Social-Organizational Psychology MA

M.A. in Social Organizational Psychology

Greetings. Thank you for your interest in the M.A. Program in Organizational Psychology.

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

I hope you'll explore our program details, curriculum, and opportunities in-depth.


Sarah J. Brazaitis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practice, M.A. Program Director

A group of students converse in a study group at Teachers College.

Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 45/39
  • Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: November 15
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): April 1

* The final deadline for this program has been extended to May 1, 2024*

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Online Degree Application, including Statement of Purpose and Resume
  • Transcripts and/or Course-by-Course Evaluations for all Undergraduate/Graduate Coursework Completed
  • Results from an accepted English Proficiency Exam (if applicable)
  • $75 Application Fee
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • Social-Organizational Psychology MA Topic Essay (included in online application)
  • At least one year of full-time work experience after graduation from an undergraduate institution is required (all forms of work experience (including internships, volunteer and community service work, and employment obtained while an undergraduate student) are beneficial, but applicants must have at least one year of full-time work experience post-graduation from their undergraduate studies in order to apply).
  • *Effective Summer 2024, program will require thirty-nine (39) credits for completion, those who begin in Spring 2024 will be required to complete forty-five (45) credits.*

Requirements from the TC Catalog (AY 2023-2024)

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

View Full Catalog Listing


The degree program provides courses at Teachers College, and students may take relevant courses at Columbia University, particularly the Graduate School of Business, the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the School of Social Work, and the Mailman School of Public Health among others. There is one major for the M.A. degree entitled Psychology: Organizational.

The curriculum is comprised of major courses consisting of four required core level I courses, four required advanced core level II courses, other general elective courses (usually ORLJ but can be outside ORLJ or at other Columbia schools) and 6 credits of breadth courses, which are Teachers College, non-ORLJ courses, in a related field.  The M.A. degree requires the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 45 points.   

Courses available at the Graduate School of Business, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, School of International and Public Affairs, Social Work, and in other graduate programs at Columbia University may be taken as a general elective course (courses not taken at Teachers College may not count as breadth courses). Students must consult with an advisor to select courses outside of Teachers College that may satisfy the elective requirements. An effort is made to assist students in developing a program of study that will best meet their personal career interests and objectives.

Core Required Courses: Level I

The following four courses are required for all candidates.

  • ORLJ 4002 Functions of organizations (3)

  • ORLJ 4005 Organizational psychology (3)

  • ORLJ 4009 Understanding behavioral research (3)

  • ORLJ 5003 Human resource management (3)

Advanced Core Required Courses: Level II

The three courses immediately below are required for all candidates. In addition, candidates must choose one of the application courses (listed further down), for a total of four courses required to satisfy the advanced core level II:

  • ORL 5362 Group dynamics: A systems perspective (3)

  • ORLJ 5045 Organizational dynamics and theory (3) (prerequisite ORLJ 4005)

  • ORLJ 5340 Adaptive Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (3)

Plus one of the following application courses:

  • ORLJ 5012 Organizational internship (2-3) (prerequisite ORLJ 4005)

  • ORLJ 5017 Small group intervention: Improving team performance (3) (prerequisite ORL 5362)

  • ORLJ 5341 Effective Mediation (3)

  • ORLJ 6343 Practicum in change and consultation in organizations (5) (prerequisites ORL 5362, ORLJ 4005)

Breadth Courses: 6 credits Teachers College, non-ORLJ courses are required. Please consult an advisor.

Suggested Organizational Psychology Elective/Concentration Courses:

The following courses are suggested electives within ORLJ. Students may choose from among these electives and other relevant electives that are not listed here (including courses at the Graduate School of Business, SIPA, etc.) upon consultation with an academic advisor.

  • ORLJ 4010 Executive coaching (3)

  • ORLJ 4331 Constructive multicultural organizational development (1)

  • ORLJ 5002 Advanced functions of organizations (3)

  • ORLJ 5005 Leadership and supervision (3)

  • ORLJ 5012 Organizational internship (1-3)

  • ORLJ 5018 Using survey research in organizational consulting (3)

  • ORLJ 5019 Data-based interventions in organizations (3)

  • ORLJ 5025 People analytics (3)

  • ORLJ 5090 Strategic talent management (3)

  • ORLJ 5115 Social networks and performance (3)

  • ORLJ 5250 Equity, diversity, and inclusion in teams (3)

  • ORLJ 6040 Fundamentals of cooperation, conflict resolution, and mediation in different institutional contexts (3)

  • ORLJ 6343 Practicum in change and consultation in organizations (5)

  • ORLJ 6350 Advanced practicum in conflict resolution (3)

  • ORLJ 6540 Contemporary issues in organizational psychology


While not a prerequisite for graduation, an internship may be helpful for proper job placement. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with an opportunity to gain practical experience relevant to their interests and to apply the principles of organizational psychology theories to real-world situations. Students who are interested in doing an internship should consult with an academic advisor.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination, ORLJ 5500, may be taken after a student has completed the core level I courses receiving the grade of a C+ or above. In addition, 32 of 45 credits toward the M.A. degree must be complete or in progress the semester the exam is taken. Students are encouraged to take the exam in their penultimate semester of the M.A. degree program.

A student must score 80% or above to pass the comprehensive examination. Should a student fail the examination twice, he/she may not be allowed to continue in the M.A. degree program.

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