Online PhD in Organizational Development: Program Overview

Online Ph.D. degrees in organizational development are not typically found. Instead students can get online degrees in organizational leadership and organizational learning.

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Essential Information

Online Ph.D. programs in organizational development are typically not available. Students looking for a doctoral degree in organizational development can instead find related online Ph.D. programs in organizational leadership and organizational learning. These programs allow working human resources professionals to transition into managerial career tracks that emphasize company-wide restructuring.

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.

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Ph.D. in Organizational Development

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.

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.

Common Coursework

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

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

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

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

Most organizational development graduates find employment in the human resources field. In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual salary of $104,440 for human resources managers. Ph.D. graduates may also go into postsecondary education. In May 2015, the BLS reported a median salary of $72,470 for postsecondary educators.

Although students will not find online Ph.D. programs in organizational development, they will find online degrees in organizational leadership and organizational learning. Prior related experience may be required for admission, and courses that students can take include organizational research methods and management fundamentals.

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