Requirements & Courses

Putting Liberal Arts to Work

HDO teaches students to use the disciplines of the liberal arts—the humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences—to understand workplace interactions and how organizations can best serve their employees, customers, and clients.

Advising & Careers

What can you do with an HDO degree? Our majors may move into Human Resources, Organizational Development, Consulting, Nonprofit Leadership, or Civil Service, to name a few possibilities. A degree in HDO prepares you to understand and lead people, manage change, and influence decision-making in any number of organizational settings.

Liberal Arts In The News

A collection of recent news and opinion pieces on the importance of liberal arts education for workplace success. Check back regularly for new entries!

Requirements & Courses

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Dimensions of Organizations is interdisciplinary, which means that HDO majors take a combination of core HDO classes courses and a variety of approved courses offered in other departments. Students can discuss and review this list of approved courses with HDO’s academic advisor (see the Advising & Careers page).

HDO Course Descriptions

HDO 301: Introduction to the Human Dimensions of Organizations
In this course, students are introduced to what organizations are and how the liberal arts can examine, analyze, and change them. The course will define an organization from a liberal arts standpoint; survey various approaches to understanding organizations, and explore career opportunities related to the human dimensions of organizations.

HDO 320: Multidisciplinary Methods for Exploring Organizations
In this course, students will learn how to analyze and synthesize organizational studies from a liberal arts viewpoint. They will examine types of organizations, explore problems these organizations face, and consider the ways distinct methodologies might address these problems.

HDO 379: Applying the Human Dimensions of Organizations
In this course, students will engage in a connecting experience that allows them to apply the multidisciplinary methods of the Human Dimensions of Organizations with an external entity. These individual projects enable students to broaden their understanding of the role of the liberal arts viewpoint in practical settings.

HDO 359H and 379H: Honors Research in Human Dimensions of Organizations
Students in the honors track will complete an extended connecting experience that they develop in consultation with a member of the faculty. In this connecting experience, they will describe an organizational problem that they witnessed and do an extended thesis that uses one or more disciplines to provide insight into how this problem can be addressed. The program will culminate in a poster session in which honors students present their work to faculty and students.

HDO majors who are interested in pursuing the HDO Honors program, visit the Bachelor’s Program Resources page for more information about the program.


Organization of the Major

Thirty semester hours of Human Dimensions of Organizations, at least eighteen of which must be upper-division, including:

1. Human Dimensions of Organizations 301

2. Human Dimensions of Organizations 320

3. At least 3 credit hours in each of the following fields:

Quantitative reasoning: Courses that teach students about collecting and analyzing data that involve statistical analysis. These courses involve the development of surveys and experiments; basic statistical analysis; econometrics; and computational methods.

Qualitative reasoning: Courses that enhance students’ understanding of gathering information about people as they function in groups, cultures, and organizations. These courses introduce students to data gathering methods including observation, ethnography, interviews, history, etc.

Creativity and innovation: Courses that require students either to think in new ways about personal and organizational dynamics or to study how organizations promote the development of new ideas. Classes may focus on theater, creative writing, or the arts or may study the way individuals, groups, and cultures can generate, evaluate, and implement new ideas.

Culture and communication: Courses that develop students’ communication skills by challenging them to sharpen their writing/speaking skills and/or their understanding of cultures outside of their own or historical forces that shaped their own culture.

4. Nine additional credit hours from section 3 above

5. Human Dimensions of Organizations 379

HDO course list: updated every registration cycle  Spring 2023 HDO Field Course List. Contact HDO’s Academic Advisor with any questions (see the Advising & Careers page for contact information).

The HDO bachelor’s program focuses on understanding organizational dynamics and behaviors—how organizations work—which is an essential skill in today’s rapidly changing work environment. To succeed, leaders need more than good functional skills; they need to communicate well across silos, understand complex organizational interdependencies, and adapt to ambiguous and rapidly changing business environments.

Bjorn Billhardt, CEO, Abilitie; HDO External Advisor

HDO’s Founding Director and Psychology Professor Art Markman provides an overview of the HDO Bachelor’s Degree.

“Most employers look for people who are human-oriented and can later learn the skills needed for a specific job. HDO fosters personal development and creates well-rounded individuals.”

Emma Steiner

“HDO students stand out because they are equipped to change the world.”

Sydeney Veatch

“HDO doesn’t limit you to just one area of education, it empowers you to learn about many topics. I like to do a lot of things, and this major allows me to do that.”

Ellen Finke

Students with a deep knowledge of these areas of study are well-suited to address the problems that factors like globalization, regulation, linguistic diversity, and cultural differences can cause.

The HDO Bachelor’s Degree provides a broad-based exploration of liberal arts as applied to organizations. It allows students to:

• Develop effective, persuasive oral and written communication skills;

• Understand ethical behavior in the workplace;

• Broaden their knowledge of the types of cultures that influence organizations;

• Measure human behavior to inform decision-making, and

• Consider how key lessons from the humanities and the social/behavioral sciences can be applied in organizational settings.

It is this last learning outcome that distinguishes HDO from the traditional disciplines that make up UT Austin’s College of Liberal Arts.

Putting Liberal Arts to Work