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Online PhD in Leadership and Organizational Change: Program Overview

Learn about online Ph.D. programs in Leadership and Organizational Change. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Online Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change programs are offered mostly at for-profit institutions. Students learn about workforce development, organizational planning and systems leadership, and the program typically culminates in original research and a dissertation. Students may need to purchase textbooks and computer software programs, and be required to participate in online discussions through message boards and chat forums. Applicants must possess a master's degree in a related discipline and a minimum GPA in previous graduate coursework. Some business experience may also be required. Programs may have scheduled on-site meetings included in the curriculum requirements.

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Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change

Students in this online doctoral program are prepared to transform business organizations and enhance their leadership effectiveness, as well as advance in their careers. Practical, growth-oriented curriculum is used to teach performance improvement and change management skills that can be used immediately in the field.

Students typically need a master's degree to apply to these programs. Potential admissions requirements include acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT). More general requirements may include a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, a current resume and school transcripts.

Program Information and Requirements

Students enrolled in an online Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change must earn the traditional 60 graduate credits, with a minimum requirement of coursework in concentrated studies. A dissertation and defense are typical program requirements and can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. Students can also expect up to three years of preliminary coursework. Although such programs are flexible and designed for working professionals, most schools require the program to be completed within a certain timeframe, typically no more than ten years. Comprehensive examinations, both oral and written, are also common portions of these online doctoral programs.

In addition to having a computer and high-speed Internet connection, students may need to purchase textbooks and computer software programs. Instructors may require students to participate in online discussions through message boards and chat forums.

Common Courses

Core coursework in online Ph.D. programs focus on the skills of leadership and change and use current methods of applying them to real-life business situations. Students may also be required to choose concentrated courses in specialized areas of education, non-profit organizations or business leadership.

Organizational Development and Change Facilitation

Students learn about the theory, practices and principles of organizational change. Affecting and adapting to change using various models and methods are also discussed. Instructors may use DVDs and online video streaming to educate students on these topics.

Leadership Practice and Theory Development

Leadership development skills and attributes are the focus of this class using theory and evaluation. Students are also challenged to apply leadership skills using different value systems and worldviews. Students can get immediate feedback from other students and instructors through the use of instant messaging.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

A variety of methods are taught using sources of ethnography, phenomenology, case study and biography. Research design, processes and application are also studied. Strengths and weaknesses in different research methods are evaluated through studies in interpreting, analyzing, writing and reporting data research results. All assignments and exams may be submitted through email or completed through a virtual campus operating system.


Career Information

These programs can prepare students for management positions at businesses, non-profit organizations and educational institutions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that mean annual wages in 2015 for general and operations managers were $119,460, with the middle 50% earning $97,730. Graduates with a Ph.D. are qualified to perform research and teach at the university-level.

Continuing Education Information

The Institute of Certified Professional Managers offers a voluntary certified manager (CM) designation for executives and managers desiring additional educational credentials. This designation is achieved by completing required training and successful passing of an examination.

Ph.D. programs in leadership and organizational change are available online to train students in various research methods, leadership practices and organizational development used in businesses, educational institutions and different organizations. Graduates may go on to obtain a voluntary certified manager designation for work as operations managers and executives.

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