PhD in Leadership Studies

Department of Leadership Studies

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Program Overview

The PhD in Leadership Studies offers specializations in:

As the nation’s first doctoral program in Leadership Studies, USD is internationally recognized as an institution of dynamic innovation and scholarly excellence. Known for our close student/faculty engagement and collaboration, we offer a rigorous yet practical course of study grounded in prevailing theory and a social change orientation. The program is designed to empower the next generation of researchers, scholars, and practitioners to make significant contributions to the field of leadership studies and efforts to address the pressing needs of the world at large.

What can I do with this degree?

Our doctoral students are teachers, administrators, mid- and upper-level executives, nonprofit professionals, military personnel, counselors, and leaders in a variety of other professional arenas. After graduation, they may become university professors or work as policy analysts, evaluators, consultants, executive coaches or educational administrators.

Who should apply?

Our students are a diverse group. Most have significant professional work experience and many have held formal leadership positions in schools, businesses, universities, community colleges, the military, nonprofit organizations or NGOs. Some hold teaching or administrative credentials, are licensed counselors or therapists, or are religious leaders in the U.S. or overseas. Though some of our incoming students hold degrees from the University of San Diego, the majority earned their bachelor's and master's degrees elsewhere, and often not specifically in Leadership Studies. Applicants should have an appreciation and understanding of the study of leadership and should be able to articulate how their personal, professional and research interests fit with the program.