PhD in Organizational Leadership



48 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 27 months


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Empower Change with Your PhD in Organizational Leadership  

Columbia International University’s PhD in Organizational Leadership will foster your growth and development as an exceptional leader by honing your knowledge, skills and vision to drive meaningful change in today’s dynamic organizational landscape. CIU’s 27 month program is designed to equip you with a deep understanding of leadership theories, research methodologies and practical applications. By immersing yourself in this rigorous academic journey, you will gain the expertise needed to tackle the complex challenges faced by organizations across various industries. 

As a student in CIU’s program, you will have the opportunity to learn from distinguished faculty members who are both accomplished scholars and experienced practitioners in the field of organizational leadership. Their mentorship and guidance will enable you to develop a comprehensive skill set and a nuanced understanding of effective leadership strategies. We believe in the power of research to transform organizations and shape the future of leadership. In CIU’s PhD program, you will have the flexibility to explore your research interests and contribute to the advancement of the field. Whether your passion lies in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, organizational culture or other areas of study, you will have the resources and support necessary to pursue groundbreaking research that makes a tangible impact. 

At Columbia International University, we value diversity and foster a multicultural learning environment. You will join a vibrant community of scholars and fellow students who bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table. Through engaging discussions, collaborative projects and cross-cultural interactions, you will broaden your horizons and enhance your ability to lead effectively in diverse settings. Our program also emphasizes the importance of networking and professional connections with fellow students. These connections will not only enrich your academic experience but also open doors to potential career opportunities and collaborations. 

By pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership at Columbia International University, you are embarking on a transformative journey that will empower you to make a significant impact in the realm of leadership. We invite you to join our community of scholars and practitioners, where you will gain the skills, knowledge and connections necessary to excel as a leader in today’s fast-paced and evolving organizations. 

Are you ready to unlock your full leadership potential? Discover the endless possibilities that await you in Columbia International University’s PhD in Organizational Leadership program. 

Alumnus Darryl Wilkerson

Why Choose Columbia International University

Ethical Perspective: In pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership at CIU, you will benefit from a learning environment that integrates faith, ethics and values into the study of leadership. Our faculty and curriculum will guide you in exploring how eternal principles inform and enhance your understanding of leadership, enabling you to approach organizational challenges with integrity, compassion and a servant-leadership mindset. 

Expert Faculty: Our faculty members are not only accomplished scholars but also experienced practitioners in the field of organizational leadership. With a wealth of real-world experience, they bring a unique blend of academic rigor and practical insights to the classroom. Their mentorship, guidance and commitment to your success will help you develop the essential leadership competencies and critical thinking skills required to excel in today’s complex organizational environments. 

Rigorous Curriculum: CIU’s PhD program in Organizational Leadership features a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum that prepares you to tackle the multifaceted challenges of leadership in the 21st century. Through a blend of foundational courses and research-focused modules, you will gain a deep understanding of leadership theories, research methodologies and practical applications. Our curriculum is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the scholarly body of organizational leadership literature and make a significant impact in your chosen field. 

Research Opportunities: As a student, you will have access to state-of-the-art resources, research centers and academic networks that facilitate in-depth exploration and scholarly inquiry. Our faculty members will provide guidance and support as you develop your own research agenda. Whether you aim to contribute to theoretical advancements or address practical challenges within organizations, CIU’s program will empower you to conduct meaningful research and generate insights that can drive positive change. 

Collaborative Learning Environment: At Columbia International University, we foster a collaborative and supportive learning environment. As a PhD student in Organizational Leadership, you will have the opportunity to engage with a diverse community of scholars and practitioners who share your passion for leadership. Through discussions and peer feedback, you will refine your ideas, broaden your perspectives and benefit from the collective wisdom of your peers. These interactions will not only enrich your academic experience but also forge lifelong connections with fellow leaders and potential research collaborators. 

Flexibility and Personalization: We understand that every student has unique interests and career aspirations. Our program offers flexibility and customization, allowing you to tailor your studies to align with your specific research interests and professional goals within the field of organizational leadership. Whether you wish to specialize in areas such as leadership development, organizational culture, change management or other domains, our faculty will work closely with you to create a program of study that suits your individual needs. 

Global Perspective: In an increasingly interconnected world, leaders must possess a global mindset. Columbia International University celebrates diversity and promotes a global perspective within the PhD program in Organizational Leadership. You will have the opportunity to engage with a diverse student body, representing various cultural backgrounds and perspectives. This exposure to different worldviews and cross-cultural interactions will enhance your intercultural competency, broaden your understanding of leadership in a global context and prepare you to navigate the complexities of leading diverse teams and organizations. 

By choosing Columbia International University for your PhD in Organizational Leadership, you will join an academic community dedicated to nurturing exceptional leaders who are grounded in faith, equipped with expertise and prepared to make a positive impact in the world of organizations. With our distinctive Christian perspective, expert faculty, rigorous curriculum, research opportunities, collaborative learning environment, flexibility and global perspective, CIU provides an ideal platform for your academic and professional growth in the field of organizational leadership. 

Overall Benefits of this Degree

Earning a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Columbia International University offers a multitude of benefits and opens diverse career opportunities. 

Advanced Leadership Expertise: The program equips you with an advanced understanding of leadership theories, research methodologies and practical applications. You will gain a deep knowledge of effective leadership strategies, organizational dynamics and change management techniques. This expertise will enhance your ability to lead with confidence, make informed decisions and drive positive change within organizations. 

Research and Consulting Opportunities: A PhD in Organizational Leadership paves the way for research and consulting careers. You can pursue academic positions as a professor, researcher or scholar, conducting cutting-edge research and contributing to the field’s knowledge base. Additionally, you can offer consulting services to organizations seeking expertise in leadership development, organizational culture or change management. These opportunities allow you to have a direct impact on organizations, contribute to the advancement of knowledge, and shape the future of leadership practice. 

Thought Leadership and Publication: With a PhD in Organizational Leadership, you have the platform and credibility to become a thought leader in the field. You can contribute to the scholarly community through publications in academic journals, books and conference presentations. Your research findings, theories and practical insights can influence the discourse surrounding leadership and make a lasting impact on the field’s development. 

Personal Growth and Fulfillment: Pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership is not only a professional endeavor but also a personal journey of growth and self-discovery. The program challenges you to think critically, expand your intellectual horizons and refine your leadership philosophy. It provides a platform for personal development, enhancing your communication skills, critical thinking abilities and capacity for empathy. This personal growth enriches all aspects of your life, equipping you to be a more effective leader in both professional and personal contexts. 

CIU’s PhD in Organizational Leadership offers advanced leadership expertise, diverse career opportunities, research and consulting prospects, thought leadership potential and the ability to drive organizational transformation. It is a transformative journey that prepares you to make a significant impact on organizations and society. 

What Will I Study?

  • LDR 9610 Organizational Leadership

    Our journey into the realm of effective organizational leadership begins with an analysis of the biblical, historical, and contemporary leadership model of Steward Leadership. Steward leaders understand how to transform themselves, others and the organizations they lead. This course will provide a framework for leaders to utilize as they lead their organizations with excellence.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9611 Organizational Behavior

    This course explores theories informing effective leadership including motivation, decision-making, organizational change, and organizational systems. Further, this course examines the relationship dynamics which occur in organizations between leaders and followers.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9612 Organizational Team Building

    This course examines practical principles guiding effective organizational team-building. Principles for building a leadership team, evaluating team performance, avoiding common problems many teams experience, and managing group dynamics, including promoting necessary conflict are discussed.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9613 Board Leadership

    This course examines the principles of effective board governance. These principles include discussion about the fiduciary, strategic and generative leadership roles of board members. This course will serve as a guide for organizational leaders who work with boards as well as those serving as board members. Specifically, this course will explain in detail what works and why.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9622 Statistics

    This course is designed to introduce students to descriptive and inferential statistics and how these statistics are employed in conducting research studies. Emphasis in this course will be placed upon helping students gain an understanding of the basic principles of statistics and how these principles apply to real life settings.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9920 Action Research

    This course equips students with the research tools required to design the study of a doctoral dissertation. It prepares students to select a topic, review literature, design a study, and collect data, analyze and interpret data, and report and evaluate research.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9921 Action Research Interpretation

    This course is designed to equip students to analyze and interpret data, report and evaluate research. Simply put, students will learn how to organize data and then interpret that data in order to make sense from the findings via an understanding of what dissertation results actually mean.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9940 Dissertation I: Problem Statement Identified

    In this course, students will create a problem statement. This problem statement will guide their research as they collect data and complete a dissertation. The problem statement will be clear, concise and practical.

    1.00 credit hour
  • LDR 9941 Dissertation II: Prospectus

    In this course, students will build on the work done in LDR 9940 to complete the first draft of the dissertation proposal. Students will work with their advisors to produce their papers.

    1.00 credit hour
  • LDR 9614 Strategic Planning

    This course serves as a guide for leading organizational change from ideation to implementation. A model for strategic planning will be introduced. Practical tools and techniques for leading specific steps in the strategic planning process will be explained, and leaders will be equipped to effectively guide the entire deliberative and collaborative strategic planning process.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9616 Best Practices of Effective Leaders

    This course examines best practices of exemplary leaders when they are functioning at their best. The focus of the course will be on actions and behaviors of effective leaders. The fundamentals of outstanding leadership will be explored in detail. This course will provide a field guide for leaders committed to becoming the best that they can be.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9617 Development and Finance

    This course explores the importance of institutional advancement for all organizations. Principles of finance will be discussed in detail, and students will gain a practical understanding of the fundamentals of each of the primary reports essential to providing effective fiduciary leadership for organizations.

    3.00 credit hours
  • LDR 9925 Creating Effective Organizations

    This course examines best practice in creating and leading effective organizations. Most workers do not work alone. Most work for organizations. These organizations must be led, and this course prepares these leaders to achieve results.

    3.00 credit hours
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed application
  • Official transcripts for highest earned graduate degree
  • Academic writing sample (Master’s thesis or graduate research paper)
  • CV or Resume that demonstrates 3–5 years of leadership experience
  • Minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA

Accreditation and Accolades

SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)

Career Path Opportunities 

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 
  • Chief Organizational Officer (COO) 
  • Organizational Development Consultant 
  • Leadership Development Specialist 
  • Change Management Consultant 
  • Human Resources Director 
  • Director of Organizational Effectiveness 
  • Nonprofit Executive Director 
  • Leadership Coach or Mentor 
  • Higher Education Administrator 
  • Researcher or Professor in Organizational Leadership 
  • Talent Management Consultant 
  • Diversity and Inclusion Specialist 
  • Strategic Planning Consultant 
  • Executive Leadership Trainer 

Top FAQs

How will a PhD in Organizational Leadership advance my career?

A PhD in Organizational Leadership is highly regarded in various professional settings. This degree is extremely versatile and applicable to every type of organizational setting. Alumni work in all sectors as organizational leaders, including business (both for-profit and non-profit), healthcare, ministry, government, military, and education (public, private, and higher education). Many of our alumni hold high positions of leadership in their organizations, including CEO, President, and other C Suite positions. 

This degree has content course assignments that can meet a person at their individual organization setting, and each student's dissertation topic is catered to the individual's area of interest and expertise.

How long does the PhD in Organizational Leadership program at Columbia International University typically take to complete?

The program is designed to be completed in 27 months. In extenuating circumstances, a student may petition for additional time to complete the program of study.

Can I pursue the PhD program while working full-time?

Yes, our program is designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals, making it feasible to pursue the PhD program while continuing to work full-time. This flexibility enables you to apply your newly acquired knowledge and skills directly to your professional context, creating a synergistic learning experience.

How much does the program cost?

Please check the Tuition and Fees page for the most up-to-date information. There are certain discounts and benefits given for military status and to employees and family members of our partner organizations. Our financial aid counselors will help you determine the best way to finance this important investment in your future career earnings. For more detailed information, check our Financial Aid page and select the option for online students here.

What does a typical week of work look like in this program?

Students should plan around 15-20 hours of study per week. A typical week would be completing an initial content discussion post by Wednesday night. 2 content response posts are due on Saturday night.

Most courses end with a capstone project. While taking courses, we have woven the writing of the dissertation step by step into the program of study to ensure that students graduate early and on time. 




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