Masters in Organizational Development

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Resource for Masters of Organizational Development Degrees

MastersInOrganizationalDevelopment has guides and resources on online Organizational Development degrees. Organizational effectiveness is an issue that all businesses large and small confront. Masters in organizational development come in the form of a Master of Science in organizational development (MSOD) or Master of Organizational Development (MOD).

These programs include an overview of graduate-level research, data collection, and management strategies. The masters in organizational development programs typically end in a capstone project, which applies the fundamentals of organizational development to real world scenarios.

Purdue University — Purdue's MS in Management: Organizational Design & Development program encourages its students to become proficient managers and design organizational strategies and concepts to impact the global marketplace. The coursework consisting of group projects, presentations and reports are designed to help students develop the confidence and skills needed to handle real-life business situations.
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Walden University — Walden University's MS in Psychology: Organizational Psychology & Development program teaches students managerial fundamentals and understanding of traits that enhance individual and organizational effectiveness. The program is designed for recent graduates, experienced business managers, human resource professionals, educators, and consultants who want to further their educational repertoire with this specialized degree.
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Description of Masters in Organizational Development Programs:

A master’s in organizational development is a graduate level program that prepares students for careers in management, with a particular focus in organizational structure and change management. It has been defined as “the application of behaviorally-sound processes for the purpose of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of individuals and organizations.” This graduate program is good if you’re entering the field in a position such as human resource, or if you’re moving into an organizational leadership role in your current career. Currently the global business environment is extremely competitive, which makes advanced education more important than ever before. A master’s degree is becoming essential to having career success in the organizational development field. Graduate degrees provide more job flexibility and responsibility, faster promotions, and higher compensation.

What are Masters in Organizational Development Program Objectives?

Masters in organizational development programs hope to provide graduates with a solid foundation in a variety of organization, business, managing and development areas. Through these programs you should gain the use of tools to improve performance of individuals and organizations. The objectives you should learn include:

  • Leading for organizational success
  • Enhancing individual and group effectiveness
  • Building strategic organizations
  • Diagnosing organizational issues
  • Measuring and analyzing for results
  • Implementing quality and lean systems
  • Engaging whole systems for large scale change
  • Managing strategic human resources
  • Recognizing and understanding a gap in performance
  • Analyzing to identify root cause
  • Creating and implementing a plan to correct root cause
  • Measuring the effectiveness of the plan
  • Adjusting and moving on to the next issue

What Courses are in a Master in Organization Development Program?

Masters programs vary depending on the school and the program itself. Typically program courses cover topics in understanding, diagnosing, targeting, and mastering organizational change. In all programs you’ll explore the concepts and history of organizational development, power and politics in change, role of change agents, types of interventions, importance of measurement and empiricism, ethical considerations, and models of organizational change. The following is a list of potential courses you’ll find in a master’s of organizational development program:

  • Organization Development and Change
  • Organization Theory and Diagnosis
  • Human Resource Management
  • Use of Self in Professional Practice
  • Group Theory and Change Facilitation
  • Applied Research Methods
  • Organization Analysis and Strategy
  • Consultation and Coaching Theory and Skills
  • Diversity and Cultural Competence
  • Implementing System Change
  • System Dynamics
  • Organizational Communications
  • Organizational Research and Statistics
  • Organizational Assessment Strategies
  • Conflict Resolution

The majority of organizational development programs will offer a “Practicum in Organization Development Management.” This course will span a few months and comprise of a field-based project that you develop and implement. Typically you’ll focus on framing a client engagement and front-end consultation skills, progress review and planning for project completion and development of the practicum report, and presentation of results.

Sometimes fieldwork in International organizational development and change is also offered or required. This would also be a project, although it would be working with clients’ outside of the U.S. Within this course you would develop consultation and coaching skills, and gain a cultural experience to add to your portfolio. Having cultural competence in global settings is very important so that you can provide professional quality consultation services to divers clients.

Popular Career Options for Masters in Organizational Development Graduates:

There are quite a few career options open for those who graduate with masters in organizational development degrees. Larger companies tend to hire full-time organization development managers to oversee the arrangement of a company’s organization structure. On the other hand, these programs are also good for those who want to work in human resources or general management positions. Popular job titles for organizational development graduates include:

  • Organizational Development Manager
  • Organizational Development Consultant
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Human Resources Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Director of Public Relations
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Hospital Administrator
  • Personnel Director
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Business Consultant

Application Process for a Masters in Organizational Development:

The educational prerequisites for masters in organization development are similar to the majority of other graduate programs. There will be variations between different programs and schools, but no matter what you must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. The following is a list of possible required materials for the application process:

  • Application Package: This should be a completed package for the specific college or university program you’re wanting to apply to. This must be sent in by that school’s deadline. Typically schools have a form online that you can fill out.
  • A statement of purpose: This should describe how you believe the masters in organizational development program will further your career and professional development. It should include your understanding of the field, as well as the philosophy and curriculum. You should also include personal things like your approach to learning and personal development. Essentially you’re presenting your case in why you should be let into that school’s program—the statement of purpose should be convincing, unique, and informative.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Schools often require two or three letters of recommendation that speak to your potential success in that program and the field of organizational development. These letters should be from past employers or professors, and should address your potential as an OD professional.
  • Official Transcript: You should provide official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work that you have done in the past. Occasionally credits from your past studies can be applied to your program. Additionally, schools want to see your GPAs in specific classes to know that you qualify for their programs. Typically programs have an overall GPA minimum. Often this is 3.0 or 3.5, although sometimes they’ll waive this requirement if you look particularly strong in all other areas of your application.
  • Samples of writing: Often programs want to see at least two samples of your written work. This could include college or grad school papers, reports, memoranda, articles, or portions of these. Your samples should indicate your potential for producing graduate-level thought and writing.
  • Professional Resume or CV: This document should list your past employment experience, including responsibilities, skills obtained, significant travel, languages spoken, certifications and education. This document should prove why you’ll be an excellent organizational developer and excel in the OD field. Along with this you could provide a list of personal growth workshops and other laboratory trainings that you’ve attended. You should include the course title, dates, location, sponsoring organization, and instructor.
  • Professional Academic Interview: Often masters programs require you to complete an interview with the director or other staff member of the organizational development department. They will contact you for an interview after receiving all of your application materials.

Benefits of Online Masters in Organization Development Degrees:

  • Online degrees are flexible. You can plan your classes around your family, friends, career obligations, and more. You don’t have to move to the location of a top degree program, and you don’t have to leave your house to take courses. If you need to travel for your job or if you’re family plans a vacation, you can still do those things while in session.
  • Online degrees create great networking opportunities. Unlike traditional campuses where everyone you meet is from the same location as yourself, online degrees have students from all over the world. This provides you with a worldwide network that it impossible to attain through traditional programming. Through that peer network developed you will have numerous opportunities for employment in different locations. You’ll also be exposed to different types of thinking and ways of doing things.
  • Online degrees offer a higher variety of classes, concentrations and specializations. You’ll be able to find the exact program you want. Online education doesn’t limit the specializations or concentrations offered like traditional campus learning may.
  • Online degrees offer a more affordable way to get your master’s degree. Without the overhead costs of classrooms or in-class school supplies, overall program costs are less. Additionally you’ll save money on commuting, eating out, and more. If you’re looking for an affordable way to get a higher education, an online degree may be the way to go.

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