Top 15 Doctorate in Leadership Online Programs 2018

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By TBD Staff
January 2018

Success in business largely depends on the competency of its leadership. Corporations, non-profits, government, and educational institutions all benefit from leadership that is innovative and driven. They need leaders who are able to navigate political environments and a diverse workforce. We’ve created a ranking of the top 15 online doctorate in leadership programs to help you find the perfect program for your personal and professional needs. We conducted an initial search of accredited institutions offering advanced programs in leadership (Ph.D. or Ed.D.) through the federal database, College Navigator. From there, we narrowed our results to programs offering online doctorate in leadership with attributes such:

-faculty with terminal degrees in their field;

-a hands-on curriculum;

-flexible course offerings

-online student resources such as advising and tech support.

We awarded extra points for schools offering areas of concentration as well as schools without residency requirements. We then ranked the programs using the methodology below to come up with our list of the top 15 online leadership doctoral programs for 2018.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 11:1 or less- 3 points
  • 12:1 to 17:1- 2 points
  • 18:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate:

  • Less than $10,000- 3 points
  • $10,000 to $18,000- 2 points
  • Greater than $18,000- 1 point

Residency Requirements:

  • No- 3 points

Concentration Areas:

  • Yes- 2 points

#15. Antioch University-Yellow Springs, Ohio

Ph.D. in Leadership and Change

Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $23,121
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Points: 3
What’s Unique
Antioch uses an interdisciplinary curriculum which features an online Ph.D. program in Leadership and Change for students who want to make a difference in the world. The program is flexible enough for students to continue working full-time while going to school. Students attend three on-campus residencies each year over three years. As an outcome-based program, students receive credit for demonstrating their learning rather than just spending clock hours on a course. Small and large group discussions allow students to interact on a weekly basis with faculty and peers.

#14. Capella University-Minneapolis, Minnesota

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management-Leadership Specialization

Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $14,526/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Points: 3
What’s Unique
The Ph.D. in Business Management with a focus on Leadership is a 90 credit hour program offered through the School of Business and Technology at Capella University. The online courses include readings, discussions and engaging activities. Students complete three four-day residencies during the dissertation process to support learning and community-building in an educational environment. Students in this top online Ph.D. program in Leadership can gain international leadership experience and perspective.

#13. Regent University-Virginia Beach, Virginia

Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership–Organizational Leadership Online

Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $12,726/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 41:1
Points: 3
What’s Unique
The Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership program at Regent University is a 60 credit hour program with limited residency requirements. Students complete two-four day residencies that cover orientation, course instruction, and program requirements such as the comprehensive examination and doctoral dissertation. This is a research-based degree that will prepare students to be leaders in academics or business. Students in the organizational leadership program will develop a greater understanding of organizational cultures and how different leaders and values can affect change.

#12. University of Southern California-Los Angeles, California

Ed.D. in Organizational Change and Leadership

Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $41,592/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Points: 4
What’s Unique
The University of Southern California Rossier School of Education features an online doctorate in organizational change and leadership. It is focused on:

-problem solving;

-leadership;

-dispositions

-reflection.

Students learn through an innovative blend of online interaction and real-world experiences designed to prepare them for organizational leadership. Most of the program is completed online, with an annual immersion weekend held each year on campus. This 60 credit hour top online leadership doctorate can be completed in just three to four years.

#11. University of the Rockies-Denver, Colorado

Online Ph.D. in Organizational Development and Leadership

Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $18,336/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Points: 4
What’s Unique
The flexible online Ph.D. in Organizational Development and Leadership program at the University of the Rockies is offered in an accelerated format. Courses are six weeks long, except dissertation courses, which are nine weeks. Students can access course content 24 hours a day. The majority of coursework can be completed online, with just three required in-residence workshops. Coursework covers areas such as:

-performance management;

-global organizations;

-teams;

ethics;

-diversity.

Graduates will be able to solve organizational problems by creating creative solutions.

#10. University of Charleston-Charleston, West Virginia

Doctor of Executive Leadership (DEL) Online

Website

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,947
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Points: 4
What’s Unique
The University of Charleston features an online doctor of executive leadership program designed for those planning on careers in executive leadership. Students will develop the skills needed to integrate theory with practice for successful leadership in a variety of industries. This three year program incorporates online study with web conferencing and an annual five-day residency for individual and group work.

#9. Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion, Indiana

Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $10,218/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Points: 4
What’s Unique
Indiana Wesleyan University features an online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership program that can be completed in just 40 months.

The cohort style program provides students with extensive peer support throughout their studies. Faculty are both academic professionals and experts in the field, providing students with a relevant online education. Online students can complete coursework through a virtual online learning platform.

Three sessions each term are conducted in a synchronous format, allowing students to engage with each other and their instructor in a real-time setting. Residency requirements are minimal. Students only need to come to campus to participate in a one week Summer Institute.

#8. Eastern University-Saint Davids, Pennsylvania

Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,200
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Points: 5
What’s Unique
Eastern University is a Christian University offering a variety of programs designed to prepare students for productive lives of faith and service. The online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership program uses an interdisciplinary approach by incorporating the perspectives of learners from key areas in business, education, and non-profit sectors.

The program is a cohort-based format with a combination of online and in-residency learning.

#7. Creighton University-Omaha, Nebraska

Interdisciplinary Leadership (Doctorate of Education)

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $14,760
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Points: 5
What’s Unique
Creighton University’s online interdisciplinary leadership Ed.D. is for students who want to make meaningful change in their communities, workplace, or organization. There are limited on-campus residency requirements and most students can earn their degree in three to four years. Students only need to come to campus for orientation and their dissertation defense. Courses are eight weeks long and students complete one course at a time.

This hands-on program differs from a traditional Ph.D. program. It specifically addresses challenges leaders face on a daily basis, allowing students to apply their knowledge immediately.

#6. University of Louisville-Louisville, Kentucky

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organization Development with a specialization in Human Resources and Organization Development

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $12,246/year in-state and $25,486/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Points: 6
Concentration Areas: Leadership and Organization Development; Workplace Learning and Human Resources; Workforce Development
What’s Unique
The College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville offers a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development program. It is designed to prepare students for leadership in human resources and organizational development.

The program is a blend of online and on-campus coursework and both full-time and part-time students are welcome. Three areas of emphasis are available, allowing students to focus specifically on areas of interest outside the core curriculum.

#5. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology-Chicago, Illinois

Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $24,300/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a full three-year program. It’s ideal for students who want to take on leadership roles in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Coursework covers areas such as:

team-building;

-strategic change management;

-research strategies;

-human diversity;

-interpersonal dynamics.

This Ph.D. in leadership online is a hands-on program. Students need to have access to an organizational environment to use for both research and coursework reference. There are two short residencies required in Chicago, with a third optional residency available.

#4. St. Thomas University-Miami Gardens, Florida

The Leadership & Innovation Ed.D.

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $14,076/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
Leadership and innovation are essential for the success of any business or organization. St. Thomas University online features an Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation that is fully online and can be completed in just three years. Students move through the program as a cohort with other successful leaders, learning about:

-strategic leadership;

-planning;

-research;

-ethics;

-consulting

-public policy.

This 60 credit hour online doctorate in leadership has seven week courses, allowing students to move through the program quickly as they work intensively on focused course content. A dissertation

#3. Concordia University-River Forest, Illinois

Ed.D./Ph.D., Leadership: Organizational Leadership Specialization Online

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $14,328/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Points: 9
What’s Unique
This online doctorate in leadership program aligns contemporary leadership theory with effective application. It’s structured to prepare students for the challenges facing today’s leaders.

The 61-67 credit hour program includes a specialization in organizational leadership to allow students to:

-become agents for change;

-engage in strategic planning and forecasting;

-conduct reform initiatives.

Students have the option to choose from a practitioner track (the Ed.D. program) or a researcher track (Ph.D. program) depending on their personal and professional goals.

#2. Johnson University-Knoxville, Tennessee

Ph.D. Leadership Studies

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,100/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Points: 10
Concentration Areas: Educational Leadership; Organizational Leadership; Philosophy and Theology of Leadership; Missional Leadership
What’s Unique
Johnson University is a private, Christian university focused on providing an affordable, community-oriented, Christ-centered education. The online Ph.D. in Leadership studies is designed for working adults, using four dimensions of leadership studies:

-individual and personal systems;

-organizational systems;

-global systems;

-research.

Courses are completed entirely online using an asynchronous method that allows students to learn independently.

#1. University of the Cumberlands-Williamsburg, Kentucky

Ph.D. in Leadership

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $5,670/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Concentration Areas: Business; Criminal Justice; Education; English; Health Sciences; History; Information Security Systems; Math; Psychology; Religion; Student Personnel
Points: 10
What’s Unique
Our top online Ph.D. in Leadership program at the University of the Cumberlands is both affordable and flexible. Students can choose courses in a variety of concentration areas to meet their professional goals. The program is designed for students who want to pursue executive positions in community organizations, higher education institutions, and K-12 schools.

Coursework is designed to prepare students to understand and navigate the politics of program planning, assessment strategies, and educational decision making.