Online PhD in Management: Overviews by Specialization

May 04, 2018

Find out about online management courses and in which doctoral degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Many schools offer online Ph.D. programs in management, with specializations including human resource management, project management or leadership and organizational management. Most of these programs combine online courses with on-campus residencies. Students may be required to teach college classes as part of the program and complete an internship. A dissertation and examination may also be required.

Admission to a Ph.D. program generally requires a master's degree. Some programs also require work experience in the field of specialization. Most students complete their programs in about five years, although times vary. All Ph.D. programs in management stress leadership skills needed by an executive. Research is involved in many programs as well.

Ph.D. in Management: Specialization in Human Resource Management

Through this online Ph.D. in Management program, students explore common problems and practical solutions in the field of human resources (HR). They also acquire organizational and leadership skills by conducting field research. To be eligible for a human resource management doctoral program, students must have bachelor's and master's degrees.

Program Information and Requirements

Online HR management doctorate programs typically take 3-7 years to complete, with an average completion time of four and a half years. Programs generally are hybrids, combining online learning with on-campus residencies. Some programs may require practical experience leading a human resource department or teaching HR management in a classroom setting.

In addition to a working computer and reliable Internet access, students must have Microsoft Office and plug-ins, such as Acrobat Reader and Adobe Flash, that will allow them to upload and download files and view videos. To complete an online program, students generally log onto a Web-based application, such as Blackboard, where they can watch video lectures, complete assignments and interact with other students. They also may be able to access their school's online library to use resources for research projects.

Course Topics

Online Ph.D. classes in HR management typically are asynchronous, so students can take them when it's most convenient. Assignments are completed based on professors' deadlines.

Legal Issues in Human Resource Management

This course provides an overview of legal issues that members of a human resource management team face on a regular basis, such as hiring and firing employees. Students also learn about bargaining and hiring individuals as full-time employees as opposed to consultants.

Human Resource Development

Students discuss how human resource professionals develop knowledge and professional competencies, as well as how they use their skills in the workplace. Coursework generally includes reading and discussing books on HR development.

Labor Relations

This class covers ways to negotiate and uphold contracts. It piggybacks off classes related to compensation.


Ph.D. in Management: Leadership and Organizational Management Specialization

Through the online leadership and organizational management specialization of a Ph.D. in Management program, students become better, more-organized leaders. They develop skills that enable them to lead other people and to train others to become more effective leaders. Students need both bachelor's and master's degrees to enroll in these doctorate programs. Multiple online programs offer this specialization.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs typically take 4-5 years to complete. Lectures and assignments usually can be accessed entirely online through applications such as Angel. Students also interact with their peers and professors via the Internet. However, most online Ph.D. programs in leadership and organizational management also require students to complete on-campus residencies.

Course Topics

These self-paced online classes generally can be completed whenever a student has time.

Leaders as Change Agents

This course examines good leaders' relationships, namely between themselves and their followers. Students also learn to organize a business in order to create leaders who can help employees grow to their full potential.

Learning Management

This course examines management principles and adult leadership development. Students also explore the role that organization plays in leadership.

Leadership in Creativity

Students taking this course learn how creativity can play a role in leadership relationships. This includes how creativity can lead to entrepreneurial innovations and unique business opportunities.


Ph.D. in Management: Specialization in Project Management

Ph.D. programs in management with a concentration in project management prepare students to motivate employees to get projects completed effectively and on budget. Students develop skills in motivating employees, assessing risk and using leadership skills to get a job done on time. To be eligible for these programs, students must have a bachelor's and master's degree. Intensive to business, this specialization is available online at a few schools.

Program Information and Requirements

This program can take as many as seven years to complete, but most students finish in fewer than five. The majority of the program can be completed online, but there generally are some residency requirements. Some programs may also require an internship. Students typically can watch online video lectures, complete and turn in assignments, participate in class discussions and access an online library around the clock. They also can interact with professors and classmates via Web chat.

Course Topics

Online courses in project management are available through self-paced programs that allow students to complete them as they have the opportunity.

Project Risk Management

This class introduces students to various planning strategies and the risk associated with each. They learn to identify, analyze, monitor and control the levels of risk involved in a project.

Project Management Control and Monitoring

Students examine control measures associated with planning projects so they are completed on time and budget. They also identify ways to get projects that don't go as planned back on track.

Project Procurement

Through this class, students become familiar with strategies and materials necessary to organize and complete a project. This includes procuring and organizing contracts.


Career Information

A Ph.D. in Management with a specialization in human resource management can lead to a career as a professor or HR manager. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, open positions in human resource management were expected to grow by 9% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.org). Human resource managers made an annual median salary of $104,440 in 2015, based on BLS reports. College teachers made a median of $72,470, according to the BLS in 2015.

A specialization in organization and leadership can lead to a career as a management analyst or consultant. These professionals train business managers to effectively lead companies and their employees. In 2015, management analysts made a median salary of $81,320, according to BLS statistics. Analysts working in consulting services made an average of $104,120. Career opportunities for management analysts were forecast to increase 14% in the decade spanning 2014-2024.

Project managers can pursue careers in fields as varied as construction, information systems or retail sales. According to the BLS, the annual median salary for project managers working in construction was $87,400 in May 2015.

There are a variety of online Ph.D. programs in management, with specialties available in human resources, leadership and organizational management, and project management. Depending on how quickly students work through the courses, as well as the general length of the program itself, the programs can be completed anywhere from 3 to 7 years.

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