Curriculum

Outliers, Innovators, Leaders: Welcome

A 15-month program designed for working professionals. Courses are led by UT Austin’s top faculty and cover topics such as leadership, communication, ethics, change management, and decision-making.

Information Sessions

HDO holds information sessions on the UT Austin campus, in cities across the state, and online throughout the year. Click below to RSVP for an upcoming session. Each session covers a variety of topics related to the program.

Capstone Projects

Each semester has a particular focus that prepares students to complete their Capstone Project, which is a research project and presentation requiring students to use their new skills to change real-world situations within organizations.

HDO’s 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. Students will learn to draw on a range of approaches to analyze, consider, and improve the structure and function of organizations.

HDO’s External Advisory Board assisted faculty in developing the HDO Master’s Degree curriculum and continues to provide feedback to ensure that HDO classes address key issues facing today’s business and nonprofit 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 final 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 project and presentation requiring students to use their new skills to change real-world situations within organizations.

Course List

Fall I Semester: 11 Credit Hours

HDO 381: Individual Perspectives on 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.

HDO 381: Individual Perspectives on 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.

HDO 383: 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.

HDO 390: 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.

HDO 285: 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.

Spring Semester: 12 Credit Hours

HDO 380: Cultural Perspectives on 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.

HDO 380: Cultural Perspectives on 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.

HDO 384: 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.

HDO 382: 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.

HDO 391: Quantitative Research in Organizations (3 Credit Hours)

Students taking this course learn quantitative approaches for studying the human dimensions of organizations. They will examine the mechanics and assumptions of common methods in quantitative methods, including experimental design, survey research, and quantitative coding of archival data. The course emphasizes students’ ability to know and identify what types of research questions are best-suited to the different quantitative approaches. Students will also review the types of data that various designs produce, and learn about some basic statistical assessments of quantitative data.

Summer Semester: 7 Credit Hours

HDO 386: 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.

HDO 386: 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.

HDO 287: 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.

HDO 289: Writing and Researching Organizations (2 Credit Hours)

Students examine various approaches to organizational writing and research. They will learn how to plan, organize, and execute an organization-based research project.

Fall II Semester: 6 Total Credit Hours

HDO 695: Capstone Project (6 Credit Hours)

No formal class sessions. 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, when possible, should consider a problem in the student’s own organization.

HDO 695: Capstone Project (6 Credit Hours)

No formal class sessions. 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, when possible, should consider a problem in the student’s own organization.

Course Descriptions and Availability Are Subject to Change.

“As brilliant as the faculty were, learning from the wisdom and experience of my cohort mates was equally valuable. I’ve relied on the cohort network many times since graduating. Choosing a favorite professor or identifying the most useful course is like asking about a favorite flavor of ice cream. All different; equally delightful; impossible to pick one. My biggest takeaway from HDO is the joy of discovery. The faculty ‘showed us where to look, but not what to see’ (Maori proverb).”

Lynn Wills (Class of 2019)

HDO’s Founding Director & Psychology Professor Art Markman interviews Master’s alumna Michelle Jack about how her HDO education helped her navigate a major change initiative at her organization.

Outliers, Innovators, Leaders, Welcome