PhD in Organizational Leadership



48 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 27 months


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Earn your PhD in Organizational Leadership online in just 27 months

“Organizational Leader” is a generic term for people who hold leadership roles in such diverse organizations as colleges and universities, hospitals, clinics, K-12 schools, small businesses, mid-sized to large corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, churches, and para-church organizations throughout the United States and around the world. An advanced degree in organizational leadership is extremely important because effective leaders lead themselves, teams within their organizations and ultimately the entire organization toward the achievement of the vision of the organization guided by its mission within the boundaries established by organizational values.  In short, effective leaders grow effective organizations.

What You'll Learn 

  1. Principles of effective organizational leadership, foundational theories, research findings, cultural/sociological/psychological dynamics, and alternative models for understanding and leading individuals and teams in business and professional organizations around the world.
  2. High-quality organizational leadership best practices and dynamics in the core disciplines of strategic planning, governance, finance and development
  3.  The components and processes of action research and action research interpretation which  address issues of effective practices and provide solutions to organizational questions and problems within a diverse array of global organizations.

Program Length 

This 48-credit-hour degree will take 27 months to complete and is available totally online.

Why Earn Your PhD in Organizational Leadership at CIU Online?

The PhD in Organizational Leadership online degree program features a 12-hour foundation that includes Steward Leadership, Organizational Behavior, Team Building and Governance courses. Concentration courses in Strategic Planning, Creating Effective Organizations, Best Practices of Effective Leaders and Development and Finance offer students a very practical set of skills and understandings that can be put to immediate use as organizational leaders.

Additionally, and most importantly, other more traditional PhD programs require students to wait until the end of their degree program to take research courses and write a dissertation.  This approach adds several years to the finish date for the degree programs offered by these other schools. This CIU PhD program, on the other hand, is geared for the working adult and integrates research courses and the writing of the dissertation directly into the flow of coursework from the first day of the student’s learning experience.  This feature allows students to finish in 27 months.

The PhD in Organizational Leadership program of study is a totally online, cohort-driven degree program.  Students will be assigned an advisor (mentor) who will work with them for the full 27 months of the program and will become the chairperson of their dissertation committee.  Their committee will also include a subject matter expert.  These personnel will be professors with terminal degrees in their areas of expertise. 

Additional Program Details 

  • 27 months from beginning to end
  • Dissertation woven into fabric of content courses
  • Personal advisor assigned to every student
  • Available totally online
Next online class starts August 28, 2023

Alumnus Darryl Wilkerson

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 2.5 GPA

The PhD in Organizational Leadership degree program will prepare students to serve as effective leaders in a wide variety of ministry, business (small and large), non-profit, education, and health care organizations.