Top 25 Online PhD Programs in Leadership

Best for those interested in research, academia, or high-level leadership positions, an online Ph.D. in leadership is the highest level of education. Most full-time learners complete the degree in four years, but many online Ph.D. in leadership programs offer flexible plans of study, letting students complete courses at their own pace.

“A doctorate in leadership teaches students to examine problems from new perspectives, compare different views on topics, and find innovative solutions.”

A doctorate in leadership teaches students to examine problems from new perspectives, compare different views on topics, and find innovative solutions. These programs also emphasize research, and graduates become masters of critical thinking, writing, and analysis. Some schools also offer specializations in fields like business, health sciences, and information systems.

Graduates of online Ph.D. in leadership programs often find leadership roles within their current fields. Individuals with professional experience benefit most from a doctorate in leadership.

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What Can You Do With an Online Ph.D. in Leadership?

A Ph.D. in leadership prepares professionals for specialized positions, typically within their current fields or organizations. However, specific career outcomes vary depending on the program. For example, one program might offer a specialization for business leaders, and another may focus on human resources.

Regardless of specialization, most online Ph.D. in leadership programs focus on similar subject matter. Most cover ethics, team-building, research strategies, and organizational dynamics. By the end of the Ph.D. program, graduates become expert leaders, ready to take on demanding leadership roles at the highest levels.

Those who complete a Ph.D. sometimes find careers in academia as postsecondary educators. As professors, individuals teach leadership courses, though some might teach positions related to their bachelor’s or master’s degree. Others stay within academia but choose not to teach, instead finding administrative positions at colleges and universities. While specific career paths and job titles vary, graduates of an online Ph.D. program in leadership may work as:

  • Career and technical education teachers
  • Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists
  • Human resources managers
  • Human resources specialists
  • Instructional coordinators
  • Labor relations specialists
  • Postsecondary education administrators
  • School and career counselors
  • Training and development specialists


Can I do a Ph.D. after an MBA?Yes, some business professionals earn their Ph.D. in leadership after completing an MBA and earning more professional experience.
Do you need a master’s degree before pursuing a doctorate in leadership?No, many colleges and universities accept Ph.D. applicants who hold only bachelor’s degrees from accredited institutions. However, schools usually prefer applicants with a master’s degree.
Is a doctorate in leadership a Ph.D. or an Ed.D.?A doctorate in leadership is a Ph.D., while an Ed.D. stands for doctor of education. While the two are similar, they can lead to different careers.
How long does a doctorate in leadership take to earn?Specific program length varies depending on school and study format, but most programs take 3-5 years to complete.

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Top 10 Online Ph.D. Programs in Leadership

1Grand Canyon University
2Gwynedd Mercy University
3Colorado State University
4Indiana Wesleyan University
5Walden University
6Xavier University
7Saint Thomas University
8Capella University
9Creighton University
10Saint Leo University

Career and Salary Outlook for Leadership

Because a Ph.D. in leadership attracts students from all types of backgrounds, specific career outcomes and salary expectations vary greatly. Most schools specialize their Ph.D. in leadership programs in particular career trajectories, so degree-seekers should consider their prospective career paths when choosing where to study. Graduates often go on to work in business, human resources, academia, administration, and organizational leadership. Popular career outcomes include:

  • Top Executives: Top executives hold different titles, including CEO, general manager, and president. These professionals plan and execute strategies to help an organization, government, or university meet its long-term goals. These professionals oversee budgets, appoint or hire employees, and consult other leaders within the organization.
  • Human Resources Managers: These professionals run some or all of an organization’s administrative aspects. They hire new staff, conduct interviews, and serve as an intermediary between leadership and employees. Human resources managers can also hold specialized roles, including labor relations director, recruiting manager, or payroll manager.
  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists: While some individuals work as compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists, many end up specializing in one of the three areas. These professionals assess how an organization handles these three areas, then analyzes data to determine better or more efficient ways to manage each area. This position requires excellent communication with other organizational leaders.
  • Postsecondary Education Administrators: These administrators work at colleges or universities, often for the admissions department, the registrar’s office, student affairs, or in leadership. Their daily tasks vary by institution and field. The size and scope of tasks also depend on the school’s size. Postsecondary education administrators at small schools tend to take on more responsibilities.

CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Top Executives$104,6904%
Human Resources Managers$116,7206%
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists$64,5608%
Postsecondary Education Administrators$95,4104%

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Online Doctorates in Leadership

Prospective students can determine an online degree’s quality by looking for accreditation. Accreditation verifies that a school or program meets the rigorous academic standards set by an accrediting organization. All accrediting institutions must be approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the U.S. Department of Education, or both.

The best schools secure regional accreditation. Ph.D. programs should also secure programmatic accreditation when available. For example, students interested in a Ph.D. in leadership with a business focus might look for accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Online programs can earn specific accreditation to verify their academic excellence. When researching online Ph.D. in leadership programs, look for accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Courses in an Online Ph.D. Program in Leadership

An online Ph.D. in leadership requires the most advanced courses in leadership and related fields. Students usually learn about different leadership and strategic theories, many of which come from recent publications by industry experts. Curricula also focus on research as students must complete a dissertation or final project to earn their Ph.D.

Specialized Ph.D. in leadership programs blend leadership with different fields. For example, a leadership doctoral degree with an emphasis in business administration might include courses on finance or accounting. Organizational leadership programs may favor courses in human resources. While specific course requirements vary by school, programs might include the following courses.

Emerging Theories of Leadership

Professionals must apply an array of leadership tactics for different scenarios. This course explores some new theories that could apply to different types of organizations. Students analyze these theories and determine how they apply to different leadership styles. The theories also serve to help develop learners’ leadership skills.

Research Process and Theory

Ph.D. in leadership students spend years completing their dissertation. To begin the process, programs usually teach introductory research courses. This course examines the beginning of the research process, then introduces different research theories used in academic and professional settings. This course helps students prepare to start their dissertation.

Management Philosophy and Practice

Along with different leadership theories, students learn to develop a unique leadership philosophy based on their professional experience and studies. Learners discover different leadership philosophies and see how they apply to unique situations. Students then compare different philosophies to determine the best methods for various leadership roles, including management, mentorship, and organizational leadership.

Ethics and Leadership

No matter what industry a Ph.D. in leadership graduates works in, ethics remain critical. This course examines the values and ethics of organizations and how leadership styles align with these values. Students also learn to determine the difference between ethical and unethical leadership and how the two may vary depending on the role or environment.

Quantitative Research Techniques

Often split into two courses, this course introduces the organization, analysis, and summarization of quantitative data. The course uses statistics, and sometimes statistical software, to help students perform their analysis. Another course critical to research, quantitative research techniques helps doctoral students with their dissertation.

Financial Aid for Graduate Students

Graduate students, including Ph.D. in leadership students, must find a way to cover some, or all, of their education costs. Many students still hold student loan debt from their undergraduate degree, so financing a graduate degree can seem difficult.

Fortunately, graduate students can complete the FAFSA to discern their eligibility for government-funded financial aid. Students can also apply for grants and scholarships to reduce or cover tuition costs. Student loans can cover any remaining costs.

Graduate students can also use fellowships to help cover costs while earning professional experience. While each fellowship sets different requirements, learners typically secure a fellowship when they conduct research or pursue a degree, including a Ph.D. in leadership.

Scholarships for Students in Leadership

When looking to pay for a Ph.D. in leadership, degree-seekers should research different types of scholarships. While some scholarships apply to all students, organizations sometimes reserve scholarships for a specific type of student, such as a doctoral leadership learner. See below for some scholarships for Ph.D. in leadership students.

Fairview Courageous Leader Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Current Fairview employees looking to advance their careers and find leadership positions can apply for this award. Applicants must demonstrate excellent leadership ability and pursue a leadership-based program.

Citizens Bank Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Anyone pursuing a graduate degree can apply. Citizens Bank awards $2,500 each month, and one winner each year receives $15,000.
Amount: $2,500-$15,000

Against the Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent can apply for this leadership scholarship. Applicants must submit a video showcasing their creativity and leadership.

Point Foundation National LGBTQ Scholarship
Who Can Apply: “Out” individuals who identify as members of the LGBTQ community can apply for this scholarship. The Point Foundation selects winners based on leadership qualities, academic achievement, and financial need.

Omicron Delta Kappa Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Members of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, who want to earn a graduate degree qualify for this scholarship. Omicron Delta Kappa selects more than 30 winners each year.

Top 25 Online Ph.D. Programs in Leadership

Beyond studying at an accredited institution, learners want to enroll in the best online Ph.D. programs in leadership. We compared every school with an online Ph.D. in leadership, paying close attention to affordability, quality, online format, and reputation. Read on for the top 25 online Ph.D. programs in leadership.

1. Grand Canyon University

The Arizona Southern Baptist Convention founded Grand Canyon University in 1949 to ensure that locals would have a faith-based institution that specifically catered to baptists. They did not move to their current Phoenix, Arizona campus until 1951. In 2017 The magazine Town and Country ranked Grand Canyon University among their top 10 Best College Campus issue, citing their top-notch facilities, including their state of the art aquatics center with a hot tub. The Higher Learning Commission holds their regional accreditation. They offer over 200 degree programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Many classes and academic programs can be achieved online at Grand Canyon.

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Development at Grand Canyon University is an online or evening on-campus doctorate program in leadership. Students are expected to pour themselves into the research and practice of creating soluble and sustainable organizations that can transform our communities. Leadership is a science and students will learn the formulas. Graduates of the program will know how to facilitate global and diverse workforces, engage in ethical dilemmas and stewardship, enforce corporate responsibility among other many other skills. The entire program is 60 credit hours in length, and each class should take eight weeks to complete.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership: Behavioral Health
Cost: $$$$$

2. Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Mercy University was established in 1948 by the Sisters of Mercy of Merion, near Philadelphia. Catholicism was the tradition that guided their founding and remains an essential aspect of their identity. They were a Junior College initially, but in 1963 they began offering bachelor’s degrees along with associate’s. They were also an all women’s school until 1973 when they offered admittance to male students. Their primary campus is just 15 minutes from Philadelphia and sits on 160 acres of land in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania. Their programming features over 30 undergraduate majors and over ten graduate programs. Faculty and students at Gwynedd Mercy University value small classes and personal attention, with a student to faculty ratio of 11:1.

The Executive EdD Program: Doctorate in Education Leadership at Gwynedd-Mercy College in an online format. Some who enroll may choose to take the program on an accelerated timeline. This program is 54 credit hours in length and students can finish it in under three years. Students will learn how to facilitate and administer programming at Educational Policy Organizations, Government and nonprofit organizations that support education, U.S. and International Schools, Colleges and Universities, and School Districts. The curriculum has a research focus, with policy analysis threads, as well as executive functions infused into the coursework. Each student will specialize in Pre-K Leadership, Leadership in Special Education, or Leadership in Higher Education.

Degree & Specialization: Executive EdD Program: Doctorate in Education Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

3. Colorado State University

In 1870 Colorado Territory governor Edward M. McCook began plans to establish Colorado State University. Many people refer to the Fort Collins campus simply as CSU. It is currently a land grant institution and the original campus in the Colorado State University System. When they first opened their doors, they were called the Colorado Agricultural College, and they then changed their name to Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. Their campus is in the town of Fort Collins, Colorado, just one hour north of Denver. Their current student enrollment is close to 34,000 students. The US News and World Report ranks CSU regularly; they were ranked 121 among Public and Private National Universities.

The online Ph.D. program in Education and Human Resources Studies from Colorado State offers an option to specialize in Higher Education Leadership. This program was designed to teach students to be innovative and effective leaders in colleges and universities. Students will find the best research practices to build on their skills and knowledge and relate them to higher education environments. Students will study diversity and inclusion as they apply to higher education. The program is 90 credit hours in length and can be completed in 5 years time. Students can choose to engage with this terminal degree program in an online format that utilizes a variety of media formats. They dive into the curriculum using video, audio, texts (such as blog posts and textbooks), as well as discussion forums.

Degree & Specialization: Online DBA Higher Education Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

4. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University was established in 1920 under the original name Marion Normal College, and it then became known as the Marion Normal Institute. In 1928 they took on their current name Indiana Wesleyan University. At the foundation of the institution is the Wesleyan Church Denomination, as they are a Christian liberal arts university. Not only are they the largest private postsecondary school in the state of Indiana, but they are also the also the biggest Council for Christian Colleges and Universities member. Their campus has won awards for its new construction, and it sits on 345 acres of land in Marion, Indiana.

For a Ph.D. program in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University, the flexibility that comes from a hybrid format of delivery, will challenge and grow the leadership skills within anyone. Many of the classes are offered online, but some require face-to-face attendance in Indiana. Students can synchronously connect to the weekly classes online. The entire program can be completed in 40 months time. The cohort model is utilized in this rigorous program, enabling students to access peer support and collaboration. In addition to the onsite classes students will participate in the September, April and January terms, attendance is required for a summer institute in July that is one week long. Catholic teachings are infused into the coursework.

Degree & Specialization: Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

5. Walden University

Walden University was established in 1970 as a school that would serve adult learners who are in pursuit of doctoral degrees. Because their primary constituency is adults, many of whom are professionals, their programming is entirely online. Over 57,000 students have enrolled at Walden annually from 150 countries around the world. Their mission is infused with principles of social justice and engagement with the liberal arts. Since 1990 they have been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and in 2013 it was reaffirmed. This accreditation grants students access to federal financial aid, as well as individual state financial aid upon unique circumstances.

Walden University offers a Ph.D. in Management with a Specialization in Leadership and Organizational Change. The program was designed for optimal flexibility and is administered online, except for four residencies that total 16 days that students have to be on campus. The entire course of study is made up of 86 credit hours, 43 of which can be transferred in from another college or university. The core courses make up 20 credits, as do the specialty courses. Students are given eight years to completed the program but can work within a timeline that is effective for them. The entire course of study will culminate in a dissertation.

Degree & Specialization: Leadership and Organizational Change: Ph.D. in Management
Cost: $$$$$

6. Xavier University

Xavier University was established in 1831. They are a private Jesuit Catholic institution. They are the fourth oldest Jesuit postsecondary and sixth oldest Catholic university in the nation. The primary focus of Xavier is offering a liberal arts undergraduate education; however, they also offer exemplary graduate and postgraduate opportunities. Their campus sits on 190 acres of land in the North Avondale neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The campus features an active chapel that supports a parish community that is not necessarily connected to the university, but that students have easy access to. There are a total of nearly 7,000 students enrolled at Xavier each year.

The Leadership Studies and Doctoral program (EdD) from Xavier University was created to build leadership capacity among working professionals in many community and organizational contexts. The program is delivered in a hybrid format. Many classes are offered on campus, however many classes have a remote learning component that enables students to study with more flexibility. Students can partake in assignments off campus and work either in collaborative groups or individually. There is a course management system that students can access to facilitate assignment submissions and communication. The school’s Jesuit Catholic foundation is infused in the learning and promotes organizational change and social justice.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education Interdisciplinary Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

7. Saint Thomas University

Saint Thomas University, also known as STU, was established in 1961. They are a private university, founded on the principles of Catholicism. Their course offerings include over 25 undergraduate disciplines and 27 graduate programs, and one law program that is considered a professional degree. They also have five doctoral degree programs. Saint Thomas has extensive online learning opportunities through ST Online, and their campus is a treat to step foot on, as it is adjacent to beautiful Miami Beaches. The campus sits on 150 acres of land in Miami, Florida in the Wynwood Art District. They have offered extensive study abroad programming dating back to 1946, with a program in Havana, Cuba.

The Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation that is delivered online at St. Thomas University is offered through their STU Online programming. One of the assets of this program is that it is exclusively tailored to the unique needs and interests of each student. Integrated dissertation work begins in the first year of the program, ensuring that students have a clear focus, support, and vision for their work. The dissertation is defended entirely online, as is their coursework. The entire program can be completed in as little as 36 months and is made up of 60 credit hours. Students will learn a myriad of leadership skills that apply to agencies and organizations, such as responding to the needs of diverse organizations as they evolve and change.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education in Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

8. Capella University

Capella University was established in 1993 with the vision of providing distance learning opportunities to adult and non-traditional learners. Their headquarters is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, though the majority of their programming is delivered online. They cater to a diverse range of students, as more than half of their student body identifies as an ethnic minority. They offer 142 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as 25 certificate programs. Their online courses are extensive with over 1,600 unique options. Annually they have about 36,000 students enrolled in their programs. They are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Some of their other programs hold specific accreditations.

Capella University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management with a specialty in Leadership, through their ABCSP accredited school of Business and Technology. This program is delivered in a hybrid format with classes primarily offered online, except for three on-campus residencies through the course of the program. This unique program requires 11 core courses and five specialization courses. Students will be required to participate in comprehensive exams and also be required to write a dissertation. Much of the coursework emphasized critical thinking, reflection, and statistical thinking. The structure of the program is based on a quarter system, enabling students to participate in 1-3 courses per 10 week quarter.

Degree & Specialization: Ph.D. Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

9. Creighton University

Creighton University was established in 1878 by the Society of Jesus. They are among 28 other Catholic schools that are members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Creighton is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Their campus sits on 140 acres of land in Omaha, Nebraska, just outside of the downtown district of business. There are ten distinct colleges and schools that makeup Creighton overall programming. Nearly 8,400 students have enrolled annually in their many courses of study, including online learners. The majority of their student body has participated in extensive volunteer service.

The Doctorate Program in Education with a focus on Interdisciplinary Leadership through Creighton University. Students will engage in the science behind management, group dynamics, and facilitation. The program was constructed with Jesuit ideology at its core, which includes faith, human dignity, and justice. Many graduates of the program have gone on to achieve excellence in career paths such as school administrators, chief executives, educators, leaders in marketing and sales, as well as faith leaders. This program can be achieved entirely online or with a hybrid model that enables students to have face-to-face interaction. Each student will produce a research-driven dissertation.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

10. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University was initially established in 1889 and then re-established in 1959. They have always had an association with the Holy Name Monastery, which is a Benedictine Convent, as well as the Benedictine Monastery Saint Leo Abbey. The University and the Abbey were named after Pope Leo the great. Saint Leo is among the five largest Catholic schools in the nation. They have also made a name for themselves as one of the first universities in the country to offer distance learning opportunities, beginning in the Vietnam War Era when they were committed to educating service members. Their campus is situated among a rural landscape in Saint Leo, Florida.

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in School Leadership at Saint Leo is delivered through the College of Education and Social Services. It is an online program geared toward students who are interested in moving beyond their current career and are interested in a leadership role in education and professional practice. There is an on-campus residency requirement that meets in July. Students are required to attend each of these to reamin in good standing in the program. Graduates will be qualified to seek careers as organizational leaders in K-12 schools. The program employs the cohort model, ensuring that students have a collaborative experience with their peers, which is especially important in a distance learning model.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education School Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

11. Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University was established in 1965 with the sole purpose of educating military personnel and their families to be equipped to pursue vocational and technical careers. The majority of classes at Colorado Technical University are delivered online, though about 8 percent of their classes take place on their campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They also have a learning site in Aurora, adjacent to Denver. The institution is accredited regionally by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. They offer a variety of programs that grant bachelor’s degrees as well as master’s and doctoral programs. Most of the coursework focuses on the fields of management, technology, and business.

Colorado Technical University offers a Doctor of Management Program in Executive Leadership that is delivered primarily online with the infusion of in-person residencies. Students will have the opportunity to engage in the deepest level of research that responds to the methodologies of management and research. Students will also have access to a vast array of electives that support their personal and career goals including global leadership, non-profit leadership, and project management. Many students find this program when they are investing in adding core leadership skills to their already existing professions, including consulting. The program is designed with flexibility in mind, and there are multiple start dates per year that make it easy to matriculate. Each student will write a culminating dissertation and participate in an in-person symposium.

Degree & Specialization: Online Ph.D. In Management-Executive Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

12. Northeastern University

Northeastern University was founded in Boston in 1898 as a private university. They were initially established by the name Evening Institute for Younger Men and facilitated programming at the YMCA at Huntington Avenue. It was not until 1948 that they amicably cut ties with the YMCA. Soon after they began offering admittance to women students and became the private school that they are today. Their campus sits on 73 acres of land in outside of the city. They also have some satellite campuses throughout the region. They have been granted the classification of conducting the highest level of research by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. They have over 25,000 students enrolled each year.

Northeastern University offers a Doctor of Education program with a concentration on Situated Leadership. This specialization focuses on the reflections that students have faced challenges that arise in educational leadership positions. This course of study is motivated by theory and research as they are applied to complex problem-solving. Students will learn how to use practical research in their daily work practice. The majority of the program is offered online; however, students are required to attend a residency. The entire program can be completed in 3 to 4 years of consistent study. Students will choose a discipline from organizational leadership, higher education, or teaching and learning leadership.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education -Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

13. Indiana Tech

Indiana Tech is officially called Indiana Institute of Technology, but most frequently referred to Indiana Tech. It was established in 1930 with the name Indiana Technical College and was designed to be a two year school granting technical degrees and career-oriented programming. It was not until 1948 that they were rechartered and became a non-profit university that grants Ph.D. educations. Indiana Tech is comprised of five distinct colleges with a wide array of course offerings among them. Their College of Professional Studies is extensive in reach and provides online and accelerated degree programs. Their primary campus is situated on 42 acres of land in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Total student enrollment is close to 10,000 students.

The Ph.D. Program in Global Leadership from Indiana Tech provides students with an opportunity to engage more deeply in leadership practices to advance their careers opportunities. Students will learn how to conduct innovative research that is cross-cultural in reach while examining the duality between organizational leadership and culture. The program was built to support working professionals from diverse backgrounds, and as a result, it is delivered online with plenty of spaciousness for flexibility. Students in the program will have the opportunity to contribute to the field by conducting original qualitative and quantitative research and developing theories accordingly that will support the field of global leadership.

Degree & Specialization: Ph.D. in Global Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

14. Liberty University

Liberty University was established in 1971 as a Christian research college. It was founded by the well known evangelical leader Jerry Falwell. Their original name was Lynchburg Baptist College. The vision and mission of the school centers liberty as a Christian Academic Community, and their investment in the academic and spiritual development of all of their students. They are one of the most prominent Christian schools in the world with over 90,000 students enrolled in online programming, and more than 15,000 on their 7,000-acre campus situated in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty University offers more than 550 academic programs through Liberty online.

Liberty University offers an online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program that has a leadership focus. Students will have the option of infusing intensives into the online program. The entire course of study is 60 credit hours and can be completed in 3.5 years. Students can transfer up to 15 credit hours. The sequence of study emphasizes leadership in a business context, marketing, professional management, and human resources. Students will be able to choose a specialty that will be in service to their personal and professional goals. The featured classes include Organizational Design and Structure, Leadership Theory, Organizational Design and Structure, and Leading Organizational Change.

Degree & Specialization: Online DBA in Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

15. University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands was established in 1889 as a private university with an affiliation to the Kentucky Baptist Convention, which is connected to the Southern Baptist Convention. Their original name was the Williamsburg Institute. In 1931 they were granted their first accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Their offerings include more than 45 courses of study, with many additional minor options. Their campus is situated in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Their total enrollment is 7,000 students. The school’s motto is A Life More Abundant, and Cumberland tries to stay true to its motto by positioning students to excel in their life paths.

The online Ph.D. program in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands is designed to support students to advance into a variety of leadership positions in various organizations and educational institutions. Embedded into the curriculum is coursework that focuses on the politics of decision making in an educational context, program planning, as well as assessment and reflection strategies. Students have the option of taking additional coursework to qualify for the Kentucky Rank 1 certification. Students will gain skills in ethical leadership in both community and professional settings. Each student will choose a specialty area to work on improving their knowledge base and create applicable discourse.

Degree & Specialization: Online PhD in Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

16. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is often called USC. They were established in 1880, making them the oldest private educational research institution in the state of California. When the school first opened their doors tuition cost fifteen dollars, and students had to ask the president for permission if they wanted to step foot off of campus. They now have close to 20,000 students enrolled in their undergraduate programming, and nearly 27,000 students enrolled in their graduate and professional programming. Their urban school sits on 299 acres of land in what is known as University Park Los Angeles, California.

The University of Southern California offers an online EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership that is designed for professional students who are interested in learning how to create change on large and small scales. Some possible students may include those who are seeking leadership positions in private firms, government and non-profit organizations, and those interested in leadership opportunities at colleges and universities. Though the coursework is delivered online, it is supplemented with real-world experiences. Immersion weekends are helping on campus annually. Students will learn how to be effective supervisors and to motivate groups. The entire program culminates with a dissertation and longitudinal reflective self-assessment.

Degree & Specialization: EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

17. City University of Seattle

The City University of Seattle is most frequently referred to as CityU. It was established in 1973 as a private college. It was designed with programmatic flexibility to support working adult learners. Their primary campus is situated in Seattle, Washington, though they have additional locations around the world, as well as an extensive online campus. They enroll over 50,000 students per year in a wide variety of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Programs. In 2018 The US News and World Report’s ranking for Best Online Programs featured CityU among them. They are part of the national university system.

The City University of Seattle’s Doctor of Education degree program in Leadership is delivered entirely online. The entire course of study is made up of 90 credit hours. This program is continuously being updated to impress upon students the current skills necessary for leadership in today’s challenging world. This course of study is flexible, ensuring that students can continue working while enrolled. There are three concentrations students can choose from including Higher Education Leadership, Organizational Leadership, and Specialized Study which can consist of Entrepreneurship, Adult Education and Online Learning, Inspired Teacher Leadership, Strategic Innovation and Decision Making, and Nonprofit and Global Leadership.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education in Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

18. Drexel University

Drexel University was established in 1891 with the original name Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. Anthony J. Drexel was a philanthropist who and financier from Philadelphia who brought the dream of this university into a reality. Their primary campus is situated in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania just two stops on the elevated subway line from Center City. They have over 70 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Drexel enrolls over 26,000 students per year. They have been offering comprehensive online programming since 1996, and offer a variety of degrees entirely online.

Drexel University offers an online Doctorate program in Educational Leadership and Management (EDD) that is built for leaders who are interested in engaging innovative approaches to facilitating complex organizations during times of unrest. Students will research evidence-based theories that challenge antiquated leadership strategies and instead bring organizations to the forefront of contemporary collaborative discourse. The program can be engaged on a full time or part time basis, depending on if the students will be working full time while studying. Students can complete the coursework in 3-5 years. Participants will come through the program using the cohort model that enables peer support and collaboration.

Degree & Specialization: Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management
Cost: $$$$$

19. Piedmont International University

Piedmont International University was established in 1945 as a private graduate school and bible college. They were initially called Piedmont Bible Institute and changed its name to reflect institutional growth. Their campus is situated in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, not far from the brand new minor league baseball stadium. In 2016, the Center for Online Education ranked them number 3 among the category of Best Online Colleges in North America. They are accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. They are also a member of the American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries. They are currently working to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Piedmont International University’s Ph.D. Program in Leadership that is delivered entirely online, except for a one-week residency. This program features flexibility, enabling students to participate while they continue working. The coursework supports students to integrate their life experience with their research while studying change management and effective leadership. This program is known for its affordability and its return on the investment. It can be completed in as little as three years time. The entire course of study is comprised of 60 credit hours. There are three concentrations that students can choose including Educational Administration, Ministry Administration, and Organizational Management.

Degree & Specialization: Leadership Doctor of Philosophy
Cost: $$$$$

20. Regent University

Regent University was established in 1977 as a private Christian Research school. It was founded as Christian Broadcasting Network University by evangelical leader Pat Robertson. In 1990 they took on their current name. Their campus sits on 70 acres of land in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The architecture is notable for its Neo-Georgian aesthetic. They used to have a satellite location in Alexandria, Virginia, but as of 2008, it is no longer operational. Regent offers many programs on campus as well as online that lead to associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The US News and World Report ranked Regent number 11 for Best Undergraduate Program in the nation.

Regent University offers a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership in Individualized Studies. They were the first university to offer an online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership in 1995. The program is offered online with a short residency component. This course of study has a Christian worldview at its foundation and based on the best research practices. Students will have the opportunity to customize their course of study to reflect their personal and professional career goals. There will be many opportunities for students to make an impact on the field of organizational leadership through research and applied theory. The School of Business & Leadership, the Regent school that operates this program, is ACBSP accredited.

Degree & Specialization: Ph.D. Organizational Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

21. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University was established in 1873 and was named after its initial benefactor Cornelius Vanderbilt who was a rail and shipping magnate. His goal of funding the institution was to help heal those who were impacted by the Civil War. The campus is situated on 330 acres of land in Nashville, Tennessee. Their total enrollment is close to 12,600 students per year. The student body represents all of the 50 United States and more than 100 countries from around the world. They are one of the founding members of the Southeastern Conference and have been unique as a private school within the conference. Vanderbilt has many notable alumni including 26 former and current members of Congress.

Through their Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations Vanderbilt University offers aDoctor of Education program in Leadership and Learning in Organizations. This program encourages students to synthesize theory and practice as they work through this comprehensive program with support from leaders that are based throughout the country. Students will learn the fundamentals that lead to organizational change. The entire course of study can be completed in 36 months. The program is cohort-based, ensuring that students have many opportunities to access peer support and collaboration. The program is 54 credit hours in length and can be completed within 3 or 4 years of consistent study.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations
Cost: $$$$$

22. Johnson University

Johnson University was established in 1893, and their original name was The School of the Evangelists. They changed their name in 1909 to Johnson Bible College. In 2011 they took on their current name. Their campus sits on 175 acres of land in Kimberton Heights, Tennessee, just minutes from Knoxville. They also have an extensive online campus that offers many options for adult and nontraditional students who require flexibility to access education. Their offerings include Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs. They hold regional and national accreditations from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Biblical Higher Education.

Johnson University’s Online Ph.D. Program in Leadership Studies and Organizational Leadership will take four years to complete. The first year includes 18 credit hours dedicated to the Leadership Core Curriculum. The second year consists of the Ethics and research curricula that accounts for 15 credit hours. Year three is made up of elective credit hours as with a deepening of research coursework, and the final year is primarily research based. Johnson is known for its affordable tuition and innovative learning opportunities. Students will be able to engage in faith-based leadership as well as gain the skills to work in a variety of organizations in leadership roles.

Degree & Specialization: Online PhD in Leadership Studies-Organizational Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

23. Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University was established in 1937 as a research institution connected to the Church of Christ. Their history began amidst the great depression and became a Christian liberal arts hub of education. Their campus is situated on 830 acres of land with views of the Pacific Ocean in unincorporated Los Angeles, California. It is just minutes from Malibu. Many have called their campus one of the most beautiful in the country. The US News and World Report has ranked them number 46 among National Universities. Most courses are taught at the main campus, though they have six additional graduate campuses and an international presence.

Pepperdine University’s online Doctor of Education in Leadership is offered by theGraduate School of Education and Psychology. The program is delivered in a blended format 60 percent in person and 40 percent online. The face-to-face meetings generally occur two weekends each term either in Irvine or West Los Angeles. This research-oriented program will help students formulate their own best practices in leadership based on qualitative and quantitative research and application. All applicants must have achieved a master’s degree, with a GPA of 3.0 to be considered for the program. On average students complete the program in 3.5-4 years time.

Degree & Specialization: Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership
Cost: $$$$$

24. Trident University

Trident University was established in 1998 as a private university, with coursework delivered exclusively online. They offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs geared specifically for students who require flexibility to engage fully in their education, which includes adult and professional learners. Their headquarters are located in Cypress, California. They are a research-based institution regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. They have just over 6,000 students enrolled in programming and over 30,000 alumni. Their enrollment is often near 75 percent military members and veterans. They offer five doctoral degrees, eight masters, and eight bachelors degree programs, as well as one associate’s program.

The Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership from Trident University is delivered 100 percent online, with no required travel or residencies. Students will learn the skills to conduct high levels of research, engage in leadership roles in teaching, and learn advanced consulting skills. Students will also learn how to develop subject matter expertise. The program embeds many opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty members, including in support of culminating dissertation and research. One thing that Trident graduates can count on is career development support and resources. They have an active Career Services Center that walks students through the process of job applications, self-assessment, and transitioning into a diverse range of career paths following graduation.

Degree & Specialization: Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Degree
Cost: $$$$$

25. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill was established in 1798 as a result of a charter by the North Carolina General Assembly. Under the United State’s Constitution, they were the first public college or university ever chartered. They are the only school that granted higher education degrees in the eighteenth century. Their campus is situated on 729 acres of land in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and their total enrollment is close to 30,000 students. The downtown Chapel Hill location makes it easy for students to experience a college town vibe. They are considered a public Ivy School, meaning they provide the quality of education found at an Ivy League school with the price tag of a public education.

The Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, that is administered in the hybrid format. The majority of the coursework is delivered online; however, some campus visits are required. The program was built to meet the needs of those who are already working as healthcare professionals, abroad or in the United States, who hold the desire and ambition to play a leadership role. The minimum amount of credit hours required is 45, and the program should take three years to complete. Generall, there are around 1600 students enrolled in the program at any given time.

Degree & Specialization: Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership
Cost: $$$$$