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Organization Development Ed.D. graduates are capable of creating effective organizations and managing sustainable changes.
Doctorate in Organization Development

As organizations face continuous change, there is an increasing demand for professionals capable of providing leadership and guidance through times of transition. Our graduates are capable of creating effective organizations, envisioning desired futures in times of uncertainty and managing sustainable changes. Candidates learn advanced research methods, understanding of organizations, designs and methods for changing organizations.

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organization Development (OD) is designed to prepare students for careers in a variety of settings. Upon earning this degree, students will be equipped to:

  • Understand organization dynamics and how to improve effectiveness
  • Work effectively as a self-aware, reflective change practitioner or leader
  • Demonstrate skills and knowledge in using sound OD practices and concepts across all levels of human systems

What you can earn

  • Doctorate (Ed.D.)


Where you'll learn

  • On-campus (St. Thomas)




When you can start

  • June 2016


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 Doctorate

This weeklong, in-residence launch of the program is designed to introduce students to the theoretical base of OD, incorporating visionary perspectives and application models.

This course will focus on the Application, Research and Theory of OD. It will bridge learning from previous courses with a general grounding in the field through an abbreviated, albeit comprehensive, exposure to all phases of OD.

This course is designed to help students develop skills to carry out the essential steps of process consultation, including: contracting for action, formalizing expectations, developing working relationships and reporting patterns, deliverables, time frame and costs involved in the intervention.

This course is designed to further develop the students' understanding of strategic planning and their ability to guide clients through the strategic planning process, incorporating critical phases, models and practices.

This course will be devoted to learning the theory and technique of large-group intervention, the foundation of whole-systems transformation. This is a strategy in which the critical mass of an organization is brought together to share information about issues they face, explore common ground across functions and levels within the organization and develop action plans and next steps based on this common ground.

This course is designed to improve the students' negotiation skills and effectiveness in helping clients resolve conflict. Key focus areas include conflict management concepts and skills, and negotiation strategies.

Organizations increasingly rely on formal and informal teams to develop strategies, identify opportunities, solve problems, make decisions, and accomplish tasks in their day-to-day operations. In order to be successful in most professional environments, students require an in-depth understanding of group dynamics; particularly through the lens of group-as-a-whole theory, systems theory, group development, boundaries, authority, roles, and tasks. Also key is the ability to analyze the dynamics of power, authority, and differences in small vs. large group dynamics. - More frequently, across a wide variety of settings (global organizations in particular), teams are being called to work online in cloud-computing environments to accomplish tasks. These topics will be explored through student experiences in and outside the classroom, by understanding the theoretical concepts used to study group dynamics and teamwork and by applying learning to scenarios, cases and real world experiences.

This seminar will introduce Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a positive alternative/complimentary approach to traditional interventions in organization development. The purpose of this course will be to become acquainted with the AI model, practice appreciative processes and explore the potential of generative theory building through the appreciative lens. The course will be both theoretical and practical: we will explore, appreciate and critique the theoretical underpinnings of AI and also develop basic skills in designing appreciative inquiry interventions.

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 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 OD practitioners who deal with diverse population and different organizational cultures. The course consists of two parts which are interconnected and interdependent. First part is focused on intercultural aspects of OD practice; the second part will emphasize organizational culture issues.

This weeklong, in-residence session will focus on the evolution of leadership and emerging concepts of leadership in today's global society. This course presents a rich array of perspectives, as well as applications-based outcomes, on state-of-the-art and science leadership practices. It focuses on what the emerging trends in leadership mean to the organization development profession and, specifically, to the leadership development of others.

This course is built around three overarching questions: How do we learn ideological blindness; that is, how is it that we can live unaware of the way dominant, unquestioned beliefs shape our choices and actions? How do we live in a manner that doesn't support hegemony; that is, how do we learn to challenge the process by which we embrace ideas and practices that harm us? How do we use this knowledge in OD? We will approach the questions from three perspectives: the theory about transformative learning, critical theory, and the theory put forth by Chris Argyris.

This weeklong, in-residence program will focus on the moral, values-based and ethical dimensions of OD practice. Discussion will revolve around core values of the OD profession.

In this course students are introduced to epistemology, methodology and methods as they apply to research in the social sciences, with a particular stress on research in organization development.

This course deepens the student gain a deeper understanding of the methods used in research in Organization Development, concluding with writing a research proposal similar to the one which will be written for the doctoral dissertation. is designed as a laboratory in which students learn to explore and research the OD literature, both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

This course is designed to give students hands-on experience in positivistic and interpretive research.

This experience is designed to provide students with opportunities to observe expert OD professionals at work in the real-time practice of OD. Students will reflect on the mentor's  professional behaviors and skills, identify key learnings and then use these learnings as a basis for action in their own work.

In this practicum, the student carries out a team organizational assessment and intervention with the guidance of a field and a faculty mentor.

In this practicum, students independently conduct an organizational assessment and intervention.

The pre-dissertation seminar is designed to assist doctoral candidates in shaping their research question, choosing the appropriate methodology , and developing their dissertation plans. This workshop format course includes a review of the dissertation research process, the IRB application process, and ethics of research, as well as an intense examination of the candidate's research interests.

The dissertation represents the student’s original research in an area of their interest. It involves identifying a clear research question, appropriate use of existing, relevant literature and designing research methods to effectively answer their question. As a scholar-practitioner doctoral program, the student is expected to contribute to the body of knowledge in the field, relate their work to others and bridge their work to practical application in the field. The dissertation is completed under the supervision of a faculty chair and two committee members and is formally presented in an oral presentation with the committee.

Courses to be chosen in collaboration with student's academic advisor to best fit area of study.

TOTAL 72 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

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 Organization Learning and Development (651) 962-4387
MOH 432 | Opus Hall


Special Opportunities


This program is designed for working professionals. Students take courses as a cohort one at a time in a predetermined sequence. Courses are taught in a blend of virtual and face-to-face sessions.


This is an applied program where students are scholar-practitioners. Each of the three years of coursework contains a practicum providing students with the opportunity to apply their learning in a real world setting.

International Learning Opportunities

Students have the option to take their practicum in an international setting, giving them the opportunity to apply their learning in diverse cultures.

In March of 2014, as part of a new course in the MA program in HRCL titled Organization Development in Emerging Global Markets,  Dr. Brendel and Dr. Chou coached a team of sixteen students through a transformative professional experience: carrying out OD consulting work in a global organization headquartered in Beijing (Youth for Understanding, Greater China). As part of this class, students conducted surveys and strategic planning prior to their visit, and while working with the client they provided targeted consulting around improving individual, team, and organizational learning. Students also facilitated the client through a critical examination of implicit leadership values shared in several regional offices representing dissimilar cultures across China. The greatest tribute to our students is that based upon deep learning around organizational strategy the client modified their yearly objectives. The client also expressed great interest in having these student-consultants come back for more consulting. Beijing is just the beginning. The department OL&D is excited to develop and provide similar international classes in the future.

Leaders in the Field

Adjunct faculty in the program are leaders in various areas of the field. Students are afforded the opportunity to learn from a wide range of experts.

ODEA Membership

All students are given a membership to the Organization Development Education Association, at no cost. This membership gives students free access to research materials and a discount to the national OD Network Conference.


The department offers relevant professional development opportunities from a variety of leaders in the community throughout the year at no cost to students.


The Value of a St. Thomas Degree

Calculating the cost of your degree can be challenging, as every institution approaches it a 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 will enrich your life and career long into the future.


Education (Ed.D.)

On-campus Tuition (per credit) $995
Books and materials
(estimate per course)
One-time application fee $50

1 | Meet the basic requirements:

  • A master's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 preferred from a combined mean of undergraduate and graduate work.
  • At least three years of full-time OD work experience or five years of leadership experience.

2 |  Meet the supplementary requirements:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for any candidate whose primary language is not English.

3 |  Submit the following application materials:

  • Application form and one-time $50 application fee.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended sent directly from the institution to the University of St. Thomas. Transcripts must show completion of a bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • Current Resume or CV
  • Statement of purpose (pdf) This brief written statement will serve as a writing sample and a summary of your professional and academic goals. 
  • Executive Summary that outlines a recent OD or leadership project, with a demonstrated change management outcome, maximum two pages, double-spaced.


 Application Deadline:

  • September 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015 for the June 2016 cohort

When you can start

  • The latest cohort began in May 2014. New cohorts begin every other year.

Looking for More?


Apply online

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1000 LaSalle Avenue · Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 · USA
1-651-962-4550 · education@stthomas.edu