An online doctorate in organizational leadership degree prepares graduates to effectively lead and implement change in their organizations by leveraging various management, motivational, and technological tools and strategies. In an ever-changing professional world, strong leadership can make a crucial difference in every organization. Professionals who earn a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) or a doctor of education (Ed.D.) in organizational leadership pursue careers in educational organizations and in for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors, while helping their organization operate and grow in sustainable, innovative ways.
Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.
The Best Online Organizational Leadership Degrees
1. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
The Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California offers a variety of doctoral and master’s degree programs, professional development programs, and undergraduate minors. The Rossier School of Education strives to prepare leaders to achieve educational equity through practice, research, and policy. Through innovative thinking and research, they strive to solve the most difficult educational problems. Curriculum delivered through the Rossier School of Education focuses on four academic pillars: leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity. Both the Rossier School of Education and its graduates have won numerous awards, and the school houses nine multidisciplinary research centers.
The University of Southern California’s School of Education offers an online Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership degree program through the USC Rossier Online platform. The program attracts current and emerging leaders seeking to drive systemic change in colleges and universities, K–-12 schools and systems, private firms, nonprofits, and government organizations.
Coursework focuses on practices of motivating and supervising others, assessing organizational priorities, and powering innovation through new technologies. Each course in the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership program covers four central themes: organizational change, leadership, problem-solving and reflection.
Though mostly an online program, students in the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership program get the chance through annual immersion experiences to meet their classmates and professors face-to-face and complete various collaborative learning exercises designed to build essential leadership skills.
The online Doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Analyzing Organizational Change and Its Effectiveness
- Building Capacity for Organizational Change
- Economics of Organizational Change and Learning Environments
- Education Performance Problems — The Role of Learning
- Framing Educational Leadership in a Global Context
- Understanding the Fundamentals of Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Using Communication to Facilitate Organizational Change
Students must complete an annual immersion weekend at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Students must also complete a Capstone consisting of a Dissertation, a Reflective Self-Assessment, and additional coursework deliverables that represent core leadership proficiencies.
Applicants to the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership program must hold a bachelor’s degree or its recognized equivalent from an accredited institution. The University may allow students who currently hold a master’s degree to enroll with advanced standing; these students are required to take only 43 units in order to complete the program.
The Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California is a Consortium Member of the Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate (CPED). The Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate exists as a collaborative of over 100 colleges and schools of education that have committed resources to work together to undertake a critical examination of the doctorate in education.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredits the Rossier School of Education. The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accredits the University of Southern California.
2. Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Fischler College of Education at Nova Southeastern University offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to a diverse group of students studying to improve as educators. The Fischler College of Education holds multiple awards, including accolades for their online programs. Programs offered by the Fischler College of Education focus on using theory in practice, meeting the needs of traditional and non-traditional students through career-focused residential and online programs
Through the Nova Southeastern University Online platform, the Fischler College of Education offers an online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership degree program designed for professionals in leadership positions. The program seeks to build upon the capacities of adult learners to meet both the current and future challenges facing their associations. In addition, students learn the skills to lead in an increasingly diverse world in the context of a changing economy, growing globalism, and rapidly developing technology.
The program prepares professionals whose career paths involve more hands-on leadership, rather than research.
The Doctorate in Organizational Leadership online program requires 54 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Change Management
- Critical Thinking for Decision Making
- Diversity Dynamics
- Emerging Theories of Organization Leadership
- Leadership, Communication, and Technology
- Organizational Behavior and Human Development
- Strategic Planning
- Virtual and Global Leadership
Students must complete a dissertation.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredits Fischler College of Education. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits Nova Southeastern University.
3. Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia
The Regent University School of Business and Leadership offers a number of graduate degrees that equip students with entrepreneurial vision and the agility to steer businesses and organizations with confidence, innovation, and expertise. Students of the School of Business and Leadership include a variety of learners, from mid-level managers to professionals just launching a business career.
The School of Business and Leadership maintains a commitment to student growth through career-oriented programs, many with flexible online options, internship opportunities, and career development services.
The School of Business and Leadership offers an online Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership degree program through the Regent University Online platform. The curriculum utilizes a research-based, multidisciplinary approach to prepare students to influence and invigorate organizations around the world as a scholar, teacher, or business leader.
Regent University’s Christian beliefs and mission shape the PhD in Organizational Leadership program. Students examine "followership" in leader-follower relationships and explore organizational spirituality and the emerging use of chaplains and expressions of spirituality in the organization. Students work to understand communication theories and research on how communication affects organizations.
Graduates complete the program prepared to teach organizational leadership at the university level or conduct research in association with government agencies, corporations, and think tanks.
The online PhD in Organizational Leadership program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Contemporary Perspectives in Organizational Leadership Theory
- Group Behavior
- Organizational Behavior
- Organizational Communication
- Organizational Culture & Climate
- Organizational Spirituality
- Organizational Theory & Design
- Trends in Organizational Leadership Research
Students must complete a dissertation and two four-day residencies at the Regent University campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Applicants must hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution, as evaluated by a credential-evaluating agency. When applying to the Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership program, the university evaluates applicants on their number of years in leadership positions, leadership development and impact, and number of leadership positions held.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits Regent University.
4. Abilene Christian University
Abilene Christian University aims to redefine Christian higher education through incorporating servant leadership, global outreach, innovation, and investigation into their curriculum. All of the degree offerings seek to help students stretch intellectually, grow spiritually, and advance professionally. The School of Educational Leadership at Abilene Christian University offers several graduate degrees that prepare professionals in schools and other organizations to lead with purpose, skill, and integrity.
Through the Abilene Christian University Online platform, the School of Educational Leadership offers a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership online degree program with concentration options in Higher Education, Conflict Resolution, and Learning with Emerging Technologies.
The program equips students to strengthen their leadership skills and prepare to purposefully influence culture within educational organizations. Curriculum delivers five core competencies: personal development, resource development, collaboration and communication, organizational assessment, and organizational culture. The program prepares graduates to lead with purpose, based upon a foundation of Christian principles.
The online EdD in Organizational Leadership program requires 54 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Contemporary Issues in Leadership
- Human Resource Development
- Leading in Diverse Contexts
- Leading Organizational Change
- Self Assessment for Leadership
- Technology & Financial Resource Development
- Theories & Practices of Effective Leadership
Students in the online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program must also complete a dissertation.
Applicants must have earned a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or the equivalent.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits Abilene Christian University.
5. Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that go beyond theory, combining innovation and real-world experience. The Business Psychology programs at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology prepare graduates for leadership roles in today’s global and multicultural business environment. The degrees offered through the Business Psychology Department equip graduates with the skills necessary to succeed in a variety of fields and professions, including jobs in the public and private sectors.
Through the Chicago School of Professional Psychology Online platform, the Business Psychology Department offers an online Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership degree program that prepares graduates to lead organizations. Faculty members with practical experience lead students to learn about human diversity and ethics, research strategies, strategic change management, team-building, organizational interventions, interpersonal dynamics, and psychological theories of leadership and motivation.
Graduates emerge able to select, implement, and manage appropriate leadership methodologies to meet individual, group, and organizational needs in nonprofit and for-profit settings.
The online PhD in Organizational Leadership program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Emerging Theories of Leadership
- Ethical and Cultural Considerations
- Group and Team Leadership
- Management Philosophy and Practice
- Organizational Diagnosis and Cultural Dynamics
- Personality and Life Span in the Workplace
- Strategic Change Management
- Systems Theory
Students in the online PhD in Organizational Leadership program must complete a dissertation and two brief residencies at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s main campus in Chicago, Illinois. Students may participate in an optional third residency. Students must also have access to an organizational environment available for use in research and reference for coursework.
Applicants must have successfully obtained a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in psychology, the behavioral sciences, an organizational discipline, or another related field.
The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accredits the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
6. Brandman University
The School of Education at Brandman University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as professional certificates, to students in varying career stages. The School of Education employs faculty members with real-world educational experience, including current and former superintendents, principals and educators, and technology leaders with advanced expertise in the classroom. Brandman University’s School of Education strives to develop innovative and caring leaders, scholars, and practitioners who collaborate to solve complex problems, transform organizations, and educate diverse student populations through discovery, inspiration, and innovation.
Through the Brandman University Online Platform, the School of Education offers an online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership degree program that supports graduates as they become stronger leaders. The program seeks to develop leaders who transform their organizations through collaboration, innovation, positive influence, strategic thinking, and a profound commitment to lifelong learning.
Students learn in a cohort-based, interdisciplinary environment that prepares them as professional educators, business executives, organizational development consultants, city and county government officials, college faculty and staff, and nonprofit leaders.
The EdD in Organizational Leadership online program requires 57 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Assessment, Evaluation, and Accountability
- Creativity, Innovation, and Sustainable Change
- Diversity and Intercultural Aspects of Leadership
- Innovation in Resource Management
- Organizational Communication and Conflict Management
- Organizational Theory and Development
- Strategic Thinking
- The Ethics and Politics of Decision Making
- The Leader as Change Agent
- Team and Group Dynamics
- Transformational Leadership
Students in the EdD in Organizational Leadership online program must also complete a dissertation.
Applicants to the program must have successfully completed a master’s degree and must submit a portfolio that shows leadership experience.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredits the School of Education. WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accredits Brandman University.
7. Grand Canyon University
The College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University provides students with a variety of doctoral programs across diverse fields, including business, psychology, leadership, and education. Placing a strong emphasis on the value of research, the College of Doctoral Studies seeks to prepare students through comprehensive understandings of the field and through a commitment to continual growth and discourse.
The College provides students with a variety of flexible online programs, meeting the unique needs of non-traditional students seeking the highest level of education.
Through Grand Canyon University’s online platform, the College of Doctoral Studies offers a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership online degree program with an emphasis in Organizational Development. Coursework examines shifts in traditional and learning organizational structures, and reviews methods of sustainability to help graduates develop best practices in leadership.
Graduates complete the program prepared to pursue advanced professional positions, or lead operations in educational or corporate environments.
The online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Ethical Dilemmas and Stewardship
- Individual Differences and Organizational Outcomes
- Leading Across Cultures
- Organizational Theory, Structure, and Process
- Progressions in Leadership Thought
- Stakeholders: Roles in Organizations
- Strategic Decision Making
- Strategic Planning and Change
- Systems Thinking: Building Organizations That Last
Students must complete a dissertation and two week-long residencies at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Students may also choose to attend the Dissertation Intensive Writing Retreat, an optional residency that invites doctoral learners to improve the quality of their writing, research, and analysis through in-person, immediate feedback and coaching.
Applicants must have earned a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with an overall GPA of 3.4 or higher. The University may accept applicants with a GPA lower than 3.4 but not below 3.0 with specifications.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits Grand Canyon University.
8. Eastern University
St. Davids, Pennsylvania
The College of Business and Leadership at Eastern University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that focus on business, leadership, and advocacy. In keeping with the Christian Mission of Eastern University, the College of Business and Leadership integrates Christian principles and ethics into the core of its programs to develop students as servant leaders in local, regional, and international settings.
The College provides students with a variety of online programs, internship and scholarship opportunities, access to student organizations, and more.
The College of Business and Leadership offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership online degree program through the Eastern University Online platform with concentrations in Business Management, Nonprofit and Public Administration, and Education Administration. The online Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership program operates as a blended, cohort-based model which combines online learning with face-to-face residencies.
The online Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership curriculum employs an interdisciplinary approach, to provide rich, unique perspectives from educators in the business, education, and nonprofit sectors. The program strives to equip graduates as leaders in business, educational, and nonprofit sectors through interdisciplinary studies and original research.
The online PhD in Organizational Leadership program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Capacity Building in Human Resources
- Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Organizational Leadership
- Leadership in Global Contexts
- Leadership, Justice, and Servanthood
- Leadership, Spirituality, and Mission
- Leadership Theory and Practice
- Models of Organizational Behavior
- Strategic Leadership and Organizational Change
Students in the online PhD in Organizational Leadership program must also complete a dissertation and three residencies per year at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.
The University requires that applicants have five years of leadership experience, which it evaluates with respect to supervisory responsibilities, entrepreneurial initiatives, professional credentials, and the level of management positions attained by applicants within their organizations.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) accredits Eastern University.
9. Argosy University
The College of Education at Argosy University offers a variety of graduate degrees for individuals seeking to improve as educators and leaders. With graduate degrees in administration, curriculum, counseling, psychology, and leadership, the College of Education supports a diverse range of students. The College of Education focuses on teaching educational best practices. Its leadership consists of faculty members who have worked as both scholars and practitioners in the field of education.
Through the Argosy University Online platform, the College of Education provides an online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership degree program which prepares graduates for various careers in Organizational Leadership. The program focuses on transformational leadership, in addition to managerial skills.
Courses address dealing with strategic challenges, such as increasing globalization, changing economies, societal shifts, and individual/organization relationships.
Graduates of the program emerge prepared for careers as supervisors, managers, chief executives, management analysts, and business teachers.
The online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:
- Conflict Management
- Foundations of Leadership
- Leading Through and Beyond Change
- Organizational Behavior
- Organizational Consultancy and Assessment
- Professional Development in Leadership
- Strategic Talent Management
- Team Development and Leadership
Students must successfully complete a dissertation and a Doctoral Qualifying Examination focused on the learner outcomes associated with the required core courses of their programs.
For admission, the College of Education requires a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, a nationally accredited institution approved and documented by the Dean of the Graduate School of Business and Management, or an appropriately certified foreign institution.
The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accredits Argosy University.
10. City University of Seattle – School of Applied Leadership
The School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle offers a select variety of graduate and professional degree programs for professionals seeking to advance in a variety of leadership roles across diverse fields of practice. With flexible online program options, internship and scholarship opportunities, optional residencies, and dedicated practitioner faculty, the School serves the unique needs of advanced non-traditional students.
The School of Applied Leadership offers an online Doctor of Education in Leadership degree program with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. The program develops key advanced knowledge necessary to success in the field. The curriculum blends in-depth coursework with hands-on dissertation research, covering topics such as leadership theories and practices, designing and implementing research, ethics of the field, organizational design and culture, organizational leadership in the global business environment, and more. Graduates emerge prepared to advance organizational leadership careers in diverse professional roles, including corporate training, management and organizational consulting, organizational planning, and leadership development.
The online Doctor of Education in Leadership program requires 90 credit hours and includes the following Organizational Leadership concentration courses:
- Collaborative Coaching
- Leading in a Global Environment
- Organizational Design and Culture
- Managing Complexity in Organizations
Students in the online Doctor of Education in Leadership program must complete a dissertation and comprehensive exams.
For admission, applicants must hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution, and ust have at leas two years of work experience in a leadership role. The program can be completed entirely online, but students may choose to attend optional two-day summer residencies.
City University of Seattle is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
What is an Organizational Leadership Doctoral Degree?
Organizational development professionals are crucial to a business’s efficiency; they react to environmental challenges, plan interventions, measure incumbent engagement and performance, and assist with resource allocation and employment law. Doctoral programs emphasize theory, research, and publication, and students can earn either a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. A Ph.D. is often more theoretical in scope and leads to careers in higher education as professors and educators. Meanwhile an Ed.D. organizational leadership program usually emphasizes problem-solving, application, and direct community involvement.
The best online doctorate programs in organizational leadership include analytical courses that explore the economic impact of organizational change, employee performance and learning environments, effective modes of communication, and corporate social responsibility and justice. Psychology and leadership courses cover organizational behavior and human development, strategic planning, and critical thinking for decision-making.
Earning a doctorate in organizational leadership online can help midlevel professionals gain hands-on experience through dissertation research and field work. Furthermore, graduates enter the field as subject matter experts who qualify for high ranking positions as consultants or chief executive officers.
Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs
Students looking to earn advanced degrees often work full time, making on-campus programs or those with significant in-person components difficult. Therefore, many schools offer distance learning options to accommodate working students. Depending on the school, students may complete all coursework online or complete hybrid programs that require very few in-person meetings.
Similar to on-campus courses, students receive a syllabus at the beginning of each course outlining important deadline dates and exams. Hybrid programs may require students to complete exams on campus or at an approved testing center, while online programs allow learners to complete coursework without ever setting foot on campus.
Distance courses use multiple formats, which can include synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous courses mimic an on-campus environment through live video sessions that students access through an online learning management system. This platform allows students to digitally raise their hand and use microphones to speak.
Contrastingly, asynchronous courses only require students to submit assignments before deadlines. Students engage with classmates and professors through online discussion boards, which require an initial post and then ongoing follow-up responses. Students may also engage in group work through online chat rooms or phone conferences. Ideal distance learners should possess excellent time management skills, intrinsic motivation, and basic computer skills.
The Advantages of a Doctoral Degree in Organizational Leadership
A doctorate in organizational leadership represents the highest degree one can earn in the field, and graduates leave the program prepared for meaningful careers and lucrative salaries. However, earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in organizational leadership also opens plenty of occupational pathways. For instance, possessing an online bachelor’s degree readies learners for roles as project coordinators, human resources generalists, or production supervisors. Meanwhile, professionals who earn their master’s in organizational leadership pursue careers as human resources managers, principals, management analysts, or public health administrators.
By earning your online Ph.D. in organizational leadership, however, you gain a competitive advantage in the job market. Most doctoral programs in this field require candidates to hold a minimum of three years of experience for admission, meaning graduates enter the workforce with extensive education and professional experience.
What Can You Do With a Doctoral Degree in Organizational Leadership?
Individuals who earn a doctorate in organizational leadership can pursue a variety of leadership positions in private businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. These professionals apply critical thinking and strong leadership skills to facilitate change in their organizations, and usually occupy positions such as managers, administrators, directors, or consultants.
- Chief Executive Officer: As the primary leader of organizations, CEOs make high-level decisions about company budgets, policies, and overall performance. CEOs collaborate with other top executives and report to a board of directors.
- Chief Operating Officer: As the second highest ranking leader in organizations, a COO executes the CEO’s vision for the organization. They monitor directors and middle managers to ensure policy compliance, quality training, and efficient production.
- Human Resources Director: The responsibilities of a human resources director vary based on the type and size of an organization. However, in addition to enforcing company policies, these directors address employee concerns and oversee training, benefits, and payroll.
- Organizational Development Director: In this role, professionals manage the flow of organizations by developing effective and efficient employee training programs. These directors should possess a combination of extensive experience and an advanced degree.
- Executive Director: As senior managers, executive directors assist top executives with developing and executing strategic organizational plans. Depending on the type of organization, other duties may include fundraising and community outreach.
|Job Title||Entry Level (0-5 Years)||Midcareer (5-10 Years)||Experienced (10-20 Years)||Late Career (20+ Years)|
|Chief Executive Officer||$120,000||$154,000||$193,000||$229,000|
|Chief Operating Officer||$101,000||$124,000||$155,000||$185,000|
|Human Resources Director||$59,000||$79,000||$94,000||$101,000|
|Organizational Development Director||$91,000||$98,000||$127,000||$130,000|
Choosing an Online Organizational Leadership Degree Program
Students should take their time identifying which online Ph.D. in organizational leadership best meets their needs. Schools offer a variety of distance learning programs that come along with different tuition costs, graduate requirements, and delivery structures. For example, in-state programs usually charge lower tuition rates than out-of-state programs, providing students with a greater return on their investment. Additionally, students should consider whether a distance program requires any in-person components. The list below features several of the primary variables prospective students should consider.
- Program Cost: The cost of online Ph.D. in organizational leadership programs varies greatly. While many programs offer financial assistance, students must consider how much they must pay out-of-pocket or take out in student loans. Some expensive programs may not offer a quality return on investment, while other programs could offer better overall value.
- Transfer Policies: Students who hold a master’s degree or who have completed doctorate coursework at another university should examine each school’s transfer policies. By transferring relevant credits, students can potentially graduate faster and save money by not repeating courses they’ve completed in the past. Some schools maintain partnerships with other universities that make the credit transfer process easier.
- School Size and Type: Since online programs vary in size, students should consider what kind of class environment best suits their learning needs. For instance, large classes allow students to network, while smaller class sizes offer more opportunities for hands-on engagement and instruction. Students should also consider the various benefits associated with private, nonprofit, or public school structures.
- Program Length: Students should consider all factors that impact the length of their program. For instance, programs may follow traditional semester schedules or offer year-round coursework, which can shorten program completion time. Contrastingly, students unable to attend full time may choose to enroll part time, which could double the length of their program.
- On-Campus Requirements: Many online Ph.D. programs offer all coursework online. However, hybrid programs may require in-person attendance for some courses, or may require students to attend a set number of on-campus residencies or events throughout the semester. Other in-person components could include exams, field work, or dissertation presentations.
- Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: Many online Ph.D. in organizational leadership programs require culminating experiences to compliment and increase the quality of students’ educational experience. In Ph.D. programs, this typically takes the form of dissertations or research projects. Many schools also offer fellowships that provide stipends, but also require students to complete additional work.
Accreditation for Online Organizational Leadership Degrees
As demand for distance learning grows, so do the available options. However, students should only consider accredited programs. Accrediting agencies set rigorous standards for curricula, and schools can hold either national or regional accreditation. National accreditation is typically granted to vocational or for-profit institutions, while regional accrediting agencies are generally considered the gold standard.
Seven regional accrediting bodies grant accreditation to higher education institutions throughout the country. To learn more about your prospective school’s accreditation status, you can can visit websites for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and U.S. Department of Education.
Additionally, programs or schools within a larger university may hold programmatic accreditation. This is usually granted by professional organizations in the field to signify that a program meets the highest standards for quality in the industry. For instance, an online doctorate in organizational leadership can lead to a career in higher education, therefore students may consider programs with accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Organizational Leadership Doctoral Degree Program?
The average online Ph.D. in organizational leadership requires students to complete 50-65 credits, which usually takes 3-4 years. However, several factors may influence the length of the degree. For instance, part-time enrollment often doubles the length of average programs. Furthermore, online programs at schools with brick-and-mortar locations may also use traditional semester schedules for distance learning coursework. Contrastingly, some distance learning schools offer courses year-round, and often operate on briefer eight-week semesters instead of traditional 16-week semesters.
Students may also accelerate their program by taking additional courses during the semester or in the summer, if allowed by their school. However, many online Ph.D. in organizational development and leadership programs use cohort models. This structure emphasizes quality interaction between students and requires cohorts to take each class together for the duration of the program. Students may apply for a leave of absence if needed, but they lose placement in their current cohort.
Organizational Leadership Concentrations
A concentration in business management combines interdisciplinary methods, essential theories, and best practices to examine modern issues in organizations. Students explore competitive strategies, diversification tactics, and reflective leadership. Coursework includes organizational design, training and development, and consulting practice. Programs also emphasize research methodologies, such as econometrics and modeling.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Organizational consultant
A concentration in educational administration prepares graduates to drive systemic change. Coursework emphasizes practices of supervision and motivation. Pertinent courses may include leadership in educational administration, postsecondary and adult education, special education leadership, or teacher leader in digital transformation.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Superintendent dean, educational organization manager
Nonprofit and Public Administration:
Students explore organizational leadership through a public and nonprofit administrative lens. Coursework explores relevant aspects of economics, organization studies, political science, sociology, and psychology. This concentration emphasizes the legal and ethical aspects of administration, nonprofit resource development, strategic planning, and resource development.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Nonprofit organization manager
Ecclesial leadership focuses on organizational leadership in churches of all denominations. Students explore historial, philosophical, and theological theories that pertain to religious leadership. Students also engage in extensive and original research regarding current issues in ecclesial leadership.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Head pastor, nonprofit director
Strategic Innovation and Change Management:
This concentration offers in-depth coursework regarding efficient and effective organizational management and supervision in diverse environments. Students use case studies to uncover ways to create positive change and foster innovative solutions. Distinctive courses include dynamics of power in organizations, talent development, and managerial communication.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Director of strategic change management
Courses in an Online Organizational Leadership Doctorate Program
Students in an online Ph.D. in organizational leadership explore advanced aspects of leadership in a variety of contexts and leverage key principles from psychology and sociology. These programs also emphasize leadership research methods, leadership development, social aspects of leadership, and decision-making. Additionally, the curriculum prepares learners to develop motivation, team management, self-development, problem-solving, critical thinking, negotiation, and training skills within their organization. While titles and program offerings vary by school, the list below includes common courses in an online doctorate in organizational leadership.
This course examines basic theories about the existence of conflict and core strategies for mediation and negotiation. Students focus on practical tools for both macro and micro conflict. Conflict management courses use an interdisciplinary approach that blends theories found in psychology, international relations, community service, and sociology.
Organizational behavior courses provide a comprehensive understanding of group behavior in organizations by emphasizing interpersonal and managerial skills. Students learn to manage employees effectively and identify weaknesses to improve the quality of their work environment. Focus areas include stress, motivation, behavior reinforcement, politics, and decision-making.
Organizational Theory and Design
This course focuses on fundamental aspects of organization theory and approaches to the institutional contexts in which organizations operate. With an emphasis on innovation and differential outcomes, students explore modern aspects of organization and management theory, including the cost of information processing and lack of communication.
In inferential statistics, students interpret statistical procedures through quantitative research methods. Students engage in statistical analysis through descriptive statistics, instrument measurement, linear models, measures of variability and correlation, logistic regression, and structural equation modeling. Students also practice performing hypothesis tests, interpreting p-values, and reporting analysis results.
Ethics Leadership, Social Justice, Diversity, and Cultural Proficiency
In this course, students examine effective strategies for interacting with diverse communities distinguished by race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, age, or religion. Students identify methods that lead to positive social impact and cultural diversity. Students also confront issues that threaten equity. This course also requires students to consider new systemic models of leadership that address current gaps.
Organizational Leadership Membership Associations
Professional organizations provide networking and support tools to professionals in the field. The following organizations offer helpful resources for individuals who hold a doctorate in organizational leadership.
- International Organization Development Association: IODA connects an international community of organization development professionals, consultants, practitioners, academics, students, and social scientists. The association offers member benefits, such as conferences, networking opportunities, career news, and professional development.
- National Management Association: NMA members gain resources to help them take ownership of their careers and development. NMA hosts chapters around the country that offer various events and support services to leadership professionals.
- American Leadership Development Association: ALDA shares current practices and discoveries in the leadership field with current practitioners. Professional members gain access to a vast network of colleagues who value innovation and improvement.
- Organization Development Network: The OD Network focuses on continuous learning and collaboration. Members include corporate consultants, organizational leaders, and academic professionals. Members gain access to webinars, conferences, events, newsletters, volunteer opportunities, and quarterly development reviews.
- International Leadership Association: The ILA network includes members from over 68 countries who occupy leadership roles in multiple fields at varying levels. Membership benefits include international conferences, research programs, online journals, and access to an online library.