Social-Organizational Psychology PhD

Doctor of Social-Organizational Psychology

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the doctoral program in Social-Organizational Psychology. Our 75 credit doctoral degree combines practice and scholarship to prepare students for positions in academia, industry, and as independent consultants.

We invite you to explore our program, meet our world-class faculty, get to know your fellow doctoral students, and see what we're up to in terms of research.  If you'd like additional information please contact us at


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Admissions Information

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

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Points/Credits: 75
  • Entry Terms: Fall Only

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): December 1
  • Summer/Fall (Final): December 1

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

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


Students are required to take a minimum of 75 credits for the Ph.D. degree. Occasionally, students may transfer credits - up to a maximum of 15 points from previous graduate training at other institutions. Transferring the maximum is unusual, because courses transferred must be equivalent to courses that are required in our Ph.D. program.

Students are encouraged to design an individually meaningful course of study within the larger offerings of the Program. Opportunities for doing this are available through coursework, work with faculty members, independent research and study, and teaching activities. Students take a series of required courses that build a strong foundation in social-organizational psychology and may also select a series of more specialized courses depending on their specific areas of interest. Examples include managing conflict, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), organizational network analysis, group dynamics, and organizational change. 

Additional focus and expertise are developed through collaboration on major research projects with faculty members and practice-based or consulting activities under faculty supervision.

Research Training

The research training for doctoral students involves acquiring an understanding of underlying concepts and theories in social and organizational psychology and gaining experience in conducting research. The formal coursework provides a strong foundation in both social psychology and organizational psychology theories and their applications. A series of required research methods courses provides the foundation necessary for understanding and conducting scholarly research. Similarly, a series of required courses in measurement and statistics provides students with the strong statistical and analytical background necessary for the research process.

Research experience is furthered  through “workgroups.” Workgroups are research teams led by a faculty member. In workgroups, students participate in the design, execution, data analysis, and writing phases of research projects. All students are required to participate in workgroups each semester for the first four years in the degree program. The commitment to research training is an important part of the program and consumes a significant amount of students’ time.

Applied Aspects of the Program

The applied aspects of the degree program for doctoral students involve the development of skills and knowledge in the application of theory and research to practice and consulting activities. As such, students acquire an understanding of the systems approach, in particular, the dynamic interaction among individuals, groups, organizations, and their environments as well as an understanding of organizational diagnosis, organization development, coaching and managing conflict. A variety of opportunities are available for students to develop skills in conducting applied and action research and in providing consultation to groups and organizations. All of these activities are grounded in theory and research in social-organizational psychology. A series of courses are available which provide students with basic skills in interpersonal relationships, interviewing and information gathering techniques, and process consultation. In addition, supervised field experiences are conducted in which  students engage in an applied project with a local organization under faculty direction. It is assumed that students will undertake internships or work in organizations during summers or in the later years of the program.  The Ph.D. Program in Social-Organizational Psychology is a scientist-practitioner program and as such focuses on both research and practice.

The curriculum represents the dual emphasis of the program.

The following are six areas from which students select courses:

  1. Research and Statistics

  2. Theory and Practice in Social-Organizational Psychology

  3. Integrative Experiences

  4. Breadth Requirement (courses beyond those offered by program faculty but within TC)

  5. Elective courses

  6. Dissertation Advisement

Students take both required and elective courses for a total of 75-79+ credits. Variable-credit courses should be taken for the minimum rather than the maximum number of credits in order to have both the required number of credits and the desired distribution of courses.

For a more comprehensive description of the Ph.D. degree program requirements, please see the Ph.D. program handbook, located on the Social-Organizational Psychology student resources web page. The handbook should be considered the primary document with regard to degree requirements for the Ph.D. program, including information on requirements for the two Qualifying Papers.

1.) Research and Statistics (6 courses required)

  • ORLJ 5040 Research methods in social psychology

  • HUDM 4122 Probability and statistical inference

  • HUDM 5122 Applied regression analysis

  • HUDM 5123 Linear models and experimental design

  • HUDM 6122 Multivariate analysis I

Plus one of the following:

  • ORL 6500 Qualitative research methods in organizations: Design and data collection

  • ORL 6501 Qualitative research methods in organizations: Data analysis and reporting

  • ORLJ 5018 Using survey research in organizational consulting

  • ORLJ 5025 People Analytics

  • ORLA 6641 Advanced topics in research methods and design

  • HUDM 5026 Introduction to data analysis in R

  • HUDM 5059 Psychological measurement

  • HUDM 5124 Multidimensional scaling and clustering

  • HUDM 5133 Causal Inference

  • HUDM 6026 Computational statistics

  • HUDM 6030 Multilevel and longitudinal data analysis

  • HUDM 6055 Latent structure analysis

2.) Theory and Practice in Social-Organizational Psychology (12 courses required)

Courses in this section are sub-divided into theory/seminar and practice courses. Of the twelve required courses, there are five courses that are set (two pro-seminars, as well as three practice courses). Of the seven remaining courses, four must be theory/seminar courses taught by TC Faculty, while the remaining three may be selected from either the remaining optional theory/seminar courses or the remaining optional practice courses listed below.



  • ORLJ 5540 Pro-seminar in social psychology

  • ORLJ 5541 Pro-seminar in organizational psychology 


  • ORLJ 5115 Social networks & performance

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

  • ORLJ 6045 Demography in organizations

  • ORLJ 6048 Teaching to cognitive & cultural complexities

  • ORLJ 6199 Special topics seminars

    • The social psychology of organizational futures

    • A systems psychodynamic approach to organizational life

  • ORLJ 6500 Stereotypes and stereotypic processes in organizational contexts

  • ORLJ 6502 Dynamic networks and systems

  • B 9506 Organizational behavior



  • ORL 5362 Group dynamics: A systems perspective

  • ORLJ 6343 Practicum in change and consultation in organizations

  • ORLJ 6349 Practicum in process consultation


  • ORLJ 4002 Functions of organizations

  • ORLJ 4010 Executive coaching

  • ORLJ 5002 Advanced functions of organizations

  • ORLJ 5003 Human resource management

  • ORLJ 5005 Leadership and supervision

  • ORLJ 5017 Small group intervention: Improving team performance

  • ORLJ 5025 People Analytics

  • ORLJ 5090 Strategic talent management

  • ORLJ 5250 Equity, diversity and inclusion in teams

  • ORLJ 5340 Adaptive Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

  • ORLJ 5341 Effective Mediation

  • ORLJ 6350 Advanced practicum in conflict resolution

  • ORLJ 6540 Contemporary issues in organizational psychology

  • ORLD 5055 Staff development and training

  • ORLD 5061 The learning organization

  • ORLD 5821 Leveraging emotional intelligence to enhance organizational effectiveness

  • ORLD 5822 Building productive relationships with social intelligence

  • ORLD 5823 Building 21st century organizational capability with cultural intelligence

3.) Integrative Experiences

Integrative experiences include participation in eight semesters of workgroups and colloquia, as well as graduate teaching assistantships.


The curriculum is designed to facilitate students’ completion of two qualifying papers, while enrolled in workgroups for the first four years of the program.

  • ORLJ 6341 Workgroup (Debra Noumair)

  • ORLJ 6344 Workgroup (Peter Coleman)

  • ORLJ 6345 Workgroup (Elissa Perry)

  • ORLJ 6346 Workgroup (James Westaby)

  • ORLJ 6347 Workgroup (Caryn Block)

  • ORLJ 6348 Workgroup (William Pasmore)


  1. One workgroup per semester for a minimum of eight semesters is required from the time a student enters the Ph.D. program.

  2. Students must take six of the eight workgroups for credit points (see Ph.D. Handbook for guidelines). An exception may be made for students who participated in a workgroup as a master’s student in the Social-Organizational Psychology Program, in which case, the student must take a minimum of four of the eight workgroups for credit.

  3. Workgroup credits may not be substituted for required courses.

  4. Students are required to actively engage in at least two different workgroups over the eight semesters that workgroup is required. Active engagement means regular participation in the design and conduct of research until it reaches a conclusion. Solely being present at meetings does not satisfy the requirement.


Each semester, the program holds a number of colloquia and related activities including invited speakers from academia and consulting, presentations from program members, and general meetings. These are important developmental experiences for learning about research, practice, and professionalism. Attendance is required throughout the first four years of the program.

  • ORLJ 6640 Social-organizational psychology colloquium


Doctoral students are required to serve as a graduate teaching assistant for master's- level courses (in the Fall and in the Spring) for two years within their first three years of the Social-Organizational Psychology Program. The TA-ship requirement starts in the student’s second year, unless they are a graduate of our M.A. program. Students typically are expected to act as graduate teaching assistants for the Master’s level core courses (Human Resources Management, Organizational Psychology, Understanding Behavioral Research, to name a few). Beyond this, additional graduate teaching assistantship opportunities are available for more advanced courses (e.g., Organizational Dynamics, Leadership and Supervision, Group Dynamics, Executive Coaching, etc.).

4.) Breadth Requirement

Students must take a total of six credits of breadth courses. A breadth course must be outside of your program of study (in this case, non-ORLJ) and must also be a course at Teachers College. On the College forms, you are strongly encouraged to count your statistics/methods courses as breadth courses.

5.) Elective Courses

To fulfill the 75-credit program, electives can be taken in addition to required courses and the Breadth Requirement. Any ORLJ courses may be taken as electives. Below is a list of pre-approved elective courses outside of ORLJ, including courses at Columbia University. This list is NOT exhaustive.

If a student wishes to take a course not listed here, he/she must get written approval from the Ph.D. Coordinator (an email will suffice). If the student is at risk of being closed out of the course by waiting for approval, it is best to register for the course during the interim period and then drop it, if necessary.

  • ORLJ 5003 Human resource management

  • ORLJ 5005 Leadership and supervision

  • ORLJ 5025 People analytics

  • ORLJ 5045 Organizational dynamics

  • ORLJ 5250 Equity, diversity and inclusion in teams

  • ORLD 4051 How adults learn

  • ORLD 4085 Management and leadership skills in practice

  • ORLD 4827 Fostering transformational learning

  • ORLD 5821 Leveraging EQ to enhance org effectiveness

  • ORLD 5822 Building productive relationships with SQ

  • ORLD 5823 Building 21st century organizational capabilities with CQ

  • B 7553 Managerial decision making

  • B 9506 Organizational behavior

  • CCPJ 4050 Microaggressions in institutional climates

  • CCPJ 5020 Racism and racial identity in psychology and education

  • CCPJ 5062 Career counseling

  • CCPJ 5563 Multicultural consultation in org development

  • CCPX 4035 Personality and behavior change

  • CCPX 5034 Developmental psychopathology

  • CCPX 6352 Cognition, emotion, & health

  • HUDK 5023 Cognitive development

  • HUDK 5029 Personality development across the life span

  • HUDM 5059 Psychological measurement

Certification After Completing Coursework

Certification Examination in Psychology: The Research Methods Examination (RME) in Psychology is part of the certification process for doctoral students in psychology degree programs at Teachers College. The examination measures students' knowledge in statistics, measurement, and research design and is developed by the Research Methods Examination Committee.

Qualifying Papers: All doctoral candidates in the Social-Organizational Psychology Program must submit two qualifying papers (Theory-based/Empirical and Applied). The primary purposes of the qualifying papers are integrative, diagnostic, pedagogical, and evaluative. The qualifying papers are examples of the kind of work students will be doing as social-organizational psychologists. The papers provide an opportunity for the faculty to help develop and evaluate the student’s skills in an ongoing and iterative process.

6.) The Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is a report of independently conducted research. In formulating and conducting this research, the student has available as consultants and advisors two or three members of the faculty. Students will need to register for dissertation‐related classes. There is a sequence of courses that vary with respect to course credit and fee. When actively working on the dissertation and meeting with one’s sponsor and/or committee, students are expected to register for ORLJ 7501 two semesters. This course is only offered for 1‐3 points and students can register for the minimum number of credits; it is offered for variable credit to accommodate the different needs of various students. Once the student has registered for two terms of ORLJ 7501, Ph.D. students are required to register for ORLJ 8900 for 0 credits and pay a fee for every semester until the term of the final defense when a student must enroll in TI8900, PhD Dissertation Defense. Please see the Office of Doctoral Studies for information regarding the fees.

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