Recognized as one of the top online, organizational leadership programs available, Piedmont is ranked #2 in North Carolina for online programs and one of the most affordable that can be completed while you work.  Integrate your real work experiences with your research as you study effective leadership and change management. 

The Ph.D. is identified as the highest academic degree that can be earned. Its recognizable credential and universal appeal extend from the classroom to the pulpit; from the boardroom to the highest levels of academic administration. The Ph.D. in Leadership program is affordable, flexible, can be completed in as few as 3 years as you work and offers a great return on investment. It offers the flexibility of asynchronous, online delivery, which consists of a minimum of 60 credit hours. Our faculty is composed of highly qualified professors – all with earned doctor’s degrees.


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Leadership degree is multidisciplinary in scope and online in delivery with one on-campus residency in the first year. It is designed for students seeking an advanced degree leading to organizational leadership positions. It integrates research, theory and practice, and provides a breadth of knowledge across the leadership field with in-depth research and study in pivotal areas. Critical thinking, scholarly research, writing, and learning occur within a biblical Christian world view that supports the entire program. 


Three concentrations are available:

  • Organizational Management
  • Ministry Administration
  • Educational Administration

This program requires a one week residency and F1 status cannot be granted.








Admissions Requirements

  • An accredited master's degree or equivalent from a recognized college or university
  • GPA of 3.0 or greater
  • Apply to Piedmont International University
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Two letters of reference (one academic and one professional)
  • A research-oriented writing sample
  • Autobiographical Essay
  • Current Résumé
  • Follow all general admissions policies for Piedmont International University


Upon completion of the requirements, the graduate will be able to:

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


Maximum Time Limit to Complete Program
Seven years

Minimum Hours to be Completed at Piedmont
45 semester credit hours

Transfer of Credits and Advanced Standing
Transfer credits are not to exceed 25 percent (15 semester hours) of degree-level courses and must have a grade of B or higher. No Advanced Standing is available.

Length of Program and Graduation
The program is 60 semester hours, with graduation upon completion of prescribed courses (including Transfer) with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 (with no more than one C), passing the written comprehensive examination upon completion of the coursework and the written, presented, and successfully defended dissertation.

Ph.D. in Leadership Comp. Exam, Dissertation, and Oral Defense
The Ph.D. in Leadership student will submit and pass a comprehensive examination upon completion of 51 hours of courses prior to moving forward on the dissertation research for his or her concentration.

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. Included among the criteria of a successful dissertation are the following: Appropriate topic, valid research question, original research, sound methodology, coherent argumentation, critical evaluation, effective style, conformity to deadlines, and contribution of scholarship.

The presentation and oral defense of the written dissertation will be scheduled through the committee chair. This 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.