Leading an organization is not a simple task. There are many skills to master, and if you want to become the best leader you can, further education is a great way to give you the skills to apply the most current research and analytics to the work you do, allowing you to help your organization thrive and implement its mission to the fullest. An online PhD organizational leadership degree is a great way to get those skills while continuing to serve in your current role. Whether you work in education, business, or nonprofit sectors, the best way to rise to the top and perform your best is by honing your skills to accomplish your goals as a leader.
If you strive towards excellence in leadership, you will understand that just being competent is not enough. You need those extra skills to level up to being a top professional leader. Plus, your salary will reflect your added credential once you have a doctorate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for those who have a doctoral degree isthan for those with a master’s degree, although your salary depends a lot of what sector you work in. But the upshot is that not only will you be most competitive for the top jobs in leadership with your online PhD organizational leadership degree, but you will command top dollar as well. Whether you are already occupy a top position in your company, educational institution, or nonprofit, or whether you are close but would like to get all the way there, investing in one of these affordable online PhD programs in organizational leadership will give you the chance to reach your highest goals.
Different Types of Online PhD Programs in Organizational Leadership
The doctor of philosophy degree, or PhD, is perhaps the most common doctoral degree in organizational leadership, but it is not the only type. Some programs offer the doctor of business administration (DBA) with a concentration in organizational leadership, while other schools offer differently named doctorates in organizational leadership. Online PhD organizational leadership programs will have the most emphasis on research, but they are also great for professionals who want to apply the best research to the real-world problems they face in their organizations. DBA programs have more emphasis on the business applications for theory and data, yet because they are advanced degrees, research skills will still be a big part of the curriculum.
Which degree is the right online PhD in organizational leadership for you will depend on your goals and your experience. If you have an MBA or other business-related master’s, you may find that the DBA will be best to advance the skills you already have and will help you on a path that focuses on maximizing business goals within your work. If you are looking to become prominent in the theory and research of leadership, the PhD will give you more rigorous research education, though again, either degree will involve lots of research. If your goal is to teach in a university setting, any of the doctoral programs can get you there, as all are at the same advanced level of scholarship. For most people, the actual degree title is not as important as what the program will teach. A doctorate is a doctorate, but finding a program that will allow you to pursue your own research goals is the key to a successful educational experience.
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Online PhD Organizational Leadership Program Concentrations & Lengths
Although much of what you will learn in an online PhD organizational leadership degree will apply to all different types of leadership, some programs offer you the option to focus on your primary area of interest, whether that is corporate, educational, or nonprofit management. With a concentration, you will be able to delve into the specific concerns that your sector faces, giving you more specialized insights. Yet one of the wonderful parts of online PhD organizational leadership programs is that you may meet leaders from different geographical areas and organization types, giving you an interdisciplinary experience that can broaden your horizons.
Each program has its own philosophy, whether it is applying a Christian perspective to servant leadership, or perhaps having more of a focus on strategic leadership. Some programs are more like a continuation of business education, with business administration as the overarching perspective. Online PhD programs in organizational leadership will each attract people who share similar goals and interests, but who reflect the diversity of mission inherent in different types of organizations. Finding a program that not only teaches you the skills that you seek to learn, but that jives with your overall philosophy of leadership is important.
All of the online PhD organizational leadership programs can accommodate working professionals who are adding their study to an already full life, but some will allow you to go slower or quicker to suit your needs. Many programs have a fairly set schedule, at least for the coursework portion of your degree. All of the programs will have a culminating project, whether it is called a dissertation, applied research project, or capstone, and since the individual nature of the project may take longer or shorter, most programs will allow you to continue enrolling in the seminar and advising needed to complete your project, which could take one semester, one year, or more. Many of the programs estimate that students will complete the work in three to four years, although some students can complete certain programs in a slightly shorter time period.
The coursework in all online PhD organizational leadership programs will include theory and research skills, often separated into quantitative and qualitative courses. Some will have courses in ethics and legal aspects of leadership, while others will have more business focused courses such as HR, risk management, and supply chain topics. Featured heavily in all will be research coursework and dissertation or project courses to help along the path to completing this final step in the degree. All offer challenging courses, interaction with peers and faculty online, and some will require a comprehensive exam prior to the research project. No matter what program you choose, expect a seriousness of purpose that will push you to learn and lead at the highest levels.
Organizational Leadership Doctorate Costs & Careers
The overall price for the programs we have selected ranges from about $25k to just under $60k, which is an affordable price for this degree. Other online PhD organizational leadership programs can cost upwards of $100k, so we have selected programs that will let you rise to the top of your profession while leaving a few dollars in your pocket. You may find that your employer or professional organizations offers educational aid or scholarships that can reduce these costs further. One thing to consider is that these costs do not include traveling to campus for any on-campus residencies that are required in some programs, so if you live far from the school you choose, that is a financial factor to consider as well.
Careers for people with a PhD or DBA in organizational leadership can vary quite widely. Some students may already be in high-level positions and are using this education to enhance what they already do in their work, while others may be looking to become more of a leader in business management, management analysis, college administration, or nonprofit leadership. The exact titles of graduates could vary quite a lot, but the skills gained in these programs will give students the top credential in leadership of organizations, so the possibilities for growth in a career in any sector are quite vast.
Top 7 Online PhD Organizational Leadership Programs Under $60k
Now it is time to explore the details of the most affordable doctoral programs for leaders that will allow you to continue your career while burnishing your credentials:
University of the Cumberlands – Doctorate of Philosophy in Leadership
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $25,550
The 66-credit online PhD in Leadership Studies from University of the Cumberlands offers a large selection of concentrations: business, criminal justice, education, English, health sciences, history, information systems, math, nursing, religion, and student personnel. These concentrations can allow graduates to work in K-12 schools, higher education, or community organizations. For those seeking a Kentucky Rank 1 certification, they can take this program, in consultation with the School of Education, to complete the requirements for certification alongside getting their doctorate. With more of a focus on theory and research, the program has 27 credits of core courses, 21 credits of research, and 18 credits in the concentration. Courses include The Politics of Organizational Decision-Making, The Change Process, Teaching and Learning Online, Inferential Statistics in Decision-Making, and Leadership in Historical Context. Admission requires a 3.5 GPA on master’s and any other graduate course work, writing sample, plus fluency testing for non-native English speakers, and international transcript evaluations for overseas degrees. Because admission is competitive, applicants should look to propose dissertation topics compatible with the expertise and interests of the full-time faculty in the program. For those seeking an advanced professional credential in leadership with a Christian underpinning, the program at University of the Cumberlands fits the bill.
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Carolina University – Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $29,275
For a multidisciplinary degree, the online PhD in Leadership Studies from Carolina University (formerly Piedmont International University) offers a fully online program that can be completed in as little as three years, though most students will opt to take four years to more comfortably juggle career, family, and study. For those who wish to take the program slower, they have a maximum of seven years to complete the degree program. There is a one-week on-campus residency required near the beginning of the program, and online classes are seven weeks long. Three tracks of specialty are offered: Organizational Management, Ministry Administration, and Educational Administration. The courses are synchronous online, meaning that students will need to sign on at particular times to attend classes in “real time” with their peers. The program includes courses like Organizational Theory & Behavior, Conflict Resolution, Strategic Planning, and Leadership Values and Ethics. Up to 50% of the 73 credits required to complete the degree may be transferred in from another program, and students will need to pass a comprehensive examination and defend their dissertation to graduate. In addition, students need to maintain a 3.0 GPA with no more than one C. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA on the master’s degree. The program offers two start dates in the fall, spring and summer semesters, making the doctorate from Carolina University a very convenient program for working adults.
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Liberty University – Doctor of Business Administration / Leadership
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $35,800
If you want to further your business leadership credentials, look no further than Liberty University’s online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with a specialization in Leadership. Classes are completely online in 8-week sections, and it takes most students about three years to complete this 60 credit program. With a focus more on practical application of leadership principles, the DBA program offers classes such as Managing the Supply Chain, Human Resource Development, Servant Leadership and Organizational Design and Structure. An Applied Doctoral Research Project is one of the components required for successful completion of the degree. For admission, applicants should have a master’s degree in business or a business-related subject with at least 30 hours of graduate business courses and a GPA of 3.0. Liberty University allows up to 50% of credits towards the degree to be transferred in. Liberty University has long experience in providing online learning, and prides itself on high-quality education for students across the country or around the world, with a focus on educating from a Christian perspective. The DBA online program at Liberty University is terrific for those who seek a flexible program that also provides advanced practice education at a very affordable price.
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Liberty University – Doctor of Strategic Leadership
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $37,193
For a quicker path to a doctorate in leadership that doesn’t require an MBA, the online Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) from Liberty University is a perfect choice. The 51 credit program has an average time to completion of 2.5 years. With 8-week classes starting multiple times each year, your start date is flexible. The asynchronous classes mean that you have no set time you need to sign in, and this professional doctorate program concentrates on applying theory and research, along with practical skills to solve today’s business problems. Courses include Managing the Contemporary Organization, Risk Management Process and Practice, Research Theory and Planning, and Leveraging Data for Decision Making. Students must pass a comprehensive exam and complete an applied doctoral research project. Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA on their master’s coursework, and international students are welcome with additional application requirements. Up to 50% of credits towards the degree can be transferred in, and Liberty has discounts for military members, veterans, and their families. For those who want to integrate a Christian worldview with their high-quality online education, Liberty University’s online DSL program is an affordable, accommodating degree option.
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Amridge University – Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership & Management
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $38,475
The online PhD in Organizational Leadership and Management from Amridge University can be completed full time in about four years, or longer if a student wishes to attend part time. The program is perfect for professionals who want to incorporate evidence-based and research-driven strategies into their work. The 51 credit program includes courses such as Leading Innovation and Change, Human Development and Motivation, Ethical Leadership and Decision Making, Quantitative Research Methods, and Legal Aspects of Management. Students must pass a comprehensive exam and complete a dissertation to qualify for the degree. Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA from their graduate degree in a related field. Full time students pay a lower per-credit tuition than part time students, and there is assistance for military students as well as a discount program for first responders. Students may be able to transfer up to 12 credits towards this degree, and must maintain a 3.0 GPA during the program to graduate. Though this degree is geared towards advanced professionals, it does involve using qualitative and quantitative research to make substantive contributions to the body of knowledge in the field. For students who appreciate a Christian perspective and want a reasonably priced doctoral program in leadership, the Amridge University PhD offers a thorough educational experience.
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Capella University – DBA Leadership
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $58,740
Capella University offers an ACBSP-accredited online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Leadership that allows students to choose whether to take one or two courses during each 10-week period. With eight core courses and four specialized courses, the program culminates in a capstone research project that can span three or more quarters. There are two 4-day required residencies during the program where students will have face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers and gain access to resources valuable to the program. Students are paired with a mentor for their research project, and can work at their own pace to complete the program. The cost for the program is influenced by how long it takes you to go through the program, any transfer credits applied, and how many quarters you spend working on the capstone. Up to 12 transfer credits can be applied, and applicants should have a 3.0 GPA on their master’s work. Courses in the program include Applied Business Research Projects, Supply Chain Management in a Global Environment, and Leading Dynamic Systems with Multi-Dimensional Thinking. Employer and military discounts can help to finance study at Capella, and the program accepts international students. For professionals looking for a guided path through their doctoral program in leadership, the Capella University DBA is an affordable and adaptable degree program.
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Eastern University – Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $59,255
With the online PhD in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University, students can choose a concentration in Educational Administration, Business Management, or Nonprofit and Public Administration. This interdisciplinary program has cohorts of 20 students progressing through the coursework together, with most completing the degree in about four years. Students attend three on-campus residencies per year, while completing the bulk of their coursework online. The residencies are three days long, and include lectures, small group sessions, and advising. Asynchronous online classes make it easy for students to study around their work and family schedules, and the program consists of foundation courses, research courses, concentration courses, and then dissertation curriculum. Classes include Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Organizational Leadership, Capacity Building in Human Resources, Foundations of Research Methodology, and Dissertation Proposal Seminar. Classes for the concentrations include Advocacy and Public Policy, Consulting Practice, and Equity, Justice and Accountability in Educational Leadership and Policy. The program integrates vision and values from a Christian perspective into the educational philosophy of the coursework. Online library resources and expert faculty are highlights of the education at Eastern. For professionals who seek an affordable and well-rounded degree, the Eastern University PhD delivers a hybrid experience that allows for lots of personal interaction while remaining primarily distance education.
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Get Started Today!
With the rich educational experience that you will receive in an online PhD organizational leadership degree program, you can start learning today and add this valuable degree to your resume in just a few short years. With exciting courses, interesting peers, and all the valuable skills you can apply to your job right now, you will likely enjoy your education so much that it will be a wonderful surprise when you realize that you are also due for a healthy increase in salary.