All modern organizations face constant change; some proactive and welcomed, others from external factors and enforced. Whether the change relates to a new technology, the increasing globalization of modern business, new compliance laws, or fresh opportunities within an evolving market, organizations need leaders, processes, systems, and staff that are ready to meet change and transform as needed to remain competitive and positioned for success.
These types of strategic shifts happen with increasing regularity as the pace of modern business grows faster. With a Master of Organizational Development, you can become a professional who does more than simply embrace change; you can become the agent behind these strategic shifts, paving the way toward a healthier, more productive and agile workforce.
A Master of Organizational Development degree combines organizational management theory with behavioral science to assess situational leadership strategies and help organizations work effectively through periods of change.
Graduates of the Master of Organizational Development introduce strategic change confidently, delivering a values-based, academically rigorous perspective that builds a healthy workplace where employees are loyal and engaged.
The role of an organizational development specialist enjoys greater creativity than many management functions, thanks to its reliance on softer skills, developing working relationships, and internal communication.
Broad management degrees attract median annual salaries of $98,560. However, focused HR managers — including organizational development managers — earn higher average salaries of $106,910.  Forbes has found that human resources managers are the ninth highest-paid management career. 
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the human resources field to grow 9% from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than average. HR specialists have a median salary of $59,180 as of 2016, with the top 10% earning more than $101,420. 
As the need for organizational development professionals continues to grow, certain roles are particularly in demand. Two of these are workforce development professionals and management consultants, with consulting services expected to see 18% growth. 
Achieving a degree offers a powerful sense of personal satisfaction. Alongside your professional development, you will be equipped to foster better employee programs and to positively influence organizational structures to help create better workforces. 
The organizational development master’s is available in both traditional and online programs. Both are viewed as high-quality alternatives to traditional MBA programs or business master’s degrees.
Return on investment
With the Master of Organizational Development, job security and employment growth are higher than average. For organizational development professionals, the earning potential is also above average, meaning a strong ROI.  For example, an organizational development specialist can expect to earn approximately $75,000,  while the average organizational development manager earns $108,705 per year.  Compare that to the national average salary of $37,040 for all occupations in 2016. 
Organizational development master’s programs can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Students with work and family commitments may prefer the flexibility of asynchronous methods. Those who like to feel part of a learning group and enjoy live interaction may prefer synchronous learning options.
Campus-based and online programs both often operate via a cohort basis, which runs according to the academic year. In this system you complete the program with the same group of students throughout. Some programs may offer multiple start dates, meaning you will not necessarily be studying with the same peers throughout the program.
A master’s in organizational development can position you for management positions across a range of fields, including:
Management consulting is one growth area. These consultants, or analysts, evaluate an organization’s management strategy and propose improvements for effectiveness and efficiency. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more than 103,000 management consultant jobs will be created from 2014 to 2024, with the sector growing by 14% — much faster than average. 
Below are some careers and average salaries:
The BLS projects training and development manager employment to grow 7% between 2014 and 2024. The role will be required across all industries, with employees increasingly required to take skills development courses and ongoing training throughout their careers. This will create demand for the professionals who create those courses, analyze organizational need for them, and deliver them. The industry will also evolve rapidly, as training methodologies become more tech-driven, with greater use of social media to train remote workers. Job prospects are likely to be particularly strong in industries which are highly regulated, such as insurance, finance, and health care. 
In addition to continuous skill development and advancements in methodologies, there are several other key trends that are impacting the job outlook for organizational development managers, including: 
The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.
Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.
You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.
On online course would have a similar structure to an on-campus for coursework, but might offer residencies or scheduled face-to-face sessions.
Each week there would be assignments and projects. Weekly interactive and online sessions with instructors are typical, supported by moderated discussion forums, recorded video lectures, webinars, and online resources.
While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.
In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.
For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.
Each institution will have varying requirements, but many master’s in organizational development programs require work experience — sometimes up to six years. This is because real-world experience can help students to better contextualize theoretical learning.
Undertaking your master’s degree is a big commitment, both academically and financially. It’s important to do your research to make sure your educational plan is a good match for your desired outcome.
The following master’s degrees touch on the same topics and learning outcomes as the Master of Organizational Development, but they offer a different focus or specialization. As you do your research, consider learning more about these degrees to see whether they might be a better fit for your goals and interests.
For organizational development, relevant industry bodies include:
These bodies offer a range of services and opportunities to graduates. They offer access to current news and information in the field, access to opportunities and roles, details of further and specialized training, information about trends, events, networking opportunities, continuous professional development, and more.
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.
Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.
You can learn more on this topic at our regional accreditation page.
SARA — the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements — establishes national standards for distance learning programs, ensuring that minimum quality standards are met and integrity is maintained. To find out if your institution of interest is authorized to offer a degree in your state, visit SARA’s website. 
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the major accrediting body for all business programs meeting the highest standards. It is only held by 5% of business schools across the world.
Accreditation demonstrates that the program/institution or department has met quality standards as defined by the accrediting body. It can be viewed as a prerequisite for any program to make your shortlist.
Accredited schools will have faculty that are appropriately qualified and credible. This means that 75% of the teaching team will have relevant qualifications at a postgraduate level, and the majority of the institution faculty should hold a doctorate. Research should be of good quality and demonstrate an international dimension. 
There are a number of factors that can greatly affect how much your education will cost. These include whether you attend a public or private institution; whether you attend as an in-state or out-of-state student; and whether you qualify for financial aid like grants or scholarships.
For a more detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other financial issues, please visit our tuition and fees page.
There are a variety of ways to finance your education, and each institution will have different options. These could include scholarships and grants, and opportunities for loan forgiveness. Options include:
Organizational development is the practice of implementing positive systemic change within an organization.  A Master of Organizational Development is a master’s program dedicated to this practice. These programs help students build communication and critical thinking skills to help improve processes, procedures and cultures on a large, organizational scale. 
A Master of Organizational Development can help you pursue advanced roles within human resource departments, or other organizational development-related roles. Consulting roles alone are expected to grow 18% from 2014 to 2024.  A Master of Organizational Development can also increase your earning potential; organizational development professionals have an earning potential that is better than the national average. 
When researching master’s programs, you should be aware of factors such as accreditation, the program’s reputation, and admissions requirements. For a Master of Organizational Development program, you should be sure to explore the curriculum offerings in detail to make sure that your program delivers the skills you need and builds upon your interests. It is also important to consider the delivery method and program length, especially if you plan to work during your program. Online programs tend to give the most flexibility for people with busier schedules.
A Master of Organizational Development is designed to help students develop leadership strategies and key communication skills to lead positive change within any organization. There are alternative degrees that cover organizational development and change to some extent, but a Master of Organizational Development is the most focused. Alternative degrees include:
Many Master of Organizational Development programs will require a minimum GPA, but the specific requirements vary from institution to institution. This requirement helps ensure that each student admitted into the program is academically prepared to succeed and can learn from other students of the same caliber.
Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.
Based on a survey of several online programs, most organizational development programs are open to professionals in any field. While it is a requirement to have a bachelor’s degree, the type of undergraduate degree is flexible. Some programs do ask for work experience, though not necessarily in the organizational development field.
Based on an analysis of several online Master of Organizational Development courses, typical core courses that you may encounter include:
Your priorities should depend on your career goals and flexibility. As you conduct your research, be sure to check that the electives and specializations offered are aligned to your goals. Be sure to check if the courses is delivered online or on-campus, synchronous or asynchronous, or if there are any residency or internship components.
Many master’s programs can be completed in about two to three years, full-time. Part-time study will increase your program time. Program length can vary between programs.
Most master’s in organizational development programs include an internship component, which can sometimes be a highly sought-after credential by employers. 
Yes. Many institutions offer Master of Organizational Development degrees online.
Online and on-campus degrees typically look identical. Most institutions do not indicate on the degree that it was earned online.
Yes, typically schools follow the same curriculum for their online programs as they do for their campus-based programs.
Common specializations include organizational leadership coaching, project management, nonprofit management, or HR management. Each can help prepare you for specialized roles within the organizational development field.
No, you do not need a certification to enter organizational development. However, earning a certification can help you stand out from your competition. The Institute of Organizational Development offers an Organizational Development Certified Consultant (ODCC) certification that designates you as an OD consultant and can enhance your organizational development authority. 
A Master of Organizational Development can help you pursue roles in a variety of fields, including human resources, consulting, training and development, or health care management.
Roles associated with this field are projected to grow. In fact, two of the most common fields for Master of Organizational Development professionals — management consulting and health care management — are projected to grow much faster than the average occupation in the U.S. between 2014 and 2024.
Master of Organizational Development holders can work in almost any sector. However, common industries in which they find employment include management companies, manufacturing enterprises, health care organizations, or government agencies.
Some master’s-level organizational development programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a designation given to less than 5% of business schools. While AACSB-accreditation is ideal, it is not a requirement. Even if your program is not AACSB-accredited, you should try to ensure that your university is regionally accredited.
Accreditations are strong indications of quality, but are also required for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation ensures that your degree is recognized by employers, professional associations, and other accredited institutions of higher education.
Regional and programmatic accreditation ensures that the education you you receive if of a high caliber and can be applied beyond graduation. Regional accreditation is also helpful if you decide to transfer credits, as many programs will only accept transfer credit earned from a regionally accredited program.