What is the Ph.D. in Leadership Program?

In May of 2015, Piedmont International University launched its Ph.D. in Leadership program. This nationally accredited program is designed to form effective leaders rooted in Christ for today’s complex and challenging organizational environments. Led by prestigious faculty and staff, the Ph.D. in Leadership program stems from Piedmont’s literal Biblical worldview, providing a breadth of knowledge across the leadership field. Students can expect to learn about topics such as organizational change, conflict resolution, strategic planning, emotional intelligence, and more—integrating theory, research, and practice under the instruction of the best and brightest faculty and staff in Christian leadership.


One of The Most Flexible and Affordable Options 

Piedmont’s Ph.D. in Leadership program ranked #2 in North Carolina as one of the best online, Ph.D. programs. Its asynchronous, online delivery offers the busy working professional an anywhere, anytime approach toward earning their doctorate in organizational, Christian leadership — with the exception of a one-week, on-campus residency within the first year.*

Since many of our students have full-time careers as well as families, we strive to meet them in their needs by making our program as flexible and affordable as possible. Our Ph.D. in Leadership courses cost $460.00 per credit hour with a minimum requirement of 60 credit hours, and the program can be completed in as few as 3 years while balancing a full-time career, personal life, and family.

While Piedmont ranks #2 in the nation for most affordable doctorate in organizational leadership, we also find that to further shoulder the costs, 96% of our students receive some form of financial aid whether it be institutional, federal, or military. In 2017, over $1.3 million was awarded to our students. It’s also worthwhile to note that PIU offers approximately 3 years of a doctorate in organizational, Christian leadership for the cost of just one year at other Christian Universities and Colleges.

*F1 status cannot be granted.

The Three Concentrations:

  • Organizational Management
  • Ministry Administration
  • Educational Administration



Admissions Requirements

For admission into PIU’s Ph.D. in Leadership program, prospective students must meet the following requirements:

  • Earn an accredited master's degree (or an equivalent from a recognized college or university).
  • Earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Apply to Piedmont International University.
  • Send PIU all official transcripts from previously attended schools.
  • Submit two letters of reference (one academic and one professional).
  • Submit a research-oriented writing sample.
  • Submit an autobiographical essay.
  • Submit a current résumé.
  • Follow all of PIU’s general admissions policies

Ready to take the next step in your leadership career? Apply now! 



Through critical thinking, scholarly research, writing, and learning through a Biblical Christian worldview, students in the Ph.D. in Leadership program seek to fulfill the following objectives:

  • Synthesize, evaluate, and contextualize leadership approaches and theories.
  • Choose and create an original, scholarly research project — that advances leadership theories and contributes substantially to the body of knowledge in their chosen concentration — culminating in a written, presented, and orally defended dissertation.
  • Demonstrate a high level of comprehension of leadership theory through practical individual and organizational application.
  • Analyze social, political, economic, religious, and organizational events related to the influence of leaders and leadership approaches.
  • Integrate their Christian faith, scholarly research, and leadership skills by putting theory into practice.

Summary of Required Hours

Ph.D. Leadership Core 27
Ph.D. Concentration 12
Research Core 12
Research in Concentration 9
Total Hours


Degree Completion Plan

As a foundational aspect of the program, students are required to attend a one week on-campus residency the first time it is offered after acceptance.

Ph.D. Core - 33 hours
LEA700   Foundations of Leadership   3 hours
LEA701   Aspects of Leadership   3 hours
LEA702   Global Leadership     3 hours
LEA703   Organizational Development     3 hours
LEA704   Organizational Communication     3 hours
LEA705   Conflict Resolution     3 hours
LEA801   Strategic Planning    3 hours
LEA802   Organizational Change     3 hours
LEA803   Leadership Values and Ethics     3 hours
LEA804   Leadership Policy and Culture    3 hours
LEA807   Contemporary Issues in Leadership    3 hours

Ph.D. Concentration* – 9 hrs (choose one of three concentrations)

Organizational Management  
LEA810   Marketing for Leaders     3 hours
LEA811   Leading Leaders in Multi-Level Organizations    3 hours
LEA812   Grant Writing Management & Program Evaluation    3 hours

Education Administration  
LEA813   Educational Research Methods     3 hours
LEA814   Teacher Supervision & Evaluation    3 hours
LEA815   Personnel Administration    3 hours

Ministry Administration  
LEA816   Cross Cultural Ministry Leadership     3 hours
LEA817   Team Leadership in a Ministry Setting    3 hours
LEA818   Leadership Mentoring, Coaching and Discipleship    3 hours

Research Core – 9 hrs
RES801   Research Design I     3 hours
RES802   Research Design II    3 hours
RES803   Research Design III    3 hours
Pass Written Comprehensive Examination
Pass Dissertation Proposal Defense

Research in Concentration – 9 hrs
RES877   Dissertation I     3 hours
RES878   Dissertation II     3 hours
RES879   Dissertation III ** 3 hours
Pass Dissertation Defense

Total Minimum Required Semester Hours   60 hrs

**RES880 Dissertation Continuation may be taken beyond RES879


What is the maximum time limit to complete the program?

Students have a maximum of seven years to complete their Ph.D. in Leadership.

What is the minimum number of hours to be completed through Piedmont?

Students must complete a minimum of 45 semester credit hours.

Can I transfer my credits from another institution?

Yes. Please note that transfer credits are not to exceed 25%, or 15 semester hours, of degree-level courses, and all transfer credits must have a grade of B or higher. No advanced standing is available.

Is advanced standing available?

No advanced standing is available.

What is the length of the Ph.D. in Leadership program?

The program lasts 60 semester hours.

What are the graduation requirements?

Students will graduate upon fulfilling the following requirements: completing all prescribed courses (including transfer credits) with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 and no more than one C. Students must complete all coursework, pass the written comprehensive examination, and successfully write, present, and defend their dissertation.

What does the Ph.D. in Leadership’s comprehensive exam, dissertation, and oral defense entail?

The Ph.D. in Leadership students must submit and pass a comprehensive examination after completing 51 hours of courses. Next, students will move forward with their dissertation research for their respective concentrations.

What is the Ph.D. dissertation and formal treatise?

The Ph.D. dissertation is a formal treatise that advances a proposition based on scholarly research. At Piedmont a dissertation focuses on a topic in or related to the chosen concentrations of Organizational Management, Ministry Administration, or Educational Administration.

The criteria for a successful dissertation includes: an appropriate topic, a valid research question, original research, a sound methodology, coherent argumentation, critical evaluation, effective style, conformity to deadlines, and contribution of scholarship.

When is the Ph.D. dissertation due?

The presentation and oral defense of the written dissertation will be scheduled through the committee chair. The Ph.D. dissertation must be accomplished by March 15 for the May graduation.

Our passion is to graduate men and women who are thoroughly equipped to be successful leaders who obey the Great Commandment, fulfill the Great Commission, and live abundant lives for the glory of God.