Doctor of Philosophy in Ethical Leadership (Ph.D.)


Program Description

Ethical leaders foster a positive environment and productive relationships to maximize others’ potential through exceptional self-awareness, an understanding of group dynamics, and a foundation for implementing organizational effectiveness strategies.  The Doctorate in Ethical Leadership (Ph.D.) creates a foundation for this by combining ethical principles and leadership theories for practical application within diverse working environments.  It is ideal for working professionals who seek to enhance their ability to practice ethical leadership and infuse ethical principles and theories in management, planning, design, evaluation, research, and policy development across a variety of organizational and community settings.

The program offers a project-based, cross-disciplinary curriculum, and a broad spectrum of learning experiences to meet individual student needs and to develop a diverse and scholarly community of learners.  Students within the program maintain careers within management, government leadership, public service, higher education, business, healthcare, non-profit corporations, and school administration (principals, directors, and supervisors).

An Innovative & Blended Approach

In an effort to meet the needs of our dynamic student populations, courses are offered in a blended format.  In addition to highly accessible online course content, students can expect experiential learning opportunities and four residency requirements during their program of study. Residencies are a key component of the program, as they develop students’ professional networks and apply ethical leadership theory and practice to address current real-world problems.  Residencies provide opportunities for students to work with and learn from corporate executives, community leaders, policymakers, and our nationally preeminent faculty members.  Our innovative blended approach provides tangible implications for a complex world in need of ethical leadership while promoting work/life balance.

Residencies are facilitated via an intensive application of ethical leadership theory and practice over a 3-day period.  Students will be greeted by an opening reception on the first evening and engage in experiential and project-based workshops over the next two days.  The final day will culminate in a celebration with students, faculty, staff, university administration, corporate executives, and community leaders that provide implications for advancing ethical leadership in our world.  Residencies are included in the following courses:

  1. DEL 801 Interpersonal Leadership
  2. ELI 805 Strategic Leadership and Global Change
  3. ELI 809 Innovation and Leadership
  4. DIS 890 Doctoral Research Proposal

Our innovative blended approach and unique structure allow students to complete their doctorate in three years on a part-time basis while working full-time.  The doctoral research processes are infused throughout the program with intensive faculty support to maximize student support and success.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Ph.D. in Ethical Leadership program prepares graduates who can:

  1. Respond to the changing needs of diverse organizations
  2. Lead and manage private corporations, public organizations, educational institutions and systems, and nonprofit agencies
  3. Develop leadership, change management, and innovation strategies for maximizing team dynamics and key performance indicators across their organizations and within each of the people they work with
  4. Demonstrate ethical behaviors and complex problem-solving capacity aligned with designing and implementing organizational effectiveness strategies and assessment and evaluation initiatives critical for effective practice

Career Trajectory

  • Business executives and managers, and directors and supervisors in non-profit organizations, management consultants, planners, and policy advisors
  • School administrators, principals, consultants, directors, and supervisors
  • Federal, state, local government administrators
  • Learners aspiring to serve as presidents, vice presidents, deans, senior higher education administrators, or professors

Program Requirements and Structure

The Ph.D. program requires 60 credits of doctoral work beyond the master’s degree, including 33 core course credits, 15 specialization course credits, and 12 dissertation benchmark credits.

CORE COURSES – 24 Credits
ELI 801 Theory and Practice of Leadership
ELI 804 Management of Crisis and Change
ELI 805 Strategic Leadership and Global Change
ELI 807 Ethics and Governance
ELI 809 Innovation and Leadership
ELI 813 Leading a Learning Organization
ELI 814 Cross-Cultural Relations
ELI 817 Managing Social Media in Organizations

DEL 801 Interpersonal Leadership
DEL 802 Moral Imagination and Decision-Making
DEL 803 Complex Problems
DEL 805 Leadership in Action

DEL 804 Assessment and Evaluation
RES 819 Research Methods
RES 820 Quantitative Research
RES 821 Qualitative Research

DIS 900 Doctoral Research Proposal
DIS 901 Doctoral Research I
DIS 902 Doctoral Research II
DIS 903 Doctoral Research III

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