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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Organizational Development

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Editor's Picks: Online Schools for Organizational Development

The award for best online master's degree in organizational development for flexibility goes to the Walden University,an accredited university primarily working in online programs, that offers an online Master's of Business Administration in Leadership. The benefit to Walden students is that they are able to participate in the education in a flexible manner. There is a set course structure to every program at Walden, but students are free to complete the work in any location of their choosing and at any time, as long as they finish it within specific time frames. In other words, students can access their courses 24/7 at a time of day that works best for them, rather than having to log in on a certain day and time each week, according to the university website. This, coupled with the ability to accelerate your degree plan, provides working adults the flexibility they need to earn a graduate degree on a more manageable schedule.

Featured Online Programs

Career Support
The winner of the award for best online master's degree in organizational development for career support is Liberty University, which offers an online Master of Business Administration in Leadership. The university's Liberty Universitystudents and alumni.

Financial Support
Edgewood University wins the award for best online master's degree in organizational development for financial support because aside from keeping tuition costs competitive with other institutions, the university has a financial aid staff that is dedicated to helping students find ways of paying for college. Financial aid is available through Federal Stafford Loans, tuition reimbursement, military benefits, grants, and scholarships. In addition, Edgewood allows students to pay their tuition using an installment plan so that student can spread out their payments over five months rather than paying in one lump sum, according to the program website. Edgewood has a reputation for providing generous financial aid; 100% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received some kind of financial aid, and 94% received institutional grants or scholarships, according to College Navigator.

Technology Support
The award for best online master's degree in organizational development for technology support goes to University of Denver, which offers 24/7 technical assistance to its online students, according to the university website. Therefore, you won't be left in the lurch if you need to get some work done late at night and run into a technical issue. In addition, University of Denver provides a free mobile app designed exclusively for University College that is available on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, according to the program brochure.

Disability Support
The best online master's degree in organizational development for disability support is offered by the University of Denver. While nearly all universities offer essential services for students with disabilities in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the University of Denver goes above and beyond, offering comprehensive services to those with physical or learning disabilities. The university offers two programs for students with disabilities, including the Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) and the Disability Services Program (DSP). The LEP, a fee-for-service program, is among the top comprehensive support programs in the nation and serves more than 200 students with ADHD and other learning disabilities and challenges annually, according to the LEP website, while the DSP provides free services, including reasonable accommodations, for all students with documented disabilities.

Learning Support
The award for best online master's degree in organizational development for learning support goes to Abilene Christian University, a private institution in Abilene, Texas, which offers an online Master of Science in Organizational and Human Resource Development. ACU provides a comprehensive support network for its online students that includes an enrollment advisor, student service manager, small group instructor, faculty, and 24/7 technical support. Online graduate students at ACU can also avail themselves of the distance learning resources available through Brown Library.

Faculty Credentials
Pepperdine University wins the award for best online master's degree in organizational development for faculty credentials because of the strength of its full-time faculty, which is complemented with distinguished guest faculty from across the globe. All full-time faculty listed online for the MSOD program possess a Ph.D., according to the program website. These professors come from diverse backgrounds and include nationally recognized management scholars and speakers, individuals with extensive leadership and consulting experience in the corporate world, professionals who have led change management initiatives at Fortune 500 companies, and former CEOs and COOs with significant experience in strategic development and operations management.

Faculty Accessibility
Edgewood College is the winner of the award for best online master's degree in organizational development for faculty accessibility because its cohort-based format keeps class sizes small. These groups allow for no more than 30 students, according to the program website, making it possible for professors to provide more individualized attention to students. Even though course content is offered primarily online, students still have the opportunity to meet face to face with professors to discuss any questions or difficulties that arise. Last but not least, another factor contributing to positive faculty accessibility is the residential immersion experience, a required, four-day conference on campus where students can interact with Edgewood faculty, visiting scholars, and their fellow students, according to the program brochure.

New Online Student Orientation
The award for best online master's degree in organizational development for new online student orientation goes to Saint Louis University, which offers an online Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Development through its School of Professional Studies. SLU offers a new student orientation both online and on campus, where students are informed of the essentials of going through the online program, including important information in regard to financial aid, information technology services, receiving academic support, accessing career services, and more.

Explore a Master's Degree in Organizational Development

Organizational development covers concepts in the enhancement of employee knowledge and skills within an organization, and includes training and development principles and practices. An organizational development master's degree is ideal for students interested in human resources and teaching, as organization development managers assess employee training requirements, set strategic training goals, oversee the creation of employee educational materials, and teach training methods to instructors and supervisors. Organizational development requires interpersonal skills, managerial skills, and the ability to think critically to assess employees and necessary training programs. A master's degree in organizational development may take two years or more to complete, depending on the number of credits required, the amount of transferable graduate credits a student brings in to the program, and whether the student attends full-time or part-time.

Class Curriculum

Organizational development provides foundational course work in the principles, theories, and concepts of organization design and development, including culture and globalization, organization theory and consulting, collaboration, and large-scale systems change. Further course work might include transorganization systems and strategies, evaluation methods and research in organization development, and small systems assessment and change. Below are a few courses a master's degree student in organizational development may take:

  • Organizational Behavior. This course covers the principles and values of positive change effort. Students analyze organizational environments, strategy, organization designs, technology, and effectiveness. Students may also discuss the impact of technological change and globalization on organization design.
  • Human Resource Development. Human resource development covers organization interactions, including motivation, group dynamics, system theory, organizational culture, and learning and change. Students learn concepts of skill development and training within the culture of organizations.
  • Conflict Theory and Communication. Conflict theory and communication covers conflict resolution and analyzes case studies in conflict theory. Students may role-play conflict scenarios and learn practical applications for organizational conflict prevention.

Students may read case studies in human resources or organizational development. Students may also be required to complete a thesis or research in organizational development. Last but not least, students may be required to gain internship experience for course credit and professional application.

Building a Career

Organizational development is usually applicable to human resources and training and development positions. A training and development manager position usually requires at least a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree is usually preferred. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual wage of training and development managers was $89,170.

Employment for training and development managers is expected to increase by 15% between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also reports that the median pay for human resources managers was $99,180 per year, and that employment for human resources managers is expected to increase by 13% between 2010 and 2020. Remember, however, that salaries and employment prospects listed here are not guarantees, but are dependent on a number of factors, including the economy, your level of experience and skill, the region of the country you live in, the size of your employer, and other considerations.