10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

The top online Ph.D. in organizational leadership programs prepare you for high-level leadership and management careers.
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Updated August 23, 2023

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Are you ready to discover your college program?

A doctoral degree in organizational leadership will help you develop advanced knowledge in leadership theory and practice, hone valuable research skills, and enhance your competitiveness in the job market.

Completing your Ph.D. online can mean you'll have a more flexible schedule and accessible pathway toward professional growth. Online students can often choose a part-time schedule that allows time to continue working.

The best doctorate program for you will vary depending on your career goals, budget, and academic preferences. We considered academic metrics like acceptance rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and affordability when compiling the best online doctoral programs in organizational leadership.

Featured Organizational Leadership Doctorate Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership

The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy. The data is primarily sourced from government databases such as IPEDS – see sources section for more details.

#1 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Beulah Heights University

  • Atlanta, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online

The Ph.D. in organizational leadership program at Beulah Heights University provides flexible enrollment options to meet the needs of diverse degree-seekers. Doctoral students at this private Christian university strengthen their research skills in a faith-based environment.

Available in fully online and hybrid formats, BHU's organizational leadership program incorporates 60 credits of doctoral coursework. Doctoral candidates advance in the program by passing comprehensive exams and writing an original dissertation. With a doctorate in organizational leadership, graduates can work in academia and in research and leadership roles.

Online doctoral students at this accredited institution can pay for their degrees with scholarships, fellowships, and loans. Contact the program for more information about research support and financial aid.

Beulah Heights University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 457

Online Master's Programs: 4

Online Doctoral Programs: 2

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,650

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,632
Out-of-state
$7,632
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,650
Out-of-state
$7,650
Retention Rate
90%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
565
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
81% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#2 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Capella University

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online

Capella University, a for-profit private institution, offers a fully online doctor of business administration (DBA) program in organizational leadership and development. Doctoral students benefit from support services and can choose a self-paced or guided format.

The organizational leadership and development program consists of 90 credits of doctoral coursework. After meeting classroom requirements, doctoral candidates complete an integrative capstone course. A DBA in organizational leadership and development prepares graduates to pursue careers in research, leadership, and business education.

At this accredited institution, doctoral students may qualify for several forms of financial aid. Reach out to Capella to learn more about transfer credit policies, research support, and admission requirements.

Capella University at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 78

Online Doctoral Programs: 60

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 32-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,767

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$14,148
Out-of-state
$14,148
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,767
Out-of-state
$14,767
Retention Rate
45%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
38,930
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Concordia University Chicago

  • River Forest, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Doctoral students seeking an online program may benefit from the Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs in leadership with a specialization in organizational leadership at Concordia University Chicago (CUC). The private, Lutheran-affiliated university offers flexible enrollment options and supports doctoral students with services like career advising.

Both the 67-credit Ph.D. track and the 61-credit Ed.D. track feature advanced organizational leadership coursework. Ph.D. candidates focus on theory and research, while the Ed.D. students take a more applied approach. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates complete a dissertation that contributes original research to the field. 

Online doctoral students at this accredited institution can qualify for several forms of financial aid. The admissions office at CUC can provide more information about transfer credit policies and admission requirements.

Concordia University Chicago at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 5,642

Online Master's Programs: 47

Online Doctoral Programs: 11

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,090

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,660
Out-of-state
$32,660
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,090
Out-of-state
$9,090
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
6,491
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Marion, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners can complete the online Ph.D. in organizational leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in as little as four years. The private Christian university provides flexible scheduling along with research support, career advising, and library access.

IWU's organizational leadership program requires a minimum of 60 credits of doctoral coursework and includes on-campus residencies each July session. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates begin working on an original dissertation project. As the terminal organizational leadership degree, the program can lead to career opportunities in academia, research, and industry.

Doctoral students may qualify for federal financial aid and fellowships at IWU. Contact the organizational leadership program to learn more about financial aid, enrollment options, and start dates.

Indiana Wesleyan University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 10,121

Online Master's Programs: 27

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,083

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,871
Out-of-state
$8,871
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,083
Out-of-state
$11,083
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
10,944
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Johnson University

  • Knoxville, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A private Christian institution, Johnson University (JU) offers an online Ph.D. in leadership designed for working students. Ph.D candidates can choose from multiple elective tracks, including an organizational leadership option. Expert faculty help doctoral students strengthen their research skills and develop theological and ethical perspectives on leadership.

The organizational leadership curriculum consists of 60 credits of doctoral-level coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates spend 1-2 years researching and writing their dissertations. Graduates can work in academia, research positions, and leadership roles across diverse industries.

JU holds institutional accreditation, meaning that doctoral students may qualify for federal and state financial aid. Contact the leadership program for more information about doctoral admissions.

Johnson University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 520

Online Master's Programs: 4

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,750

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$16,400
Out-of-state
$16,400
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,750
Out-of-state
$11,750
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
1,039
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

National University

  • San Diego, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online Ph.D. program in organizational leadership from National University (NU) holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. A private nonprofit university, NU provides customizable degree plans to meet the needs of diverse learners. Doctoral students can access services like career advising and research support.

In NU's organizational leadership program, degree-seekers complete doctoral coursework and strengthen advanced leadership skills. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research for an original dissertation or project. Graduates can pursue academic careers, as well as research-oriented and director-level roles in diverse business, government, and nonprofit sectors.

Doctoral students at NU may qualify for several forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about research support, financial aid opportunities, and admission requirements.

National University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 7,959

Online Master's Programs: 45

Online Doctoral Programs: 2

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $15,480

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,480
Out-of-state
$15,480
Retention Rate
45%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
18,070
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#7 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Southeastern University

  • Lakeland, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Southeastern University (SEU) is a private Christian university based in Lakeland, Florida. SEU's organizational leadership Ph.D. program combines online coursework with periodic on-campus residencies. Students participate in career advising, contribute to scholarly journals, and gain research skills.

Doctoral candidates at SEU must sit for comprehensive examinations before completing a dissertation that contributes original research to the organizational leadership field. As the terminal degree in organizational leadership, the program can lead to influential career opportunities in research and academia.

Students in the organizational leadership program may qualify for fellowships, scholarships, and federal financial aid programs. Reach out to SEU to learn more about financial aid opportunities, admissions requirements, and start dates.

Southeastern University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 5,051

Online Master's Programs: 5

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 28-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,365

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$26,520
Out-of-state
$26,520
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,365
Out-of-state
$13,365
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
43%
Students Enrolled
9,546
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

The University of Arizona Global Campus

  • Chandler, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online

The Ph.D. program in organizational development and leadership at The University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) may benefit doctoral students seeking an online program with flexible enrollment options. Ph.D. candidates at UAGC also benefit from research support, career advising, and library access.

During the organizational leadership program, learners complete at least 18 courses, including a capstone seminar. Doctoral candidates advance in the program by passing comprehensive exams and writing an original dissertation. Graduates can teach business at the college level, conduct research, and pursue managerial and consultancy roles in many industries.

Since UAGC holds institutional accreditation, online doctoral students may qualify for scholarships, federal loans, and other forms of financial aid. Reach out to UAGC's business school to learn more about admission requirements.

The University of Arizona Global Campus at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 26

Online Doctoral Programs: 6

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,720

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,280
Out-of-state
$13,280
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,720
Out-of-state
$13,720
Retention Rate
26%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
31,115
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#9 10 Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Programs

Wilmington University

  • New Castle, DE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Wilmington University (WilmU), a private nonprofit institution, offers a flexible Ed.D in organizational leadership, learning, and innovation. Learners can pursue the program entirely online, in a hybrid format, or on campus. Doctoral students benefit from support services like career advising.

The organizational leadership program incorporates 54 credits of doctoral coursework and takes as little as three years to complete. Doctoral candidates advance in the cohort-based program by passing comprehensive exams and writing an original dissertation. An organizational leadership, learning, and innovation doctorate can open the door to job opportunities in research, academia, and business leadership.

Doctoral students attending WilmU online may qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the organizational leadership program to learn more about the enrollment process, start dates, and funding opportunities.

Wilmington University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 12,423

Online Master's Programs: 28

Online Doctoral Programs: 4

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,784

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,430
Out-of-state
$11,430
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,784
Out-of-state
$8,784
Retention Rate
50%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
14,769
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

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Why Get a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Online?

Organizational Leadership Doctorate Degree Courses

The courses offered in an organizational leadership doctorate program can vary — but classes traditionally cover topics such as leadership theory, strategic leadership, and organizational behavior.

Leadership and Organizational Cultures

In this course, students explore the complex relationship between leadership and organizational culture. In addition to examining how leaders impact culture, you also develop strategies for creating and sustaining productive, ethical cultures that support organizational goals.

Human Resources Business Strategy

In this class, you'll examine the role of human resources (HR) in driving business planning and performance. Grad students learn how to evaluate workforce trends and align business goals with HR practices and employee compensation and benefits. You'll also create strategies for talent management, organizational development, and staff engagement.

Global Issues and Leadership

This course explores how culture and history impact global leadership. It equips students with skills and knowledge essential to navigating business challenges in a globalized world. Students will examine key global issues, learn how cultural differences impact business, and develop strategies for international collaboration.

Business Ethics in Leadership

This class covers workplace ethics while evaluating how organizational leaders foster ethical behavior. Students encounter various ethical theories, analyze case studies, and develop ways to create and sustain an ethical culture that aligns with both organizational values and business interests.

Dissertation and Capstone Planning

This course prepares doctoral students for their degree-culminating research projects. Degree-seekers will develop research questions, review relevant academic studies, design a study, and craft a proposal that mirrors academic and professional standards. Upon completion, this research project should contribute to the organizational leadership field.

Organizational Leadership Concentrations

Most doctoral programs in organizational leadership allow students to choose an academic concentration that mirrors their academic and career goals.

These concentrations can vary among programs, so be sure to seek out programs that match your interests.

  • Human Resources

    This concentration dives deep into how organizations can develop and train employees while enhancing productivity and performance. Students with an HR concentration can anticipate classes such as HR development, HR ethics, and autonomous learning and HR development. You may also learn about compensation guidance and business financial strategy.
  • Educational Administration

    Whether you're seeking administrative roles in higher education or K-12, an educational administration concentration focuses on the unique challenges of leading an academic institution. Some common courses include education law and finance, accountability in educational leadership and policy, and faculty development.
  • Nonprofit and Public Administration

    This concentration is ideal for students seeking leadership roles in nonprofit settings. You'll focus on the unique challenges linked to leading nonprofits, including developing community partnerships, fundraising, and community engagement.
  • Global Consulting

    This concentration prepares you for leadership roles in a global context. Students tackle the unique challenges of leading diverse teams across geographic and cultural borders. You'll also focus on honing the communication and analytical skills required to solve complex organizational challenges.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership?

With a Ph.D. in organizational leadership, you can pursue a variety of career paths in academia, consulting, and executive leadership. The academic concentration you choose can have a significant impact on career options.

Those interested in academia often secure roles as professors or researchers in colleges and universities. Organizational leadership students pursuing roles in the private sector often employ their skills in corporate and nonprofit settings.

Earning a Ph.D. is a solid way to expand your career options and enhance your earning potential. Executives in corporate settings tend to make the most. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top 10% of CEOs earned a median annual salary of $208,000 in 2021.

Graduates working for nonprofits teaching at a college or university tend to earn less. College professors earned a median salary of $79,640 in 2021.

Organizational Leadership Careers
Job Average Annual Salary
Chief Diversity Officer $135,915
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) $213,020
Executive Director $98,980
Human Resources Manager $136,590
Nonprofit Director $61,460
Organizational Development Consultant $94,490
Professor $79,640
University Administration $96,910

Sources: BLS, Payscale

Frequently Asked Questions About Organizational Leadership Degrees

Is a Ph.D. in organizational leadership worth it?

Determining whether a Ph.D. in organizational leadership is right for you depends largely on personal factors. That said, this degree has the potential to advance your career, increase your salary, and grow your expertise in the field of organizational leadership.

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D. in organizational leadership?

The primary difference between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D. in organizational leadership is their academic and professional focus. A Ph.D. program traditionally focuses on research and scholarships and has an expansive list of professional applications. An Ed.D. degree prioritizes practical application in an educational environment.

How long does it take to get an online Ph.D. in organizational leadership?

The length of your online Ph.D. in organizational leadership can vary depending on the program and whether you're a part- or full-time student.

Generally, online organizational leadership Ph.D. students can graduate in 3-7 years. Additionally, some programs offer accelerated pathways that allow you to graduate more quickly.

Are online Ph.D. programs respected?

So long as the school is accredited, online Ph.D. programs, including those in organizational leadership, are equivalent to campus-based programs, and the diploma you receive is the same.

Still, not all online programs are created equally. Be sure to look for programs at accredited institutions and review our rankings above for the best online Ph.D. in organizational leadership programs.

Do you need a Ph.D. to be a CEO?

You absolutely do not need a Ph.D. to be a CEO. That said, CEOs often come to the table with ample experience and specialized skill sets. Earning a Ph.D. in organizational leadership is one way to establish a set of leadership skills while enhancing your resume and expanding your professional network.


All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the TBS Rankings Team.


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