2022-2023 Catalog 
    Mar 22, 2023  
2022-2023 Catalog

Doctor of Psychology in Organization Development

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School: California School of Professional Psychology

Modality(ies): On-ground

Calendar(s): 8-week term

CIP Code: 52.1003

Program Description/Overview

Addressing the growing need for increasingly complex organizational and management skills that encompass several disciplines, the program prepares post-master’s degree students for careers as consultants, organizational leaders, academic faculty, and organizational change agents.

The program emphasizes the need for combining theory, research, and practice. In this scholar-practitioner oriented program, students build knowledge and skills to assist individuals, groups/teams, and organizations to achieve their goals and increase their effectiveness and viability that can be applied immediately in the workplace. The practice of Organizational Development (OD) focuses on individual development, group processes, team collaboration, management structures and processes, organizational sustainability and systems, leadership, culture, and organizational change within a formal organizational setting.

The field of OD is a body of knowledge and practice regarding systems change that benefits individuals, groups and teams, organizations, communities, and society. The foundation of OD practice is built upon humanistic values and the application of knowledge gained through the social and behavioral sciences such as psychology and sociology. Through the use of interventions, OD is directed toward increasing effectiveness and facilitating personal, group, and organizational change. What distinguishes OD is its approach to looking at systems holistically and to intervening systemically, collaboratively, and creatively for individuals and groups.

The program is designed for the working professional adult learner and provides students with the opportunity for:

  1. Interaction with peers in shared learning, dialogue, and experiential activities
  2. Completing organizational projects as part of field placement requirements
  3. Building multicultural and global awareness and
  4. Completing a traditional dissertation or an applied dissertation project

The ideal student attributes are:

  1. Adults with work experience
  2. Critical thinking, social skills, and the ability to multi-task
  3. Passion for developing people, teams, organizations and organizational processes
  4. Desire to assist organizations with creating and managing effective and efficient change processes
  5. Aspire to make a positive difference in the world

This program is a three-year post-master’s executive format that includes courses held one weekend a month. The program has been developed with the needs of the adult learner in mind, and is accessible to adults with busy lives, families, and work responsibilities. The intensive executive weekend format schedule (Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday once a month) makes it possible for students to attend from locations in the greater San Joaquin Valley, throughout California, and throughout the Unites States and other countries because of the proximity of the airport, hotels, and train service.


Organizational Change and Sustainability

Program Learning Outcomes/Goals

Organizational Psychology students will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain Organizational Psychology principles, concepts, models, theories, and methods.
  2. Apply psychology concepts, models, theories, and methods to organizational practice and research.
  3. Summarize and critically evaluate the literature on topics in organizational psychology.
  4. Apply knowledge of ethical and legal behavior to situations in organizational psychology.
  5. Demonstrate a positive, pro-active, and non-judgmental attitude towards diverse cultural and international identities and in interpersonal and professional interactions.
  6. Plan and deliver culturally competent professional services in respective areas to diverse populations.
  7. Produce plans, analyses and presentations relevant to leading, consulting to, and developing people in organizations.

Training Model

Field Work Experience

As part of the scholar-practitioner model, students are expected to gain experience through field placements where their learning may be applied. The field work is designed to provide a base of experience and an opportunity to apply learning with an increased emphasis on professional competencies as the student proceeds through the program. Students practice their professional skills by applying their academic knowledge to specific projects which take place in organizations that vary in size and industry, are for profit and non-profit, and represent government agencies, healthcare, educational, social service, and community-based organizations. This work may be completed at any time during the three-year academic program.

Field Placement experiences provide opportunities to develop competency within a wide range of skills and provide students with the opportunity to develop an appreciation for continuous self-directed, professional growth based on regard for accepted ethical, legal, and client-service delivery standards. The student is expected to gain:

  1. exposure to various competencies necessary for effective client-service delivery
  2. familiarity with organizational environments that are experiencing change efforts
  3. a basic foundation in organizational development/consulting skills
  4. experience in a working relationship with a variety of organizational professionals.

Research Experience

The Applied Dissertation Research Project requirement for the program requires the use of organizational psychology concepts and practices in the scholarly research of some aspect in the field of organizational psychology. Similarly, a scholarly applied dissertation project may involve the study or research needed to develop a project relevant to individuals, groups or organizations that will add to an organization’s effectiveness, create new organizational practices, or provide new knowledge to the field of Organization Development. Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies can be used for dissertations.

International/Multicultural Experience

There is an emphasis on core courses designed to focus on multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion, global and international OD. In addition, ethics, diversity, multicultural, and international aspects are integrated in most of the course content during the program.

Internship, Practicum, and/or Dissertation Information

Field Experience

A total of 160 hours of field experience is required (40 hours direct service = one credit unit). Credits may be registered during any term or spread over the three years of the program. Fieldwork approval and supervision is provided by the Field Placement Director.


Once a faculty chairperson and committee member are chosen by the student, a proposal is submitted and approved, followed by individual or small group supervision from the committee. Research courses are designed to assist students in the writing of their dissertations. It is expected that the student will complete the dissertation within the three years, but sometimes circumstances may prevent this from happening; thus, students who have completed all their courses and registered for all six dissertation units but have not completed their dissertation may register for dissertation extension units. Taking dissertation extension units will extend the program beyond the three years.

Credit Units

Total Credit Units: 66

Total Core Credit Units: 56

Total Elective Credit Units: N/A

Total Concentration Credit Units: 10

Degree Requirements

  1. Advancement to Candidacy
  2. Comprehensive Exam: A comprehensive exam is required of students to evaluate suitability to progress in the program and the profession based on ability to demonstrate reflective and critical thinking skills. The written essays comprehensively test a student’s ability to organize a body of knowledge upon demand. Successful completion of the requirement indicates readiness for further study and any independent work required for completion of their field placement and applied dissertation project.

Curriculum Plan

The following curriculum plan is a sample and serves only as a general guide. Curriculum plans and course sequence are subject to variation depending on a student’s start term. Students must complete all coursework required for their program as set forth in their individual master plan of study.

8-Week Calendar

Term 4 (3 units)

Term 10 (3 units)

Term 12 (3 units)

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