M.A. Program | Social-Organizational Psychology | Organization and Leadership

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Social-Organizational Psychology

In Organization and Leadership

M.A. General Description

Master of Arts

In today’s exceedingly complex global and virtual environment that moves at warp speed and is continuously changing, practitioners need superior knowledge and skills that enable them to perform effectively in a wide variety of organizational contexts and roles, and across geographies. Our 45 credit M.A. program provides students the ability to think critically about the real issues facing people and organizations in today’s world and to develop and implement solutions to the most pressing problems in organizational life and in society writ large.

Indeed, the importance of the scientist-practitioner model, wherein practitioners apply the latest theory and research to solve ‌problems quickly and effectively, and academics ground their work in the real-world issues faced by organizations, is one of the program’s core values. In addition, our program is committed to the cause of social justice and aims to educate scholar-practitioners who apply their expertise in service of the greater good. Further, a majority of program faculty conduct research and engage in practice in the areas of multiculturalism, diversity, social identity, and justice.

A diverse range of teaching and learning methodologies inform the MA student experience, including didactic input from experts in the field, applied research combined with experiential learning, and hands-on practical experience working with real clients. Scientific rigor is emphasized whereby ‌students learn how to assess and conduct research relevant to today’s organizations alongside a focus on the importance of being a reflective practitioner and continuously increasing self- and other- awareness.

Quote from Chris C., "The most enjoyable learning experiences have been the practicum sessions in which we are able to apply the theory and concepts learned via classroom experiences."
Quote from Chris C., "The most enjoyable learning experiences have been the practicum sessions in which we are able to apply the theory and concepts learned via classroom experiences."

Throughout their course of study, students are taught a systems perspective, emphasizing the understanding of people and organizations through multiple lenses, including individual, group, organizational and the broader sociopolitical, global environment – a perspective which enables students to understand the contextual factors surrounding any organizational issues and as such offers myriad options for transformation and growth. Students are taught how to understand people, teams, and organizations from the inside out and to engage state-of-the-art solutions from that deep understanding. The program also provides access to courses in other graduate schools of Columbia University, including the Graduate School of Business, the School of International and Public Affairs, the School of Social Work and the Law School, further developing a broad and deep understanding of organizational life and the factors that influence people in the workplace.‌

Quote from Caitlin F., "I continuously use the systems thinking way of looking at an organizational issue from the level of the individual, team, and organization as a whole."
Quote from Caitlin F., "I continuously use the systems thinking way of looking at an organizational issue from the level of the individual, team, and organization as a whole."

We pride ourselves on the talented and bright students who pursue our MA degree, and the robust learning community that is a ‌hallmark of the social-organizational psychology program. Our students hail from all over the United States and the world and have a rich diversity of experience including work in the corporate world, not-for-profits, education, and international organizations, across a wide variety of roles and functions. Connections among students and alumni are strong and our two vibrant, student-led organizations – the Organization and Human Development Consulting Club (OHDCC) and Psi Chi – provide an enriching community for current students to develop their professional skills, while alumni remain linked through a strong network.

Students who join the MA program craft their course of study according to their backgrounds, interests, and goals along with their adviser. Academic, career and personal advising is plentiful and accessibility to meetings with the Program Director and the Program Adviser is a key source of support for MA students. Further, all social-organizational psychology program faculty are available for advising and meet with students regularly to discuss research, practice, and myriad other issues related to the program and the field, providing an additional resource to students for academic and career development.

Quote from Rhapsodi D., "Human behavior in an organizational context is complex and depends greatly on the point of view from which you are observing."
Quote from Rhapsodi D., "Human behavior in an organizational context is complex and depends greatly on the point of view from which you are observing."

Upon completing the MA program, students are prepared to engage in a broad range of professional employment opportunities. Our graduates are often employed in positions typically found within the organization development function of middle or large-size organizations including human resources, people development, human capital, talent management, and the like. These include positions in organization development and consultation, human resource development and strategy, organizational effectiveness, human capital research, employee relations, mediation and conflict resolution, global learning, and career development and counseling among others.  

Our current students and recent alumni note the profound impact that the pursuit of this degree has had on their own self-awareness, their understanding of groups and teams, and their ability to navigate the complexities of organizational life more effectively and purposefully. One student noted, “one of the beautiful byproducts of pursuing a masters in Organizational Psychology is that the coursework is so personal that it changes you” and another stated, “this program is an incredible opportunity, with amazing professors, and located in the best city to obtain a variety of work experience.”

We encourage you to read more about our program, and hope you will consider joining our learning community. 

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