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Every company, community, and country needs inspiring and capable leaders.

With a PhD in Leadership Studies, you could prepare to guide and lead educational organizations, solve the challenges facing today’s schools and learners, and make a lasting impact in your community. With the flexible option to study online, you can pursue our online doctoral program in leadership studies on your schedule — even while working full time. When you speak with us about your professional goals in leadership, be sure to learn your financial aid options to make reduce the financial burden while you learn.

A doctorate in leadership studies focus on the theory and practice of organizational leadership. Explore how strategic organizational leadership can help you effectively guide, manage, and improve educational settings, from companies to higher education to nonprofits.

Anchor: Stats

By the Numbers

$10.4K

Average Financial Aid

100%

Online Program
Anchor: Programs & Requirements
Programs & Requirements

Programs & Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Leadership Studies

The PhD in Leadership Studies Online at 鶹ý is designed to help you guide educational organizations into the future. You’ll learn the skills you need to lead with empathy and insight, inspire staff and students, and contribute insightful research to your field. Online courses and flexible scheduling make it possible to earn your Ph.D. in Leadership. and set your sights on new goals—even while working full time.

With our online PhD in Leadership Studies you will participate in a comprehensive study of effective leadership and administrative methods, while gaining an in-depth look at the political factors involved in organizational decision making. Program planning, assessment strategies, and global trends in leadership round out the online Ph.D. leadership curriculum.

Additionally, if you are a current educator wishing to obtain Kentucky Rank 1 certification, you may complete an approved Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) program through the School of Education and transfer up to thirty (30) hours of the program toward the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies. Note that a Ph.D. or Ed.D. alone will not lead to the Kentucky Rank 1 certification without first completing an Ed.S. through the School of Education. Our knowledgeable advisors are here to help you enroll in the classes you need to complete your Rank 1 certification and then the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies.

Course Requirements

  • *

* If the dissertation is not completed at the end of , the candidate repeats as needed, for three (3)credit hours each term, until the dissertation is completed and defended.

Students pursuing a PhD in leadership studies at Cumberlands are required to complete ONE specialty area.

  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • English
  • Health Professions
  • Health Science
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Missions and Ministry
  • Nursing
  • Student Personnel Services
  • Instructional Technology
  • Public Administration

Courses in the following business department masters programs will matriculate as the Doctoral specialty if the program is completed as a second Masters:

  • MBA
  • Master of Science in Global Blockchain Tech.
  • Master’s in Project Management
  • Master’s in Strategic Management
  • Or other approved electives

Courses in the following information systems department masters programs will matriculate as the Doctoral specialty if the program is completed as a second Masters:

  • MSDF
  • MSIT
  • MSISS
  • Or other approved electives

For a full list of course offerings or more program specific information, visit our Academic Catalog.

Anchor: Mission & Goals

Mission & Goals

This mission of the PhD in Leadership Studies degree program at Cumberlands is to prepare you for ethical and effective leadership in your company, community, or country.

Conduct research that focuses on the theory and practice of organizational leadership.
Explore how strategic leadership can help you effectively guide others.
Learn how to lead with empathy and insight to inspire others.
Contribute insightful research to your field.
Gain an in-depth look at the political factors involved in organizational decision making.
Anchor: Career Outcomes

Leadership Careers & Outcomes

All stats from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Executive: $100,090

Top Executive: $100,090

Top executivesplan strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals.

Chief Executive: $189,520

Chief Executive: $189,520

Determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.

University Administrator: $99,940

University Administrator: $99,940

Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities.

Administrative Services Manager: $101,870

Administrative Services Manager: $101,870

Administrative services and facilities managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities that help an organization run efficiently.

Marketing Manager: $138,730

Marketing Manager: $138,730

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in products or services.

Management Analyst: $95,290

Management Analyst: $95,290

Management analysts recommend ways to improve an organization’s efficiency.

Anchor: FAQs

Common Questions

A Ph.D. in Leadership or Leadership Studies is a research doctorate that focuses on the theory and practice of organizational leadership. In many programs, students have the opportunity to study leadership within a specific field, such as education. In this case, you’ll explore how strategic leadership can help you effectively guide, manage, and improve educational organizations—from schools to colleges to nonprofits. Courses in subjects such as decision making, program planning and assessment, change management, and other skill areas will prepare you for leadership opportunities that call for advanced scholarship and expertise.

While many working educators opt to earn a Ph.D. in Leadership, these programs differ slightly from practitioner degrees such as the Ed.D. Namely, research plays a larger role in the Ph.D. You’ll take courses in research methodology, including qualitative and quantitative research methods, inferential statistics, and statistical analysis. And you’ll embark on an original dissertation that furthers the body of knowledge in your field.

With a Ph.D. in Leadership, you can pursue growing career paths in educational organizations such as schools, colleges, and universities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs will increase over the next decade as more students pursue higher education to achieve their goals. Postsecondary administrators bring together expertise in organizational management and education to lead and manage academic programs, research activities, and student services. Alternatively, candidates who pursue additional requirements for certification could become administrators at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

With a research doctorate under your belt, you could also pursue a career as a . Overall, this field should grow at a faster-than-average rate of 12 percent over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most roles require a doctoral degree—generally, a Ph.D.

Finally, earning a doctorate in leadership could equip you for a career path. Management analysts evaluate organizations and suggest strategies for solving problems, improving efficiency, and growing profits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that management analyst jobs will grow by 14 percent over the next decade—much faster than average.

Is an online Ph.D. in Leadership a respected credential? Will earning your Ph.D. be a worthwhile investment in your career? For most candidates, the answer is yes. Not only could your doctorate in leadership studies help you stand out in the job market, but now that online learning is a popular and credible way to earn a degree, there’s no difference between a traditional and online Ph.D. in Leadership beyond the convenience of studying in a virtual setting. Potential advantages include:

  • Career opportunities. Earning a doctorate is typically a requirement for roles such as postsecondary administrator and postsecondary teacher. With a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies, you’ll learn the skills you need to take your career to the highest level.
  • Higher earnings. With a Ph.D., you could qualify for roles that command a higher salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary administrators earned a median annual salary of $96,910 in 2021. Postsecondary teachers earned $79,640 in the same period.
  • A bigger impact. Leading your school or organization into the future calls for advanced preparation. Earning a doctorate in leadership studies will equip you with the theory, skills, and research experience you need to solve urgent problems, drive positive change, and make a lasting difference.

Are you a current educator wishing to obtain Kentucky Rank 1 certification via our online leadership doctorate? You can achieve your goals by taking additional coursework within the School of Education. Keep in mind that a Ph.D. or Ed.D. alone will not lead to the Kentucky Rank 1 certification without an accompanying planned program from the School of Education that includes the courses required for Rank 1. Our knowledgeable advisors are here to help you enroll in the classes you will need for both your Ph.D. in Leadership Studies and the Kentucky Rank 1 certification.

All programs at 鶹ý are offered at some of the lowest rates in the nation – and we even include free textbooks through our One Price Promise! For more information on how affordable this program would be for you, visit our Financial Aid page.

I would give my highest recommendation of this program. My perspectives and understanding about leadership has reached a level beyond my imagination. The faculty at UC always go the extra mile to create a phenomenal learning environment with the highest professionalism and the most compassionate personal cultivation and care. My PhD journey at UC has been the most uplifting and enlightening one for me. Way to go, UC!

Dr. Amy West
Graduate, PhD in Leadership Studies
Anchor: Faculty

Faculty Experts

Find out more about the caring and experienced faculty at Cumberlands.

Robert Kevin Meade

Dr. Robert Meade

Adjunct Professor
PhD Leadership

Dr. Robert Meade

Contact Information

robert.meade [at] ucumberlands.edu
Remote
Dr. Matthew P. Ewers

Dr. Matthew P. Ewers

Adjunct Professor
PhD Leadership

Dr. Matthew P. Ewers

Contact Information

matthew.ewers [at] ucumberlands.edu
Dr. Jacob Bryant

Dr. Jacob (Jake) Bryant

PhD Candidate Assessment Director/Assistant Professor
The Graduate School
PhD Leadership

Dr. Jacob (Jake) Bryant

Contact Information

jacob.bryant [at] ucumberlands.edu
Remote

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