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Organizational Development Graduate Programs

A graduate degree program in organizational development can prepare you for a career helping companies reach their full potential. Find out the classes and topics covered in these programs as well as degree level options.

What Is Covered in the Curriculum?

Depending on what type of degree you're pursuing and whether the program you're choosing is online or on-campus, you can expect your program to be anywhere from 18 months to three years or more. Most programs are geared toward full-time working professionals. Programs are often broke down into individual sessions and held in the evening or over the weekend to accommodate your working schedule.

You expect to take contextual courses that teach you the role of organizational development and how it can be used solve problems and create solutions for businesses. During the second year, you'll become more familiar with the implementation of organizational development strategies. Research is a large part of the entire program, and your final year in may involve completing a dissertation. If your current schedule can't accommodate on-campus or full-time study, online organizational development programs are available. Topics you may encounter include the following:

  • Organization development principles
  • International organization development
  • Strategy and organization design
  • Understanding organizational change
  • Diagnosing organizational problems
  • Implementing organizational change

Course TopicsOrganization development, organizational problems, organizational change, strategy and design
Admissions RequirementsBachelor's degree, GMAT, GRE or MAT scores, letters of recommendation
Program FormatOn campus, online, or hybrid
Median Salary (2020)*$115,640 for training and development managers
Job Outlook (2019-2029)*7% growth for training and development managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Educational Prerequisites for an Organizational Development Graduate Program?

An organizational development graduate program provides you with the skills needed to help businesses improve performance through employee restructuring. Whether you pursue a Master of Science or a Ph.D. in Organizational Development, there are certain prerequisites that must be met before enrolling. Most schools require you to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college. Although an undergraduate degree in business is preferred, it can be in a related field.

You'll be required to have relevant work experience. You may also need to provide letters of recommendation from people familiar with your work or educational experience. Depending on the school you choose, satisfactory GMAT, GRE or MAT scores may be part of the eligibility requirements. You can research individual schools for detailed requirement checklists.

Can I Earn my Degree Online?

Organizational development graduate programs are offered on-campus, online or in hybrid format. You can choose the program type that best meets your needs in terms of time, convenience and location. Hybrid programs can be completed almost completely online; only a few weekends per semester will require on-campus attendance.

What Can I Do With my Degree?

A graduate degree in organizational development can lead to many career opportunities in management and human resources. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for training and development managers is expected to grow by 7% over 2019-2029.

Many companies today hire human resource or organizational development specialists to implement training and development programs as a way of making the organization more profitable. They may help develop benefit and compensation packages employers can offer to potential employees. Organizations involved with consulting, management and employment services are expected to offer many career opportunities for organizational development graduates.

The BLS stated that the lowest ten percent of development managers earned less than $66,270 in 2020, while the highest ten percent earned more than $200,210. The median annual salary for all development managers was $115,640. Salaries vary depending on your location, level of training, experience and organization size.