PhD in Organizational Development

Learn about what is covered in a Ph.D. program in organizational development and the prerequisites necessary to enter a program. Find out what courses may be included in the degree program and what jobs you will qualify for after graduation. Schools offering Nonprofit Management & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Expect From a Ph.D. Program in Organizational Development?

The overall program goal is to help you develop an in-depth, theoretical understanding of organizational development, the forces that influence organizational development and an understanding of what it takes to make organizations more effective. You'll learn how to conduct research designed to help organizations increase growth, viability and effectiveness. Research often tackles problems such as helping organizations respond to change, adapt to new technologies and change employee attitudes.

Courses of study often require you to examine common development processes and either expand on them or develop new development systems. In your research, you'll likely incorporate methods from various fields, such as behavioral science, group dynamics, action research, organizational psychology and motivational theory. This degree typically takes 3-5 years to complete and culminates in a dissertation, which is a significant work of original research.

Primary GoalsDevelop skills to conduct research, gain a theoretical understanding of organizational develop, and learn about common problems that organizations face
Admission RequirementsBachelor's degree, related work experience, GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, personal statement, resume
Common CoursesGroup processes, organizational interventions, process consultation, research methodologies, organization, quantitive methods
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (for postsecondary teachers)
Median Salary (2018)$78,470 (for postsecondary teachers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Any Prerequisites?

Most programs prefer applicants with a master's degree in a related field or a bachelor's degree and significant organizational development experience. You should also expect to submit GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a resume.

What Classes Will I Take?

Coursework in doctorate programs in organizational development feature research, in-depth theory and collaborative projects. Coursework likely to appear in the curriculum includes:

  • Group processes
  • Organizational interventions
  • Process consultation
  • Research methodologies
  • Organization strategy
  • Quantitative methods

What Type of Job Can I Get?

Most students who enroll in Ph.D. programs in organizational development pursue jobs in academia, working as professors in business departments, schools or colleges. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment rate for postsecondary teachers may grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average ( However, while overall academic jobs may increase over this time period, competition for tenured positions could likely remain keen. Those who do not pursue jobs in academia often find work as researchers, consultants or executives.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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