Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Graziadio Academic Catalog 
2024-2025 Graziadio Academic Catalog

Master of Science in Organization Development

In rapidly changing and global environments, organizations remain competitive and economically viable through changes in their strategies, technologies, structures, work designs, and human resource systems. The Master of Science in Organization Development (MSOD) program’s mission is to prepare leaders in the art and science of learning and managing strategic change. It is designed for individuals involved in organizational change/ transformation and development, typically as professionals, consultants, or managers. 

The areas of focus that are central to the MSOD curriculum are: increasing students’ knowledge of self in order to be more effective as change agents; application of knowledge and skills in providing organization development consulting; Developing a students’ ability to recognize global challenges that organizations face and provide ethical and globally-oriented consultation; Building students’ knowledge and skills to make future contributions to the rigor and relevance of the organization development field.

This six-trimester program utilizes a strategic management and systems theory orientation to the study of planned organizational change and development. Concepts from organization theory and the behavioral sciences-such as group dynamics, the process of change, organization and work design, and culture-provide the foundation for the development of advanced knowledge and skills, including strategic change, international and cross-cultural management, interorganizational relationships, and managing complexity. Emphasis is placed on the application of these concepts to current issues facing organizations, such as globalization, growth, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, productivity improvement, and changes in strategic direction.

Courses are delivered once per trimester in intensive residential sessions that provide a highly interactive learning environment. Most courses are preceded by a preparatory online foundations course that introduces primary subject matter and establishes the theoretical and practical foundation upon which the intensive face-to-face courses are built. There are six courses which are 8  to 12-days and scheduled at approximately 10 to 12-week intervals. This format attracts students from around the world. It also enables participants to maintain full-time employment and to learn through the application of course concepts in their work settings. To develop global citizen and practitioner knowledge, sessions are held in domestic as well as international locations. The first session is a personally challenging week that develops skills in intrapersonal competence, interpersonal relations, communications, and group development and creates a collaborative learning environment among the students.

Participants typically represent a variety of organizations in the public and private sectors and a wide range of backgrounds, including line management or staff functions, organization development, management consulting, and human resource management. Students come from the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and Central and South America.

During the program, each candidate develops a strategic learning contract that defines the student’s individual goals and measures of achievement. With faculty guidance and supervision, each candidate also designs, implements, and evaluates a planned change project that becomes a formal written research report.

MSOD program learning goals and outcomes state the educational expectations of student achievement for each degree program. These goals are defined by faculty members to clarify how they intend for graduates to be competent and effective as a result of successfully completing the program. 

Standards and Measurements of Achievement for MSOD Students

Satisfactory completion of 40 units of course work, a research program resulting in an approved thesis, a strategic individual learning contract, and successfully passing the final comprehensive exam are necessary for graduation.

While it is expected that all requirements for graduation will be completed by the sixth trimester, students who are not yet finished with their research, and wish to do so, will be enrolled in the project extension course.   

To be reinstated after an absence, the student must contact the Program Office and formally appeal to the MSOD faculty committee to continue and subsequently enroll in the project extension course prior to the beginning of the term the student is requesting. International students in F-1 visa status must obtain clearance from the Office of International Student Services before taking a leave of absence. Degree work in the MSOD program must be completed within seven (7) calendar years from the date on which the student begins work at Pepperdine University. Courses in this program are graded credit or no credit.

Upon completion of the first and third sessions, a student’s progress and potential in the MSOD program are reviewed. The MSOD director, upon recommendation of the MSOD Program Committee, may counsel a student to withdraw from the program based on the committee’s assessment that the student’s performance, conduct, and potential do not align with the program’s objectives.

Personal Awareness and Growth for Training OD Practitioners

The MSOD faculty and administration understand the value of personal growth in service of professional effectiveness and the development of the self as an instrument of change as an organization development practitioner. This is a professional responsibility of every individual to identify, address and work through personal and relational issues that may have an impact with future clients. As such, we recommend personal or group therapy and/or other modalities that lead to self-awareness and personal growth.