50 Best Online PhD in Leadership Programs [2024 Doctorate Guide]

By Joy Cromwelle
Updated on April 14, 2024
Edited by Briana Sukert
Ready to start your journey?
Explore Online PhD in Leadership Programs for 2023. No GRE. Online doctorates including Ph.D., DBA, and EdD programs offered online.

Explore PhD in Leadership Programs for 2024. No GRE. Online PhD, DBA, and EdD programs offered online.

If you are ready to attain a higher leadership role, then the right degree can help you grow out of your current position.

best online PhD in leadership programs

Leadership degrees are in high demand, as they help students to move into executive project management, team leadership, business administration, and healthcare administration.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is often seen as the most prestigious degree in organizational leadership, but every path at the graduate level can lead students to a rewarding career in upper management and executive leadership positions.

Universities Offering Online PhD in Leadership (or Doctorate)

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer online doctorate degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

1. Abilene Christian University

Established in 1906, Abilene Christian College is a Christian university that started with a class size of just 25 students. Today, the school has 5,200 students per year and hosts a virtual campus with top-notch programs.

The online school of educational leadership at Abilene is an entirely virtual degree program. Students in the online doctorate program take courses in resource development, organizational assessment, collaboration, organizational culture, and personal development.
tudents can work full-time and enjoy a completely online doctorate program that increases the core competencies in leadership. While the school does have faith-based programs, you can earn your leadership doctorate in two years and head into a career with engaging new skills with their accelerated programs.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD Organizational Leadership

ACU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

2. Andrews University

Founded in 1974, Andrews University was once Battle Creek College. The school was started by Seventh Day Adventists, and it was the church’s flagship school. It’s also the second-largest Christian school program in the world. Students can take classes on the campus in Southwest Michigan, or they can attend leadership courses in an entirely online platform.

The School of Graduate Studies hosts a rigorous Ph.D. program in leadership that is entirely available online. Students are able to complete 90 credit hours. The online doctorate program is delivered at a custom pace, but you can finish this degree in as little as two years. The courses include topics in leadership framework.

Full-time students are typically using leadership degrees for healthcare administration, education, military, government agencies, pastoring, and business roles.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online Doctor of Leadership

Andrews is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

3. Antioch University

In 1852, Antioch University was established thanks to an educator and dreamer named Horace Mann. The university had campuses across the US, including in locations like Yellow Springs, Ohio and Keene, New Hampshire. Today, Antioch has an amazing Ph.D. program in leadership and change. This program, titled Engaging in the Art and Science of Leading Positive Change, was created for adults who are already working.

While the program is mostly online, students will need to take part in on-campus residencies regularly over the course of the three-year degree program. The programs are designed to help those who already work, so the degree can still be accomplished if you work full-time. The virtual campus has been praised for its interactive design and professors’ communication.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online Ph.D. in Leadership and Change

Antioch is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

4. Arizona State University

ASU, or Arizona State University, was founded in 1885 and has a long-standing history for long-distance degree programs. Noted as a public metropolitan research facility, they have multiple campuses in the Phoenix area. There are over 75,000 students enrolled at ASU, and their Online Doctor of Leadership and Innovative Education program helps students who already work in education.

The ASU online doctorate in leadership program is geared toward educational careers. Students can learn completely online or take hybrid courses, but students are encouraged to enroll from all over the world due to the successfulness of their online program. The entire online doctorate requires 90 credit hours, taking about 7 ½ weeks to complete each course.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Leadership and Innovation

ASU has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1931.

5. Baylor University

You can complete an EdD in Learning and Organizational Change at Baylor University in just four years. The program is designed for students who want to go into administrative roles or lead senior teams in business organizations. There are 61 credit hours required to graduate, and students must spend some face-to-face time through the virtual classroom with teachers and students.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Learning and Organizational Change

Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

6. Cabrini University

The online Ph.D. in Organizational Development at Cabrini University is an entirely online doctorate. While there is a campus in Radnor, Pennsylvania, students can take all of their coursework through the institution’s virtual classroom. The online doctorate program has both theoretical and research-based courses.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership

Cabrini is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

7. Capella University

In 1993, Capella University was started with the idea of providing more distance learning options for students across the Midwest. While their headquarters is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, most of their programs have online courses. There are 142 undergraduate and graduate degrees available. There are 1,600 course options online, including their Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management with a specialty in Leadership.

Their program offers a hybrid format with classes that are mostly online. However, students must take three on-campus resident programs. There are 11 core programs and five specializations to choose from. Students may have to go to campus for certain exams and for their dissertation, but the programs are still designed for full-time workers who want to move up in educational leadership.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online DBA – Leadership
  • Online DHA in Health Care Leadership
  • Online DHS – Leadership and Organizational Management
  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership and Management
  • Online Ph.D. in Business Management – Leadership
  • Online Ph.D. in Education – Leadership for Higher Education
  • Online Ph.D. in Education – Leadership in Educational Administration
  • Online Ph.D. in Education – Special Education Leadership

Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

8. City University of Seattle

Often called CityU, the City University of Seattle started in 1973. The private college has grown considerably, but it remains committed to adult learners. The college has a primary campus located in Seattle, but there are 50,000 students enrolled in programs from all over the world.

The Doctor of Education in Leadership program offers students 90 credit hours to learn about organizational leadership, specialized studies in entrepreneurship, and strategic innovation and decision making.

Students can take courses for nonprofit leadership and healthcare administration as well. With many specializations, the program is designed to help students expand their concentration and move into senior leadership within their fields. There are 90 credit hours total in the online doctorate program, which can be completed in less than three years. You can also take more time to complete the courses, particularly if you still work full-time.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership

CityU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

9. Colorado State University

One of the most historical colleges on this list, Colorado State University was founded in 1870 and offers curriculum completely online for multiple undergraduate and graduate degrees. While the private school started off small, the latest student enrollment numbers boast over 34,000 students. Their online Ph.D. program offers students the chance to earn an Education and Human Resources Studies degree.

The online doctorate program was designed to help students who are already working full-time and want to steer their career path toward senior leadership. Students learn about how to research programs, diversity culture, and organizational leadership practices.

The online doctorate program has 90 credit hours and can be completed in less than 5 years. There are a variety of formats you can use in their virtual classroom, including video, audio, texts, and discussion forums.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies – Higher Education Leadership

CSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

10. Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University started in 1965 and provided long-distance learning opportunities for military families and students. Vocational and technical careers were available at first, but the programs have expanded over the years. The courses are all delivered online today, but some classes are still available at their campus located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Colorado Technical University offers a Doctor of Management Program in Executive Leadership. In this online doctorate program, students have the opportunity to learn about different research methods, management philosophies, non-profit leadership, global leadership, and project management.

The courses are designed to be flexible and require 90 credit hours to complete. Students also have to go to an in-person symposium and complete a dissertation.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online Doctor of Management – Executive Leadership
  • Online Doctor of Management – Global Leadership
  • Online Doctor of Management – Healthcare Management and Leadership
  • Online Doctor of Management – Non-Profit Leadership

CTU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

11. Concordia University – Chicago

Established in 1864, Concordia University Chicago was originally a seminary school founded by Saxon-German immigrants. Parochial teachers originally enrolled in courses at the campus in River Forest, Illinois, and now, the university has expanded to include over 100 courses of study and caters to 5,000 students per year. The Doctoral Specialization in Organizational Leadership helps full-time teachers move up in their roles.

The online doctorate program focuses on researching and developing methodologies that support coaching, group leadership, organizational leadership, and government agency principles. Students must complete 67 credit hours and a dissertation. The courses are offered completely online, including comprehensive exams.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Sports Leadership
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Curriculum and Instruction
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Early Childhood Education
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Education Technology
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Educational Leadership
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Higher Education
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Organizational Leadership
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Reading, Language and Literacy
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Special Education
  • Online EdD/Ph.D. in Leadership – Teacher Leadership
  • Online Ph.D. in Leadership – Gerontology
  • Online Ph.D. in Leadership – Health & Human Performance

Concordia University – Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

12. Cornerstone University

Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cornerstone University is a historical college that has an intense online EdD program in organizational leadership and development. Students take most of the coursework online, but there are also three-day residencies required to graduate.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership and Development

Cornerstone is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

13. Creighton University

Founded by the Society of Jesus, Creighton University was originally created in 1878. Their campus is located in Omaha, Nebraska, but courses can be taken entirely online. There are 10 different colleges that make up the school, and 8,400 students enroll at Creighton on a yearly basis. Many students are encouraged to become volunteers.

The online Doctorate Program in Education focuses on interdisciplinary leadership. Creighton University has multiple online programs, but their leadership program helps adult learners with courses in management, group leadership methodologies, and facilitation.

The program is faith-based, which means that there are also courses in human dignity, justice, and faith. Many graduates further their careers as school administrators, marketing leaders, business administrators, and teachers.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Interdisciplinary Leadership

Creighton is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

14. Drexel University

Drexel University was started in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. Founded by Anthony Drexel, the school was named after the philanthropist and early investor who wanted an art and science school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since its early beginnings, the school has grown, adding more distance learning and virtual programs in the last few decades. There are currently over 26,000 students enrolled at Drexel.

Students who attend Drexel can take courses in the online doctorate program in Educational Leadership and Management (EdD). The degree has a contemporary philosophy on leadership and organizations.

The online doctorate program can be taken part-time or full-time, but all courses are available in the online format. Students typically complete the program in three to five years. Courses include peer support and collaboration studies.

Doctorate Degree Programs

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership and Management

Drexel is accredited by the Midd
le States Commission on Higher Education.

15. East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University is a public university that is located in East Johnson, Tennessee. It also has campuses in Kingsport and Elizabethton and is the fourth-largest university in Tennessee.

The university’s origins go back to 1911 when it was first established as a school to educate teachers. It has undergone various changes since and is now enrolls around 14,000 students.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

16. Eastern University

In 1925, Eastern University was started as a Christian faith-based institution that provided seminary courses through the American Baptist Church. The school has expanded since that time, but the headquarters remains in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, with a total enrollment of 4,300 students each year. The school continues their affiliation with the church, but it has expanded their online programs considerably.

Eastern University now offers a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, which is a blended format that caters to professional teachers who want to advance their careers.

The interdisciplinary degree offers executive leadership courses and helps students move into senior leadership positions within different specializations. Students must complete residencies on campus each year, including lectures, classes, and networking meetups.

  • Online DMin in Contextual Leadership
  • Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership

Eastern is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

17. Fielding Graduate University

The Fielding Graduate University first started in 1974. The school was originally called the Field Graduate Institute and was centrally located in Santa Barbara, California. The school offered distance learning programs through nonprofit programs. The school offers master’s, doctoral, and professional certificate programs. The School of Leadership Studies and School of Psychology also offers certificate programs in the same field.

The online doctorate degree is mainly for full-time workers who want a distance learning program. Students can enroll in the Doctor of Education in Leadership for Change at Fielding University. It was designed to help students who want to move into human services systems as leaders.

The program has a blended format with both online and physical courses. Students can take courses internationally through Fielding Graduate University as well, making it a good program for military students.

  • Online EdD in Leadership for Change

Fielding is a nonprofit organization accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

18. Franklin University

The online EdD program in organizational leadership at Franklin University is available online through the institution’s virtual classroom. Students take courses online or may attend classes on campus in Columbus, Ohio. The coursework can be completed in less than five years, and students will have to complete a dissertation in a specific field of study related to organizational leadership to graduate.

  • Online DPS in Instructional Design Leadership
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership

Franklin is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

19. Grand Canyon University

The Arizona Southern Baptist Convention established Grand Canyon University as a way for local students to go to a faith-based institution despite the distance. The school was founded in 1949, but the campus was moved in 1951 to Phoenix, Arizona. Today, there are several campuses, and students can take over 200 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The school has an extensive virtual classroom.

The Doctor of Education (EdD) online doctorate program offers a degree in Organizational Development at GCU. Students can take the courses fully online, or they can take on-campus courses. The programs include sustainable organization skills, ethical leadership, stewardship, corporate responsibility, and behavioral health. There are 60 credit hours required to complete the degree.

  • Online DNP – Educational Leadership
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership – Behavioral Health
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership – Christian Ministry
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership – Health Care Administration
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership – Higher Education Leadership
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership – K-12 Leadership
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership – Organizational Development
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership – Special Education

GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

20. Gwynedd Mercy University

Founded in 1948, the school was started by the Sisters of Mercy of Merion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gwynedd Mercy University is a Catholic college that focuses on undergraduate and graduate degrees in technical fields. With 30 different undergraduate majors and a variety of graduate programs, the programs are mostly held online.

The Executive EdD Program offers an online Doctorate in Education Leadership. The online degree program requires 54 credit hours to complete, and students are able to finish the doctorate within three years. The courses are quite technical and focus on programming at educational policy organizations, schools, universities, and administration within school districts. Each student can also pick a specialization.

  • Online Accelerated Executive Doctorate in Educational Leadership

GMercyU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

21. Indiana Institute of Technology

Established in 1930, Indiana Technical College was originally called the Indiana Institute of Technology. The two-year technical school was started to provide career-oriented degrees. However, the school changed in 1948 and became a non-profit university that provided degrees in education.

There are five colleges at the school that offer hundreds of degree programs. Over 10,000 students enroll at Indiana Tech each year and largely complete their degrees online.

The Ph.D. Program in Global Leadership offers students courses in leadership practices, government administration, policy leadership, research, and diverse cultures. Students can complete the coursework within three years, but they will also need to complete a dissertation. Students from around the world can enroll in courses at Indiana Tech.

  • Online Ph.D. in Global Leadership

Indiana Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

22. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University was founded in 1920, but it went by another name back then. First established as Marion Normal College, it became the Marion Normal Institute, and changed the name again in 1928 to the current name. It’s the largest postsecondary school in Indiana state, and the campus underwent a makeover recently to expand and include a new virtual program.

The Ph.D. program in Organizational Leadership offers a hybrid format where courses are taken online and on-campus. Students must connect weekly to the courses online. However, they are made for students who are attending courses and working full-time. The program can be completed in 40 months or less. Catholic and faith-based coursework is also included in the program.

  • Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership

IWU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

23. Johnson University

Originally named the School of the Evangelists, Johnson University has a long-standing history in the United States. Originally founded in 1893, the school changed its name but never their headquarters. The school still remains in Kimberton Heights, Tennessee, despite starting several online programs. Students can take associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs online.

Johnson University offers an online Ph.D. Program in Leadership Studies and Organizational Leadership. The degree takes four years to complete on average, and the first year requires 18 hours of courses within the Leadership Core Curriculum. In the second year, students have to take 15 credit hours within the program, and by year three, students can take all elective credit hours and write their final dissertation.

  • Online Ph.D. in Leadership Studies

JohnsonU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

24. Lamar University

Lamar University was started in 1923 as a research-oriented school that offered special doctoral programs. The campus is located in Beaumont, Texas, and enrollment has grown to over 15,000 students. With hundreds of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, Lamar University is an international institution that enrolls students from around the world.

The school’s Center for Doctoral Studies offers a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with different specializations. Students can take the Global Educational Leadership coursework. Most of the programs are designed to be accelerated and taken completely online. Students typically enroll full-time in the online program, and they can take accelerated courses to finish the program earlier.

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership

LU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

25. Liberty University

Liberty University was created as a Christian research college. Established in 1971, the school was the only Christian research college in Virginia. It was created by the church leader Jerry Falwell. It became a part of the Christian Academy Community, and it eventually became a more prominent school with over 90,000 students. The online school has the highest enrollment, and there are over 550 academic programs offered on the virtual campus.

The online Doctor of Business Administration offers a program with a leadership focus. Students can specialize in a variety of courses to enhance their field of study for different careers. Students may want to go into business leadership, professional management, human resources, or marketing. Some of the courses in the program include organizational design and structure, leading organizational change, and leadership theory.

  • Online DBA in Leadership
  • Online Doctor of Strategic Leadership
  • Online EdD in Christian Leadership – Ministry Leadership
  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership

Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

26. National University

Since its founding in 1971, National University has been dedicated to providing flexible, quality education that can help busy adults meet their educational and career goals. Headquartered in San Diego, California, NU is a network of nonprofit educational institutions with a wide variety of degree programs that can be completed online or on campus at several locations in CA.

NU offers a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. The program’s virtual classrooms offer comprehensive ways for students to collaborate and learn. The curriculum covers topics such as cultural diversity, problem analysis, administration leadership, and conflict mediation. It requires the completion of 20 courses for a total of 60 credit hours and typically be finished in 38 months.

  • Online DBA in Homeland Security: Leadership and Policy
  • Online DBA in Organizational Leadership
  • Online DNP in Executive Leadership
  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership
  • Online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership
  • Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

27. North Carolina A&T State University

Established in 1891, North Carolina A&T is also known as the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Located in Greensboro, NC, the school enrolls over 12,000 students each year in a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. They are the largest historically black college in the country.

The Doctor of Philosophy Program in Leadership Studies (LEST) provides full-time educators with the ability to move into senior leadership positions within business administration, public administration, and healthcare administration fields.

The program includes over 60 credit hours and offers an interdisciplinary focus with research, behavioral studies, and social sciences. There are many specializations that you can take within the program, and it partners well with other degree programs in engineering, history, healthcare, education, religious studies, and sociology.

  • Online PhD in Leadership Studies

NC A&T is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

28. Northeastern University

Founded in Boston in 1898, Northeastern University was first established as the Evening Institute for Younger Men. It was an interdisciplinary school that partnered with the local YMCA. However, the school has now cut ties with the organization and became Northeastern University in 1948. The school has over 25,000 students each year.

Northeastern is well-known for its Doctor of Education program that offers a specialization in Situated Leadership. The focus helps students with challenges in educational leadership. The theory and research behind this program leads to better problem-solving and helps students who want to move up within public administration and educational roles.

  • Online EdD in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership Studies
  • Online EdD in Sports Leadership

Northeastern is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

29. Nova Southeastern University

Established in 1864, Nova Southeastern University began with only 17 students. The campus was located in Davie, Florida, which allowed distance learning for students in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The school now offers over 150 fields of study, and enrollment has grown to over 22,000. The school’s Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership can be taken completely online.

The courses are designed around concentrations for real-life organizations. Students can learn about public administration, healthcare administration, research, business administration, and global leadership. The program requires over 60 credit hours and can be completed in three years. In addition, students have to write a dissertation.

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership
  • Online EdD in Higher Education Leadership
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

30. Pepperdine University

With a location in Los Angeles, California, Pepperdine University was founded in 1937 as a research university by the Church of Christ. Since its history started within the Great Depression, the school has great pride in its arts and education programs. Most courses are taught on the main campus, but the school also has hundreds of online courses.

Pepperdine University offers the Graduate School of Education and Psychology as the main online school for the Doctor of Education in Leadership. The courses are hybrid and require students to go to the campus for certain exams and projects. With a lot of research, students are able to complete this degree within 3.5-4 years.

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership
  • Online PhD in Global Leadership and Change

Pepperdine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges—Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

31. Piedmont International University

Founded in 1945, Piedmont International University is a private college with a graduate school. Classified as a bible college at first, Piedmont International University turned into a distance learning school and online university. The school has an online PhD program in leadership. The program is meant to be flexible for those who are currently working within education or public administration roles.

After earning the PhD, students go on to careers in healthcare administration, social services, education, and even business. There are a variety of specializations within the program. Students are required to take 60 credit hours and can finish the degree in 3 years. Since the degree is mostly research-oriented, students will need to write a dissertation to graduate.

  • Online PhD in Leadership

Piedmont is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and maintains membership in the American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries.

32. Regent University

Established in 1977, Regent University was founded as a private research school by the Christian Church. Originally named the Christian Broadcasting Network University, Pat Robertson founded the school. In 1990, the school’s name changed to Regent University. With its main campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the school also has other satellite locations.

The PhD in Organizational Leadership in Individualized Studies is offered through Regent University completely online. Regent University also noted that they were the first to offer the program online in 1995. The program still has a short residency. Students learn about research, public administration, organizational leadership, and applied theory practices.

  • Online DMin – Christian Leadership & Renewal
  • Online DMin – Ministry Leadership Coaching
  • Online Doctor of Strategic Leadership
  • Online DSL – Healthcare Leadership
  • Online EdD in Advanced Educational Leadership
  • Online EdD in Christian Education Leadership
  • Online EdD in Higher Education Leadership & Management
  • Online EdD in K-12 School Leadership
  • Online PhD in Education – Advanced Educational Leadership
  • Online PhD in Education – Christian Education Leadership
  • Online PhD in Education – Higher Education Leadership & Management
  • Online PhD in Education – K-12 School Leadership
  • Online PhD in Organizational Leadership

Regent is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

33. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University was founded in 1889, but it was closed briefly and re-opened in 1959. The school was established thanks to the Holy Name Monastery. The Benedictine Monastery Saint Leo Abbey is near the campus. Saint Leo is one of the top Catholic schools in the country, #26 in the Best Colleges is Regional Universities South by U.S. News & World Report. They were also one of the first schools to offer distance learning options for full-time and military students.

The Doctor of Education in School Leadership at Saint Leo is offered through the university’s College of Education and Social Services. The online program can be taken away from campus completely. There is also an on-campus residency every July. Students must attend these seminars to graduate. Most graduates will go onto careers as organizational leaders in elementary and high schools.

  • Online EdD in School Leadership

Saint Leo is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

34. Saint Thomas University

Saint Thomas University, or STU, was founded in early 1961. This is a private university that was founded with the help of the Catholic Church. The curriculum includes over 25 different undergraduate studies as well as almost 30 graduate programs. In addition, their leadership degree program is one of five doctoral programs offered at STU. Their campus is located on Miami Beaches.

Saint Thomas has a variety of online learning options, and their courses have expanded recently thanks to a new virtual classroom. The school offers a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation. Each student can specialize in their own interests and write a dissertation based on their research. Students must take 60 credit hours to complete the program.

  • Online EdD in Leadership and Innovation

STU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

35. Saybrook University

Founded in 1971, this school was started by a group of psychologists. These doctors were leaders in their fields, and they founded the humanist psychological movement. Saybrook University offers residency programs for master, doctoral, and professional certification programs. The PhD in Managing Organizational Systems: Educational Leadership Specialization is a top program offered through their online school.

Students can learn how to lead at primary, secondary, and postsecondary levels. The curriculum helps students learn about different management practices. In addition, students learn about mediation, professional support, and ethical principles. Students may be required to complete residencies on campus at the beginning of each semester.

  • Online PhD in Managing Organizational Systems – Leadership Development

Saybrook is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

36. Southeastern University

Southeastern University was founded by the Southeastern Bible Institute located in New Brockton, Alabama. The school was opened in 1935 as a liberal arts university founded by the Christian Foundation. Located in Lakeland, Florida, the main campus is one of many, as there are 80 other sites. Each campus is also located in Florida. There are 55 degree programs, ranging from baccalaureate to doctoral programs.

The PhD Program in Organizational Leadership is a hybrid degree program that includes both online and on-campus coursework. Students who are employed full-time can finish the program with 40 credit hours due to its accelerated program. Students must work on an active research project and present a dissertation to graduate.

  • Online PhD in Organizational Leadership

SEU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

37. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago was founded as a unique institution in 1979. The school was for studying psychology specifically, and the school has remained dedicated to the research and methodologies of psychology ever since. The school now has campuses in Los Angeles, California and Grayslake, Illinois.

The PhD program in Organizational Leadership is a research degree program that can be taken entirely online. The program offers a three-year accelerated course to those who want to improve their leadership skills in administration. The program revolves around courses in ethics, organizational interventions, diversity, psychological theories, and interpersonal dynamics.

  • Online PhD in Organizational Leadership

The Chicago School is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

38. Trident University

Established just 20 years ago, Trident University started as a private college with coursework offered completely online. Students don’t have to come in for any residencies, as all coursework is completed through the virtual classroom.

The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, as well as certification programs. The main offices are located in Cypress, California. This research-based college offers courses to mostly military members and veterans. There are over 30,000 students yearly.

The PhD program in Educational Leadership can be taken online completely. Students in the program work on research projects and engage in leadership within the teaching administration field. These advanced consulting skills can come in handy in helping students collaborate with other faculty members and support research projects.

  • Online PhD in Business Administration – Leadership
  • Online PhD in Educational Leadership

Trident is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

39. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas was founded in 1871 and also goes by the name of UA or U of A. The school started as a doctoral research institution with public land-grant status. Another nickname for this school is “the Hill.” The school campus overlooks the Ozark Mountains. Their campus is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The school has grown over the years and now has an enrollment of 28,000 students.

The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership offers students a chance to research and explore careers in administration, policy, and organizational leadership. The whole program is available online and allows students to take the course in just 42 credit hours.

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership

U of A is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

40. University of Charleston

Established in 1888, UC, or the University of Charleston, began under the name Barboursville Seminary of the Southern Methodist Church. The school’s campus is located in Charleston, West Virginia. There are other campuses as well, located in Martinsburg and Beckley, Virginia. The school was ranked highly by US News & World Report as one of the best regional colleges in the south.

The college offers a Doctor of Executive Leadership (DEL) with online courses through the virtual classroom known as Moodle. The program has a cohort organization, and each cohort is designed for 12 to 15 students. There are 58 credit hours needed to graduate.

  • Online Doctor of Executive Leadership

UC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

41. University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

You can earn an online EdD in education policy, organization, and leadership through the University of Illinois. The coursework can be completed within three years, and the programs are all available online. Students learn about different theories in organized leadership and education policy.

  • Online EdD in Educational Administration and Leadership

University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

42. University of Massachusetts – Global

With over 25 different campuses in Washington and California, the University of Massachusetts Global has a state-of-art virtual platform and offers a variety of degree programs, including a rigorous Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Leadership program.

The program’s curriculum has courses in creativity and sustained innovation, collaborative relationships, diversity, strategic thinking, transformational leadership, and political intelligence. The program offers a hybrid degree program that accommodates students who work full-time.

While students don’t have to come to campus to take courses, some projects and a dissertation must be presented in person.

  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership

The University of Massachusetts Global is accredited by the WSCUC Senior College and University Commission.

43. University of New England

Founded in 1831, the University of New England still has its historical campus in Biddeford, Maine. The school is also called UNE and has international campuses in Tangier and Morocco. There are over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered online, including The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD).

UNE requires three cohorts to begin the program each year. The program starts in Spring, Summer, or Fall. Students can complete the program in three years and must write a dissertation. Students must also partake in action-oriented research and take on opportunities to collaborate with other students.

  • Online EdD in Transformative Leadership

UNE is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

44. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was started in 1798 under the North Carolina General Assembly. The school was chartered under the United States Constitution as the first public university. UNC at Chapel Hill was the only school to offer higher educational degrees in the 18th century. The school has a beautiful campus at Chapel Hill in North Carolina. The total enrollment has reached over 30,000 students.

It is considered an Ivy League school due to its history. The Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership is a hybrid format. The coursework is available online with some residencies required to graduate. The program was created for those who are already working in healthcare and want to advance to a senior leadership role. The minimum amount of credits required is 45 hours.

  • Online Executive Doctoral in Health Leadership

UNC – Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College.

45. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880. It’s the oldest research institution in California in the private school circuit. The school opened to just a few students who paid just $15 for the program. There are now 27,000 students in the program. The campus is located at University Park in Los Angeles, California.

The online doctoral program in Organizational Change and Leadership offers opportunities to teachers and administrators who want to move up in government agencies, social services, non-profit organizations, healthcare administration, and other roles. The coursework is offered online, but students must participate in real-world experiences to complete the program.

  • Online EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership

USC has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since 1949.

46. University of the Cumberlands

Founded in 1889, the University of the Cumberlands is located in Williamsburg Kentucky and was originally established by the Kentucky Baptist Convention. The school has a yearly enrollment of 7,000 students.

The PhD program in Leadership is designed to help students who want leadership positions in non-profit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions. The program can be completed in under three years. Students may also take on additional courses for the Kentucky Rank 1 certification.

  • Online EdD in Educational Leadership
  • Online Executive PhD in Leadership
  • Online PhD in Leadership

UCumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

47. Valdosta State University

Located in Valdosta, Georgia, this college offers an online PhD program in organizational leadership, requiring 55 credit hours to graduate. Coursework is taken completely online, and students learn about planning, organizational theory, administration policies, and interdisciplinary analysis.

  • Online EdD in Leadership

VSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

48. Vanderbilt Peabody College

Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt has a sterling reputation for its academic excellence. The school has been building its leadership program online for over five years. The Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt offers a Doctor of Education curriculum in leadership and learning in organizations. Students typically complete the program in 36 months and must complete 54 credit hours to graduate.

  • Online EdD in Leadership and Learning in Organizations

Vanderbilt is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

49. Walden University

In 1970, Walden University was established as a distance learning school with doctoral degree programs. Today, the school has over 57,000 students and boasts an extensive online school program. The PhD in Management with a Specialization in Leadership and Organizational Change offers students more flexibility. The program is 86 credit hours and can be completed in 4-8 years.

  • Online DBA – Leadership
  • Online EdD in Community College Leadership
  • Online EdD in Educational Administration and Leadership
  • Online EdD in Higher Education Leadership and Management
  • Online PhD in Education – Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy
  • Online PhD in Education – Educational Policy, Leadership, and Management
  • Online PhD in Education – Higher Education Leadership and Policy
  • Online PhD in Education – Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy

Walden has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990.

50. Wilmington University

Located in Philadelphia, Wilmington University offers a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Leadership, Learning, and Innovation. Intended to be an interdisciplinary degree, this doctoral program can be completed 100% online (or on campus, if preferred) and prepares students for leadership positions that drive organizational growth.

  • Online DNP – Leadership
  • Online EdD in Higher Education Leadership
  • Online EdD in Organizational Leadership, Learning, and Innovation

WilmU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Online PhD Leadership Doctoral Programs

A variety of doctoral leadership concentrations are available online. Select the leadership concentration that most interests you:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that management positions will earn average salaries of over $109,760 per year, and the field is expected to grow by 9% over the next ten years.

Business Management Doctorate

employee consulting a colleague

A PhD in Business Management is one of the final stepping stones for anyone who is looking to reach the very heights of knowledge and business-savvy. Acquiring the highest level of educational degree in this field can help you access the necessary knowledge to handle the demands of senior leadership roles.

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Such a program can help you stand out in a highly competitive crowd where an MBA is now commonplace. After completing a PhD in Business Administration, you will likely be looking at new job opportunities at the very top of the corporate world, either as an operational director or as a management consultant.

Educational Leadership Doctorate

two educators walking in a university hallway

A PhD in Educational Leadership is an achievement by itself. However, it is also a remarkable combination that includes the best of two seemingly opposed worlds. This degree can help you refine the advanced strategies needed to both teach in a traditional classroom setting and to effectively command and manage a research team in a tertiary education setting.

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This is the kind of specialization that can help enable you to enact new strategies and changes in places as varied as a K-12 school, a military training facility, and even universities.

Financial Management Doctorate

financial management specialists in a meeting

Any PhD in a Business field should certainly be an important and fruitful investment. However, such an advanced degree in Financial Management can open unique doors in specialized companies. For example, large companies that devote themselves to insurance, asset management, and financial investment are likely to be full of proven talent.

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To rise to Senior Management in such a company, you will most likely require a degree at the PhD level. Financial Management specialists often find opportunities as policymakers and consultants as well.

Healthcare Management Doctorate

healthcare consultant with doctors

Healthcare is a dynamic field, as well as one of the most rapidly growing ones in the country. Managing a healthcare institution requires a superb commitment to quality, as well as routine liaisons with a variety of professionals – often with contradicting desires and priorities.

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At the Master’s level, a specialization in Healthcare Management can help enable you to handle large hospital institutions. A PhD program can help bring your knowledge pool to a level suited to direct research, design public policy, or act as a consultant for healthcare groups.

Management Information Systems Doctorate

employees during a corporate training

A PhD in Management Information Systems builds on a solid STEM foundation to provide its students with the tools needed to become researchers and scholars in a technical field. This is an eminently practical degree that includes a deep focus on the organizational and management aspects required for technological experimentation.

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For graduates, there is a range of highly coveted job opportunities in the private and public sectors alike, as well as teaching positions or as leaders of corporate training departments.

Non-Profit Leadership Doctorate

volunteers during a clean up drive

Non-profit leadership and non-profit management are remarkably flexible fields, as they combine many aspects of political science, public policy, law, and business administration. Pursue this at the PhD level can help you acquire a well-developed foundation in all these fields.

In addition, there is a strong emphasis on the development of research skills and policy-making strategies, which you’ll need to perform as a senior manager in a nation-wide non-profit organization.

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Opportunities for employment are not limited to charitable organizations; as a consultant, there is also the possibility of working at for-profit companies who run community outreach programs.

Organizational Leadership Doctorate

employees discussing a research project

PhD programs in Organizational Leadership online provide their graduates with a solid foundation on the theoretical aspects of leadership, which by themselves, involve extensive knowledge in behavioral psychology, marketing, and human resource theory. It also encompasses several modules that address the practical skills needed to manage a large group of people.

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This is an advanced degree that requires a significant time and financial investment. However, it can be a powerful tool to develop niche skills and to gain a competitive edge in the job market. A traditional or online PhD in Organizational Leadership can help you pursue a career directing operational research initiatives, management analysts, and postsecondary institutions.

Public Administration Doctorate

employees planning long-term strategies for company's growth

Normal MBAs are not only becoming increasingly common, but they are very focused on the tactics and values prized by the private sector. A PhD in Public Administration, on the other hand, can help provide you with a different outlook and a series of much more specialized skills.

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Public administration experts require a more thorough knowledge of the nuances of publicly funded and non-profit organizations. In addition, these programs also place a stronger emphasis on long-term planning strategies and on policy-making. Finally, they offer a good training ground to cultivate contacts among the country’s movers and shakers.

Online Project Management Doctorate

project manager during a team meeting

Project management is a fast-paced field with numerous job opportunities, which means that the talent pool is also investing in specializations and in higher education. At the PhD level, a degree in Project Management can help you pursue a senior position in many different industries.

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These range from technological development to supply chain management and risk management. In addition, this may be an ideal degree for those who want to start a large-scale business process outsourcing or consultancy venture.

Online Doctorate in Leadership Programs

different leadership programs

You can earn doctorate-level leadership degrees in the following programs:

Graduate programs for leadership degrees offer the best chance for students to learn in the field of organizational leadership, policy analysis, intercultural behavior, worldview, and global leadership strategy. Graduates may go on to work in hospitals, schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, or government agencies.

PhD in Leadership Programs

male consultant talking to a colleague

The PhD program offers students the highest degree of scholarship with coursework that challenges them to think about specializations within organizational leadership. Many PhD programs require 30% or more course credits to graduate, and you have to prove a dissertation to show your research and in-depth knowledge of your specialization.

You can earn any of the following degrees:

  • PhD in Leadership
  • PhD in Non-Profit Management
  • PhD in Special Education Leadership
  • PhD in Education – Leadership, Policy and Change
  • PhD in Education – Adult Education Leadership
  • PhD in Education – Community College Leadership
  • PhD in Education – K-12 Education Leadership

Students who earn a PhD will likely go on to work in education as a professor, or they may become consultants or human resource directors. There are many opportunities within the field for those who have a PhD, but typically, students will head into research rather than move into the field.

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Opting for a PhD also means that you have completed the required coursework and achieved a higher GPA to get into the program. There are typically 60 or more credit hours required to complete a PhD leadership program. Students typically need at least a 3.0 GPA to qualify as a candidate for a PhD.

Some specializations include business administration, healthcare administration, education, human resources, mission leadership, entrepreneurial leadership, and higher education roles.

DBA in Leadership Programs

employees doing strategic planning

For those who want to enhance their business administration skills and advance to executive management roles, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) may be a good degree option. A DBA can help students learn about strategic planning, statistical approaches to business, financial accounting, supervision theory, and creative management.

The key to a DBA is your specialization. You may be thinking about entrepreneurship or perhaps you want to go into executive leadership. Your coursework will define how you approach a DBA and what career paths will be best suited for your major. A DBA typically requires 40-60 credit hours, and while it’s not as rigorous as a PhD, students in this specialization still conduct research and take on residencies to complete the program.

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Students who want to earn a DBA program must earn their undergraduate degree in a related field, maintain a 3.0 GPA on average, and propose a dissertation based on their research. Graduates typically earn their DBAs faster than a PhD due to fewer credit hours and research needs.

EdD in Leadership Programs

university professor teaching college students

The Doctor of Education, or EdD, offers students the chance to work in K-12 educational settings, as well as universities. It’s up to the student how far they take their specialization, but many students design their EdD programs around teaching and working with other students.

With specific learning theories, students often go on to become skilled teachers who have a strong background in higher education administration and educational psychology. Depending on your specialization, you can pursue one of these degrees:

  • Doctor of Education – Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education – Leadership in Higher Education
  • Doctor of Education – Organizational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education – Administrator Leadership for Teaching & Learning
  • Doctor of Education – Reading and Literacy Leadership
  • Doctor of Education – Teacher Leadership

The EdD program is usually the fastest of all doctoral leadership degrees. This is mainly because it typically doesn’t require as many credit hours. Students typically finish their degrees in less than three years after taking 40 to 45 credit hours. The coursework is designed to students to become advanced educators with skills in administration and diverse learning theories.

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Students who want to advance their leadership abilities can research different specializations in higher education and complete a dissertation to graduate.

Most students who want an EdD already work in education as a teacher or administrator, but they may choose to focus on a new area to advance their careers. Some teachers choose to get an EdD in organizational leadership and school law or human resource management. The choice depends on the student and what’s desirable for their career path.

Leadership Curriculum for Doctoral Students

male college student reporting in front of class

Interested in what types of courses you’re likely to take in your online PhD leadership program? Scan our course lists for your intended degree.

PhD or EdD in Education

The following courses provide a sampling of what you may expect to find in either an EdD or PhD in Education program:

  • Educational Leadership & Change
  • Creative Strategies for Educational Leaders
  • Using and Integrating Learning Technologies
  • Program Evaluation in Organizations
  • Transformative Leadership
  • Educational Research Design
  • Quantitative Research Methods and Data Analysis
  • Leadership Theory and Practice
  • Learning In Organizations
  • Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • Responsible Leadership & Ethics
  • Leading Diverse Organizations
  • Public Policy and Administration
  • Human Capital and Talent Management
  • Psychological Perspectives on Learning
  • Learning and Design in Context
  • Designing for Learning in Communities

You’ve probably studied many of these same topics in your master’s program, but these courses are designed to go more in-depth.

DBA in Leadership

The following courses are a sampling of some of the leadership curriculum that may be available in a DBA:

  • Organizational Leadership: Theory and Practice
  • Business Strategy and Innovation for Competitive Advantage
  • Quantitative Business Data Analysis
  • Change Management
  • Sustainability
  • Multicultural Management
  • Advanced Business Research Methods
  • Strategic Supply Chain Management
  • Human Resource Development
  • Organizational & Executive Coaching
  • Quality Management and Productivity
  • Strategic Thinking for Decision-Making
  • Strategic Allocation of Financial Resources
  • Leadership Theory
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Organizational Design & Structure

Each of these classes is designed to give you real-world skills you can apply in your current and future positions.

Leadership Careers

Leadership Careers & Salaries

As you can imagine, earning a Doctorate can help put you in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some job titles that you might be able to earn once you graduate include:

  • Education Administrator: These degrees can pay as much as $97,500 per year, and they have a high projected growth rate of 8%.
  • Executive Manager: Students who head into this career path may make over $100,000 per year on average. The expected growth rate is around 8%.
  • Financial Manager: Graduates who go into this specialization work under CFOs and help with an organization’s financial health. Many students go on to work at a bank or another financial institution where they learn more about income, modeling financial projections, and creating financial reports. The average annual salary for this role is quite high at $134,180 or more. This job is expected to be more in demand, reaching up to an estimated 17% growth rate.
  • Public Relations and Fundraising Manager: Those who work in PR or the non-profit sector may make over $118,430 on average each year. The expected rate of growth for this degree is 13%.
  • Training and Development Manager: These are human resource positions that are expected to help find the company’s best talent and keep employees happy. Most professionals work in management, or they may seek out jobs in technology firms. The average salary for these jobs is $115,640. This job is expected to grow faster than the average, at 11% growth rate, in the next few years.

Leadership Salaries

Job Title Annual Median Salaries
Financial Manager $134,180
Public Relations and Fundraising Manager $118,430
Training and Development Manager $115,640
Executive Manager $103,650
Education Administrator $97,500

You may also teach at the university-level with your terminal degree as you train others to enter your field of specialization. Depending on your position, you might also be earning $100,000 or more for your services.

Admissions for Leadership Degree Programs

admissions interview in a university

Every institution has a unique approach to their on-campus or online organizational leadership degree programs. In some cases, students need only to provide their undergraduate coursework and show proof of their GPA, while others require a GRE and letters of recommendation.

Applications are typically on a rolling basis, and students should apply to at least three or four graduate programs, which gives you a better chance of getting into one that you truly like.

To get into these programs, students must already have a traditional or online master’s in organizational leadership, professional experience, and a minimum GPA. Check the school’s website or talk to their Admissions Department for more information.

University Accreditation

female student searching universities online on her laptop

At this level of education, you probably know how important a school’s accreditation is. Here’s just a friendly reminder not to take it for granted. Always investigate the university you’re applying to and verify that they are currently accredited by a reputable body.

You can check a school’s accreditation easily by searching the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. You’ll see information on each of the university or college’s campuses, schools, and even individual programs.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

male student filing out a form

Having made it this far in your studies, you’re also probably no stranger to how expensive a valuable education can be. At this level, your best bet is to apply for grants from the universities themselves, sponsorship from professional organizations, and tuition reimbursement from your employer.

Licenses and Certificates


The doctoral curriculum in leadership can help prepare you for the following certifications and licenses:

Achieving any of these expert certificates/licenses can help show potential employers your level of expertise in your field.

Resources for Leadership Doctoral Students

people attending a professional conference

If you’re serious about leadership and looking for more education opportunities while you’re earning your doctorate and even after, look into these conferences and journals.

Filled with the latest scholarship leadership studies, attending a conference or reading the literature is sure to help you bolster your education and professional skills.

Leadership Professional Organizations

people meeting other people during a conference

Finally, it never hurts to have friends, and some of the friends you’ll want in the Leadership world may be right here:

Consider joining these groups for news and networking. If you get involved, you may even find yourself gaining an official post in the organization, which can prove to be another feather in your cap and attractive line on your resume.

Should I Get My Doctorate in Leadership?

Whether it’s a company or school, organizations need talented leaders who know how to organize a project and successfully complete it. Students with online PhD’s in Leadership often go on to incredibly dynamic roles in administration and higher education, where they can truly excel as leaders.

They may take on roles in which they are able to build teams and strategically plan projects, or they may want to take on a role in higher education working with other research students.

If you decide to get a doctorate in leadership, you may want to opt for a DBA or EdD as they are typically faster programs and easier to get into than a PhD program. This is mainly because a PhD program usually requires that you have multiple years of experience as a working professional, and there are more credit hours required.

Most students will also have to complete residency courses and attend on-campus meetings for hands-on classroom knowledge. It’s important to know what specialization you want to focus on, as it can help you decide on coursework and a career path for after you graduate.

What Can I Do with a Doctorate in Leadership?

different professions for doctorate in leadership

There are endless fields to study with a doctorate in leadership. You may want to go into business, or perhaps you want to be an advanced educator at the professorial level. Earning a leadership degree is just the first step in working in a management role and moving into administration.

Most leadership degrees teach students about practical problems that face teachers in the classroom or how to work together with different teams at a business. Leaders must be organized and apply theories of policy and organization to keep everyone on task.

Some of the careers most popular for leadership degree graduates include:

  • Executive management
  • Postsecondary education administrator
  • Human resources manager
  • Financial manager
  • Public relations manager
  • Non-profit manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Project manager
  • Training and development manager

As these jobs are expected to grow through the next ten years, it’s clear that students will likely have all the control when it comes to picking their specialization. They may choose to go into product development, finance, marketing, human resources, education, or healthcare administration, which makes it a diverse degree to earn for anyone who wants to pursue a potentially six-figure administration position.

Are Online Doctorate Degrees in Leadership Respected?

happy female applicant hired in a job

There is a common misconception that just because degrees are earned online that they won’t be considered “as good as” a degree earned on a physical campus. However, there’s usually no distinction between degrees earned at a traditional university or via an online program.

Students may earn the same doctoral degrees at an online institution as they would at a physical university in their hometowns.

The benefits of an online doctoral program outweigh the need for an Ivy League college, as you can typically earn a degree in less time, pay less for the degree, and learn everything you need to go onto become a successful education administer.

Can You Earn a PhD in Leadership Entirely Online?

female student studying in a cafe

There are many online programs that offer exclusively online PhD programs. The question is whether you get the same value as a physical on-campus course or a hybrid course that may require a few visits to campus.

The answer is that students have to decide what their best options are for attending classes. If you work full-time or live far away from campus, you may decide that the online program is the perfect blend of convenience and professional degree programs.

Some programs may also seem like they are entirely online, but they may have a residency program where you have to go to school part of the time to learn and get grades while working in the field.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Leadership?

a pocket watch marked with years

Each program is different. Some schools want you to have comprehensive coursework that takes years to complete, while others know that you are working full-time and trying to move up quickly.

Typical doctoral leadership programs require at least a 40 credit hour completion, but many of the schools have changed to 60 credit hours. While you may be able to complete 40 credit hours in two to three years, you could be spending more time on your degree if you need 60 credit hours.

Most students who want a PhD must stay in school for four to five years.

How Much Does a Doctorate in Leadership Cost?

man showing money in his wallet

Your tuition is largely based on the classification and location of the school. You can expect a class to cost anywhere between $400 and $900. With higher costs, private universities typically charge more, but they may offer more aid to military veterans.

Students should expect to pay a minimum of $15,000 for a doctoral degree in leadership, but depending on the region and school accreditation, that number could go up to $50,000 or more. Students should also factor in the costs of books, computers, and a living stipend.

What’s the Difference Between a PhD and an EdD?

different careers showing the difference between a PhD and EdD

A Doctor of Philosophy degree in leadership is the highest degree that you can earn within the field. Students with a PhD in this field tend to move into the academic field, pursuing higher education administration roles or leading research projects about different applied leadership theories.

An EdD is a more practical application of the degree. Students are usually able to earn this degree much faster and typically have to take fewer credit hours than a PhD to graduate. While both degrees may require a dissertation, students with an EdD are expected to know about educational topics more than research. A growing number of Doctor of Education no dissertation programs are available.

This means that EdD candidates have in-depth knowledge of skills and techniques to keep students engaged in the classroom and apply different strategies for teaching material through the K-12 grades.

Candidates who plan on earning a PhD should think about their prerequisites as well. Most graduate schools require that PhD candidates apply early, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and have some working experience in the field.

What’s the Difference Between a PhD and a DBA?

students studying notes in books and laptop consecutively

While a PhD teaches students about research and focusing on a specialization, Doctor of Business Administration graduates go onto career paths in business and non-profit organizations. They may become financial account managers, project managers, or healthcare administrators.

Students who earn a professional doctorate can apply their skills and education to a specific role within a business. For example, students who earn a DBA may become human resources managers or public relations managers. This is why coursework mainly focuses on communication, business administration, marketing, project management, and financial accounting.

What’s the difference between an online PhD leadership degree and an organizational leadership Ph.D. online doctorate?

An online PhD in Leadership and an online PhD in Organizational Leadership are both advanced degrees focused on the study of leadership, but there can be some differences in their specific emphasis and scope.

Here’s a general comparison:

  • PhD in Leadership: The online PhD leadership program typically focuses on leadership theories, practices, and principles across various contexts, including business, education, government, and non-profit organizations. It explores leadership at a broader level, examining individual, group, and societal dynamics.
  • PhD in Organizational Leadership: This program specifically concentrates on leadership within the context of organizations. It delves deeper into topics such as organizational behavior, change management, strategic leadership, team dynamics, and the application of leadership theories within the organizational setting.

Getting Your Doctorate in Leadership Online

doctoral students at a graduation ceremony

When you’re ready to apply to a doctoral leadership program, here’s what you’ll want to do:

  1. Decide on which degree best suits your goals (PhD, EdD, or DBA)
  2. Determine your intended field of study and specialization
  3. Narrow down which online schools fit your criteria
  4. Apply and search for possible financial aid opportunities

Once you’re accepted, you’ll be on your way to earning a doctorate degree in your field!

Ready to start your journey?