Top 10 Online Phd/Doctorates in Organizational Leadership 2024

PhD/Doctorate in Organizational Leadership

Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson, MS.Ed. / Reading level: Grade 10 / First covered: December 2018 / Updates: 3

In this article, we profile the top 10 PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online programs.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a six percent employment growth for all training and development managers through 2032, a faster than average growth compared to all other occupations. Organizational leaders fall under this umbrella of occupations. Thanks to a constant demand for workplace training and education, the job growth remains favorable. But the highest leadership positions require education. Thankfully, online PhD organizational leadership and online doctorate in leadership programs are now available from reputable institutions.

Featured Programs

Top 10 Online PhD or Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Online Programs Methodology

We looked at approximately 135 colleges listed by the (NCES) College Navigator. Each school offered at least one online doctorate in organizational leadership or a related degree. We narrowed our school selection by applying the following criteria:

  • Accreditation
  • National or regional rankings
  • Graduate tuition/fees of less than $49,200 per year

We then listed the schools according to raw affordability.

Below is our list of the top 10 PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online programs.

#10—Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

PhD in Organizational Leadership


Points: 6

Tuition: $16,128

Regent University offers one of the more flexible doctoral degree in organizational leadership online programs. This affordable PhD features five available concentrations:

  • Ecclesial Leadership
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Individualized Studies
  • Human Resource Development
  • Organizational Leadership

Courses required for the degree include:

  • Group Behavior
  • Contemporary Perspectives in Organizational Leadership Theory
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Organizational Behavior

Students may enroll in the school’s executive mentorship program for expert assistance with coursework and other program requirements.


  • Mentorship program
  • Dynamic curriculum


  • Competitive admissions
  • Large class sizes

#9—Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Online PhD in Organization and Management Leadership


Points: 6

Tuition: $7,740

The online PhD in leadership and management from Liberty University is a fully online, transfer friendly program that emphasizes organizational leadership. The comprehensive 60-credit hour curriculum for the program features core courses such as:

  • Understanding the Organization
  • Risk Management Process and Practice
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Managing the Contemporary Organization

A dissertation is also required as a culminating element of the program. Liberty University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


  • Fully online program
  • High acceptance rate


  • Limited tech support
  • Larger class sizes

#8—Concordia University- Chicago

River Forest, Illinois

PhD in Leadership: Organizational Leadership


Points: 7

Tuition: $10,458

Concordia University- Chicago offers a Leadership PhD online with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. The curriculum for the program focuses on contemporary organizations and features core doctoral courses like:

  • Organizational Change
  • Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of Leadership
  • Policy Analysis
  • Applied Ethics and Organizational Leadership

Students enrolled in the organizational leadership specialization will take additional classes, including:

  • Change Innovation and Transformative Leadership
  • Leading the Knowledge Enterprise
  • Follower-Leader Relationship

Both a comprehensive exam and a doctoral dissertation are required for program completion.


  • Nationally ranked regional university
  • More diverse


  • Low graduation rate
  • Larger class sizes

#7—Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, Indiana

PhD in Organizational Leadership


Points: 7

Tuition: $9,731

Indiana Wesleyan University offers an inexpensive distance learning PhD in organizational leadership. Designed to be completed within 48 months of online study, the program features 24 online classes. Sample course titles include:

  • Global Perspectives on Leadership
  • Change, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership and Personal Development
  • Organization Theory and Design

Four of the required courses for the program are dedicated to dissertation preparation. The curriculum is less flexible than some other online PhD in organizational leadership programs as some synchronous courses may be required. Students must also attend a mandatory summer session on campus.


  • Top-ranked regional university
  • Small class sizes


  • Less flexible
  • Less diverse

#6—Indiana Institute of Technology

Fort Wayne, Indiana

PhD in Global Studies: Organizational Leadership


Points: 7

Tuition: $10,026

Indiana Tech is home to one of the best value online PhD programs in organizational leadership. This terminal degree is technically a PhD in Global Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. Though all coursework for the program is available online, doctoral students are required to visit campus annually for mandatory immersion experiences. Courses specific to the Organizational Leadership concentration include:

  • Multinational Management
  • International Strategy and Decision Making
  • Strategic Branding and Public Relations
  • Managing Financial Performance and Accountability

A dissertation is required for completion of this 66-credit hour program. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Indiana Tech to award this and other online degrees.


  • Small class sizes


  • Required on-campus visits
  • Somewhat selective
  • Low graduation rate
  • Less diverse

#5—Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach, Alabama

Doctor of Organizational Leadership


Points: 7

Tuition: $3,640

In terms of the best online doctoral programs in leadership, the DOL in organizational leadership is a contender due in part to its low cost. The 61-credit hour curriculum for the program is comprehensive, featuring major course titles such as:

  • Leadership and Organizational Communication
  • Strategic Management and Planning
  • Designing Organizations for Competitive Advantage
  • Advanced Global Leadership

As a capstone requirement, online students must complete a dissertation and defend it virtually. Columbia Southern University is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


  • Fully online, including dissertation defense
  • Highly affordable


  • Less prestigious business school

#4—Eastern University

St. Davids, Pennsylvania

PhD in Organizational Leadership


Points: 8

Tuition: $14,418

The low-cost doctoral degree program from Eastern University is one of the more diverse online PhD programs in organizational leadership in our ranking. The cohort-based program features three distinct concentrations:

  • Educational Administration
  • Business Management
  • Nonprofit and Public Administration

Despite their chosen concentration, online students will take foundational courses such as:

  • Models of Organizational Behavior
  • Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Organizational Leadership
  • Leadership in Global Contexts
  • Leadership, Justice, and Servanthood

In addition to online coursework, students are required to attend three mandatory residencies per year.  


  • Cohort-based
  • Small class sizes
  • More diverse


  • Multiple required residencies

#3—University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Online PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership: Organizational Leadership


Points: 8

Tuition: $12,718

The University of Arizona-Global’s low-cost leadership PhD online is a research-focused program with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. Once enrolled, doctoral students will take courses specific to the emphasis, including:

  • Leadership and Organizational Cultures
  • Advanced Seminar: The Leader As Coach
  • Theories and Models of Instructional Systems Design
  • Strategic Talent Development

This four-year program is created for working professionals, enabling students to take one accelerated course at a time. A dissertation is required.


  • Top-ranked public school
  • More diverse


  • Larger class sizes
  • 3 on-campus workshops required

#2—Johnson University

Johnson, Tennessee

Online PhD in Leadership Studies: Organizational Leadership


Points: 8

Tuition: $9,990

The affordable online doctorate in leadership studies from Johnson University features a concentration in Organizational Leadership. The interdisciplinary curriculum for the program features core courses such as:

  • Ways of Knowing and Leadership Development
  • Leadership and Personal Ethics
  • Intercultural Behavior, Worldview, and Communications
  • Global Leadership, Systems, and Policy

The remaining courses will be related to advanced topics in organizational leadership. A dissertation is required at the culmination of the program. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for program-specific scholarships.


  • Top regional university
  • High acceptance rate
  • Small class sizes


  • Less diverse

#1—University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

PhD in Leadership Studies


Points: 8

Tuition: $4,260

The most affordable accredited online PhD in organizational leadership can be found at the University of the Cumberlands. The program is flexible as well, enabling students to complete the program fully online. Core courses include:

  • Current Trends and Issues in Leadership
  • The Politics of Organizational Decision-Making
  • Leadership in Theory and Practice
  • Leadership in Historical Context

Students are also required to complete one of more than a dozen available specialties, including:

  • Health Science
  • Instructional Technology
  • Education
  • Public Administration

The University of the Cumberlands is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a PhD or Doctorate in organizational leadership online degree?

With a PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online degree, you’ll have many career prospects. Doctor of Education degrees, or an Ed.D., will open doors to jobs in education, while the Ph.D. will offer a development, training, or business platform. Depending on your career focus, you should expect a favorable employment outlook.

Some career opportunities include:

Business professor: Postsecondary professors at four-year institutions hold a Ph.D. or doctorate in the field they teach. A Ph.D. with a concentration in organizational leadership will make you eligible for this role.

Education administrator: Educational administrators hold many titles. Deans, presidents, provosts, and vice presidents in education are important roles of secondary institutions.

Management analyst: Management analysts are found in any organization or business. Job details include finding problems and addressing issues that negatively impact efficiency in the organization. The more education you have in business and organizational leadership, the greater the responsibility and leadership capability you will be able to offer. This position is also commonly referred to as a management consultant.

Operations research analyst: If you enjoy collecting data and researching methods, the operations research analyst position may suit you well. This position helps to improve an organization’s infrastructure and design by analyzing issues and efficiency.

Training and development manager: Training and development managers look for ways to improve the skills and knowledge of employees. This is usually a hands-on role with direct interaction among the organization’s staff.

How much money will I earn with a doctorate in organizational leadership online degree?

PayScale, a global compensation research company, reports that individuals with a doctorate or PhD in organizational leadership earn an average salary of $85,000. Individuals with an EdD in organizational leadership earn $88,000 on average per year.

Top organizational development managers, according to PayScale, earned $122,848 per year, while the lowest ten percent earned $59,740. The average additional compensation for this job title, which includes bonuses and profit sharing, consisted of $3,000 to $8,000 per year.

Experience seems to impact earnings the most, as the more experience an individual has, the greater the compensation package. Overall, earnings have a positive trend with experience. Individuals with less than five years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $76,000. The total compensation includes salary, bonuses, and profit sharing.

Mid-career organizational development managers with five to ten years of experience can expect to earn a total compensation of $87,000. Experienced organizational development managers with ten to twenty years of experience can expect to earn $97,000 per year. Mid-career and experienced managers generally oversee small to large teams and are responsible for employees. Those with more than twenty years of job experience can expect to earn a total compensation of $100,000 per year.

What is the job outlook for those with a doctorate in organizational leadership online degree?

Generally, the more educated an individual is in a particular field, the more likely they are to find a job. Training and development managers and organizational development managers are responsible for enhancing the knowledge of their employees. They are required to be educated so that they can train their organizational teams.

Employment of training and development managers is expected to grow by six percent through the year 2032, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This growth is slightly faster than the average for all occupations. With the constant need for workplace training and development, job prospects should be favorable over the next several years.

Most job openings will stem from the need to replace organizational and development managers that leave the occupation. Individuals who retire will need to be replaced.

New technologies and industry innovations will promote the need for training and development managers. These managers will have attained the skills necessary to educate teams to carry out newly evolved industry practices. Learning technology is expected to be increasingly important to organizations with remote workers. Also, as companies become more reliant on social media and mobile learning, experts will be needed to train employees.

Individuals with a PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online degree will offer a special set of skills needed to lead in a variety of organizations.

How long does it take to earn a PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online degree?

The length of time it takes to complete a PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online degree depends on the program. The average time is between three and five years. Accelerated online programs may take less time, approximately three years, while part-time programs require additional time.

When considering an online PhD program, it is important to assess the number of years it takes to complete the degree requirements. If you want to earn a PhD in as little time as possible, full-time enrollment and accelerated options are available. However, if you are unable to take on a full load of study due to outside obligations such as work or family responsibilities, part-time options are available. Most part-time programs take three to five years to complete.

It is possible to find programs that take three years, though shorter options are not typically found. If you hold a master’s degree in organizational leadership, some programs may be willing to accept transfer credits, thus reducing the time it takes to complete the degree. The three-year average completion time consists of two years of study followed by one year of research and dissertation preparation. This is the typical format of most PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online degree programs.

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

An Ed.D. or Doctorate in Education is a terminal degree that emphasizes the application of research and knowledge to real world organizational or educational issues. Unlike the Ph.D. or Doctorate of Philosophy, Ed.D. candidates use existing research to inform decision-making and practices that lead to improvement in the area of study. The Ph.D. focuses on the development of new research as opposed to existing research.

Another difference between the Ed.D. and Ph.D. in organizational leadership online degree is coursework or program requirements. The Ed.D. offers coursework such as the application of theory to educational problem solving or training and leadership from different perspectives. Most Ed.D. programs require the completion of 45-60 credits and are designed for students who have already earned a master’s degree in education.

Ph.D. coursework varies among programs, but most organizational leadership specializations cover topics that will enhance research acumen and techniques. Ph.D. candidates work with data and statistics as they conduct their own research projects and complete a dissertation. Most Ph.D. programs take four to six years to complete and require a dissertation or thesis.

Individuals who want to be involved in a research-based career should consider the online Ed.D. programs typically prepare candidates for less research-intensive careers, such as executives in education or school districts.


  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • US Bureau of Labor Statistics

This concludes our list of the top 10 online PhD/Doctorate in organizational leadership programs.