Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

Amy Boyington
by
Updated April 4, 2024
Edited by
A Ph.D. in organizational leadership is a research-focused doctoral degree exploring ethical leadership and cultural growth. Learn what to expect in this guide.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

An online Ph.D. in organizational leadership develops mentorship, change management, and cultural leadership skills through rigorous academic research and coursework. While a master’s in organizational leadership prepares students for leadership roles by teaching career-specific skills, a Ph.D. is more research-oriented and theory-focused, often best for executives, policymakers, or academic professionals.

Students typically pursue organizational leadership doctoral degrees to move beyond traditional leadership roles into changemaker positions, like management consultants, human resources (HR) directors, or program administrators. The degree can also lead to professional opportunities across sectors, such as federal and state governments and financial services.

Continue exploring this page to learn more about an online Ph.D. in organizational leadership, its potential outcomes, and some degree options. Our methodology found all available options for online organizational leadership doctorates, but we ultimately highlighted those with a graduation rate of over 40%.

Featured Organizational Leadership Doctorate Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

Anderson University

  • Location-markerAnderson, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$27,480
  • Out-of-state$27,480
  • Retention Rate85%
  • Acceptance Rate46%
  • Students Enrolled4,111
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment61%
  • AccreditationYes
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

Concordia University-Chicago

  • Location-markerRiver Forest, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$33,310
  • Out-of-state$33,310
  • Retention Rate57%
  • Acceptance Rate88%
  • Students Enrolled6,086
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

Johnson University

  • Location-markerKnoxville, TN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$17,384
  • Out-of-state$17,384
  • Retention Rate68%
  • Acceptance Rate81%
  • Students Enrolled942
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

National University

  • Location-markerSan Diego, CA
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,320
  • Out-of-state$13,320
  • Retention Rate64%
  • Acceptance Rate55%
  • Students Enrolled17,972
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment80%
  • AccreditationYes
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

Southeastern University

  • Location-markerLakeland, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$27,320
  • Out-of-state$27,320
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate50%
  • Students Enrolled9,966
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment45%
  • AccreditationYes
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

Tiffin University

  • Location-markerTiffin, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$27,780
  • Out-of-state$27,780
  • Retention Rate65%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled2,934
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment59%
  • AccreditationYes
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

University of the Cumberlands

  • Location-markerWilliamsburg, KY
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,875
  • Out-of-state$9,875
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate85%
  • Students Enrolled19,272
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment95%
  • AccreditationYes
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Programs 2024

Vanderbilt University

  • Location-markerNashville, TN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$54,840
  • Out-of-state$54,840
  • Retention Rate97%
  • Acceptance Rate7%
  • Students Enrolled13,796
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment11%
  • AccreditationYes

Why Get a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Online?

  • check-circle An online doctorate program allows for more flexibility to balance coursework with other priorities.
  • check-circle Online programs often allow you to save money on tuition, housing, and transportation.
  • check-circle For working professionals, an online program expands access to top programs and faculty that are not locally available.
  • check-circle A Ph.D. in organizational leadership can bolster career options, advance your career, and increase earning potential.
  • check-circle Most programs feature concentrations that align with your academic and career goals.

Organizational Leadership Doctorate Degree Courses

The courses offered in an organizational leadership doctorate program can vary, but classes traditionally cover topics such as leadership theory, strategic leadership, and organizational behavior.

  • Leadership and Organizational Cultures: In this course, students explore the complex relationship between leadership and organizational culture. In addition to examining how leaders affect culture, you can also learn to create and sustain productive, ethical cultures that support organizational goals.
  • Human Resources Business Strategy: You’ll examine the role of HR in driving business planning and performance. Grad students explore ways to evaluate workforce trends and align business goals with HR best practices. You’ll also create strategies for talent management, organizational development, and staff engagement.
  • Global Issues and Leadership: This course explores how culture and history affect international leadership. Enrollees develop skills and knowledge essential to navigating business challenges in a globalized world. Students examine key world issues, cultural differences in business, and strategies for international collaboration.
  • Business Ethics in Leadership: This class covers workplace ethics while evaluating how organizational leaders foster ethical behavior. Students encounter various ethical theories, analyze case studies, and develop ways to create a culture that aligns with organizational values and business interests.
  • Dissertation and Capstone Planning: This course prepares doctoral students for their degree-culminating research projects. Degree-seekers develop research questions, review relevant academic studies, design studies, and craft proposals that mirror academic and professional standards. Upon completion, this research project should contribute to the organizational leadership field.

Organizational Leadership Concentrations

Most doctoral programs in organizational leadership allow students to choose an academic concentration that mirrors their academic and career goals. Concentrations can vary among programs, so be sure to prioritize programs that match your interests.

  • minus

    Human Resources

    Human resources departments aim to develop and train employees while enhancing productivity and performance. Students with an HR concentration can anticipate classes such as HR development, HR ethics, and autonomous learning and HR development. You may also learn about compensation guidance and business financial strategy.
  • minus

    Educational Administration

    Whether you’re seeking administrative roles in higher education or K-12, an educational administration concentration focuses on the unique challenges of leading an academic institution. Some common courses include education law and finance, accountability in educational leadership and policy, and faculty development.
  • minus

    Nonprofit and Public Administration

    This concentration is ideal for students seeking leadership roles in nonprofit settings. You’ll focus on the unique challenges linked to leading nonprofits, including developing community partnerships, fundraising, and community engagement.
  • minus

    Global Consulting

    This concentration prepares you for leadership roles in a global context. Coursework explores the unique challenges of leading diverse teams across geographic and cultural borders. You’ll also focus on honing the communication and analytical skills required to solve complex organizational challenges.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership?

With a Ph.D. in organizational leadership, you can pursue various career paths in academia, consulting, and executive leadership. The academic concentration you choose can have a significant impact on career options.

Those interested in academia often secure roles as professors or researchers in colleges and universities. Organizational leadership students pursuing roles in the private sector often work in corporate and nonprofit settings.

Earning a Ph.D. is a solid way to expand your career options and enhance your earning potential. Executives in corporate settings tend to make the most. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May 2022, chief executive officers (CEOs) earn a median annual salary of $246,440.

Graduates working for nonprofits teaching at a college or university tend to earn less. BLS data indicates that college professors earned a median salary of $80,840 as of May 2022.

Organizational Leadership Careers
JobAverage Annual Salary
Chief Diversity Officer$144,100
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)$246,440
Executive Director$100,090
Human Resources Manager$145,750
Nonprofit Director$64,400
Organizational Development Consultant$101,730
Professor$91,760
University Administration$115,180
Sources: BLS (May 2022), Payscale (March 2024)

Frequently Asked Questions About Organizational Leadership Degrees

A Ph.D. in organizational leadership or behavior can lead to careers in human resources management, business consulting, and business analysis. This degree is an excellent option for professionals looking to improve organizational outcomes using their high-level research, policymaking, and leadership skills.

Determining whether a Ph.D. in organizational leadership is right for you depends on personal factors. This degree has the potential to advance your career, increase your salary, and grow your expertise in the field of organizational leadership.

The primary difference between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D. in organizational leadership is their academic and professional focus. A Ph.D. program traditionally focuses on research and has an expansive list of professional applications. An Ed.D. degree prioritizes practical application in an educational environment.

The length of an online Ph.D. in organizational leadership can vary depending on the program and whether you’re a part-time or full-time student. Generally, online organizational leadership Ph.D. students can graduate in 3-7 years. Additionally, some programs offer accelerated pathways that allow enrollees to graduate more quickly.

So long as the school is accredited, online Ph.D. programs — including those in organizational leadership — are equivalent to campus-based programs and deliver the same diplomas. Still, not all online programs are created equally. Be sure to look for programs at accredited institutions and review our guide for the best online Ph.D. in organizational leadership programs.

You do not need a Ph.D. to be a CEO, but they often come to the table with ample experience and specialized skill sets. Earning a Ph.D. in organizational leadership is one way to establish a set of leadership skills while enhancing your resume and expanding your professional network.