The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies is a 60 credit hour interdisciplinary program designed for working adults who are interested in exploring leadership using the lens of individual, organization, and society. Students who complete this program will:

  • Articulate biblical, theological, philosophical, and ethical foundations for leadership
  • Exercise effective leadership in higher education and other organizations within their cultural contexts
  • Demonstrate Christian character in exercising leadership
  • Conduct high-quality research and make original contributions to the field.

Coursework includes core courses, ethics (although ethics is integrated throughout), and research courses culminating in a dissertation. Students may select from one of the four elective tracks: Educational Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Missional Leadership, or Philosophy and Theology of Leadership.

The Ph.D. in Leadership studies follow an interdisciplinary design with a focus on four dimensions of leadership studies–individual and personal systems, organizational systems, global systems, and research. The Conceptual Framework of the Ph.D. program is rooted in a commitment to educating whole persons. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to develop scholarship and professional competencies while encouraging self-reflection and strengthening a commitment of service to others.


Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies includes 60 credits beyond the master’s degree. The program consists of six primary elements:

  • Orientation
  • 18-credit Leadership Core
  • 6-credit Ethics Core
  • 18-credit Research Core
  • 15-credit Elective Concentration
  • Candidacy

Doctoral students may also participate in optional Research Summits, which provide opportunities for face-to-face interaction and networking with faculty and fellow students.

Students normally complete one intensive course at a time, with a typical 3-credit course extending through seven weeks. Johnson University holds six 7-week sessions per year, so full-time students may earn the Ph.D. degree in four years. Click here for program details and a schedule of classes.

Affiliate Faculty

Click here for a list of affiliate faculty in the School of Business and Public Leadership.


Application deadline to begin in August: July 15

Application deadline to begin in January: November 15


Questions about admissions requirements?


Dr. Chris Beard
Ph.D. Program Director

Dept Contact


This degree offers four concentrations: educational leadership, organizational leadership, philosophy & theology of leadership, and missional leadership.

The elective tracks for the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies concentrations are not prescriptive or strictly defined. Upon enrollment, each student will be assigned an academic advisor. Students are not required to specify a track upon admissions. Advisors will mentor each student through the process.

Electives may be fulfilled in one of four ways: coursework at the discretion of the track lead, directed field study, directed independent study, or transfer credits. Our goal in this design is to offer a high degree of flexibility for each student so their Ph.D. experience is applicable and relevant to their ministry.

In most cases, the various tracks will operate as follows:

  • The Educational Leadership track will focus on those issues, policies, and practices unique to educational settings.
  • The Organizational Leadership track will focus on for‐profit and non‐profit organizations (non‐educational).
  • The Theology and Philosophy of Leadership track will focus on scriptural implications for leadership in all its various forms.
  • The Missional Leadership track will focus on leadership concepts centered on fulfilling the Great Commission in unique contexts around the world.

We encourage prospective students to spend time praying and dreaming about where they envision serving once they have completed their doctoral work, remembering that whatever area they focus on will be an area of expertise upon completion of the dissertation and graduation.


Courses may include:

  • Ways of Knowing and Leadership Development
  • Organizational Studies and Theory
  • Intercultural Behavior, Worldview and Communication
  • Global Leadership, Systems and Policy

For more details on this program, check out our academic catalog.


Graduates will be equipped for a variety of leadership positions in ministry and the marketplace.