Doctoral study in Positive Organizational Psychology trains scholars whose research seeks to enhance and broaden the human experience within organizational settings.

The applications of positive psychology to improving performance and quality of work are immediate and clear. This distinctive program trains scholars to improve organizational effectiveness and individual work life through advanced research in positive psychology. Ideal for those committed to creating socially responsible organizations, the program explores how to meet the challenges of an increasingly diverse workforce in a global economy and community. You’ll have access to a wide array of collaborative research opportunities. Program faculty includes one of the founders of positive organizational psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. From experience sampling methods to quasi-experimental designs, surveys, and interviews, our faculty and students focus their research on lifelong processes and outcomes of behavior as they affect quality of human life.

Program Highlights
  • Curriculum and graduate seminars provide students with the theoretical, methodological, and practical experience to pursue careers in academia or in a range of high-level research and consulting positions.
  • CGU leaped to the forefront of positive psychology research in 1999, when Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi founded the Quality of Life Research Center, a nonprofit institute that researches a range of cutting-edge issues in positive psychology and provides a forum for scholars from across the globe to extend their research and studies in the field.
  • Proximity to organizations in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties provides many employment and educational opportunities for students.
  • All organizational psychology research graduate students are encouraged to gain practical experience through projects, internships, or jobs, often at CGU’s research centers and affiliates, such as the Claremont Evaluation Center or the Health Psychology and Prevention Science Institute.
  • All organizational psychology research students who request financial aid receive fellowships. DBOS also regularly hires students for paid teaching assistantships.
  • DBOS offers a certificate program and professional development workshops in evaluation and applied methods for those seeking continuing education.

Program At a Glance

72 units

3–7 years

Fall | Spring

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

PhD in Psychology

Featured Courses

Comparative Evaluation Theory

Provides basic understanding of prevalent evaluation theories, systems for categorizing these theories, the process of theory development in evaluation, and more.

Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Behavior

Doctoral seminar covering core areas of organizational behavior, including such topics as organizational structure, roles, technology, communication, effectiveness, job design, and more.

Psych 350s
Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Development & Change

Doctoral seminar exploring organizational change processes, including problem diagnosis, development of alternative interventions, change management, and more.

Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Theory

Topics covered in this course will include theories of organizational structure, organizations as systems and cultures, decision making, intergroup conflict and negotiation, and impacts of information technology on modern organizations.

Adult Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives

Provides an overview of psychosocial development in early, middle, and late adulthood from a lifespan perspective from both classic and positive-psychology perspectives.

Foundations of Positive Psychology

Introduces the history, intellectual sources, and main topics of research and application in the burgeoning field of positive psychology.

PhD Unit Requirements

72 units

Positive Organizational Psychology Core Courses (20 units)
PSYCH 329: Foundations of Positive Psychology (4 units)
PSYCH 330: Advanced Topics in Positive Psychology (4 units)
PSYCH 319: Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Behavior (4 units)
PSYCH 321: Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Theory (4 units)
PSYCH 350s: Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Development & Change (4 units)

Positive Organizational Psychology & Related Electives (24 units)
Students are required to take an additional 24 units of Positive Organizational Psychology or related coursework, following an approved plan of study. Choose from:

PSYCH 352h: Doctoral Seminar on Industrial Psychology (4 units)
PSYCH 350o: Positive Psychology Research Practicum (2 to 4 units)
PSYCH 350q: Motivation & Peak Performance (4 units)
PSYCH 350w: Flow: The Psychology of Positive Experience (2 units)
PSYCH 350m: Creativity & Innovation (2 units)
PSYCH 350mm: Job Design (2 units)
PSYCH 350y: Good Work (4 units)
PSYCH 352j: Appreciative Inquiry for Organizational Change (2 units)
PSYCH 352k: Organizational Learning: Theory & Practice (4 units)
PSYCH 350h: Organizational Culture (4 units)
PSYCH 350e: Leadership (4 units)
PSYCH 354q: Training & Development (4 units)
PSYCH 312q: Theory & Practice of Consulting (4 units)
PSYCH 331: Adult Development: Classic & Positive Perspectives (4 units)
PSYCH 350x: The Study of Experience (4 units)
PSYCH 315q: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (4 units)
PSYCH 357 Talent Management (4 units)
PSYCH 352S Interpersonal Dynamics in Organizations (4 units)
PSYCH 352V Jobs, Careers & Calling (4 units)

Students are also encouraged to take elective courses in the School of Educational Studies, the Drucker School of Management, the Division of Politics & Economics, the Center for Information Systems & Technology, the School of Arts & Humanities, and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Statistics & Methodology (20 units)
PSYCH 302: Research Methods (4 units)
PSYCH 306f: Directed Research Seminar: Organizational Behavior (two 2-unit courses)
PSYCH 308a: Intermediate Statistics (2 units)
PSYCH 308b: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) (2 units)
PSYCH 308d: Categorical Data Analysis (2 units)
PSYCH 308c: Applied Multiple Regression (2 units)
PSYCH 315 Sequence: 4 additional units of Advanced Methodology

Field/Teaching Experience (4 units)
PSYCH 310: Supervised Teaching Seminar (4 units)
PSYCH 450: Field Placement (4 units)

Transdisciplinary Core Course (4 units)
All PhD students are required to enroll in a transdisciplinary core course from the “TNDY” course sequence during their first three semesters at Claremont Graduate University.

In addition to 72 units of coursework, all students must complete a portfolio that represents a cohesive set of experiences balancing training in their area of specialization.

PhD Completion

Faculty & Research

  • Jeffrey Yip profile image

    Jeffrey Yip

    Assistant Professor of Organizational Psychology

    Research Interests

    Leadership, Mentoring, Career development

  • Stewart I. Donaldson profile image

    Stewart I. Donaldson

    Executive Director, Claremont Evaluation Center
    Professor of Psychology and Community & Global Health

    Research Interests

    Positive organizational psychology, theory-driven evaluation, organizational and career development, health and well-being

    Affiliated with

    Claremont Evaluation Center

  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi profile image

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

    Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management
    Founder, Co-Director, Quality of Life Research Center

    Research Interests

    Creativity and innovation, Flow

  • Jeanne Nakamura profile image

    Jeanne Nakamura

    Associate Professor
    Co-director, Quality of Life Research Center

    Research Interests

    Engagement, Mentoring, Positive aging

  • Michelle Bligh profile image

    Michelle Bligh

    Dean, School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation
    Professor of Organizational Behavior
    Director, Human Resource Management

    Research Interests

    Organizational culture, Leadership in corporate cultures, Charismatic leadership, Interpersonal trust, Political and executive leadership

  • Michael Hogg profile image

    Michael Hogg

    Professor of Social Psychology
    Chair, Social Psychology Programs

    Research Interests

    Self and social identity, group processes and intergroup relations, influence and leadership, identity-uncertainty and extremism, language and social identity

  • Becky Reichard profile image

    Becky Reichard

    Associate Professor

    Research Interests

    Leadership evaluation, assessment, and development; impact of leader development interventions; leader developmental readiness; leader motivation and self-development, longitudinal research on leader development

  • Paul J. Zak profile image

    Paul J. Zak

    Professor of Economic Sciences, Psychology & Management
    Director, Center for Neuroeconomics Studies

    Research Interests

    Neuroeconomics, Neuroscience of narratives, Neuromanagement

  • Tarek Azzam profile image

    Tarek Azzam

    Associate Professor of Evaluation and Applied Methods

    Research Interests

    Social research and methodologies, Policy and program evaluations, Data visualization and evaluation

  • Leslie Fierro profile image

    Leslie Fierro

    Assistant Clinical Professor of Evaluation

    Research Interests

    Evaluation policy in the design, conduct, and use of program evaluations

  • Jason T. Siegel profile image

    Jason T. Siegel

    Associate Professor of Social Psychology

    Research Interests

    Social Psychology, Health Psychology, Persuasion, Motivation, Research Methodology

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

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Nicholas Lopez

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-7151