Human and Organizational Development (B.S.)

Vanderbilt’s largest undergraduate major is administered in conjunction with the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations.

Program Overview

Prepare yourself for a successful career focused on finding solutions to human problems in organizations and communities. 

This joint program between the Departments of Human and Organizational Development (HOD) and Leadership, Policy, and Organizations (LPO), ensures students obtain a strong foundation in the sciences and liberal arts, emphasizing writing, oral presentation, and analytic skills.

The HOD major prepares students to address complex social problems in organizations and communities.  The curriculum challenges students to view human problems and their solutions as embedded in broader social-ecological systems. HOD coursework draws on a range of disciplinary perspectives (e.g., psychology, organizational studies, sociology, political science, anthropology, geography, and economics), and explores societal issues across different levels of analysis (e.g., individual, group, organization, community, policy, or international).  Courses engage students through active learning approaches involving teams, simulations, case studies, field experiences, and interaction with academic researchers and professionals in the field.  These experiences support the development of the following HOD Core Competencies that will help students succeed in people-oriented organizational roles:

  1. Written communication - with emphasis on developing a clear, concise, expository style and mastering the practical forms used in professional situations.
  2. Oral presentation - with emphasis on making informative and persuasive presentations with the effective use of technology and media.
  3. Analytic and critical thinking - with emphasis on data-driven analysis, creative thinking, and the skills of systems thinking to recognize, define, and solve personal, professional, organizational, and social problems.
  4. Interpersonal communication and collaborative work behaviors - with emphasis on inquiry, advocacy, and conflict resolution skills.
  5. Group leadership, organizational development, management, and training - with emphasis on motivating others, managing talent, and teamwork.

"Vanderbilt was everything I was looking for, and the comprehensive financial aid made it a dream come true."

Jarryd Bethea, Research Assistant, University of Southern California, Sol Price

How do I transfer to HOD?

Interested in transferring to HOD? Click here

HOD Course Domains

HOD majors will choose 2 courses from each of the 3 Domain areas.

HOD Minor

The HOD minor requires 15 unique hours that are not counted toward any other major or minor. The minor in human and organizational development consists of 18 credit hours in these courses.

HOD Capstone

The HOD Capstone is the culminating event in the students' undergraduate major. This semester-long organizational capstone is completed junior or senior year and is central to the applied learning experience and the mission of the HOD degree.

For more about the HOD Capstone, click here