Why pursue a Master's in Human Systems Intervention?
Human Systems Intervention (HSI) is the design and implementation of interventions in social settings where adults are confronted with the need to change their perspectives, attitudes, and actions. Human Systems Intervention is inclusive of organizational development, organization design, management and leadership, coaching, change management, community development, culture change and many other theoretical and methodological approaches to creating healthier social systems for people.
Change is approached as a planned, systematic, and collaborative activity. As scholarly practitioners, you are encouraged to choose your own area of specialization or work in a broad variety of areas.
The MA in Human Systems Intervention has many distinctive features that set it apart from other graduate programs, including the opportunity to join a learning community and develop your professional network.
Because courses are held on the weekend, it is also possible to study and maintain employment (on a reduced load) while pursuing a Masters degree.
The program relies on small group learning and an experience/practice based approach, including three residential laboratories. To learn how the program is structured, review the course schedule for the current academic year.
The MA in Human Systems Intervention graduate program enables you to join a learning community, engage in learning for practice, and expand your professional network.
Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 45 credits. 42 credits will be in required coursework, including 15 credits of project work. The remaining 3 credits are to be completed within or outside the department. Courses that are taken to complete entrance requirements to the program may not be counted toward the program’s 45 credits. In exceptional cases, students who produce evidence of successful performance (B grade or better) in compatible coursework at other institutions may be permitted transfer credit. A maximum of 9 credits in transfer courses will be permitted.
Coursework. The program is divided into two sections of coursework, with Year I establishing the prerequisites for Year II. In addition, students will have a minimum of 3 credits of elective coursework to complete their degree requirements.
Year I provides students with fundamental understanding and frames of reference regarding learning and change processes of persons and groups, steps in the intervention process, ethical principles, and research methods. These fundamental understandings are then deepened through application in practice-based courses of Year II. The Master’s Project is intended to promote an integration of concepts and practical experience.
Year I constitutes the first phase of the program. Year II and the Elective Coursework is more individually-tailored, and constitutes the second and subsequent years, when necessary.
YEAR I: Total of Required Credits: Year I =18 credits
The following are required of all students in the first year of study; additional three (3) credits of electives may be added to this set of courses:
AHSC 610 Group Process Intervention (3 credits) AHSC 620 Learning and Individual Change Processes (3 credits) AHSC 631 Research Methods (3 credits) AHSC 632 Planning Human Systems Intervention (3 credits) AHSC 660 Philosophy and Ethics of Intervention (3 credits) AHSC 670 Consultation Methods (3 credits)
YEAR II: Total of Required Credits: Year II = 24 credits
The following will normally be required of all students:
AHSC 680 Facilitating Individual and Group Learning Processes (6 credits) AHSC 685 Coaching Interventions and Processes (3 credits) AHSC 698 Master’s Project (15 credits)
+ 3 credits of elective coursework.
Required credits from Years I and II comprise 42 of the 45 credits in this MA program. Students must complete an additional 3 credits of coursework to satisfy degree requirements. These three credits of coursework may be taken in Year I or Year II.
AHSC 675 Introduction to Open Systems Theory (3 credits) AHSC 681 Selected Topics (3 credits) AHSC 682 Selected Topics (3 credits) AHSC 695 Independent Study I (3 credits) AHSC 696 Independent Study II (3 credits)
Optional Coursework in AHSC or other departments
Course substitution. Students may be exempted from certain courses on the basis of course work completed prior to entry into the program. A maximum of 9 credits of transfer credits will be permitted. These credits will be counted toward the required 45 credits in the program.
Residential Laboratories. Students will be required to participate in two week-long residential laboratories for which expenses for accommodation, meals and program related fees will be the responsibility of the students.
Admission Requirements. Candidates must have the following:
At least two years of full-time work experience. Preference will be shown toward applicants who have work experience that is directly related to their learning goals in the program.
Completion of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum B average or a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.
Successful completion of a one week residential Basic Human Interaction Laboratory and have written documentation from laboratory staff that they have competency in interpersonal interaction and facilitation.
A clearly delineated career intention concerning the development of intervention expertise for a particular domain of professional practice.
Be capable of undertaking all core courses of the first year in the scheduled sequence of the program.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
The Graduate Program Director may require a demonstration of English language competencies for international students or students educated abroad.
Note: An interview is required before admission to the program. Selected applicants will be contacted by the program office.
Successful completion of a Basic Human Interaction Laboratory is also required as a prerequisite before final admission to the program. This laboratory is normally done after the applicant has been granted conditional admission. It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the organizations listed here for additional information and to make all necessary arrangements.
The MA in Human Systems Intervention is a program like no other. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review information regarding the program structure and course schedule.
The academic workload associated with this program is very important to consider before making an application. Review this program workload document.
There are additional costs associated with this program in addition to tuition, student fees and books. The two week-long off-campus residential laboratories (in Year I and Year II) are conducted off-campus. The expenses for accommodation, meals and program-related fees are paid for by the students. This usually amounts to approximately $1400 for each laboratory and is payable at the end of each lab.
Enjoy the benefits of full-time study without interrupting your career. Students will only be admitted to the program on a full-time basis for the first year. With explicit permission of the AHSC Graduate Program Committee, a student may continue on a part-time basis following the first year of study.
Students who work a regular 40-hour week and do not have heavy family commitments (e.g. young children or aging parents) and a supportive employer have been able to complete the program while working. However a full time workload added to a full time study load may be stressful and difficult, mainly during the first year. Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to devise a flexible and workable plan with their families and employers before commencing this MA program.
Students must attend a week-long residential human relations laboratory as a prerequisite for acceptance into the program. In addition, during this two-year program, you will attend a week-long residential session at the beginning of the first year and another one at the beginning of the second year. The program is structured as follows:
Prerequisite human relations laboratory after conditional acceptance into the program.
Residential laboratory at the beginning of Year 1.
Nine 3-day weekends once a month during Year 1.
Two weeklong courses in the Spring semester at the beginning of Year 2.
Residential laboratory at the beginning of the fall semester in Year 2.
Five 2-day weekends during Year 2.
Join a learning community
With your colleagues you will create a community designed to maximize the benefits of “experiential enquiry” and to model the qualities of a good learning system.
Engage in learning for practice
The program aims to integrate theory, values and skills in organization development and intervention, drawing upon many theoretical and methodological approaches to human systems intervention. Understanding is evolved through observation, reflection on experience and interaction with others. Sessions combine experience-based learning with intellectual exchange and collaboration.
In the second year, your main focus will be a self-managed large systems change project in which you will apply your learning from the program to a real world human system.
Widen your network
The diversity of both faculty and student backgrounds is a rich source of practical experience and perspectives. The small class (approximately 20) optimizes learning from others in smaller groups and learning partnerships. Relationships with your colleagues are likely to become part of your professional network beyond the program.
I was just reflecting on my day as I got my 13-month old ready for his nap. I get to pick him up from the babysitter and put him down for his nap because I transitioned from being an employee to being a consultant.
Thanks to the relationships I've built and the skills I have developed, I'm working on my first consulting project. It is definitely the opportunity of my lifetime so far - the brief explanation is that I am developing a framework and tools and providing process consulting and coaching to extend the community school model from a single school to a multi-school or regional approach. It's groundbreaking and innovative and I live in a constant tension between being exhilarated and terrified that I am living this opportunity to accompany people through a process at this scale.
And everything I do is informed by what I learned with you, from you. You each pop into my head at different times, offering your lenses for seeing and doing work with systems in ways that are collaborative and generative. Five years ago I had a dream that I would do something like what I am now doing. I am so very grateful for the knowledge and skills I developed and continue to develop through HSI and the HSI community.
I hope you pause and soak up this message. To feel the deep gratitude for your contribution individually and collectively, for the work you did to become who you are and the gift you are to those who learn with you.
Christie Huff, HSI 2012
I had lost faith in the ability of universities to offer a space and a place to learn and challenge. I didn't believe anymore that higher education could be an institution concerned with asking the right question rather than giving 'answers' to ready-made template to 'fit' in the 'market trends'. Now, inspired to shape markets rather than follow, starting with myself. That's a glimpse of what I am just beginning to learn.