Organization Development and Change Doctorate

Organization Development and Change

Our recently redesigned program is built on a 15 year legacy of successful OD doctoral education at St. Thomas. The program is a unique cohort-based, residency-based, blended learning executive doctoral program developing scholar-practitioners of change, who can make a difference for organizations and people in society.

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

  • Understand organization systems in the context of their changing environments
  • Use strategic and systemic thinking in the management and change of organizations as systems
  • Design and execute strategies for learning and change across levels of the system (individual, group, inter-group, whole organization, inter-organization and communities) to move in more desired directions

Organization Development and Change Doctorate Online Info Session

What you can earn

  • Doctorate (Ed.D.)


Where you will learn

  • Selected Conference Centers


When to start

  • June 2018
  • Application window: September 1 - December 31, 2017



Ed.D.:        65


For the Doctorate:

ODOC 900: Introduction to Organization Development & Change
ODOC 903: The Practice of OD
ODOC 908: Strategic Organization Design
ODOC 909: Whole Systems Change
ODOC 912: Group Dynamics & Team Effectiveness
ODOC 916: Organization Development & Change in a Global & Diverse Context
ODOC 920: Leadership, Change, & Ethics
ODOC 925: Transformative Learning & Development
ODOC 931: Introduction to Research in Organization Development & Change
ODOC 930: New Developments & Emerging Trends in OD & Change
ODOC 932: Qualitative Research Methods in Org. Development & Change
ODOC 933: Quantitative Research Methods in Organization Development
ODOC 941: Practicum
ODOC 942: Global Team Practicum
ODOC 943: Individual Practicum
ODOC 945: Elective
ODOC 950: Dissertation Design Lab
ODOC 955-958: Dissertation

Full course catalog with descriptions

Features and Benefits

Program Context

The organization world has changed, and we need to improve how we lead and manage change in response. Our global environments are increasingly turbulent and uncertain in key aspects, like economic, technological, workforce and markets -- which drives needs for systemic, inclusive, sustainable and rapid change. Organizations of all types and sizes need the capability to initiate, respond to, adapt with and lead change in today's world. This external transformation is driving numerous needs inside organizations, especially in such areas as strategy, organization design, talent management, culture and practices, stakeholder inclusion, collaboration and working across boundaries.

Intended Candidates

This doctorate is designed for working professionals with a master’s degree, 5 or more years of leadership or change experience and a desire to work as a change agent (in any type of role) to impact the effectiveness and health of all types of organizations.

Learning Outcomes

The graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Understand organization systems in the context of their changing environments
  • Use strategic and systemic thinking in the management and change of organizations as systems
  • Design and execute strategies for learning and change across levels of the system (individual, group, inter-group, whole organization, inter-organization and communities) to move in more desired directions
  • Integrate the human and technical aspects of organizations for effectiveness and health
  • Develop groups and teams to operate with high performance, both in person and virtually
  • Work with 21st century issues with systemic, inclusive, generative processes for more sustainable, rapid change
  • Execute core practice skills in organization assessment, design and change; enabling change at small and larger scales; small and large group facilitation: lead, consult or coach others on organization change: work with diverse stakeholders and facilitate inclusive dialogue
  • Learn about and contribute to emerging issues and developments in the field of OD&C
  • Understand and conduct useful research on organizations and change


Additional Features

  • Four themes are used to integrate across the curriculum: use of self, scholar-practitioner research questions, ethics and practice perspectives.
  • The curriculum focusses on preparing students to work at the intersections of strategy, design, people, technology and change, in order to create meaningful strategies in a changing world, design productive organizations that are healthy places to work, enable aligned systems, processes and interactions to support appropriate behaviors for desired results.
  • Cohort-based education involves the creation of a learning community, personal growth and peer learning in addition to learning from leading scholar-practitioner faculty.
  • We use periodic intensive, residency-based learning spaces coupled with engaging online components.
  • In addition to core faculty, courses will be augmented by distinguished scholar-practitioners who are leading contributors in the field.

Convenient and Timely Delivery Model designed for busy working professionals. The coursework is completed in 2.5 years and most dissertations in the next year or so, comparing well to doctoral averages ranging from 3-6 years. Only 10 residencies spaced across the 2.5 years, including 1 global team practicum. Virtual work, independent and group studies occur in between.

Cohort-based, residency-based, blended education is among the best learning models for graduate education. We blend some engaging asynchronous and synchronous online components with intensive residencies held at conference centers, conducive to learning. Cohorts and residencies create a diverse, learning community with faculty and peers, with a variety of individual, group and cohort learning designs, on-going support of each other and a ‘cultural island’ for intensive learning.

Practice Perspectives and Skills are also an important emphasis in the program. There are 3 Practicum courses throughout the coursework to develop practice mastery, under the guidance of an experienced advisor. Each one can be customized to where one starts and where one wishes to end in terms of career or roles. Each requires learning in using theory-in-practice. One is completed in teams during the Global Team Practicum residency. The other two include one that is done individually and one that can be used for further field practice or professional conference presentation or publication.

Leaders in the Field 

Our faculty and distinguished scholar-practitioners pursue publications and professional presentations as expressions of thought-leadership in organization change and related areas. Our department offers relevant professional development opportunities from a variety of leaders in the community throughout the year at no cost to students.

ODEA Membership

We are a founding member of the OD Education Association which provides OD Network membership for our students, access to their resources and discounts to their conference. All students are given a membership to ODN at no cost.

How to Apply


  1. Candidates for this degree have:
    • 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.
    • Five or more years of leadership or change experience.
  2. Submit the following application materials:
    • Application form
    • 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 a master's degree.
      • Submit transcripts to: Graduate Admissions, University of St. Thomas, Box 5, 1000 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403
    • 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.
  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.