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Human Resource & Change Leadership graduates work at the intersection of people, strategy, technology, and change.
Human Resource & Change Leadership

The Human Resource and Change Leaders we educate have a strong interdisciplinary foundation to assume multiple leadership roles capable of working at the intersection of people, strategy, technology and change. Candidates learn how to partner with other leaders in organizations to understand how to lead change; how their strategy, systems and processes are functioning and can be improved; what talent issues and opportunities need to be managed for success; and how HR and learning processes can be applied to enhance organization performance. Learn more in our information session video.

This program prepares students for a wide range of roles in Talent, Change and Performance Leadership. Through this degree, graduates will:

  • Be able to integrate HR and Change principles and practices to solve organization problems
  • Understand how organizations operate, talent fits in and effectiveness is managed
  • Gain skills to work across all levels of human systems
  • Understand operational and strategic functions of HR

What you can earn

  • Master of Arts (M.A.)


Where you'll learn

  • On-campus (St. Thomas)




When you can start

  • Fall semester begins: September 9, 2015

Questions about this program

Liz Knight is the program manager for the Organization Learning and Development program at the University of St. Thomas.

Liz Knight

Program Manager

(651) 962-4459


Program Details

For the Master of Arts (M.A.)

This course provided the foundational principles and theories required for work in organizational change and development. Students explore the historical and theoretical underpinnings of organizational change, describe the core tools (change models) used to approach change in organizations, and learn to identify what types of can occur in organizations through specific organizational models and frameworks. To lead change effectively, students also develop an understanding their own reactions and resistances to change, as well as principles for implementing change effectively. Students apply this learning through a series of case studies, readings, and hands on activities.

This course provides a foundation in workplace learning & development.  Multiple approaches to learning & development in the workplace will be covered.  Course topics include adult learning & development (learning theories, motivation, multiple intelligences, brain development), learning strategies (transformational learning, experiential learning, action learning, project- based learning, self-directed learning), team learning & development (team dynamics, participatory & democratic learning environments), strategic learning & development (aligning initiatives, measuring results), instructional design (ADDIE, HIL, HPT), and the technological tools (LMS, social media, synchronous and asynchronous learning solutions) to facilitate workplace learning.

To be most successful supporting their internal customers, HR and change leaders need to understand basic concepts of organizations as systems and how all types of organizations operate. This course is an overview of fundamental organization concepts and how HR and Change leaders can partner with other leaders in supporting their functions, strategies and goals. The content will focus on understanding organizations as a collection of functions, systems, and processes that are organized in a particular way to meet a mission.  Students will gain understanding about the choices organization leaders make that help an organization perform effectively, manage competitive forces and align the interdependent primary functions in organizations to contribute to supporting the direction an organization adopts. To understand and effectively partner with unit leaders in organizations, HR/Change professionals must demonstrate an appreciation of what the organization and individual leaders are trying to accomplish and why. This course will view the organization from a systems perspective and through the lens of how HR/Change professionals, working as strategic partners, can bring key perspectives, processes and skills to the design and implementation of effective organization practices.  

This course is focused on understanding the results and organizational outcomes related to HR systems, processes and interventions, the development of measurement systems and basic research designs for impact evaluation and the data and analysis needed for effective change leadership. It’s important in HR & Change Leadership to be able to design valid measures and analytical systems to align with the organization’s strategic objectives and to be able to construct evaluative processes for assessing value and ROI from any HR or change endeavor. 

HR professionals and change leaders are increasingly involved in leading, partnering with other leaders, developing leaders for future organizational needs and leading change. This course provides an overview of leadership theories for use in leading change, developing other leaders and leading HR and Change teams, departments and initiatives. The course will cover philosophies, models and methods for developing leaders and the leadership requirements and skills needed in planning and executing change. 

This course will engage students in the phases of organization development: entry/contracting, diagnosis, analysis, feedback, and design, while developing plans for implementation and evaluation. This will be accomplished through application to real-world presenting challenges in organizations of a variety of organization development and design interventions. Classical and emerging types of organization development interventions applicable at the individual, group, and organization level will be explored using a variety of methods. This course is important because in the 21st Century global, technical and socio-cultural environment, strategic human resources leaders must be equipped with knowledge of current and evolving practices in organization development and design, an understanding of the cutting edge approaches and developments in the field, and how to diagnose and design effective interventions within organizations.

HRDO 549Learning Systems Design & Delivery (3 credits)

Using a project-based approach, this course focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery and implementation of effective learning experiences. You will become familiar with proven theories and techniques of systematic instructional design and apply them to a project of your choice. Topics include, but are not limited to, training needs assessment, job task and information analysis, instructional design and strategies, media selection, evaluation, delivery of instruction, and instructional project management.

HRDO 597E-learning & Knowledge Management (3 credits)

This course is part of the Human Resource Development specialization/certificate and explores the impact of technology on human resource leadership practice. Two current areas of impact are explored in this course: technology and learning applications (e.g., E-learning) and the use of technology in managing information or knowledge management. The impact of technology on people in organizations, how technology can best be used, and the various technological applications are addressed in this course.

HRDO 600Instructional Design for E-learning (3 credits)

This course will focus on procedures for designing and developing technology-enhanced instruction for E-Learning. Students will become familiar with a variety of the theories and models of instructional design for E-Learning. They will apply the selected models in the development of instructional units and the ancillary instructional materials for E-Learning and hybrid format of learning. The course topics will include, but are not limited to, history of instructional design, instructional management, assessment, evaluation, ID delivery strategies, goal analysis, task and learner analysis, instructional media selection, learning object design, and development of digital tutorials.

HRDO 606Talent Assessment Processes (3 credits)

This course will provide learners with a context for understanding when and how to integrate assessment to address common human resource needs, particularly related to selection, leadership development, career management, performance management, and team/organizational development. 

HRDO 608Career Development (3 credits)

Integrate organizational career management and individual career planning systems in work settings.  This course will explore various models of career development, the interaction of an individual’s career development with the objectives and needs of the organization, and the linkage of career development to other components and issues within the human resource arena.  Strategies and tools needed to implement career development within the context of the organization will be explored.

HRDO 622Human Systems Issues in Global and Diverse Organizations (3 credits)

Culture is one of the key influences on all interactions of individuals and organizations in our globalizing world. Ability to analyze culture and understand cultural influences (whether it be culture of an organization or culture of another country) has become an important part of HR and OD practitioners’ toolkit.  This course is intended to help you acquire knowledge and skills that will increase your intercultural competence, which is immensely important for HR practitioners and change leaders who deal with diverse population and different organizational cultures.

HRDO 624 – Talent Management and Development (3 credits)

Effective talent management and development are critical components of creating a sustainable organization in today’s competitive market for acquiring and retaining people. Creative and insightful organizational strategies need to be developed by and supported with the right people in place in order for an organization to be successful. Grounded in relevant theory, this course is “real-world” oriented. It focuses on a wide range of talent management and development subjects including onboarding, leadership competencies, reward and engagement programs an organizational culture.

HRDO 628Developing Use of Self in Professional Practice (3 credits)

This course is focused on enhancing the competencies in understanding and utilizing one’s self in the execution of professional roles. It will explore the various theoretical streams that have informed the value of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and psychological insight in understanding one’s strengths and less developed sides; and the cognitive and behavioral options available for acting with intention and purpose in executing roles for the good of those being served. A central component of this course is learning about self and others related to core competencies needed in use of self and using the learning to make situation-based, choices about how to best make use of your ‘self’. Additionally, the course will include numerous data/assessment resources, practice applications and social learning opportunities. 

HRDO 640Special Topics in HR & Change Leadership (3 credits)

LHDT 565Leading and Facilitating Virtual Teams (3 credits)

This course will explore the context of the virtual/dispersed team, and how to lead and facilitate such teams for organizational success. This will be accomplished by focusing on four critical areas: leadership, virtual team competency, communication, and relationship; and through the traditional phases of group development (forming, storming, norming, and performing , per Tuckman, 1950). We will examine the theoretical foundations for understanding virtual teamwork, models of group development that are relevant for virtual teams, and experience the group process through innovative computer-mediated simulations and communication technologies.

HRDO 610Managing Conflict (3 credits)

This course will focus on an introduction to conflict management, understanding the context and process of conflict, basic conflict management for interpersonal, and intra-group and inter-group situations. Students will learn basic elements managing conflict and a framework to build understanding of the skills and process which will enhance student ability to facilitate and mediate successful resolutions. Students will also examine and the basics of principled negotiation processes.

HRDO 615Strategic Planning (3 credits)

In this course you will focus on the strategic planning cycle and processes used in public, private, government, and non-profit organizations.  Starting with the organizational challenges and issues you will learn ways to capture key learning and implications.  You will examine methods used in prioritizing the organizational issues and solutions that will have the greatest impact on organizational effectiveness and performance.  You will also learn how to work with senior leaders to design and frame interactive planning sessions and discuss roles and responsibilities in planning as well as understanding the value of vision, mission, core competency, and culture in driving strategic alignment.

HRDO 616Coaching Leaders (3 credits)

This course focuses on developing a coaching approach to leadership, both personally and within organizations. Distinct from mentoring or management consulting, coaching approaches involve specific standards, practices and skills. Students engage in exercises, discussions and action learning and learn models and techniques to develop their coaching competence. Students identify strengths and areas for improvement in the coaching practices within their organizations and understand their own coaching presence and style by practicing skills such as deeply listening to coachees/clients, asking powerful questions, building awareness, and giving direct feedback.

HRDO 618Group Dynamics & Team Effectiveness (3 credits)

In this course, students will explore what it means to work in and lead groups, the core unit of interaction and analysis in all organizations. This will be accomplished through student experiences in and outside the classroom, by developing an understanding of the theoretical concepts used to study group dynamics and teamwork and by applying learning to scenarios, cases and real world experiences. As the workplace becomes more diverse and global, it is even more imperative that we understand how to work effectively in groups and teams.

This course provides a capstone experience to integrate and apply coursework in the MA in Strategic Human Resources and Change Leadership by crafting and implementing a field –based practicum project and engaging in action learning with other graduating MA candidates. The primary focus will be on identifying, contracting, scoping, and designing a practicum project related to a topic area of interest in Strategic HR and change leadership. Students will meet with one another and program faculty/ faculty advisors to explore processes, interventions, challenges and learning by engaging in facilitated discussion. Course readings will help students and faculty identify lessons learned about self-as-strategic business partner or change leader and ways in which these roles can be executed effectively.

TOTAL 36 Credits

William Brendel, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor for the Organization and Learning Development program at the University of St. Thomas.

William Brendel, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor Organization Learning and Development (651) 962-4419
MOH 427 | Opus Hall

Chientzu Candace Chou, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor for Learning Technology in the Organization Learning and Development program at the University of St. Thomas.

Chientzu Candace Chou, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Organization Learning and Development (651) 962-4814
MOH 339 | Opus Hall

Rama K. Hart, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Organization Learning and Development program at the University of St. Thomas.

Rama K. Hart, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Organization Learning and Development (651) 962-4454
MOH 429 | Opus Hall

David W. Jamieson, Ph.D., is the Department Chair of the Organization Learning and Development program at the University of St. Thomas.

David W. Jamieson, Ph.D.

Professor & Department Chair
Director, Doctorate in OD&C
Organization Learning and Development (651) 962-4387
MOH 432 | Opus Hall


Special Opportunities

Capstone Practicum

The Capstone/Practicum integrates the program’s curriculum and provides students with the opportunity to apply new skills in a real world setting. With support from both faculty and field mentors, students use underlying foundations and newly acquired competencies to develop their own practice framework on a project of their own choosing. In the classroom, students learn from each other through sharing of ideas, problem solving, reflection and collaboration. The bridging of theory and practice culminates in this course.


Throughout the year the department holds events that provide students, alumni and community professionals with on-going professional development opportunities. Students and alumni have access to leaders and authors in the field who share their expertise on current issues of interest to students and professionals working in organization development, HR and change.

Professional Organizations

Faculty, students and alumni are involved in professional organizations within the field such as the Society for Human Resource Management, American Society for Training & Development and the Organization Development Network. The Minnesota chapter of the OD Network meets monthly on the Minneapolis campus. These organizations provide opportunities for networking and ongoing professional development.

Alumni Network

Students from this program have the opportunity to continue being academically challenged and to benefit from collaboration with classmates through the Human Resource and Change Leadership Alumni Group. This group meets on a regular basis to continue learning and professional development, share, support, problem solve and network with both new and former colleagues.

Scholar/Practitioner Faculty

Our program draws its faculty from practical scholars who are engaged in innovative thinking and research in HR and change and who work closely with organizations to develop this knowledge in the Twin Cities, nationally, and internationally. Our full-time faculty is joined with a core group of exemplary leader-practitioners and guest scholars who bring their field and organizational experience to our MA students through hands-on, creative problem solving, focusing on current issues, trends and approaches.


The Value of a St. Thomas Degree

Calculating the cost of your degree can be challenging as every institution approaches it a slight bit differently. At St. Thomas, we list our tuition cost as cost per credit:

  • Each course can be 1-3 semester credits, but the standard course is 3 credits.  
  • To view the total number of credits per program you can view the courses tab above.

It may be possible for you to receive some type of financial assistance. To learn more, please visit our Graduate Financial Aid page.

We offer our students much more than just a degree – we offer the chance to be a part of a personal and professional network like no other. Which means your graduate education can enrich your life and career long after you leave the classroom.


Education (M.A., Ed.S., Certificate, Licensure)

On-campus Tuition (per credit) $825
Books and materials
(estimate per course)
One-time application fee $50

1 | Meet the Requirements:

  • A Bachelor's Degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A cumulative minimum undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 (4.0 scale) or the successful completion of a graduate level program from another institution.

 2 | Submit the following application materials:

  • Application form and one-time $50 application fee.
  • Current Resume.
  • Two positive letters of reference from non-related individuals.
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work (unless that work was completed at the University of St. Thomas).
  • Personal statement.

3 |  Submit the supplementary materials:

  • International Applicants:  (1) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for any candidate whose primary language is not English. (2) Transcript Review: All international transcripts must be reviewed by an accredited evaluation service to determine U.S. equivalency of the degree awarded and the institution awarding the degree. Applications will not be reviewed for admissions until the official review is submitted.

4 | Complete Interview with Faculty Member


Application Deadlines:

  • For Fall Term: August 1
  • For Spring Term: Rolling
  • For Summer Term: May 1

When you can start

  • Spring semester begins February 2, 2015

Looking for More?

© University of St. Thomas · Minnesota
1000 LaSalle Avenue · Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 · USA
1-651-962-4550 · education@stthomas.edu