Ph.D. in Organization Development
Ph.D. in Organization Development


Ph.D. in Organization Development students gain direct access to the top leaders in the organization development field from Benedictine’s award-winning Ph.D. in OD program, which is committed to providing its students with the most current information on OD topics, mirroring the trends and activities apparent in management today. As a result, specific topics and coursework in the curriculum may vary.

Admission Requirements

The Ph.D. in Organization Development program will accept applications for Cohort 14 beginning in May 2021. We start a new cohort of students every two years. Classes for Cohort 14 begin in August 2022. 

This program is designed for organization development professionals who perceive the management of change and the creation of high-performance organizations as a central part of their career. 

Selection criteria:

  • Quality and quantity of relevant work. 
  • Level of professional involvement in the field.
  • Level of position responsibility.
  • Master's degree in management, organization development or related area.
  • Aptitude and skills required for the study of management.


Individuals who successfully complete the program will consistently demonstrate professional competence and excellence through: 

  • Knowledge of organization development as a scientific-applied discipline. 
  • Knowledge of emerging concepts and theory in the field. 
  • Knowledge of current and projected global trends and problems. 
  • A demonstrated command of theoretical and applied research methodologies. 
  • The capacity to lead organizations through turbulent and unpredictable environments. 
  • Demonstrated ability in general consulting, interpersonal skills and rapport building. 

Weekend classes on Benedictine’s Lisle campus allow students to work full-time while learning the skills needed to advance their careers. The three-year program consists of: 

  • A first year of context courses. 
  • A second year covering some core OD knowledge areas. 
  • A third year consisting of advanced OD topics and the completion of a dissertation.

“The focus on quality research, flexibility for working adults and network of scholars they introduce you to are among the strengths of this program. It also allows you to pursue the field of research that most interests you and is not overly prescriptive, allowing students to pursue a qualitative or quantitative dissertation. It truly accommodates the full-time working professional.”

Mark Werwath, Ph.D., Organization Development ’01
Clinical Associate Professor, Director of the Master of Engineering Management Program and co-Director of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northwestern University

The introductory context courses set the tone and develop sensitivity to the role of organization development in terms of its social responsibilities in the national and global arenas. These courses review the nature of emerging problems and the role of organizations and organization development in responding to these problems. 

The intent of the second set of context courses is to understand the strategic role of organization development within management. The second year curriculum is devoted to the development of a core of OD competencies and select advanced topics courses covering state-of-the-art interventions. The core competency courses include such areas as self-knowledge, instrumentation in organization change, group processes and process consultation. Advanced courses include such topics as organizational culture, search conference methods, large systems change, international and global OD, advanced research methods and appreciative inquiry. 

The third year consists of continued advanced courses and completion of the dissertation as well as  participation in an international seminar. Students are required to present at an international OD conference and  are also expected to present at various academic conferences throughout the program.

Course Schedule

The Ph.D. in Organization Development requires the completion of 72 credit hours. The scheduling of classes (approximately 16 weekends per year) is designed to combine full-time study with continued full-time employment. Classes are held on designated weekends (Friday evening and daytime Saturday/Sunday) approximately every third weekend. 

Each cohort of students works together for the duration of the program. Because the program is so interactive, it is difficult to work with a very large group. Distinguished visiting scholars from throughout the world are invited to provide class seminars. Faculty members provide seminars and work with individual students throughout the dissertation process. 

The first two years include classroom study courses. The third year focuses on dissertation completion and presentation at an international conference. It is expected that students complete their work within three years.

“The Ph.D. program has added breadth and depth to my practical field experience. It has also stimulated my desire to do deep research while simultaneously practicing in my organization. Since graduating, I have had the opportunity to do a mixed-method research project that added value to my organization. The approach I used was more robust than I might have used prior to the program and we were able to demonstrate true business impacts.”

Kathy Schroeder, Ph.D., Organization Development ’13
Senior Director, Organization Development for Astellas Pharm

First year (24 Credits) 

  • Environmental Trends: Evolution of Organization Development 
  • Group Process
  • Organization Strategy 
  • Philosophy of Science 
  • Organization Research and Theory
  • Integrative Philosophy of Science/Organization Theory 
  • Organization Change and Design
  • Lecture Series Seminar 

Second year (24 Credits) 

  • Environmental Trends - Global  
  • Quantitative Methods 
  • Qualitative Methods 
  • Organization Consultation
  • Advanced Topic: Views of Organization Development
  • Advanced Topics: Integrative Quantitative & Qualitative Seminars 
  • Advanced Topics: Scholarly Practitioner Journey
  • Lecture Series Seminars 

Third year (24 Credits) 

  •  Advanced Topics: International Conference (6 credits)
  • Dissertation - Phase I (9 credits)
  • Dissertation - Phase II (9 credits)


Research is central to the Ph.D. curriculum. Students are encouraged to begin reviewing dissertation topics upon acceptance into the program, and to continue to explore and develop their research subjects throughout their coursework. It is suggested that students select topics consistent with the major themes of the program during the first year as part of the initial research course. During the second and third years, it would be expected that papers be presented at local or regional professional meetings as part of the learning and feedback process. 

The specific time period for completing the dissertations varies by topic and type of study. On average, cohort members are expected to complete their dissertation within a three-year period from the start of the program.

Goodwin College of Business
benedictine university
Phone: (630) 829-6018

Jenny Jeschke
Admission Counselor for Graduate Business Programs
Phone: (630) 829-6309

Goodwin Hall, Room 486
5700 College Rd.
Lisle, IL 60532
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.