Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics

Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics students on campus

The Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics (MSOD) offers a series of foundation courses that are the academic bedrock of our program. Evidence-based application courses follow that allow students to evaluate and solve complex organizational problems. All our courses incorporate practical strategies to apply academic lessons in the real world. Students may develop an individualized curriculum in collaboration with their advisors or focus their studies with a concentration.

Our students are mid-career professionals with at least five years of career-level experience. They come from every sector of the global workplace, from small start-ups to nonprofits to large multi-national corporations and from both the public and private sectors. What unites our students is their passion for the people who are the heart of organizations.

The small seminar format of our classes allows students to connect with distinguished professors and scholars in an intimate classroom culture of integration, trust, and reflection. We offer online and in-person courses. This flexible, low-residency format allows students to earn their degree part time in the evenings and on weekends so they can continue their career.

Community is important to the Organizational Dynamics Programs. Throughout the year, students, faculty, and alumni are invited to participate in social and professional networking events, attend lectures and discussions, and connect to the wider Penn community.

MSOD curriculum

The Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics provides you with the foundational knowledge you need to understand and address complex organizational issues. Students may also take a deeper dive by taking courses in one of our concentrations. Throughout your studies, you will work with an academic advisor to help you create a curriculum suited precisely to your interests.

As a Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Programs student, you will complete 12 courses units (c.u.)* that balance core learning with individual exploration. Your course of study includes the following elements:

  • Foundations (4 c.u.)
  • Applications (5 c.u.)
  • Electives (2 c.u.)
  • Capstone Course (1 c.u.)
  • Submission of a completed capstone

Courses in the Foundations category are coded “F” and teach you a common language upon which to build your knowledge and prepare you for the deeper immersion in the topics that you will study in your Application courses.

Our Foundations courses include:

  • Introduction to Organizational Dynamics: The Practical Scholar
  • Research Design and Methods in Organizational Dynamics
  • Equity and Belonging in Organizations
  • Organizational Culture and Communication

Courses in the Applications category are coded “A” and give you the opportunity to explore the issues and topics you encountered in your Foundations courses more deeply. From social media to crisis management to organizational politics, Application courses provide a closer look at elements important to any organization.

Examples of Applications courses include:

Electives may be courses from within the Organizational Dynamics Programs or from another graduate degree program at Penn. These courses are meant to provide students with an opportunity to explore new perspectives from the many programs at the university.

The capstone project is a distinguishing feature of the Organizational Dynamics Programs. The project blends academic and professional experiences and serves as the culmination of your work in the program. You will design a project that draws on your learning inside and outside the classroom to identify and explore a question tied to your professional and academic interests.

For our students, the capstone experience serves as a career catalyst, whether you intend to change directions or advance on their current path.

Students working on their capstone project enroll in the capstone course. During the course, you have opportunities to discuss your capstone progress, successes, and challenges with the course professor and with their classmates. The capstone course professor will describe capstone requirements and formats, facilitate peer feedback, and provide general guidance and support during the selection and writing of the capstone.

Students work with their capstone course professor to select a topic for a capstone project that is tailored to their professional and intellectual goals. You then seek out a capstone committee that consists of a faculty advisor and a faculty reader, both of whom are selected to participate on the committee based on their expertise as it relates to the chosen capstone topic.

The capstone projects vary widely; however, all projects demonstrate students’ ability to:

  • Make an argument supported by in-depth, interdisciplinary research
  • Communicate the connections between specific course concepts in an applied way
  • Use primary sources or ones that apply to a primary organization as much as possible
  • Apply competencies gained from the courses completed in the Organizational Dynamics Programs

Examples of Organizational Dynamics Programs capstone projects completed by program alumni are available on the Scholarly Commons website within the Penn Online Digital Library.


Students may concentrate in a particular sub-discipline, providing a method to demonstrate to potential employers their extensive expertise in a related field.

See Organizational Dynamics Programs concentrations >


The Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics is designed for mid-career professionals from a variety of backgrounds and requires no specific prerequisite courses. The degree is ideal for those who wish to complement their MBA or another professional or graduate degree, as well as those who do not need the traditional foundational curriculum of an advanced business degree. Students come from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and professional enterprises including corporations, public institutions, and nonprofit organizations, as well as from professional fields such as law, education, and healthcare. However, for your admission to the program, it is necessary that you have a strong academic background and well-articulated objectives for participating in the program.

Successful applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited US institution and are expected to have achieved a 3.0 GPA in previous academic work, or explicitly address why they expect to be able to do so in their graduate degree program. In addition, candidates must have completed at least five years of full-time, management-related, professional work. Standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are not required when applying for the Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics program.

International applicants should make sure that their degree is the equivalent of a four-year degree in the US and must demonstrate English proficiency via their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.

Interested candidates may apply to begin the MSOD during the fall, spring, or summer terms. See Admissions for specific requirements to apply to the MSOD program.

Contact us

Have any questions about the Organizational Dynamics programs? Reach out to our program or enrollment teams for a one-on-one discussion.

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Photo of Kelly Rebmann Shepperson, MSOD ’22

Student & alumni stories

“Completing the degree was also very much in service to me and what I think my future beyond the traditional corporate world can be.” - Kelly Rebmann Shepperson, MSOD ’22