Online Masters Programs in Organizational Development

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Several schools offer online master's degree programs in organizational development. These programs may be totally online, but some are hybrid programs that offer online courses combined with face-to-face seminars that allow classmates and instructors to meet and share ideas. Some programs offer international seminars in order to give students a global business perspective. In most programs, students can access lectures and course materials as their own schedules permit, within certain time limits. Specialized software may be necessary,

A master's degree program generally requires two years or less of full-time study. Students must hold a bachelor's degree, and some business experience may be preferred. Courses in research skills are required, and most programs call for a thesis or final research project. Other courses cover leadership, organizational change, group behavior and building an effective organization.

Master's Degree in Organizational Development

Online organizational development master's programs help students build their skills in leadership, organizational structure, conflict management, organizational design and human resource management. Most programs focus on overall business skills to ensure that graduates are prepared for careers in both profit and non-profit industries. Applicants to online master's programs in organizational development must possess a bachelor's degree. A background in behavioral science, business or social sciences is also beneficial.

Program Information and Requirements

Online organizational development students can normally complete a master's program in 18 months or less. Online courses, tests and communication are typically completed through Internet programs and e-mail, although some programs combine on-campus and online delivery.

Distance education students in organizational development generally must have access to a personal computer with Internet and may be required to purchase specialized software and textbooks. Most online programs are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering flexibility in schedule.

Common Courses

Students of online graduate programs typically take courses similar to those offered on campus. The courses prepare students to manage employees and make decisions in professional settings.

Organizational Change Introduction and Resistance

This course provides an overview on theory in organizational development models. Students learn about the signs and symptoms of resistance in relation to fear, loss, power, politics, transitions and transformations in the workplace. Opportunities are also available to develop techniques for resistance intervention.

Organizational Leadership

Students in the organizational leadership course learn how to effectively manage and communicate with employees. Theories of chaos complexity, complex systems and co-existing in change environments are explored. Topics teach students to develop and implement strategies in the workplace.

Building Effective and Sustainable Organizations

Students in the building effective and sustainable organizations course teach students about creating a solid structure within an organization. The course educates students on establishing goals, making decisions, designing programs and creating positive work environments.

Individual and Group Behavior and Effectiveness

This course teaches students about individual and group performance, interpersonal relations, decision-making and team improvements. An opportunity is available to develop skills in organizational team situations, employee assessment and motivational techniques.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for human resource managers was expected to grow by 6%, which is as faster than average, from 2019-2029 ( In May 2020, median annual wages for human resource managers were $121,220, with the lowest 10% earning $71,180 or less and the highest 10% earning $208,000 or more.

Continuing Education Information

Students of organizational development can pursue voluntary certification through the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) or the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). ASTD offers 16 certifications, while SHRM offers the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications, as well as specific international and California-based designations. Both organizations require work experience and passing scores on examinations to achieve certification.

Online master's degree programs in organizational development provide an education in group behavior, leadership, global business and theories in organizational development models. Graduates may go on to work as human resource managers or attain professional certification.

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