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PhD in Organizational Leadership: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Read on to find out how a doctorate in organizational leadership can prepare you for advanced research in this field. See what online learning and prerequisite requirements are. Get information about required classes, too.

What Can I Expect From a Ph.D. Program in Organizational Leadership?

Doctorate programs in organizational leadership often make a distinction between management and leadership. While management is the practice of assigning tasks, enforcing policies and managing operations, leadership is concerned with actively pursuing an organizational vision. This vision typically includes helping employees and team members develop professionally, promoting productive attitudes and efficiently achieving organizational goals through morale and teamwork.

In addition to advanced study in general business practices, such as accounting, marketing, risk management and sales, you'll learn how to develop business models that make jobs easy for workers by streamlining training and support processes. Ph.D. degree programs in this field are best suited for those who already have substantial business experience and wish to continue their study on the theoretical level, usually in academia. For this reason, most programs focus heavily on research and publication.

Course TopicsAccounting, marketing, risk management, sales
Program FormatOn-campus, online, or hybrid
Admissions RequirementsMaster's degree, preferably in related field, GMAT or GRE scores, letters of recommendation
Common CoursesApplied statistics, quantitative research, politics in organizations, philosophy of organizations
Median Salary (2018)$78,470 (for postsecondary teachers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

This degree can be found online, but it isn't common. Those degrees that are offered online are usually hybrid programs, which require you to visit campus periodically during the academic year to give presentations, complete collaborative projects or attend lectures. Some hybrid programs are offered in human resources with a focus in organizational leadership. This degree can be completed in 3-5 years and culminates in a dissertation, which is a substantial work of original research done in conjunction with a faculty advisor.

What Are the Educational Prerequisites?

You'll typically need a master's degree, often in a field related to organizational discipline or psychology. Most degree programs prefer applicants to have professional business experience in the interest of creating an educational environment in which students can discuss real-world experiences. Also, expect to submit GMAT or GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a resume.

What Classes Will I Take?

Classes are largely based on theory and research. Some courses you may find in the curriculum include:

  • Philosophy of organizations
  • Organizational processes
  • Politics in organizations
  • International organizational research
  • Applied statistics
  • Quantitative research

Will I Be Able to Get a Job?

Many people with a Ph.D. in organizational leadership go into academia and research. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment rate for professors would grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov), faster than average growth in relation to other job fields. Those with a Ph.D. in their field would find the most employment opportunities.