently, the SPU I-O faculty and staff stand with and affirm our LGBTQIA+ students, alumni, staff, and faculty, who are central and critical to our campus community. The SPU I-O Program is a place where we value every student for who they are and how they can use their gifts to live with compassion in the world.

Four pillars

The curriculum for the Industrial-Organizational Psychology PhD program satisfies the suggested areas of competence for graduates in industrial-organizational psychology, ensuring that you are fulfilling not only the expectations for graduate-level education, but also fulfill the expectations of experts working in the field.

The four pillars of the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program:

  • Research: Scientific evidence for what could be.
    • You gain the knowledge and skills to make evidence-based decisions in organizations, and learn to conduct, evaluate, and measure research. Knowledge of core theoretical models and their application is the foundation for our training.
  • Character: The imprint of past experiences and relationships.
    • You learn to demonstrate awareness of self and others, as well as discernment, responsibility, and self-regulation. You’ll take responsibility for your own contributions, both good and bad. And you won’t just focus on your strengths, but also learn to offer and receive grace.
  • Practice: The integration of what you know and who you are.
    • You learn to apply research, self-knowledge, and character to real-time work with organizations. You gain the foundation to learn and lead at the next level, applying evidence-based theory and strategies to the change efforts of organizations you’ll serve.
  • You: The instrument of change.
    • You learn to work with and present to real-world clients, even as you come to understand how your own strengths and weaknesses impact your ability to bring about individual, team, and organizational transformation.
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Joey​ Collins

Assistant Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology
PsyD, Biola University

Phone: 206-281-2819
Office: Marston 262

Paul​ R. Yost

Chair and Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Director of IOP Applied Learning and Development
PhD, University of Maryland

Phone: 206-281-2893
Office: Marston 121

Helen Chung

Assistant Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology
PhD, Seattle Pacific University

Phone: 206-281-2629
Office: Marston 118

Jorge Lumbreras

Assistant Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Director of IOP Research
PhD, University of Georgia

Phone: 206-281-2152
Office: Marston 122
First Generation student

Adjunct Faculty

Deanna Haney-Loehlein

Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Adjunct Faculty
PhD, Seattle Pacific University

Jessica Loving

Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Adjunct Faculty
MA, Seattle Pacific University

Emily Pelosi

Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Adjunct Faculty
PhD, Seattle Pacific University

Kristen (Voetmann) Thornton

Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Adjunct Faculty
PhD, Seattle Pacific University

Norman Tonina

Industrial-Organizational Psychology; Adjunct Faculty
MA, Antioch University Seattle

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2023–24 tuition and fees

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per credit

Average 8–14 credits per quarter.
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$75; $150

application fee; one-time matriculation fee

See additional fee details.
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168 credits (PhD)

to complete

All tuition, fees, and other charges stated here are payable in U.S. dollars ($US).

In addition to direct instructional costs, Seattle Pacific University’s Industrial-Organizational Psychology tuition covers academic and student support services. Other benefits include use of athletic facilities (e.g., gym, locker room, and fitness rooms), and the SPU Library.

Scholarships and financial aid

Scholarship and other financial aid is available to newly admitted and continuing students in the School of Psychology, Family, and Community. For more information, visit Graduate Students Resources in Student Financial Services.

Resources available to graduate students to offset costs may include:

  • Student loans. Includes amounts that exceed tuition and provide for living expenses.
  • Graduate research fellowships. Department and grant-funded research and administrative assistant positions are offered to a limited number of graduate students each year. Selection is based on established criteria within each graduate department.
  • Graduate teaching assistantships. Department-funded teaching assistantships are offered to a limited number of graduate students each year. Selection is based on established criteria and course need within each graduate department.
  • Department scholarship and awards. Selection is based on established criteria within each department. May not be distributed every year.

Student employment

For part-time student employment opportunities on or off campus, explore these options:

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Hacking Photos

Applying to the Industrial-Organizational Psychology Programs

To be considered for admission into the Industrial-Organizational Psychology (PhD) program, you must apply online. Find the help you need with the admissions process of the program of your choice through Graduate Admissions

Admissions checklist requirements:

If you are an international student, also refer to International Graduate Students information about additional admission requirements. 

Industrial-Organizational Psychology students participate in a group discussion

Doctoral degree admission requirements

For admission to this doctoral program, the following are required:

  • Online application and $75 processing fee
    • A bachelor’s degree, minimum
    • From a regionally accredited institution, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in all undergraduate work.
    • A minimum of one statistics course in business or social science. Three courses in psychology must be completed (at a regionally accredited institution) prior to admission to the program. One course in business, political science, or sociology (completed at a regionally accredited institution) may be substituted for one of the three required psychology courses.
  • Graduate record exam (GRE) scores are optional.
    • We consider applications holistically, weighing academic preparedness, interpersonal skills, and research skills. If submitted, GRE scores will be considered as an additional item to all other application materials.
    • The recommended overall GRE score is a 300 (or 1100 on the older version of the test) on the verbal and quantitative sections.
  • Personal statement
    • Demonstrating your writing and grammatical skills.
    • Addressing career objectives, personal qualifications, experience, and other insights as deemed appropriate by you.
    • The rationale for seeking the degree and choosing to attend SPU
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • (1) One from a person who has experienced you in a professional setting (i.e., a current or former employer); (2) one academic reference from a former professor or instructor; and (3) one personal recommendation (not a family member).

Admission process

The Admissions Committee of the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program will conduct a preliminary screening process.

  • Finalists will be invited to come to campus for personal interviews.
  • Admission to the doctoral program depends upon recommendation by the I-O faculty and approval from the I-O program director.

The entire process is usually completed within eight weeks after the final deadline date for applications.

Transfer of credits

Students who have taken graduate work at a regionally accredited institution may be allowed to transfer up to 12 quarter credits, and students who have been granted a master’s degree from a regionally accredited university in psychology, organizational psychology, business administration, or a related field may be allowed to transfer up to 30 credits. A maximum of 20 credits may be transferred toward the elective requirement.

You must provide applicable transcripts and/or syllabi for any course you wish to transfer. Each course must be at least three graduate quarter credits, equivalent to courses taught in the Organizational-Psychology programs at Seattle Pacific University, and completed within seven years of admission. A minimum grade of “B” will be needed for transfer work. Any transfer-credit petitions should be submitted only after formal admission to the doctoral program.

International students

In addition to the SPU general and the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program’s additional admission requirements, international students must also submit:

  • An official confidential affidavit of financial support covering the first year of intended enrollment. Without this document, SPU cannot issue an I-20 immigration form.
  • Students holding undergraduate or graduate degrees from colleges, universities and/or seminaries located outside the U.S. are expected to have their transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency. Such an evaluation is required before an application for admission to SPFC can be granted and before any graduate credits taken elsewhere can be applied to a SPFC degree.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree in a country other than the United States, or your degree is in progress, an official course-by-course credential evaluation must be submitted from a NACES member-recognized credential service. Acceptable credential services include, but are not limited to, World Education Services (WES) and Foundation for International Services (FIS).
  • In addition to the evaluation report, we also require official transcripts and diplomas to be submitted, in English. International applicants are responsible for all costs associated with this service.
  •  English language proficiency: If you do not speak English as your first language, you must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 600 on the TOEFL paper or 250 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 100 on the TOEFL-iBT is required. ACE scores will not be accepted.
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Program videos


Practice, Research, Character, You

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Industrial-Organizational Psychology students sit at a conference table

Career Opportunities

The Doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program seeks to develop scholars, professional practitioners, and leaders who will actively engage the community and businesses around them, improving organizations and developing people as part of their jobs. 

What career options are available?

Doctoral degree graduates become scholars possessing the necessary tools, theoretical knowledge, and analytical skills to launch their academic or consulting careers.

  • They are practitioners managing change, applying scientific methodologies, and improving the organizations around them.
  • And they are leaders guiding organizations, motivating and building teams, and developing future leaders.
  • This degree prepares graduates to take on higher-level academic, consulting, and leadership positions.

Examples of potential careers include:

  • Executive coach
  • Research psychologist
  • Engineering psychologist
  • Corporate trainer
  • Consultant
  • Human relations specialist
  • University professor


Supporting the careers of our I-O students and alumni is a high priority for the School of Psychology, Family, and Community. We have a rich community of current students and graduates. Here are some of their stories:

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  • Dr. Joey Collins’ Research Vertical Team recently researched, tested, and practiced Coach Motivation (CM) to present at SIOP 2020. Watch the 21-minute conference presentation from Dr. Collins.

    From the Collins Research Vertical Team: Predicting Coaching Effectiveness for Managers as Coaches. See the video summary.

    Relationships, Accountability, Development (R.A.D.) Managers: Managerial Coaching Behaviors and Work-related Attributes. See the video summary.

    Fireside chats. Dr. Paul Yost was joined by current doctoral students (Mackenzie and Codieann) and I-O Psychology alumni (Emily, Kira, and Jake) as they led two “fireside chat” sessions focused on personal and organizational resilience. 

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Learn more about the program.

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