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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

MS in Organization Development


 What are your admission deadlines?

Please refer to this link for specific information regarding application deadlines.

 The application states it does not require a graduate test but that one could be requested. When would an applicant find this out since taking the test requires planning and preparation?

A graduate test score is not required. However, the faculty reserves the right to request a test score at any time during the application process. A decision may be made based on a low GPA score, limited work experience or any other component in the application that requires another parameter to help us decide applicant fit and readiness to join the program.

 How many years of work experience do I need before applying to the Pepperdine MSOD program?

A minimum of four years organization experience is required, preferably as a consultant or line manager. Candidates also must be currently employed in an organizational context in which students can apply what they learn in class.

 What does the Admissions Committee look for in an applicant?

Pepperdine University's Master of Science in Organization Development (MSOD) program class is limited to a cohort of approximately 35 professionals. The creation of this learning community of students from around the world is fundamental to the MSOD experience. The Admissions Committee selects a diverse community of students who will succeed in managing strategic change, inspire the OD profession to rigor and relevance and strive to be a positive force in the world. The committee carefully evaluates academic background information, achievements, awards, and honors; employment history; letters of recommendation; essays; and college and community involvement, especially where you have served in leadership capacities. The MSOD program strongly believes that success in the field of organization development depends on knowledge of self. Therefore, applicants are also evaluated by their emotional maturity and readiness level to participate in a transformational education experience. Students are expected to have experience in some form of human interaction laboratory training, experiential learning, OD value training, or individual/group therapy.

 In which cases can the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) be waived?

The considerations to waive the TOEFL are:

  • Green card holder or naturalized US Citizen
  • Attended bachelor's degree in a foreign country with curriculum delivered in English language
  • Completed significant graded courses in American Schools in the US
  • Seldom used: Waiver during the interview process with the Admissions Committee to measure English skills, oral and written

 May I submit more than two recommendation letters?

Two letters of recommendation are required from persons familiar with the applicant's educational, consulting, or management experience, preferably from a direct supervisor or organizational sponsor. However, a candidate may choose to submit more than two letters if she/he believes it will help strengthen her/his application.

 Are interviews required?

Interviews are by invitation only. If you are selected for an interview, you will be notified after the Admissions Committee has completed a preliminary review of your application, which could be at any time during the admissions round. The MSOD admission interview is usually conducted by phone by a member of the MSOD Admissions Committee.

 Are there scholarships or other financial aid available?

Yes. Here are two scholarship opportunities through Pepperdine University:
Alumni Referral Program: If you were referred to the program by an alumnus of Pepperdine University, you may be eligible for an alumni referral scholarship ($2,500). Your contact would need to fill out a form, available online, prior to submission of your application.

Founders Scholarship Fund: If admitted into the MSOD program, you will be eligible to apply for the Founders Scholarship Fund program. This is a one-time only scholarship that is available to admitted students only. Scholarships are awarded on a need basis and overall fit with the program.

 How can I speak with an admissions counselor? Can I speak with current students and alumni?

To speak with an admissions counselor, a current student, or an alumnus, please contact Karen Jackson directly at karen.jackson@pepperdine.edu or 310.568.5731, or email the MSOD Program Office at msod.id@pepperdine.edu.


 How long are the face-to-face courses typically?

The Master of Science in Organization Development at Pepperdine University is a cohort-based program that incorporates six face-to-face sessions, each lasting between 8-11 days.

 What is the time commitment I should expect during a residency?

Each residency (face-to-face session) is between 8-11 days. They typically start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. with breaks for lunch and dinner. By comparison, a traditional 4-unit class lasts 15 weeks, with 4 hour segments per week. We condense that 15 weeks into approximately eight days. Our two 6-unit classes have longer sessions (10-11 days).

 When would online classes begin for my cohort?

The online courses are the foundation courses. They run between the intensives and practicums (the face-to-face sessions). The first course starts in August (as soon as the trimester starts). The online courses run for 7.5 weeks between the face-to-face sessions. Please note that even our face-to-face sessions require preparation that takes place in the online environment. This also means you have access to top notch faculty in ways that are very atypical for a program like this.

 How much time is spent in the classroom vs. out in the field while we are on location?

It varies for each course, however, the amount of time in the field increases as you go through the program. The field work is interspersed with lecture and very focused debriefs.

 How many hours should I expect to spend on coursework during a normal week while I am at home?

Approximately10-15 hours a week of studying is about right considering the thesis project and all other group projects, readings, and assignments.


 If I live out of state, could I complete the non-travel portions of the program online?

Absolutely! International students from all over the world attend the program. You are not required to live in California or the US as long as you attend each of the six face-to-face sessions as scheduled.

 I live close by - is it mandatory to stay in the condominiums while attending one of the domestic sessions?

Yes. The MSOD program is cohort-based and while attending the residential sessions, you are required to stay at the location where the session is held. Housing is typically in condominium-style units and meals are taken together to sustain and enrich the close-knit learning community and to leverage personal accountability, communication and resource exchange. The creation of a "learning community" is fundamental to the MSOD experience.


 Are most students attending the MSOD program working professionals?

Most if not all students are professionals who work full time.

 What is the average age of an incoming student?

The average age of the MSOD student is 41. The age range is between 25-59.