2023 Best Online PhD in Global Leadership [Doctorate Guide]

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If your goal is to become a visionary leader who can direct and implement effective change in policies and systems, then you might consider pursuing a PhD in Global Leadership.

Best Online PhD in Global Leadership

Whether your passion lies in the nonprofit, for-profit, government, or academic sector, this degree path can help prepare you for leadership in today’s cross-cultural environment.

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You can discover how to thrive as a leader in a global or local environment while promoting innovation, growth, and positive change. With a heavy focus on research, a global leadership PhD may also lead to a career in research and academia.

Online PhD in Global Leadership Programs

Woman taking Online PhD in Global Leadership

Global leadership PhD programs are designed to prepare professionals to lead in today’s global and multifaceted environment.

A key focus of this type of program is to help you develop strong leadership and innovative-thinking skills in order to meet the demands of fast-changing environments. These acquired skills are intended to meet the pressing challenges of institutions, and even the world, depending upon which sector you choose to enter into.

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Graduates may choose to enter into the higher education, business, healthcare, nonprofit, or even government sector, depending on their goals.A global leadership program will also focus heavily on cultural awareness, analytics, communication, and research.

Graduates who successfully complete a Ph.D. in Global Leadership program may be able to:

  • Address global leadership challenges by applying multidisciplinary theories
  • Advance the success of organizations through designing action plans
  • Apply an international perspective to various sectors, such as military, education, and business
  • Develop and analyze global and national leadership policies to generate social change
  • Make strategic decisions that impact growth in high-level organizations
  • Advance research on effective policy development, social advocacy, and leadership
  • Manage complex cross-cultural relationships within organizations

During the course of your program, you may also gain international perspectives on policy development, entrepreneurship, funding, economics, healthcare, and more.

In your program, you may also have the chance to choose a leadership concentration, such as:

  • Organizational leadership
  • Higher education administration
  • Business administration
  • Global health leadership

Depending on your school, opportunities for international travel during your studies may also be available. While usually not required, studying overseas can provide students with unique, real-world global experience and perspectives.

Global Leadership Careers & Salaries

Global Leadership Careers & Salaries

Doctoral programs in leadership can prepare graduates to enter into a variety of sectors, depending on their concentration.

Career roles can range from leadership positions in non-profit and for-profit organizations to leadership roles in government and higher education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries for some of the positions related to advanced studies in global leadership.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $179,520
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Public Relations Managers $125,780
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Administrative Services Managers $100,170
General and Operations Managers $97,970
Postsecondary Education Administrators $96,910
Postsecondary Business Teachers $94,360
Management Analysts $93,000
Operations Research Analysts $82,360

There are many career paths in various sectors that fall under the umbrella of top executive and management positions.

Since global leadership PhD programs also involve heavy analytics and research, research positions in higher education and operations analytics may also be available to qualified graduates. Experience in policy direction may also provide opportunities in local, regional, or federal government or even in military leadership.

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In general, many of these opportunities revolve around management, key decision making, analysis, policy design, and working closely with key stakeholders and community officials.

Doctor of Global Leadership Curriculum & Courses

People taking Global Leadership PhD, working on a group project

Much like in an online masters in global management program, the core curriculum of a global leadership online PhD focuses on advanced leadership theory, policy development research, strategy, psychology, social learning, analysis, and more.

Below is a glimpse of what courses in your program may look like:

  • Advanced Leadership Theory and Research: In this course, you’ll learn how to effectively use research tools and perform analysis in leadership research.
  • Advanced Policy Development and Research: This course will focus on the core concepts and philosophies behind effective policy research and development.
  • Intercultural Competency: This course will focus on helping you develop specific skills, behaviors, and attitudes that allow you to communicate appropriately and effectively in cross-cultural interactions.
  • Strategic Leadership and Management of Global Change: This course will focus on major world trends, collaboration, innovation, and current change theory.
  • Advanced Multivariate Analysis: This course emphasizes the application of statistics throughout the research process.
  • Psychology of Leadership: This course will examine psychological principles as related to leadership practice and theory.
  • Social Learning Theory and New Media: This course will allow you to dive deep into learning and leadership theories as well as future disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence.
  • Law and Dispute Resolution: This course will help you develop an understanding of legal, political, and regulatory processes and how they impact organizations.
  • Research Design and Analysis: In this course, you’ll learn how to conduct, design, analyze, and interpret research as well as how to determine research credibility.
  • Leadership, Advocacy, and Policy Development: This course focuses on the major theories on policy development in local, national, and global sectors.

Most PhD programs also require students to complete a formal dissertation in order to complete the program. This could include one or several courses of dissertation research, along with a dissertation paper and oral defense.

Global Leadership PhD Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Global Leadership PhD

Admissions requirements for a PhD in Global Leadership can vary depending on your school, but several common requirements may include:

  • Official transcripts of baccalaureate and master degrees
  • Professional recommendations
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • Minimum GPA requirement, often of 3.0 or higher

A growing number of schools no longer require applicants to submit GRE scores. You can check with the admissions department of your university to determine exactly what your program requires.

Global Leadership Doctoral Programs Accreditation

University offering Global Leadership PhD

Before pursuing a global leadership PhD, it’s beneficial to make sure your institution is accredited. Accreditation is quality assurance that your chosen college or university meets pre-defined standards of quality.

Whether a school is accredited can determine your future employment opportunities, as some employers only accept degrees from accredited universities. In addition, accreditation can also affect your ability to receive financial aid. Regional accreditation is most highly valued by degree holders and institutions.

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There are only seven regional accrediting organizations, and you can verify that your university has been recognized by one of them by visiting the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Global Leadership PhD Financial Aid

Many students pursuing a global leadership online PhD require financial assistance to complete their program. There are many financial aid opportunities at both the federal and state level that are available to online degree in business students who qualify.

Federal aid commonly exists in the form of student loans. Loans and grants can also apply at your state level, depending on where you live or where your school is located. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for need-based aid.

You may also be eligible for private grants and scholarships from various institutions. Some schools even offer assistantships for doctoral students. If you’re currently employed, your employer may also offer tuition assistance. Many companies offer employer programs that are designed to allocate a portion of funds to employee education.

What Is a PhD in Global Leadership and Change?

Chief Executive discussing with Operations Managers

A PhD in Global Leadership and Change is designed to prepare professionals for the challenges and opportunities found in leadership environments. This preparation can set the foundation for graduates to become effective agents of change and visionary leaders in various sectors, including government, non-profit, for-profit, and academic institutions.

The skills acquired in this PhD program can also prepare students to conduct cross-cultural, organizational, and policy development research in a global context. Global leadership students can also expect to learn how to design action plans and policies that help advance the success of various organizations.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Global Leadership?

Human Resources Manager checking with the HR team

Depending on their chosen sector, professionals with a PhD in Global Leadership may pursue careers in executive or administrative positions in business, government, nonprofits, or higher education.

Those in executive positions in organizations have the opportunity to make key decisions that impact growth and globalization. Graduates may also pursue policy development or leadership roles in the local or federal government. The heavy research requirements of this degree path can also prepare students for research careers in the field.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of management occupations is projected to grow 8% over the next ten years.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Global Leadership Doctorate Online?

Woman getting PhD in Global Leadership online

How long doctoral programs in leadership take to complete can depend on a few factors. In general, a PhD takes around 3 to 5 years of full-time study to complete, depending on the number of credit hours your school requires.

The amount of credit hours can vary from program to program, so it’s helpful to look at your specific curriculum for an accurate timeline. A PhD in Global Leadership usually involves completing a dissertation as well, which can add to your time to completion.

Without a dissertation, a doctoral program can generally be completed in 3 years with full-time study. Some schools also offer various tracks, depending on your specific goals.

Is a PhD in Global Leadership Program Worth It?

Training & Development Manager, discussing with the staff

Yes, a PhD in Global Leadership program is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of top executives is projected to grow 6% over the next ten years. Management occupations overall are expected to see 8% job growth.

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Due to the varied experience professionals can acquire from a PhD in Global Leadership, they can find opportunities in many sectors, from business management opportunities to government-level positions. Plus, graduates in an on-campus or an online international business degree may also pursue research, administration, or teaching positions in institutions of higher education.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Global Leadership Degree Program

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

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University campus

Colorado Technical University offers a Doctor of Management in Executive Leadership. The program is mostly online, but students do need to come to campus for a symposium. The courses are designed to be flexible, and there are multiple start dates every year. Students can potentially graduate in 3 years.

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

DePaul University

DePaul University campus

At DePaul University, students can earn a PhD in Global Education Leadership completely online. The program is flexible and allows students to enroll part-time or full-time. There are three concentrations to choose from: General, Global Catholic, and International Baccalaureate. The last of these gives students the chance to earn an International Baccalaureate Educator Certificate in Leadership Practices.

DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University campus

East Tennessee State University offers a Doctor of Education in Global Sport Leadership that can be earned 100% online. The program requires the completion of a doctoral capstone project rather than a traditional dissertation. Potential courses include Strategic Planning and Thinking for Global Sport Leaders, Interpreting and Applying Analytics in Sport, and Effect of Governing Bodies on Sport Leaders.

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

Fuller Theological Seminary

Fuller Theological Seminary campus

Fuller Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Global Leadership program is designed for students who feel called to missionary work. The degree can be earned primarily online, and students progress through the program with a cohort of just 10 to 15 students. It requires the completion of 54 units of coursework and can typically be completed in 4 years.

Fuller Theological Seminary is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

George Fox University

George Fox University campus

George Fox University offers a Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives. The program is mostly online but does require three on-campus intensives. To graduate, students must complete 38 semester credit hours, which can typically be done in 3 years. Classes include weekly Zoom meetings with a cohort of 12 to 18 students.

George Fox University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University campus

Pepperdine University offers a PhD in Global Leadership and Change. Students in the program typically complete 3 years of coursework with a small cohort, and then spend 1 to 2 years working on a dissertation. The program uses a hybrid of face-to-face and online instruction. It also includes international trips to help students develop a global perspective.

Pepperdine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission.

Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary of the Woods College campus

At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, students can earn a PhD in Global Leadership. The program requires the completion of 60 credit hours. Each course is 8 weeks long and completed in an immersive virtual format. Students are also required to come to campus for a brief residency. The program offers a variety of study abroad opportunities as well.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tiffin University

Tiffin University campus

Tiffin University offers an online program for a PhD in Global Leadership and Change. The program takes on average 4 years to complete and was designed with working professionals in mind. To graduate, students must complete 60 credit hours of coursework, attend three on-campus residency events, and successfully defend a dissertation.

Tiffin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Troy University

Troy University campus

Troy University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Global Leadership. This unique online program is designed to help students develop a global perspective and learn to work in a variety of cultural contexts. Students can choose a track in either Higher Education or Organizational Leadership.

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

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University offers an online program for a PhD in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Global Leadership. The curriculum consists of courses such as History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice and Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems. Students must also participate in four residencies.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your PhD in Global Leadership Online

Man pursuing PhD Degree in Global Leadership online

Getting your PhD in Global Leadership online can be a convenient and flexible way to advance your professional qualifications.

Those with a PhD in this field tend to pursue visionary leadership opportunities. This degree path can offer challenging coursework that sets the foundation for graduates to advocate for and implement change on a global or local level. This PhD can also prepare graduates for high-level research and analytics in regards to global leadership theory and social change, much like an on-campus or online masters in international relations can.

Some professionals are interested in leading organizations with a global perspective, while others want to design and implement policy decisions at the local and national level. You can research PhD programs from accredited schools to find the one that best fits your goals.

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Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Southern New Hampshire University, is a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner with the Academy for Modern Applied Psychology, and is a published author. Her areas of research and interests include behavioral psychology, mental health, and publishing.