Combine your research, leadership, and critical thinking skills to earn one of the best online PhDs in organizational leadership.
If you’re interested in leadership theory, business policy, and research methodology, you’re a great candidate for a PhD in organizational leadership. These programs prepare you for careers as a business executive, consultant, or professor.
You’ll hone your leadership, research, academic writing, communication, and decision-making skills. Courses will integrate theory, practice, and research while providing a deep knowledge of business and organizational strategies. A doctorate in organizational leadership will open the door to a wide range of rewarding and lucrative careers.
Plus, earning a PhD doesn’t mean you have to put your life on pause. Every program on this list is online, meaning you can pursue your academic goals while maintaining your current career. Work at your own pace and build coursework around your schedule with these top-notch organizational leadership programs.
Top 10 Best Online PhDs in Organizational Leadership Degrees
||Capitol Technology University
||Saint Davids, PA
||Indiana Wesleyan University
||Prescott Valley, AZ
||University of the Cumberlands
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What kind of doctorate in organizational leadership should you get?
Choose a doctorate in organizational leadership that aligns with your individual interests and career goals. For instance, you could select a program focused on business analytics or a program that emphasizes human capital investments. Alternatively, you can choose a more general program and customize your experience through specialization courses and doctoral research.
Another consideration is whether you’d like to take courses online or on campus. Online programs provide you with the flexibility to balance work, family, and other responsibilities with your coursework. Explore more online learning options by reading our guide 25 Best Online Colleges and Schools.
How much money do people make with a doctorate in organizational leadership?
A doctorate in organizational leadership can lead to lucrative positions in a variety of fields. You can work as a manager or high-level executive, in academia, or as a business consultant. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries and expected growth for a few potential careers:
- Sales manager: $121,060 (7%)
- Top executive: $104,700 (8%)
- Management analyst/management consultant: $82,450 (14%)
- Professor: $76,000 (15%)
Each of the careers listed here is growing as fast or faster than average. For example, demand for professors and management consultants is expected to grow by about 15 percent over the next decade, well above the average 8 percent.
What can you do with a doctorate in organizational leadership?
Earning a doctorate in organizational leadership opens doors to leadership roles in government agencies, private and public organizations, and nonprofits. You can become a manager, director, CEO, professor, consultant, or a school administrator.
All organizations require knowledgeable leaders, making this degree a good fit for a wide range of careers.
What are the requirements for a doctorate in organizational leadership?
Before applying for a doctorate program, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree. Most of these programs hold minimum GPA requirements, typically a 3.0 or better. Work experience or leadership experience may be required as well. Additional application requirements may include GMAT/GRE scores, a resume, a personal statement and writing sample, and letters of recommendation.
These programs generally take three or more years to complete. They require a dissertation and sometimes a comprehensive exam, and many of the programs have brief residency requirements. For a residency, you’ll have to travel to campus, generally for a weekend with your cohort. Courses will emphasize business principles, leadership theory, and research methods.
What are the best online doctorates in organizational leadership?
We’ve compiled a list of the ten best online doctorates in organizational leadership. To find the best of the best, we’ve looked at factors like school reputation, return on investment, and net tuition costs. In addition, every school on this list is accredited, meaning a third-party evaluator has determined that the school meets rigorous academic criteria.
College Choice data comes only from reputable sources such as:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. News and World Report
- Princeton Review
- Official college and university websites and course catalogs
Whether your business goals relate to management, consulting, or academia, these degree programs can help you get there.
See our rankings methodology page.
Bellevue University is a private university in Bellevue, Washington. Since the university opened its doors in 1966, it has been committed to educational outreach and adult education. Bellevue serves about 9,000 students annually at campuses in four states and online. The university offers more than 80 degrees in high growth career fields, in addition to certificates for career advancement. For business leaders, Bellevue offers an online PhD in Human Capital Management.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Human Capital Investments equips graduates to effectively design human capital development programs, evaluate human capital investment, and communicate with organizational leaders. The coursework is divided into four modules:
- Strategic Human Capital Management and Productivity
- Measuring, Analyzing, and Assessing Human Capital Effectiveness
- Linking Human Capital to Organizational Outcomes
- Human Capital Leadership and Introduction to Measurement
Students study immediately applicable topics through courses like Strategic Management of Human-Derived Sources of Capital, Human Capital Development and Productivity, Economics of Human Capital Valuation Issues, and Human Learning and Decision Making.
Capella University is a private online university based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With a focus on providing online education for non-traditional students, Capella offers flexible start dates and multiple online learning formats. Students choose from more than 150 academic programs and certifications and 1,600 online courses. All programs are designed in consultation with industry leaders. One of Capella’s flexible, affordable programs is a PhD in Business Management.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management program prepares students to impact business by teaching, leading, or consulting. Students master business concepts through specialized courses, developing advanced knowledge of business theory, research, and practice. They build skills in academic research, writing, critical thinking, leadership, and communication through courses like:
- Business Principles and Practices
- Ethics and Leadership in Global Environments
- Strategic Management and Practice
- The 21st-Century Organization
- Research Processes, Theory, and Practice in Global Business
Students begin their dissertation early in the program, with consistent guidance from faculty, online resources, and a support team. In addition to the dissertation, the program consists of 11 core courses, five elective courses, three brief residencies, and a comprehensive exam. Applicants must have a master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Capitol Technology University
Located in Laurel, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Capitol Technology University is dedicated to preparing professionals in engineering, computer and information sciences, and business. The school prides itself on placing graduates in competitive careers with salaries above the industry average. CTU emphasizes innovation, practical knowledge, and hands-on experience. The university enrolls under 1,000 students and offers numerous degree programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates. One option is an online PhD in Business Analytics and Decision Sciences.
The Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Analytics and Decision Sciences supports advanced critical reasoning and data-driven decision-making skills related to management and decision sciences. Students gain precise technical skills and doctoral-level research allowing for innovative contributions to the field. Courses include:
- Management Theory in a Global Economy
- Organizational Change and Information Systems Implementation and Practice
- Analytics and Decision Analysis
- Applied Statistics and Visualization for Analytics
- Problem Solving and Decision-Making Using Quantitative Methods
The program is a total of 54-66 credits and includes a literature review, professional research and theory, professional ethics and leadership, and dissertation preparation. Courses are taught by working professionals in the field. The program has a low residency requirement.
Saint Davids, PA
A nationally ranked Christian university near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Eastern University offers a wide array of academic programs to 3,300 students. The school is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and emphasizes faith, reason, and justice. Eastern offers more than 160 degrees in over 95 areas of study, including many blended, online, and accelerated programs. One option is an online PhD in Organizational Leadership.
Eastern’s Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership is interdisciplinary and research-focused. Students select a concentration in Business Management, Educational Administration, or Nonprofit and Public Administration. The program consists of a dissertation phase and three years of coursework, with courses including:
- Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Organizational Leadership
- Leadership Theory and Practice
- Strategic Leadership and Organizational Change
- Foundations of Research Methodology
- Advanced Quantitative Research
Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, writing samples, resume, research methods record, and a narrative describing at least five years of leadership experience. Although all courses are delivered online, students attend three annual residencies on campus in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. The program can be completed in four years, but students have up to four years to finish their coursework and dissertation phase.
Founded in 1868, Hampton University is a tightly-knit community of learners and educators, and one of the top historically black universities in the world. Booker T. Washington is among the school’s notable alumni. The school enrolls 4,321 students representing 22 countries. Students choose from more than 90 dynamic academic programs, including an online PhD in Business Administration.
The 61-credit Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Administration can be completed in 3.5 years. The program prepares students to advance their careers in business or become business consultants or professors. Students take courses in research, leadership, and advanced principles of business such as:
- Organizational Behavior
- Organization Theory and Practice
- Strategy and Business Policy
- Empirical Research Methods
- Advanced Leadership Concepts
All students are required to attend two summer residencies at Hampton U during their program. Students must complete a dissertation and comprehensive exam to complete the program. Students also complete a publishable paper during the first year of the program.
Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University is a private Christian liberal arts college in Marion, Indiana. IWU is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church and serves close to 14,000 students, making it Indiana’s largest private university. IWU has received national attention for its innovative adult education program, with courses offered at multiple regional campuses and online. In total, the growing university has more than 100 programs, including an online PhD in Organizational Leadership.
IWU’s Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership aims to provide an innovative, Christ-centered program for future leaders and world changers. The degree can be completed in just 40 months and emphasizes organizational learning, organizational theory and research, innovation and entrepreneurship, globalism and multiculturalism, and ethics. You’ll take courses like:
- Advanced Leadership Theory
- Organization Theory and Design
- Change, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
- Statistical Research Design
- Advanced Global Leadership
Students attend a one-week Summer Institute in July. A dissertation is required. Applicants must have a minimum of five years of leadership experience in the workplace, through volunteer organizations, or as a classroom teacher. A master’s degree with a graduate GPA of 3.0 is required, along with a resume, recommendation forms, and an essay.
For over 125 years, Johnson University has been a leader in Christian higher education. The university currently offers more than 50 academic programs across three campuses: one in Tennessee, one in Florida, and one online. Guiding principles of the school include affordable education, academic excellence, and a Christian perspective. Johnson University prepares impactful leaders through programs like the online PhD in Leadership Studies.
Johnson University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies is an interdisciplinary program drawing on four areas of leadership studies: individual and personal systems, organizational systems, global systems, and research. The 60-credit program consists of a leadership core, ethics core, research core, and elective concentration. Courses include:
- Intercultural Behavior, Worldview, and Communication
- Leadership and Personal Ethics
- Ways of Knowing and Leadership Development
- Organizational Studies and Theory
- Global Leadership, Systems, and Policy
Concentration options for this program include Educational Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Philosophy & Theology of Leadership, and Missional Leadership. Students may participate in optional Research Summits, which provide opportunities to network with faculty members and peers.
Prescott Valley, AZ
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Northcentral University is an online university that was established in 1996. NCU was founded with the goal of making higher education accessible to working professionals worldwide. The university offers a unique one-to-one learning model, with courses taught one-to-one by a professor with a doctorate degree. The innovative, professionally relevant university offers a Doctor of Business Administration.
NSU’s Doctor of Business Administration program is designed for students interested in senior leadership positions. It emphasizes the use of research to develop effective strategies and tactics for solving organizational problems. Students also explore topics like emerging business technologies and business ethics. Students choose from 18 specializations, including:
- Organizational Leadership
- General Business
- Human Resources Management
NSU is highly flexible, offering weekly course starts to meet any student schedule. In addition, NCU’s DBA has no GRE or GMAT requirement for applicants. The program consists of 54 credit hours and 18 courses. It can be completed in 39 months.
Trident University International is a private online university based in Cypress, California. TIU also emphasizes flexibility and affordability, keeping schedules customizable and tuition costs low. It’s the first fully online school to be regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. TIU offers a PhD in Business Administration.
Students in the Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration program prepare to become world-class business academics. They develop advanced research skills and gain in-depth knowledge of various areas of business administration. The 56-credit hour program consists of 10 core program courses and four concentration courses, followed by a qualifying exam and the dissertation phase. Students complete courses such as:
- Organizational Studies
- Research Design and Fieldwork
- Advanced Data Management and Analysis
- Advanced Multivariate Data Analysis
- Current Research in Business and Management
Concentration options include Accounting/Finance, Information Systems/Information Technology Management, Leadership, Management and Organizations, and Marketing. All courses in TIU’s program are 12 weeks long. The program culminates in a doctoral dissertation. Students also receive the opportunity to publish in peer-reviewed journals and present research at professional conferences.
University of the Cumberlands
A private Christian liberal arts college in Williamsburg, Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands serves over 11,000 students through a wide range of academic programs. The university focuses on enabling students to effectively discover, analyze, engage, and evaluate societal challenges and issues. Students choose between 40 undergraduate majors or eight graduate focus areas. All programs are student-centered and affordable. You may be interested in the online PhD in Leadership.
Cumberland’s Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Mission and Goals prepares students to make innovative, valuable contributions in a variety of organizational settings and leadership roles. The program is especially beneficial for students interested in academia. The 66-credit curriculum examines leadership theory, educational theory, and research methods. Courses include:
- The Politics of Organizational Decision-Making
- Leadership in Theory and Practice
- Higher Education in America
- Inferential Statistics in Decision-Making
- Advanced Research Methods
Students are required to complete a dissertation. They also choose from a wide range of specialty areas, including business, criminal justice, English, health science, mathematics, information systems, psychology, and religion/ministry. In addition to the leadership core and professional research courses, students complete 18 credit hours in their selected specialty area.