The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies follows 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.

The program is flexibly designed for working adults who:

  • Have the intellectual capacity for advanced study, writing, and research
  • Desire to learn more about and critically reflect upon leadership, organizations, and society
  • Are committed to the Center for Global Studies and Johnson’s mission of communicating throughout the world the message of peace and wholeness as described in the Christian Scriptures



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.

Courses in the program are delivered in seven-week sessions with a one-week break between each session. They are delivered in an asynchronous 100% online format. The dissertation is highly customizable, providing students with a research pursuit specifically relevant to their career objectives. Concentrations include educational leadership, organizational leadership, philosophy and theology of leadership, and missional leadership. Check out the Concentrations section below to learn more.

Timeline and Application

Students choosing full-time enrollment can expect to complete the degree in four years, and those choosing part-time enrollment can take up to seven years.

Application deadline to begin in August: July 15

Application deadline to begin in January: November 15

Learn more

Click here to learn more about the history and distinctives of this program from Program Director Dr. Alicia Crumpton. Click here for an overview of the program and a detailed course outline.


Questions about admissions requirements?


Dr. Alicia Crumpton
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, policy, and practices unique to educational settings.
• The organizational leadership track will focus more on for‐profit and non‐profit organizations (non‐educational).
• The philosophy and theology of leadership track will focus more on scriptural implications for leadership in all its various forms.
• Missional leadership work in partnership with Forge America.

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.