Best Online PhD Programs in Organizational Leadership

Getting an online PhD in organizational leadership is an excellent way to go up the career ladder and become a successful leader in a large organization. Professionals who are seeking an additional organizational leadership degree have specific career objectives and want to advance their leadership skills as far as possible.

If you are planning to become a leader in a corporation, a non-profit group, a government agency, or an educational institution, an online doctorate in organizational leadership can help you achieve your goals.

Since the majority of students who want to get this degree are already busy with work, many of them can’t include offline studies in their schedules. That’s where online degrees come in. By obtaining a PhD in organizational leadership online, you are leaving yourself sufficient time to focus on work and family issues. It’s a great way to combine learning new information and honing existing skills.

Let’s take a closer look at choosing the best online doctorate in organizational leadership programs.

What is an online PhD in organizational leadership?

An online doctorate in organizational leadership is the highest academic degree you can receive when studying organizational leadership. After completing the program, you obtain the set of skills and knowledge necessary to become a leader of an organization.

If you complete this PhD program, you have an opportunity to pursue high-level management and executive positions in a variety of organizations, including large corporations and nonprofits.

While you are studying for your PhD online, you learn how to communicate with team members effectively. This won’t just allow you to address local employee concerns but take the organization you work for to the next level in becoming an industry leader and employer of choice.

The skills and traits you hone while gaining an organizational leadership degree include:

  • Self-awareness – you learn how to recognize your strengths and weakness in order to continue improving yourself and implementing these traits into your leadership structure. This can also help improve your organization and put it ahead of the competition.
  • Empathy – since leaders need to be empathic in order to understand the best way to lead the team, doctoral students learn about empathy and its effect on their leadership position. While potential future leaders are already empathic, they need to hone this skill and understand how to use it effectively.
  • Creativity – organizational leaders have to be creative and ready to grasp innovative concepts. While you are studying in the organizational leadership program, you can streamline your creativity and apply it to a variety of situations that leaders deal with regularly.
  • Initiative – future executives and managers learn how to take initiative and lead the team differently than the competition does.
  • Persistence – organization leaders need to learn how to be persistent. Otherwise, they won’t be able to take initiative and ensure innovation and success within the organization.

Overall, a PhD in organizational leadership is a huge asset for people who are looking to become executives. While they already have the skills to help them lead, without the coaching, research, and practice they receive when getting a PhD in organizational leadership online, it can be hard to stay competitive.

Since the number of high-level managerial and executive positions isn’t big, getting a PhD provides a tremendous competitive advantage and maximizes your chances of getting the position you want.

Requirements for Acceptance to PhD in Organizational Leadership Online Program

Requirements for acceptance in the online PhD program can vary from one educational institution to another. If you can’t meet one of the requirements a university lists, don’t give up.

Schools are just as interested in attracting qualified students as students are to become top-notch leaders. In your application, you can provide information that can help the admissions committee make the decision in your favor.

  • Master’s degree – the majority of schools require a master’s degree in organizational leadership or related discipline. The degree should be obtained from an accredited college or university.
  • Resume or CV – you usually have to present a resume so the committee can evaluate your past education and work experience. This is especially important for students who don’t have any previous degrees in organizational leadership. Relevant work experience could help you get accepted.
  • GPA – different universities have different requirements. In most cases, you would have to demonstrate a GPA of above 3.0. You would have to provide the transcripts.
  • Letters of recommendation – the university may ask for one to three letters of recommendation that confirm your ability to complete the program. The most valued letters come from your professors, coaches, or consultants from the master’s degree program.
  • Admissions essay – this essay is your opportunity to shine if you don’t have the most appealing resume or CV. It’s a place to explain why you choose to get a PhD in organizational leadership. Each college can have different requirements for the admissions essay format and theme.
  • Writing sample – some colleges may ask you to submit a writing sample to evaluate your writing, analytical, and research skills.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – the school sets the score that is sufficient to apply for the graduate program. Usually, it’s above 310.

Make sure to check the admissions requirements before making a final decision about the program. Some schools can be more strict about them than others.

Advantages of Completing a PhD in Organizational Leadership Program Online

Many students worry that an online PhD program doesn’t carry as much weight as offline studies. However, accredited universities that offer online doctoral programs are just as well-recognized by employers as those that provide offline learning opportunities.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, many educational institutions discovered resources to help them arrange online studies. This attracted more qualified students and streamlined flexibility, which in turn, raised engagement and improved results.

The main benefits of getting an online PhD in organizational leadership include:


People who plan to get a PhD in organizational leadership usually have busy schedules. Often, these are professionals who want to hone their leadership skills in order to push their careers forward. However, they aren’t ready to step down from their current position to spend time on offline education.

Studying online offers you an impressive amount of flexibility. Regardless of the format you choose, be it fully remote or hybrid, you have an opportunity to set your own schedule. It’s easy to work during the day and study in the evening time or vice versa. You don’t have to spend time on a commute or build your schedule around specific lecture times.

A PhD in organizational leadership is a long-term education goal. It can take between 3 and 5 years to complete the program. Since you don’t want to lose work experience during these years, an online PhD program is an excellent solution.

A Personalized Approach

When searching for an online PhD organization leadership program, you can find an opportunity to take a customized approach to studies. Some colleges allow you to choose the topic of research and provide personalized assistance and support.

You can tailor the classes to suit your work schedule and set up one-on-one consultations with the advisor according to your needs.

Some schools match you with a professor who helps you with choosing research topics and ensures a smooth education experience. Large universities have 24/7 support databases that help you find answers to your questions during the off-hours.

Setting up a personalized program is key to achieving your education goals and completing your studies as quickly as possible even with a busy schedule.

Impressive Networking

Many people mistakenly believe that entering an online PhD program means forgoing networking opportunities. Studying in the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean a total lack of communication. Just the opposite. You have an opportunity to interact with other students and professors, travel to conferences, and conduct field trips.

After you graduate, you can become a part of a large alumni community. It can help you find employment opportunities, learn from other doctoral degree holders, and feel like you belong to the elite group of professionals in your field.

Lower Costs

While the cost of education for both offline and online degree programs is the same within one university, the total cost of studying isn’t. If you choose an online program, you can cut such expenses as travel, food, and housing.

Since you’ll be studying online, you can hold on to your job and continue earning money. Doing this with offline studies is much more complicated.

Meanwhile, you have a wonderful opportunity to study in an out-of-state college without incurring all the expenses related to moving.

Top Online Ph.D. Programs in Organizational Leadership

These schools have excellent online programs offer you to earn a PhD in organizational leadership and become a part of the elite community. Each one of them is worth your attention.

1. Southeastern University

Located in Lakeland, Florida, this university offers an online PhD program in organizational leadership. It offers a hybrid program, which means online classes are mixed with offline studies. Admission requirements include:

  • GPA over 3.0
  • Master’s degree from an accredited university

You can receive a doctorate degree in organizational leadership without overpaying for tuition while getting all the benefits of a robust online program.

The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Colorado State University

Located in Collins, Colorado, Colorado State University offers a high-quality online doctorate program with courses that cover qualitative data collection and analysis, scenario planning, system leadership, and much more.

Admission requirements include:

  • GPA over 3.0
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university

At Colorado State University, you can complete your online PhD in organizational leadership program in under four years.

This university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

3. Gardner-Webb University

Located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb University offers a rich choice of online programs, including an online PhD in organizational leadership. The program teaches organizational behavior, theory, and technology. You can take advantage of the hybrid learning format that includes in-depth practice.

Admission requirements include:

  • GPA over 3.0
  • Master’s degree from an accredited university
  • Three letters of recommendations
  • GRE scores

The percentage of students who enroll in online programs at Gardner-Webb University is over 70%.

This university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

4. National University

Located in La Jolla, California, National University has competitive tuition and impressive opportunities for students who need a high-quality PhD program. The doctorate program at this university takes four years to complete. All classes are arranged online.

Admission requirements include:

  • GPA over 2.75 (however, the school accepts students with lower GPAs for a probation period)
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited university

The program teaches organizational management, problem-solving, and strategic planning.

The university is accredited by Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

5. Vanderbilt University

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University has one of the best programs for online Ph.D in organizational leadership. This hybrid program can take three to four years to complete. The program may include organizational development courses and focus on data and analytics. You can also study organizational education and focus on an academic career.

Admission requirements include:

  • Master’s degree from an accredited university
  • Three letters of recommendations
  • GRE scores (this is waived if your GPA is at least 3.0)

The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Online PhD Organizational Leadership FAQs

How long does it take to get a PhD in organizational leadership online?

Different programs can require a different amount of time to complete. Usually, they take between three and five years.

How much does an online PhD in organizational leadership cost?

The tuition varies from university to university. It’s possible to find a reasonably priced program that offers high-quality education. It’s also possible to explore scholarship options.

What is the main benefit of an online PhD in organizational leadership vs. offline education?

The key benefit of earning a PhD in organizational leadership online is the flexibility of such programs that allow you to keep your day job while getting the knowledge you need to advance your career.