HDO’s graduate curriculum is unique in its balance of the conceptual consideration and practical application of ideas. Our coursework requires students to examine real-world challenges through a variety of disciplinary lenses. By acquiring skills central to specific disciplines, students will learn to draw on a range of approaches to analyze, consider, and improve the structure and function of their organizations.
The degree requires 36 credit hours spread across four successive semesters: Fall, Spring, Summer, and the following Fall. These classes include a two-semester core course; nine courses offering depth in topics relevant to the degree; and 6 hours dedicated to the completion of a Capstone Project during the last semester of the program. All courses are required and taken in a prescribed sequence.
Upon successful completion of all program requirements, The University of Texas at Austin confers a Master of Arts in Human Dimensions of Organizations.
Each semester has a particular focus that prepares students to complete their Capstone Project, which is a research paper and presentation requiring students to use their new skills to change real-world situations within organizations.
***Course Descriptions and Availability Are Subject to Change.***
Fall (Semester 1): Defining Problems
Cultural Perspectives on the Human Dimensions of Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
This foundational multidisciplinary course provides a survey of various group dynamics that affect the internal and external effectiveness of organizations. It balances breadth with depth and is designed to give a coherent overview of the HDO degree as well as a starting point for the capstone project.
Society, Culture, and Diversity (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course examine multidisciplinary frameworks for understanding society and culture in organizations. Students will be encouraged to draw on a range of approaches and materials to consider how and why diverse groups intersect, fail, or succeed in group environments. The effects of gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, and globalization on organizational change may be discussed.
Approaches to Leadership (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course examine broad aspects of leadership in organizations through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Students will be encouraged to draw on a range of approaches and materials in considering and discussing what makes a leader effective and how circumstances influence a leader’s success.
Qualitative Research in Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course learn qualitative approaches to studying people in organizational settings. Approaches may include narrative, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, case studies, and others. Students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze qualitative research.
Spring (Semester 2): Exploring Problems
Individual Perspectives on the Human Dimensions of Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
This foundational course provides a general introduction to the roles of individuals’ relationships to organizations from a multidisciplinary perspective. It balances breadth with depth and is designed to give a coherent overview of the HDO degree as well as assist students in developing their capstone projects. The course focuses explicitly on managing large-scale projects that involve data.
Quantitative Research in Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course learn quantitative approaches for studying the human dimensions of organizations. Approaches may include descriptive statistics, interpreting regression and correlational analysis, inferential statistical analysis, and cluster analysis. Students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze projects involving quantitative research.
Organizational Inertia, Decision-Making, and Change (3 Credit Hours)
Students are exposed to theories and methods for understanding how organizational environments support habits, and how individuals and groups make decisions. This work is then put into practice to explore methods for organizational change.
Summer (Semester 3): Creating Solutions
Persuasion and Argumentation (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course learn how effective persuasion works within organizations and at the individual level. Drawing from multidisciplinary perspectives, students will also learn how to examine and evaluate persuasion, and how to persuade others.
Organizational Ethics (2 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course explore ethics as they pertain to organizational contexts. Students will understand the philosophical underpinnings of ethics, examine case studies of ethics in organizations, and develop an ethical stance in their own organization.
The Structure of Organizations (2 Credit Hours)
Students will be exposed to a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how money, information, and influence flow through organizations and between related organizations. Students learn theories of organizational structure from disciplines including anthropology, political science, and sociology. They are exposed to methods for analyzing the structure of organizations and markets.
Computational Approaches (2 Credit Hours)
Students will learn to analyze and interpret data drawn from large-scale data sets. Approaches include social network analysis, web analytics and linguistic corpus analysis. This course is designed to give students sufficient experience to allow them to be sophisticated consumers of data in organizational settings.
Fall (Semester 4): Implementing Change
Capstone Project (6 Credit Hours)
With the approval of the graduate advisor, each student will complete a capstone project that must be written, submitted, and presented. This capstone project is the culmination of the work in the MA and should consider a problem in the student’s own organization.