M.A. in Organization Development: FAQ

  • It is a facilitative approach for creating positive transformative change in organizations, based on their strategic mission and the shared vision of the organization's participants and stake-holders.

  • Human Resources is primarily about managing the recruitment, selection, training, and compensation of employees. Organization Development is about leading whole organizations in self-managed improvement areas such as strategic change, competitive effectiveness, innovation products technology, responsiveness to changing markets social environments, etc.

  • None of the classes in this program focus primarily on the business aspect of organizations--such as accounting, finance, or marketing. That is more typical of an MBA program. Our goal is developing understanding and skill in guiding self-directed change in organizational settings, including businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, etc. We do require a foundational...

  • Again, these terms are not universally defined. OD consultants often work with managers (and others), so they function as management consultants. Their work often results in improved management systems and methods, as well as other changes.

    But there are many management consultants, business consultants, and others, whose orientation and methods are very different from ones used in OD...

  • Training is aimed at increasing the ability of individuals to perform job-related functions. It is often part of an OD project. But not all problems are solved by training. Often people know how to do the work, but they don't do what they know well. Other factors get in the way, such as work flow, technology, organizational structure, the reward system, and the corporate culture. OD addresses...

  • Organization development is not a standardized field of study, and every program is unique. Our strengths are our emphasis on field experience and mentoring. We were featured as an exemplary program in a recent issue of Vision/Action, the Journal of the Bay Area OD Network, because of these characteristics. We also have a strong emphasis on personal awareness and interpersonal competence as a...

  • Each cohort group of students takes all classes in the same sequence. The first semester emphasizes core skills and knowledge. In the second semester teams of students apply that knowledge in a supervised consulting engagement. A class on interpersonal and group process dynamics spans the first and second semesters. In the third and fourth semesters, students participate in classes focusing on...

  • The structure of class meetings has evolved and will continue to change to make the best use of student and faculty meeting time. The current pattern is as follows:

    • The first and second semesters require class meetings two nights per week on Monday and Wednesday, plus one Saturday (all day) per month, plus one Sunday (all day) per semester.
    • The third and fourth semesters
    • ...
  • The Organization Development program operates on a cohort model, with students moving together through the program as a learning community. The courses have a specific sequence designed to build skills and student confidence.

  • We schedule classes in the evening to accommodate working students--usually Monday and Wednesday nights. There are some all-day Saturday meetings also, about once a month. The OD Program is designed for people in mid-career rather than students with no work experience. It is an intensive and demanding graduate program, requiring significant preparation outside of class, including student team...

  • You should plan for 20 to 25 hours of required preparation per week, in addition to class meetings

  • There is a lot of emphasis on learning by doing--in the second semester student teams carry out a semester-long consulting engagement in a real organization, with supervision in two seminars. In the third and fourth semesters, there is an individual professional practice requirement totaling 180 hours.

  • The Organization Development program receives no State funding; it is operated on a fee-per-unit basis, currently $695 as of the Fall 2020 semester. Each 10-unit semester costs $6,950 for a total of $27,800.

  • This program is financial aid eligible; awards depend on individual circumstances. You can visit the SEIE Financial Aid Information site for information on local, State, and Federal aid. You can also check out the SEIE Scholarship Information site scholarship...

  • Our interns and graduates have received excellent acceptance from employer organizations. There is no guarantee that everyone will get the job they want. Our alumni are working at places like:

    • Sola Optical Company
    • Becoming Independent
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • Medtronic
    • Pacific Telesis
    • PG&E
    • Xandex, Inc.
    • Yuba
    • ...
  • No. Graduates from this program are employed in businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, government agencies, etc.

  • Organization Development knowledge and skills are equally useful for internal staff specialists and for managers who have leadership responsibilities in organizations that are changing--and in today's world, all organizations are changing!

  • Some work externally on a contract basis, others work internally on a salaried basis--often as part of an internal OD function. The ratio is about half and half.