The Ph.D. in Leadership seeks to prepare leaders capable of effectively addressing various challenges that cross disciplinary boundaries and sectors in a global context. Graduates of the Ph.D. in Leadership will be equipped with the expertise to lead within diverse contexts, from business and non-profit to government and community organizations, with knowledge and skills to work across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, to facilitate productive dialogue towards consensus, to conduct research and evaluate research done by others, and to foster resilience and sustainability within the environment they lead.
The Ph.D. in Leadership builds upon the strong legacy of one of the first academic programs in Leadership in the world. It is a post-master’s degree 72 credit hour program designed for experienced leaders who are employed throughout the duration of the program. (Students with master’s degrees in applicable areas may be allowed to utilize some of their master’s degree work to fulfill the requirements of the doctoral program.) Although the program is designed to be very low residency, with a maximum required attendance in person of three days a year, courses in leadership, group dynamics, communication, cultural contexts, and creativity are available in both blended and fully online formats.
The primary focus of the doctoral program is to develop thought leaders who are committed to exploring leading-edge issues in innovative ways, combining scholarship, creativity, and self-inquiry. The core knowledge and skills required to explore these issues requires a transdisciplinary understanding of local, regional, national, and global organizational contexts and challenges and includes:
- Knowledge and skills to lead diverse people and organizations
- Professional integrity and reflective, ethical practice
- Ability to lead change and innovation
- Systems, complexity, adaptive, and associated theories and models of leadership
- Practice-based research
- Research methods
Ph.D. in Leadership (72 credits)
Leadership Core (24 credits):
Students will complete 24 credit hours in foundational leadership and organizational theory courses, including seminars in ethics, global leadership, and organization development, and three one-credit weekend-intensive residencies (orientation, research, and pre-dissertation).
Note: Students will attend three required one-credit Fri-Sun intensives at the beginning of each pre-dissertation year of study, in late August (3 cr. total).
Program Concentrations (18 credits)
Students will develop their Program of Study by taking 18 credits of coursework in either Leadership or Organization Development. The Leadership Education track is designed for individuals who aspire to faculty roles and includes additional focus in leadership and organizational theory as well as leadership program curriculum design, pedagogy and andragogy, and assessment and evaluation. The Organization Development track is designed for individuals who aspire to consulting and other professional roles in the leadership and organization development industries.
Leadership Education Concentration (18 credits):
Organization Development Concentration (18 credits):
Approved Electives (6 credits)
- Any graduate-level LOS course not otherwise required by your degree plan (pre-approved by your faculty advisor) (3-6 cr.)
- Any graduate-level course applicable to the study of leadership (pre-approved by your faculty advisor) (3-6 cr.)
Research Methods (15 credits)
Choose One of the Following:
Declaration of Candidacy
- To declare candidacy for the Ph.D. in Leadership, students must successfully complete the fifth Research Methods course in the sequence, LOS 810 - Leadership - Research Design / Proposal Seminar , and proposal for their dissertation. The dissertation proposal defense process is embedded in LOS 850 - Leadership - Dissertation Proposal .
- A passing score on Comprehensive Exams are required and will include:
- Part 1: Completion of three out of five essay questions related to curricular content, with at least one question related to the student’s program concentration.
- Part 2: Intensive/Integrated case study analysis in small groups.
- Part 3: Students are assigned an additional intensive/integrated case to analyze as if they were the leader of an organization or consulting an organization on the issues in the case. Three weeks after the completion of parts one and two, the student must meet with the program faculty who will play the roles of members of the fictitious organization, and give a presentation / facilitate a conversation, i.e., here’s your problem and what are you going to do?
Dissertation (9 credits)
The doctor of philosophy degree is a research degree awarded in recognition of demonstrated mastery of subject matter in a chosen field of study and demonstrated competence in the conduct of an individual research investigation that represents a significant contribution to the cumulative knowledge of the field. This program of study and research will be supervised by an advisory committee. In the end, the candidate’s research must be approved by the advisory committee as meeting the standards generally associated with a successful doctoral dissertation.
Statute of Limitations
The Department expects students to complete all requirements in the Ph.D. program within a period of 10 years from the student’s initial registration.
Recommended Course Sequence
Students will generally take two courses each semester (September - May) and two courses during the summer. A personalized course schedule will be developed after students have been admitted to the program so that it may be best designed to fit the students’ needs.
At the beginning of each pre-dissertation year of study, students will participate in a mandatory in-person three-day residency on our Portland campus.
Concentration Course Rotations