Frequently Asked Questions

MSOD student asking question in class.

See these frequently asked questions about the cohort experience, resources, and billing.

The AU MSOD Program has always recognized that life happens. Our students are working professionals, mothers, fathers, entrepreneurs, caretakers, community leaders, corporate executives, activists, non-profit directors, in-demand consultants, and more – so how do they balance all that life throws at a working graduate student? The AU MSOD Program strives to support our professional students at every step throughout their curricular experience through formal and informals methods. Some students take a break, join another cohort, make up a missed course with a more junior cohort while maintaing their current course load as scheduling allows, work with executive and writing coaches to acclimate to graduate education, receive disability accommodations and learning support, and coordinate with faculty when life presents them with the unexpected. With over 1700 alumni spanning nearly 40 years, the AU MSOD Program is committed to supporting working professional students throughout their graduate learning journey. It is relatively uncommon for admitted students to begin the program and not eventually complete their degree, even among the students who take a temporary leave of absence.

The schedule for each cohort's curriculum is available before you begin coursework, so one of the first steps for incoming students is to block out scheduled dates that classes meet. If you know you will need to miss more than a half day of class for a given course, you will need to connect with the Director to discuss options. Please be aware that such changes can affect financial aid and delay graduation. Should you become ill or experience an unavoidable conflict that prevents your attendance during any part of a course, you must quickly inform your course instructor as well as your advisor. They will work with you to determine the steps necessary to fulfill academic requirements and support you through your unexpected hurdle.

Unlike a master's in accounting, the career trajectory for an AU MSOD graduate is not linear and finite. Since our students come from every generation and every industry, they invariably graduate and utilize this versatile education in many diverse and fascinating ways. Whether it is the sky diving coach who uses their newfound expertise in team development and group dynamics to better train NATO troops, or the non-profit manager whose new sense of self and knowledge in organizational strategy elevates them to a leadership role, or the seasoned HR business partner or healthcare professional who wants to fully transition into OD consulting – our graduates use their distinguished education and top-tier degree to transform their own career path into a more authentic, rewarding, values-driven, and lucrative future.

It is very common for AU MSOD graduates to eventually, if not immediately, start their own independent OD consulting and coaching practice. Each graduate is capable of individually taking on organizational change work and they often thrive in independent consultancies, boutique management and OD consulting firms, and big four agencies. Coaching is an integral component of much of the pre-work and follow up that support change initiatives, whether the coaching is done individually with senior leaders or collectively with teams. While MSOD students do not walk away with a coaching certificate in addition to their master's degree, each graduate has been exposed to a variety of coaching models, theories, and methodologies and has practical coaching experience in-class and in real client organizations. It is common for AU MSOD Program alumni to take on coaching clients post-graduation. Furthermore, many alumni venture into:

  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity work
  • Organizational Strategy Development
  • Team Building & Group Facilitation
  • Culture Change
  • Whole-system Transformational Change
  • Internal OD Practice within an Organization, perhaps within HR
  • External Organization Development Consultation
  • Community Organizing & Social Justice work
  • Leadership Development & Training
  • Learning Development and Performance/Talent Management
  • Change Management, Human Capital, Management Consulting, Organizational Effectiveness, and other associated areas of business practice
  • Executive Coaching
  • Executive Transition Planning
  • Many more...

Beyond the basic admissions criteria, we look for applicants who understand our unique approach to professional adult education, bring workplace experience, can commit the time and life space to 20 months of rigorous graduate education, and show promise in the field. There is no expectation of previous OD experience; members of our classes come from a wide range of backgrounds. GRE or GMAT are not required for admission.

No. Our curriculum is experiential and face to face. At the same time, we use the Blackboard platform for online work within the weekend curriculum as a means of preparing for class, accessing reading materials, and carrying on discussions.

Because this is a cohort-based, experiential curriculum that flows in a planned sequence, AU MSOD does not accept transfer credit from other institutions.

MSOD students and graduates have access to the AU Office of Career Services for resume feedback, interview coaching, and can schedule campus meetings with select employers as the opportunities are posted. Due to the specialized nature of OD and the MSOD degree, we find that the best career preparation results from a multifaceted approach: building relationships within the alumni community; talking with our faculty, coaches, and instructional support staff; taking volunteer opportunities as they arise; and leverage opportunities in the curriculum to customize your learning to strategically align with career interests, build out your resume, enhance your knowledge and skillset. Such opportunities arise in Organization Analysis & Strategy, the International Residency, Implementing System Change, and the capstone Practicum course.

Employers also regularly reach out to the AU MSOD Program to distribute their job listings and gain access to current students, recent grads, and seasoned alumni. These opportunities are exclusive to the program community and provide a noted advantage in the job market.

Each on-campus course meets on two weekends, roughly a month apart. Weekend MSOD classes start at 9am on Fridays and meet until 5pm. On Saturdays, they start at 8:30am or 9am and end at 3:40pm. Then Community Learning Time** is held from 4pm-6pm. On Sundays, classes begin at 8:30am and end no later than 4pm. Each weekend course begins with a two week period of reading, preparation and online work before the first weekend. In the month between class weekends, students have follow-up activities and read to prepare for the second weekend. Following weekend 2, students have 2 weeks to complete a final project or paper.

**Each cohort has a two-hour block of facilitated time on Saturday afternoons of class weekends. Cohorts use this time to develop a deeper understanding of their own community, manage their own group process, and practice skills and ideas learned in class.

Grades are on the traditional A-F scale, except for the Practicum which is Pass/Fail. You must maintain a 3.0 (B) average to be in good standing for continuation in the program and eventual graduation.

Our faculty submit grades electronically upon completion of evaluating the final assignment. Usually this assignment is due two weeks after the last scheduled class. Thus, you will usually receive the grade a month after the last class meeting.

The University's Office of Student Accounts generates the tuition invoices for our program. You (or your sponsor) pay for each course by the first day that class meets. We regret that the University does not accept credit cards for bill payment.

Registration for AU MSOD courses is taken care of by your Academic Advisor. Your books are delivered to you at the end of each course for the next course - books are included in your tuition. As AU is working to reduce its reliance on paper, you will access your syllabus and other readings/handouts online for each course via the Blackboard portal.

As an AU student, you have access to the Bender Library, AU Fitness Center, Learning Support Services, Student Health Center and Psychological Services, the Career Center, Katzen Gallery, plus all eateries, campus events and other activities and services offered to the AU community.

AU MSOD students have entered as cohorts from the start of the program to the present. A cohort is an "intact" class that takes all courses together through the curriculum sequence. Cohorts are typically diverse in composition and 14-18 in size. Cohort members come from all regions, fields, and demographics. This diversity of experience and range of backgrounds and expertise is essential to the richness of the classroom experience. The cohort approach offers students a way to experience and learn about groups and organization dynamics by being a part of an intact learning community over the two years. Through the program, cohort members become learning partners, friends, and professional colleagues.

82 percent of recent graduates have obtained positions in their desired career path within 1 year of graduation or actively using their degree within their current positions