Leadership and management occupations span a variety of industries and workplaces. Earning a doctoral degree in organizational leadership can prepare professionals to take advantage of specialized leadership roles. This page highlights the best online doctorate in organizational leadership programs of 2020, including information about common courses in the discipline, concentration opportunities, typical admission requirements, career paths, and answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Students interested in pursuing high-level, specialized career opportunities in leadership roles should consider earning a doctoral degree in organizational leadership. Many graduates who hold this doctoral degree pursue advanced careers as training and development managers. While some careers in this field only require professionals to hold a bachelor's degree, those who pursue more advanced education can qualify for higher salary opportunities and more specialized job responsibilities. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, training and development managers earned median annual salaries of $111,340 in 2018.

Accredited Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Sort By
School Location Description Toggle

Beulah Heights University

Atlanta, GA

Beulah Heights University provides one of the best opportunities to earn a research-focused, biblically based doctorate in organizational leadership. Applicants do not need to complete an entrance exam, but they do need to hold a master's degree from an accredited college or university, submit one letter of recommendation, provide official transcripts, and complete a research-oriented writing sample.

The 60-credit curriculum includes courses in strategic design, research design, and leadership policy and culture. Students also must complete three, five-day on-campus residencies and a doctoral comprehensive course. Most learners enroll in two courses each semester.

To complete their degree, candidates must research, write, and defend a dissertation. Beulah Heights accepts up to nine doctoral-level transfer credits from accredited institutions. The college offers special tuition rates to current and former active duty military personnel.


Program Overview

Program Name: Ph.D. in Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $525/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid

Contact

Phone: (404) 627-2681
Email: admissionsinfo@beulah.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Concordia University - Chicago

River Forest, IL

At Concordia University-Chicago, degree-seekers interested in a doctorate in organizational leadership have the option of earning either a Ph.D. or Ed.D in leadership with a specialization in organizational leadership. The curriculum includes classes in leading the knowledge enterprise, the follower-leader relationship, and promoting and leading change.

Students must complete a minimum of 61 credits, create a research-based dissertation project, and pass a final comprehensive exam. Ph.D. students are required to take a course in the philosophy of scientific knowledge, while Ed.D. candidates must study philosophical and theoretical foundations of leadership.

Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 graduate GPA and at least two years of teaching or administrative experience. The university holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Ed.D. or Ph.D. in Leadership with a Specialization in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Credit Requirements: 61-67 credits

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT
Work Experience: 2 years

Contact

Phone: (708) 771-8300
Email: Online.Info@CUChicago.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

East Tennessee State University

Johnson City, TN

East Tennessee State University offers a flexible and fully online doctorate in organizational leadership with an emphasis in global sport leadership. Unlike many doctoral programs, the global sport leadership option at ETSU does not require learners to complete a dissertation. Instead, degree-seekers complete a comprehensive, research-based, 12-credit doctoral capstone project.

Throughout the curriculum, students explore a variety of advanced course topics, such as interpreting and applying analytics in sports, interpersonal relationships in sports, and leading internal functions in sports.

Applicants must hold a master's degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA and provide three letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and GRE scores. They must also hold three years of professional experience in professional, collegiate, or high school athletics.


Program Overview

Program Name: Doctor of Education in Global Sport Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $615/credit in-state; $670/credit out-of-state

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: 3 years

Contact

Phone: (423) 439-1000
Email: online@etsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, NC

A private, Baptist-affiliated college in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills, Gardner-Webb University offers a flexible doctorate in organizational leadership that appeals to working criminal justice professionals, community college and university personnel, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs. The program features a practicum in which students apply their knowledge and skills at their current workplace.

The 63-credit curriculum covers subjects like conflict resolution, strategic planning, and cultural development. Students take classes in a cohort, progressing together and benefiting from a support network of professors and fellow learners. In the last three semesters, candidates participate in a set of specialized weekend courses on campus.

To apply, prospective students must submit GRE or GMAT test scores, a personal statement, a cohort registration form, and three reference letters. The college holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $528/credit hour
Credit Requirements: 63 credits
Program Length: 9 semesters

Delivery

Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE

Contact

Phone: (704) 406-4000
Email: gradinfo@gardner-webb.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Ranked in the top 20% of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, Gonzaga University maintains a doctorate in organizational leadership program focusing on the three dimensions of leadership: organizational systems, global systems, and the leader as a person.

The Ph.D. program caters to working professionals and features students from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, including business, healthcare, education, and social services. Learners typically complete the requirements of their 60-credit program within four to five years.

Students must complete 30 credits of required courses, including organizational theory and ethics and leadership studies. They can complete their final 30 credits online as either on-campus immersion electives or independent study courses.


Program Overview

Program Name: Ph.D. in Leadership Studies
School Status: Private
Tuition: $820/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 4-5 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (509) 313-3485
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Governors State University

University Park, IL

Located 40 miles from Chicago on a 750-acre campus, Governors State University features a doctor of education in interdisciplinary leadership that includes concentration options in superintendency (P-12), nonprofit/social entrepreneurship leadership, and higher education administration.

The 60-credit curriculum includes core courses in finance and external funding; change, diversity, and global issues; and strategic planning, collaboration, and sustainability. All students must also complete a nine-credit capstone project demonstrating competence in their chosen concentration.

Most degree-seekers can complete the requirements of the doctoral program within four years of online study, with continuous enrollment of at least six credits during each semester. The university holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Leadership
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Higher education administration; nonprofit/social entrepreneurship leadership; superintendency (P-12)
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (708) 534-5000
Email: cjohnson@govst.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Indiana Institute of Technology

Fort Wayne, IN

Degree-seekers interested in cross-cultural research can pursue a doctorate in organizational leadership at Indiana Institute of Technology. Boasting a flexible and convenient online format, the program allows students to continue working as they earn their degree.

During the advanced curriculum, learners focus on building their skills and competencies in leadership, graduating with the ability to understand leadership from the perspective of leaders and followers within complex global systems. Students can further specialize their degree by choosing a concentration in education administration or organizational management.

Applicants must submit an essay, official transcripts, and a current resume. The program's director also interviews all candidates in person or by phone, prior to a final review of all application materials.


Program Overview

Program Name: Ph.D. in Global Leadership
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Organizational management; education administration
Tuition: $866/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (260) 422-5561
Email: phd@indianatech.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Johnson University

Knoxville, TN

Founded in 1893 as the School of Evangelists, Johnson University offers a doctorate in organizational leadership with an interdisciplinary focus. The 60-credit curriculum explores the key dimensions of leadership studies through concentrations in educational leadership, organizational leadership, philosophy and theology of leadership, and missional leadership.

Boasting an online format featuring asynchronous classes, the program allows working students to complete their course requirements from any location at any time. Students complete a series of leadership core courses, ethics core courses, research core courses, elective concentration courses, and orientation and candidacy components.

Online doctoral students can also partake in research summits that allow them to experience face-to-face interactions with other students and instructors. The university offers a leadership studies scholarship for candidates who hold a 3.0 cumulative GPA.


Program Overview

Program Name: Ph.D. in Leadership Studies
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Educational leadership; organizational leadership; philosophy and theology of leadership missional leadership
Tuition: $675/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 4-7 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (800) 827-2122
Email: admissions@johnson.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL

An institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Nova Southeastern University maintains one of the best opportunities to earn a doctorate in organizational leadership. The flexible online program follows a hands-on approach ideal for future business executives, human resources leaders, and sales team leaders.

Learners must complete at least 55 credits of concentration area courses, research-based courses, electives, and an applied dissertation. Core classes cover subjects like organizational behavior and human development, critical thinking for decision making, and virtual and global leadership.

Applicants must provide two professional letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and official transcripts verifying a 3.0 minimum GPA from a master's program. All doctoral candidates are required to attend a final summer session at the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice.


Program Overview

Program Name: Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,370/credit
Credit Requirements: 55 credits

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (800) 541-6682
Email: Eduinfo@nova.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

University of the Cumberlands provides degree-seekers with one of the best doctorate in organizational leadership degrees for professionals working in a variety of academic settings. This hybrid program includes the convenience of online learning with on-campus elements that allow learners to demonstrate leadership skills.

Comprising 66 credits of coursework, the curriculum includes leadership core courses, professional research courses, specialty area topics, and a dissertation component. Course topics cover a variety of concepts, such as the politics of organizational decision making, leadership in theory and practice, and professional writing and proposal development.

Prospective students must complete and submit an application, provide official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, demonstrate a 3.5 minimum GPA, and submit a writing sample.


Program Overview

Program Name: Executive Ph.D. in Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $700/credit
Credit Requirements: 66 credits

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (855) 791-7199
Email: digs@ucumberlands.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

A leading private institution in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California offers a flexible online doctorate in organizational leadership designed for current and emerging leaders who wish to promote change across organizational settings.

The curriculum focuses on supervising and motivating others and assessing organizational priorities. Students complete core classes, such as framing organizational change and leadership, inquiry methods, and accountability. They also must complete a dissertation that displays their acquired skills and knowledge.

Candidates can complete the degree in as few as three years. Applicants must hold a 3.0 minimum GPA and demonstrate a minimum of six years of proven leadership experience.


Program Overview

Program Name: Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $82,904 total program cost
Credit Requirements: 43 credits
Program Length: 3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT
Work Experience: 6 years

Contact

Phone: (888) 628-1872
Email: admissions@rossieronline.usc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Program Overview

Curriculum requirements for online doctorate in organizational leadership programs vary depending on the college or university. Across all programs, however, learners develop the skills needed to succeed and lead in the industry after graduation.

Doctoral programs typically include core coursework along with elective courses. Many doctoral programs in the discipline also feature concentration opportunities, allowing degree-seekers to focus on a particular area of the field that interests them. In addition, students at the doctoral level are usually required to complete a dissertation. Dissertations are written projects where learners focus on a particular concept in their field, conduct original research, and present their findings.

Common Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Degree Courses

Organizational Design

Students explore the dysfunctional and competitive aspects of procedure, leadership, workflow, and structures in systems that promote strategic advantages for innovative and effective organizations. Students can examine divisional, matrix, and functional organizations to cultivate creative advantages across organizational settings.

Educational Law and Finance

Students enrolled in this course focus on contemporary legal issues within primary, secondary, and postsecondary learning institutions. Additionally, the course teaches students how to forecast financial projections, negotiate effective and innovative financial solutions, and analyze the financial status of an organization.

Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations

With a focus on nonprofit organizations, this course examines ways to incorporate strategic practices and manage valuable organizational resources to keep track of the progress and success of a particular organization. Learners explore different techniques to enhance the sustainability, efficiency, and longevity of nonprofit organizations.

Collaborative Leadership and Partnership

During this course, degree-seekers develop their understanding of the philosophy behind partnerships and the different management techniques used in collaborative relationships across various organizational settings. Learners explore organizational stewardship along with servant leadership concepts, learning to work as part of a team from a leadership perspective.

Leadership Theory and Practice

Focusing on leadership theories across organizations and workplace settings, this course teaches students about the main components of leadership theory to help them analyze and evaluate leadership practices. Students learn more about the different types of leadership practice and what makes an effective leader across settings.

Related Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Degree Concentrations

Educational Leadership

This concentration prepares graduates to pursue leadership roles in curriculum development settings, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Throughout their program, learners combine concepts related to organizational leadership with educational theories and common issues encountered in educational contexts.

Missional Leadership

Learners are trained specifically for faith-based leadership roles; they focus on spirituality, faith, and community within organizational contexts and settings. Graduates can pursue roles as senior pastors and nonprofit CEOs.

Healthcare Leadership

In this concentration, students explore the relationship between healthcare workers and administrators, with a special focus on addressing organizational challenges across healthcare settings. Course topics include healthcare theory and practice, healthcare issues and trends, and healthcare engagement.

Entrepreneurial Leadership

This concentration examines business and leadership from an international perspective. Students learn new methods to develop the economy and promote innovation within business, with a focus on using entrepreneurial strategies to bring about positive change. Participants also learn to understand and weigh risks in a variety of situations.

Global Consulting

This concentration prepares students to pursue specialized leadership roles working on a global scale, such as military leaders. Throughout the program, degree-seekers develop their intercultural communication skills and their ability to understand different cultures, determining the correct approaches for leadership. Course topics focus on ethical interventions, team building, and consulting principles.

Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Admission Requirements

  • Graduate Transcripts

    Applicants to doctoral programs usually need to hold a master's degree and provide official transcripts. These documents demonstrate the coursework and any specializations a student completed during their master's program.

  • GMAT or GRE Scores

    Across graduate programs, many applicants are required to provide GMAT or GRE scores. Colleges and universities that require these scores usually outline minimum score requirements during the admissions process. Students can have their scores sent directly to their target institutions.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Doctoral applicants are often required to provide letters of recommendation with their application. These letters should be completed by educational and/or professional contacts, rather than family members or friends. Typically, learners provide 1-3 letters of recommendation, detailing why they would be a good fit for the program.

  • Minimum GPA

    Organizational leadership doctoral programs often require applicants to hold a minimum GPA to gain admission. These GPA requirements vary depending on the college or university, but typically range from 3.0-3.5. Many institutions allow conditional admission for applicants who do not meet minimum GPA requirements as long as they demonstrate other competencies.

  • Statement of Purpose

    During the doctoral admissions process, applicants may need to submit a statement of purpose or essay. These documents explain what educational and professional goals a student may have, outlining how a degree will help them meet their goals.


Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Career Paths

Graduates of a doctorate in organizational leadership program can follow a variety of career paths across numerous industries and workplace settings. These professionals hold some of the most specialized and advanced occupations in their respective fields, earning some of the highest salaries in the field.

Organizational leadership careers at the doctoral level are not entry-level roles; rather, they are advanced leadership roles, such as chief executive officers, chief human resources officers, and directors of revenue cycle management.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a Ph.D. in organizational leadership?

The length of a doctoral program can differ vastly depending on the school. Most degree-seekers need at least five years to satisfy the requirements of their degree, while some learners may need up to seven years to graduate. Students may be able to take heavier credit loads and earn their doctoral degree in closer to three or four years.

What can you do with a Ph.D. in leadership?

Earning a Ph.D. in leadership allows graduates to explore a variety of specialized career options that typically feature high salary opportunities. Some common career paths for graduates include training and development managers, management analysts, operations research analysts, and chief executive officers.

What is a doctorate in strategic leadership?

Doctoral-level strategic leadership programs allow degree-seekers to focus on structure, communication, leadership, and team building. These programs prepare students to review organizational lifecycles and derive new methods for leadership development. Learners also focus on understanding how to develop a product from an idea.

How much can you make with a doctorate in organizational leadership?

Salary opportunities vary for doctoral degree-holders in organizational leadership depending on the career path they pursue. Common career options include chief operating officers, chief human resources officers, and continuous improvement managers. Workers in these careers typically earn yearly salaries between $84,000 and $153,000.

How much does it cost to get a doctorate in organizational leadership?

Program costs for a doctoral degree in organizational leadership vary depending on the college or university. For example, public schools tend to be less expensive than private schools. Learners should anticipate spending between $20,000 and $60,000 to earn their organizational leadership degree at the doctoral level.

Discover Similar Degree Programs

Looking for something else? Explore these other online degrees.