Online PhD in Organizational Development: Program Overview

Organizational development is commonly found as a specialty at the undergraduate level, preparing graduates to begin human resources careers. Online Ph.D. programs in fields related to organizational development allow working human resources professionals to transition into managerial career tracks that emphasize company-wide restructuring. This article provides a look at the learning tools used during an online Ph.D. program in organizational development.

Essential Information

Online Ph.D. programs in organizational development are typically not available, since online options are more common at the undergraduate and master's degree levels. Students can instead find related online Ph.D. programs in organizational leadership and organizational learning. Applicants typically need to hold a bachelor's or master's degree, along with past experience in human resources or management. Ph.D. students usually need to complete a few weekend residencies each year in order to work with faculty members and other students on formulating their dissertation.

Related Program Options

Certificate and master's degree programs in organizational development are offered more widely through distance learning than Ph.D. programs. Students can focus on the following specific subjects:

  • Graduate Certificate in Organizational Consulting
  • Graduate Certificate in Organizational Development
  • Master of Science in Human Resources and Organization Development

Online Ph.D. in Organizational Development Overview

Organizational development-oriented doctoral degree programs provide focused, advanced study on institutional restructuring. Such programs are designed to be a progression of a student's professional experience in human resources or management.

Program Information and Requirements

This doctoral degree program can have specialization such as educational organization development, but generally covers the fundamentals of organizational development as it applies to any organization's strategic plan. Entrance requires an accredited bachelor's or master's degree. Many seek an online Ph.D. in organizational development as an extension of their existing duties in human resources or management.

The online Ph.D. program requires student to develop a curriculum that includes research and defense of a thesis resulting from the research. Lectures and professor interaction are done through a combination of email, online forums and, in some cases, streaming video.

List of Common Organizational Development Courses

An online doctoral curriculum in organizational development typically begins with foundational courses in research, analysis and organizational theory. Later courses delve into organizational specialties that support a doctoral thesis requirement.

Organizational Research Methods Course

This course teaches student how to effectively access, search and cite information sources. Student typically complete this course in the first semester of study.

Organizational Development Theory Course

Students learn how to analyze organizational structures and develop plans to shape an organization into a more efficient system. Topics include organizational cultures, leader-follower dynamics and communication methods.

Management Fundamentals Course

This course has students studying multiple theories in leadership and management theory. Student develop a broad sense of the management structure in an organization.

Career Information for Graduates

Most organizational development graduates find employment in the human resources field. Most top-level executives in organizational development, who oversee human resources for an entire company and typically have at least 15 years experience, earned salaries between $141,985 and $176,486, according to in June 2010. Ph.D. graduates may also go into advanced-level academic research, which reported as having a typical salary of $62,032-$83,865 across all fields of academic research.

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