Student Outcomes

Ph.D. in Leadership Studies

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indexPhD in Leadership Studies/academics/phd-leadership-studies/indexsolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/indexdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesDepartment of Leadership Studies/images/content/academics_banner_phd1.jpgsite://soles/images/content/academics_banner_phd1.jpgsolesacademics_banner_phd1.jpgacademics_banner_phd.jpgPh.D. Banner

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.

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admission-requirementsAdmission Requirements/academics/phd-leadership-studies/admission-requirementssolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/admission-requirementsdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership StudiesDepartment of Leadership Studies/

Application Checklist 

  • The University of San Diego Graduate School Admission Application
  • One official sealed transcript from all colleges and universities attended, including community colleges. Foreign transcripts must be accompanied by a Course-by-Course transcript evaluation from WESECE or IERF.
  • One official score report with the results of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test
  • Three professional letters of recommendation from professors or employers
  • A current resumé or curriculum vita
  • Statement of purpose. In four single-spaced pages:
    • Address how earning a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies fits in with your academic/professional and personal goals.
    • Discuss one or two of the key research topics that you may want to investigate as part of your Ph.D.
    • Discuss the key leadership lessons you have learned from your leadership experiences within your profession or outside it.
  • International applicants only: Official score reports for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Admissions Requirements

Standardized Testing Requirements

  • Applicants must provide scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test. Scores must be less than five years old.
  • There is no minimum GRE score required.
  • The University of San Diego’s GRE Institution Code number is 4849. This number must be included on test registration forms in order to have the official results sent to the university. Standardized testing must be completed well in advance of the deadline as it typically takes about 2 weeks for the score reports to arrive after a request is made.

Education Requirements

  • Applicants must complete a bachelor’s degree and a master's or J.D. prior to beginning the program. Applicants may apply prior to completing their master's degree. In this case, please submit your most up-to-date transcripts, and if admitted, submit a second set of official transcripts after your degree is conferred.
  • The minimum cumulative Grade Point Average is 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) in all graduate coursework.

Experience Requirements

Professional experience is strongly recommended.

Interview Requirements

After an initial review of applications to the program, the most qualified candidates will be invited to USD for a group interview with the Leadership Studies faculty. Applicants who live outside California and surrounding states (Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, or Nevada) will have the option of participating in a phone interview. However, out-of-state applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the on-campus group interview, if possible.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all international applicants and may only be waived if English is the applicant’s primary language or if he or she obtained a bachelor’s degree in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada or Australia.

  • TOEFL minimum scores:
    • Internet-based test: 83
    • Computer-based test: 237
    • Paper-based test: 580
  • IELTS minimum score:
    • Band score 7

Admissions Process

Application Deadline

All application materials, including transcripts, test score reports and letters of recommendation, must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the deadline in order for your application to be considered. View current deadlines for admission.

Application Status and Decisions

To confirm that application materials have been received or to check the status of your application, please log in to the MySanDiego portal with your applicant log-in or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (619) 260-4524. Admissions decision letters are sent via US Mail.

Submit all application materials online, or to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
Email: grads@sandiego.edu

For questions about this program or the admissions requirements contact:

Office of Admissions and Outreach
School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 149

Phone: (619) 260-7988
Email: solesadmissions@sandiego.edu

courseworkCoursework/academics/phd-leadership-studies/courseworksolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/courseworkdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership StudiesDepartment of Leadership Studies/

Program of Study

Overview

Collaborative leadership calls for a style that employs both personal and professional skills such as the ability to establish mission and direction; elicit and cultivate cooperation; and empower institutions, organizations and communities to achieve greater levels of quality, effectiveness, and flexibility.

History

For more than 30 years, SOLES has provided doctoral candidates the conceptual and practical tools needed to make consequential contributions in a variety of academic and professional disciplines. The program is grounded in a theoretical framework designed to challenge our students' perspectives of successful leadership practices and strategies, and provide them with the ability to affect positive and sustainable change in our global community.

Doctoral Program

In 1982, we awarded our first Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership Studies and now boast more than 300 alumni of that program. In 2006, we received approval to offer the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Leadership Studies. The leadership doctoral program is characterized by a rich diversity of people who share a commitment to upholding the highest standards of intellectual inquiry and academic freedom. The program includes a common core of studies in leadership theory and practice, as well as courses, internships, projects, and independent studies oriented toward the specific needs of each participant.

By offering an education rooted in critical analysis and reflection, our candidates have the opportunity to:

  • Inspire a clear, mutual vision; one that integrates individual and organizational aspirations for sustained performance and continuous improvement;
  • Develop skill sets that empower them to mobilize the forces of inclusion and diversity for the attainment of organizational objectives;
  • Apply theoretical concepts to organizational systems; thinking critically to assess current and/or continuing problems, and employ acquired tools of inquiry to facilitate positive change;
  • Develop new levels of insight and self-awareness regarding their strengths and challenges as a leader;
  • Become part of a collaborative community that allows doctoral candidates to learn from their peers, support one another, and develop habits and practices that facilitate future professional growth;
  • Develop the resources and flexibility to pursue a dynamic range of dissertation topics;
  • Take advantage of paid graduate assistantships offered in: assessment, nonprofit leadership and management, teaching leadership, community college leadership, and global education;
  • Benefit from the small class size and personalized attention from dedicated faculty; and
  • Use the applied learning opportunities available from our institutes and centers:

International Experience

At SOLES, all masters and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally.

For many students, this experience will include a one- to two-week, faculty-led course abroad. For students who prefer to stay in southern California, this experience may be fulfilled through research or coursework on international issues. Service trips and site visits across the border in Tijuana are offered regularly.

Courses with an international component include:

  • Community Models of Leadership: From Noticing to Mindful Action in Sri Lanka
  • International Education and School Change in Chile
  • Nonprofits and Civil Society in Guatemala
  • Models of Participatory Leadership in Mondragon, Spain

Please note that most courses are not offered every year and some may be offered on a one-time basis. New courses are often developed. Because of this, international course offerings differ year-to-year.

Curriculum

Leadership Core Curriculum (18 units)

This component offers an interdisciplinary and multicultural opportunity to study leadership. The six courses (18 units) are designed to enable the doctoral student to explore, understand, and critique theories, concepts, competencies, and values/ethics related to leadership. In the process, students are encouraged to develop and to critically explore specific strategies for implementing these philosophies. Generally, students take LEAD 600 and LEAD 602 at the outset of the program.

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE GRADUATE UNITS
LEAD 600 Leadership Theory and Practice
3
LEAD 601 Organizational Theory and Change
3
LEAD 602 Leadership, Inquiry and Research I
3
LEAD 603 Ethics and Leadership
3
LEAD 604 The Policy-Making Process
3
LEAD 605 Adult Development
3

Research and Evaluation (15 units)

The purpose of the research and evaluation component is to enable the student to develop research knowledge and skills and apply these to a successful completion of a doctoral dissertation.

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE GRADUATE UNITS
LEAD 606 Leadership, Inquiry and Research II
3
LEAD 607 Applied Statistics and Quantitative Research Methods
3
LEAD 608 Qualitative Research Methods
3

Advanced Research (3 units)

Students must take one of the below advanced research courses as part of their research component.

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE GRADUATE UNITS
LEAD 612 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
3
LEAD 613 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
3

Research Elective (3 units)

Students may choose one of the below courses to complete their research requirement. Additional courses may be approved by the department.

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE GRADUATE UNITS
LEAD 582 Survey Research Methods
3
LEAD 612 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
3
LEAD 613 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
3
LEAD 579 Action Research Methods
3
LEAD 579 Grounded Theory and Ethnography
3
LEAD 579 Special Topics in Research 3

Area of Specialization (18 units)

An important aspect of the doctorate in Leadership Studies is the Area of Specialization requirement which enables each student to design an 18-unit sequence of courses that will help the student develop knowledge and skills in a specific area of interest. Students are encouraged to take an Internship (LEAD 698) as part of their Area of Specialization Component.

Listed below are pages detailing each of our four areas of specialization. Please note that the lists of coursework for each specialization are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. Students select their specialization coursework in consultation with their faculty advisor and may choose to pursue an individualized specialization by selecting coursework in multiple areas of specialization.

Dissertation (12 units)

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE GRADUATE UNITS
LEAD 610 Dissertation Seminar
3
LEAD 695 Dissertation
9

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the program take me?

Full-time students complete their degree in 4-5 years. Part-time students complete their degree in 5-6 years.

How many units are included?

This program consists of 63 Graduate Units.

When are classes scheduled?

Each class typically meets once per week at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Summer and intersession classes typically hold more frequent class meetings. Students typically take 1-3 classes per semester and may take summer and intersession coursework.

Please note that electives taken in other departments may not follow this class schedule.

Can I work while completing this program?

Yes. Classes are scheduled in the evenings and occasionally on weekends. Many students work full-time or part-time while completing this program.

Is this program offered online?

No, this program is offered on campus at the University of San Diego only. There is no online, hybrid, or distance learning option available.

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facultyFaculty/academics/phd-leadership-studies/facultysolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/facultydisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership StudiesDepartment of Leadership Studies/Content here. Content here. Content here.student-outcomesStudent Outcomes/academics/phd-leadership-studies/student-outcomessolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/student-outcomesdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership StudiesDepartment of Leadership Studies/

Our Students

Our students are incredibly diverse in their backgrounds, research interests and career trajectories. Click on our featured student profiles below to learn about the types of students in our doctoral program. View additional doctoral student profiles.

Student ProfilesJulie CramerPK-12 Public/Private School Leadership Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/julie-cramerdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/julie-cramersolesjulie-cramerJulie Cramer/images/content/julie_cramer_small.jpgsite://soles/images/content/julie_cramer_small.jpgsolesjulie_cramer_small.jpgjulie_cramer_small.jpgJulie CramerKedir Assefa TessemaIndividualized Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/kedir-assefa-tessemadisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/kedir-assefa-tessemasoleskedir-assefa-tessemaKedir Assefa Tessema/images/content/kedir_assefa_tessema_small.jpgsite://soles/images/content/kedir_assefa_tessema_small.jpgsoleskedir_assefa_tessema_small.jpgkedir_assefa_tessema_small.jpgKedir Assefa TessemaSean HorriganHigher Education Leadership Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/sean-horrigandisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/sean-horrigansolessean-horriganSean Horrigan/images/content/SeanHorrigan_small.jpgsite://soles/images/content/SeanHorrigan_small.jpgsolesSeanHorrigan_small.jpgSeanHorrigan_small.jpgSean HorriganSvetlana KrasynskaNonprofit/Philanthropic Leadership Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/svetlana-krasynskadisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/svetlana-krasynskasolessvetlana-krasynskaSvetlana Krasynska/images/content/svetlana_krasynska_small.jpgsite://soles/images/content/svetlana_krasynska_small.jpgsolessvetlana_krasynska_small.jpgsvetlana_krasynska_small.jpgSvetlana KrasynskaConor McLaughlinHigher Education Leadership Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/conor-mclaughlindisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/conor-mclaughlinsolesconor-mclaughlinConor McLaughlin/images/content/conor-mclaughlin-small.jpgdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/conor-mclaughlin-small.jpgsolesconor-mclaughlin-small.jpgConor McLaughlinConor McLaughlinJessica WilliamsIndividualized Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/jessica-williamsdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/jessica-williamssolesjessica-williamsJessica Williams/images/content/jessica-williamsdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/jessica-williamssolesjessica-williamsJessica WilliamsJessica WilliamsAnnie NgoOrganizational Leadership and Consulting Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/annie-ngodisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/annie-ngosolesannie-ngoAnnie Ngo/images/content/annie-ngo-small.jpgdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/annie-ngo-small.jpgsolesannie-ngo-small.jpgAnnie NgoAnnie NgoKathryn BinghamOrganizational Leadership and Consulting Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/kathryn-binghamdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/kathryn-binghamsoleskathryn-binghamKathryn Bingham/images/content/Kathryn-Bingham-small.jpgdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/Kathryn-Bingham-small.jpgsolesKathryn-Bingham-small.jpgKathryn BinghamNick FrancoHigher Education Leadership Specialization/academics/student-profiles/phd/nick-francodisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studiessite://soles/academics/student-profiles/phd/nick-francosolesnick-francoNick Franco/images/content/MRH_small.jpgsite://soles/images/content/MRH_small.jpgsolesMRH_small.jpgNick Franco

Learning Outcomes

Outcome 1: Ph.D. candidates will articulate prominent leadership theories in Leadership Studies, analyze and critique these theories, and apply these theories in the course of addressing a variety of organizational issues and problems.

Outcome 2: Ph.D. candidates will realistically appraise their personal strengths and weaknesses exercising leadership. They will actualize leadership in real and complex situations.

Outcome 3: Ph.D. candidates will be able to use a range of perspectives and theoretical constructs from various social science/humanities disciplines/fields of study to analyze, critique, and make decisions about an array of leadership and organizational issues and problems.

Outcome 4: Ph.D. candidates will demonstrate the methodological skills necessary to design, analyze, critique, and conduct research using both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.

Outcome 5: Students’ written and oral communication will be clear, coherent, well organized, and technically correct. 

Outcome 6: Students will critically examine culture other than own, and apply the knowledge gained within their personal and professional lives.

Alumni Outcomes

There are over 300 alumni of the doctorate in Leadership Studies. Our alumni include professors, researchers, educators, policymakers, school leaders, university administrators, consultants, executive directors of nonprofits, business leaders, and more.

Dissertation Directory

Explore our searchable directory of doctoral alumni below. To learn more about any individual click the arrow to the right of his or her name.

doctoral-graduate-assistantshipsAssistantships/academics/phd-leadership-studies/doctoral-graduate-assistantshipssolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/doctoral-graduate-assistantshipsdisplay-in-navYesparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPhD in Leadership StudiesDepartment of Leadership Studies/

Placements

Available positions for 2014-2015 are:

The following campus offices also offer doctoral graduate assistantship placements, which are currently filled.

Eligibility

Applicants should be currently enrolled or newly admitted SOLES doctoral students in good standing, carrying a full course load (6 units per semester).

Compensation

The below compensation is typical, but variations do occur.  Contracts will specify compensation after verbal offer is accepted.

Nine-month assistantship (equals approximately 760 hours per year):

  • Salary - approximately $14,615
  • Tuition Scholarship* - up to 12 units (to be used during the term of the contract)
  • Benefits-Based employment, option to participate in USD employee group health insurance plan

Twelve-month assistantship (equals approximately 1,040 hours per year):

  • Salary - approximately $20,000
  • Tuition Scholarship* - varies (12-18 units)
  • Benefits-Based employment, option to participate in USD employee group health insurance plan

*Please note that the scholarship funds are taxable, and that the funds do not provide for the cost of books nor fees. Some positions may offer more or less tuition scholarship.

Frequently Asked Questions

What hours do Graduate Assistants work?

Graduate assistants work approximately 20 hours per week. Actual hours will vary by position, but are typically between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. with occasional nights and weekends.

My contract specifies a start date, is that the day I report?

No, all contracts begin at the beginning of a pay period and you are expected to work 20 hours that week, so its possible that your first reporting day could be later in the week.  Please discuss your specific schedule with your supervisor.

What are Graduate Assistants' responsibilities?

Responsibilities will vary by position. Some may include research, teaching and/or administrative work. Job descriptions for available positions are posted in the winter.

How can I apply to be a Graduate Assistant?

This first step is to apply to the PhD in leadership studies. Applicants and current PhD students are contacted in January with information on available positions and application processes. The hiring process for the next academic year takes place in early March after admissions decisions are released.

May I apply to more than one Graduate Assistantship?

Yes, but you may only hold one graduate assistantship at a time. If you receive multiple offers you will need to choose one position.

May I take other positions at USD during my Graduate Assistantship?

SOLES expects that full-time graduate assistants will devote a maximum of 20 hours per week to their assistantship duties during the academic year. Employment beyond this level can be detrimental to the student’s progress towards the degree. It is understood, however, that certain occasions may arise in which case it would be beneficial for the student to accept additional responsibilities. If these occasions arise, the extra hours required to fulfill the obligation must be approved by the Dean’s office. The individual’s advisor must assure (by signing this form) that the additional undertaking will not affect the individual’s satisfactory progress towards her or his degree. 

May I renew my assistantship contract?

Yes, contracts are renewable for up to three years, depending on the position and per supervisor approval.

I am nearing the end of my academic program, may I take units beyond the 63 required for the PhD and have them paid for through the GA position?

No, tuition scholarships from your GA position should only be used for units which count towards your degree requirements. 

I was awarded a Dean’s Merit Scholarship prior to being offered a GA position.  What happens to that scholarship?

A GA position scholarship cannot be combined with a Dean’s Merit scholarship.  You can keep the larger of the 2 awards.  Many (but not all) GA position scholarships are paid directly through a Dean’s Merit Scholarship. There are however, other scholarships which can be combined with a GA position, such as the SOLES Diversity Scholarship, and others.

specialization-in-higher-education-leadershipSpecialization in Higher Education Leadership/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-higher-education-leadershipsolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-higher-education-leadershipdisplay-in-navNoparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership StudiesDepartment of Leadership StudiesIn the changing landscape of higher education today, the importance of forward-thinking leaders cannot be underestimated./images/content/banner-high-ed-specialization.jpgdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/banner-high-ed-specialization.jpgsolesbanner-high-ed-specialization.jpgbanner-high-ed-specialization.jpgbanner image

The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Higher Education Leadership prepares students to meet the new leadership challenges facing colleges and universities in the United States and worldwide.

Our students develop the skills to conduct original research and use empirical evidence to improve their practice and lead innovation. Students benefit from close relationships with faculty with real-world experience in student affairs and higher education administration and policy. Graduates of this specialization work as higher education administrators, researchers, policy-makers, and faculty.

Careers

Paige Haber

"The opportunities I was provided through the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies were endless. I apply what I learned on a daily basis - both professionally and personally."

- Paige Haber-Curran '11

While she was a doctoral student at SOLES, alumna Paige Haber-Curran balanced many roles: as a graduate assistant coordinating USD's Leadership Minor, a leadership program facilitator with LeaderShape, and an instructor in Organizational Leadership at Brandman University. She is now an Assistant Professor of Student Affairs in Higher Education at Texas State University, San Marcos.

Other alumni job titles include:

  • Assistant Dean
  • Associate Vice President of Student Life
  • Associate Vice President of Student Academic Support Services
  • College President
  • Dean, College of Continuing and Professional Studies
  • Dean of Enrollment Services
  • Dean of Counseling Services and Matriculation
  • Dean of Students
  • Dean of Student Development
  • Director of Community Service Learning
  • Professor
  • Vice Chancellor

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies in the Department of Leadership Studies offers students an outstanding foundation in leadership theory and practice, as well as in research methodology. Students also specialize in a particular area of leadership through elective coursework and research.

The Higher Education Specialization encompasses 18 units of coursework that may include courses focused on student development, administration, policy, and the application of leadership theory in educational settings. Students work closely with their faculty advisers to design a course of study that will serve their personal and professional growth needs. Our nationally recognized faculty are key contributors to cutting-edge research on higher education leadership, policy, and practice.

Distinguishing Features

  • Personalized faculty advising to tailor course selection to student needs
  • In-depth coverage of emerging trends in higher education, including the implications of those trends on practice and research
  • Opportunity for short-term coursework abroad, taught by Leadership Studies faculty
  • Training in conducting original research in higher education using a variety of methodologies
  • Interaction with students in other leadership disciplines, such as organizational leadership, nonprofit/philanthropic leadership, and PK-12 school leadership, for a broader learning experience

Curriculum

In addition to the core leadership and research courses included in the doctoral program of study, students select 18 units of electives, which may include:

Course Number Couse Title Graduate Units
LEAD 530 Creative Leadership - Assessment, Challenge and Support

1

LEAD 535 Models of Participatory Leadership 3
LEAD 565 Dynamics of Race, Culture and Gender in Higher Education 3
LEAD 569 Making Meaning and the Collegiate Experience 3
LEAD 571 History, Theories and Philosophies of Higher Education 3
LEAD 573 The Economics of Education 3
LEAD 575 The Community College 3
LEAD 576 Community College Leadership 3
LEAD 577 Higher Education Policy 3
LEAD 578 Higher Education Administration 3
LEAD 580 Consulting to Groups 3
LEAD 585 Leadership for Change 1
COUN 515 Multicultural Counseling 3
COUN 525 Group Dynamics 3
LEAD 698 Internship 1-3

Students preparing for research careers are advised to take additional upper level research methodology courses. Other electives may be drawn from SOLES, or coursework in other graduate divisions of USD such as the School of Business, School of Law, and Joan. B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

Faculty

The faculty whose primary area of research is in Higher Education Leadership include:

Galloway Getz Newman
Fred Galloway Cheryl Getz
Christopher Newman

View all doctoral faculty biographies.

Admissions

For information on how to apply to the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Higher Education Leadership, visit the main Ph.D. program page.

specialization-in-nonprofit-and-philanthropic-leadership-and-managementSpecialization in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-nonprofit-and-philanthropic-leadership-and-managementsolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-nonprofit-and-philanthropic-leadership-and-managementdisplay-in-navNoparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership Studies Department of Leadership StudiesOur faculty and students believe in the power of dynamic leadership in the third sector./images/content/banner-np-specialization.jpgdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/banner-np-specialization.jpgsolesbanner-np-specialization.jpgBanner Nonprofit SpecializationBanner image

The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership and Management is intended for students with interest and experience in any of the three sectors (private, public, and nonprofit), but with a special interest in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies.

Its emphasis is on developing a student’s ability to engage in what Aristotle referred to as practical reasoning (i.e., reasoning that focuses on making decisions about the best course of action to pursue in particular situations by attending to empirical evidence and value issues and the relationship between values and empirical understanding). The program also is interdisciplinary; it introduces students to theoretical constructs from a wide variety of social science and humanities disciplines and encourages students to use these constructs in the course of deciding what courses of action to take in policy making and practice.

Students are taught by faculty with decades of experience in nonprofit research and practice. Our students develop the skills to conduct original research and use empirical evidence to improve their practice and lead innovation. Graduates of this specialization work as nonprofit leaders, researchers, policy-makers, and faculty.

Careers

Deitrick

"The clear focus on teaching and the importance placed on student growth is palpable, and mutual respect is evident."
- Laura Deitrick '10

The former executive director of the Coronado Schools Foundation, alumna Laura Deitrick served as a senior research associate in the University of San Diego's Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research while completing her doctoral program at SOLES. Post-graduation, she became the Center's director.

Other alumni job titles include:

  • Assistant Professor
  • Executive Director
  • Foundation President
  • Nonprofit Organizational Consultant
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Program Director

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies in the Department of Leadership Studies offers students an outstanding foundation in leadership theory and practice, as well as in research methodology. Students also specialize in a particular area of leadership through elective coursework and research.

The Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership and Management Specialization encompasses 18 units of coursework of which 9 units are prescribed. It is expected that students in this specialization will focus their dissertation and any other student-initiated research projects on the nonprofit/philanthropic sector.

Students work closely with their faculty advisers to design a course of study that will serve their personal and professional growth needs. Our nationally recognized faculty are key contributors to cutting-edge research on nonprofit and philanthropic leadership, policy, and practice.

The key objectives of the specialization are to:

  • enable students to acquire functional knowledge of major topics in nonprofit research as well as competency in analyzing the theoretical and practical constructs in that research;
  • provide students with a thorough understanding of trends in the sector including the implications of those trends on nonprofit/philanthropic practice and research;
  • teach students, through direct involvement with the research process, how original research on the sector can be conducted in a variety of settings using a range of methodologies and different data sources (including, but not limited to, existing third sector data bases); and
  • enable students to explore how research and theory, on the one hand, can be linked to policy and practice, on the other hand, through the use of a variety of pedagogical strategies that emphasizing teaching and learning though either direct or virtual experience.

Distinguishing Features

  • Personalized faculty advising to tailor course selection to student needs
  • In-depth coverage of emerging trends in the sector
  • Opportunity for short-term coursework abroad, taught by Leadership Studies faculty
  • Interaction with students in other leadership disciplines, such as organizational leadership, higher education leadership, and PK-12 school leadership, for a broader learning experience

Curriculum

Nonprofit specialization courses and experiences vary somewhat from student to student, depending upon the student’s experiences and prior academic background, as well as her or his career goals.

For example, students who have not completed either SOLES' M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management or an equivalent program work with their advisors to fill knowledge gaps by taking appropriate graduate courses that comprise the nonprofit masters in that program. All of these students are required to take Nonprofit Sector and Management Fundamentals.

In addition, students planning careers in positions that will require them to do research throughout their careers (e.g., tenure track faculty positions in universities) are expected to take at least two additional research methods courses beyond the five research courses required by the Leadership Studies Ph.D. program.

In addition to the core leadership and research courses included in the doctoral program of study, the following specialization courses are required:

Course Number Course Title Graduate Units
LEAD 520 Seminar: Overview of Research in Nonprofit/Philanthropic Studies 3
LEAD 579 Contemporary Issues in the Third Sector 3
LEAD 501* Nonprofit Sector and Management Fundamentals 3

*Students with an academic background in the nonprofit field may substitute another nonprofit related elective for LEAD 501 in consultation with their advisors.

The following courses are highly recommended for students seeking research careers:

Course Number Course Title Graduate Units
LEAD 613 Advanced Quantitative Research 3
LEAD 612 Advanced Qualitative Research 3
LEAD 500 Research, Design and Evaluation 4
LEAD 582 Survey Research 3
LEAD 609 Evaluation Theory and Methods 3
LEAD 579 Special Topics in Research 3

Other courses may be developed. Students should consult with their advisors.

Additional Expectations

  • All students who wish to be designated as participating in the nonprofit/philanthropic specialization are required to do their dissertation research in an area pertaining to the specialization.
  • If research courses include student-initiated research projects, students will be expected to design projects that focus on some aspect of the third sector.

Faculty

The faculty whose primary area of research is in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership include:

Bob Donmoyer Mary McDonald
Robert Donmoyer Mary McDonald

View all doctoral faculty biographies.

Admissions

For information on how to apply to the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership, visit the main Ph.D. program page.

specialization-in-organizational-leadership-and-consultingSpecialization in Organizational Leadership and Consulting/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-organizational-leadership-and-consultingsolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-organizational-leadership-and-consultingdisplay-in-navNoparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership Studies Department of Leadership StudiesLeadership is more than power and authority. It's the ability to inspire others, to identify trends, and to be an effective agent of change in any position./images/content/banner-org-specialization.jpgdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/banner-org-specialization.jpgsolesbanner-org-specialization.jpgBanner Org SpecializationBanner Image

The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership and Consulting prepares students to identify and effectively address leadership challenges in organizations worldwide.

Our students develop the skills to conduct original research and use empirical evidence to improve their practice and lead innovation. Students include business professionals, service men and women, mid- and upper-level executives, and many others. After graduation, they may work as policy analysts, evaluators, consultants, executive coaches, researchers, and faculty.

Careers

Eckmann

"All members of the program faculty immediately challenge students to review their perspectives on what exactly constitutes effective leadership."

- Helen Eckmann, '03

Alumna Helen Eckmann has parlayed her experience in the program to her position as the owner of James L Consulting, a firm that works with Fortune 500 corporations to develop and implement successful leadership and management policies. She was awarded San Diego Business Woman Owner of the Year in 2009 and has been awarded eight Teacher of Impact awards as adjunct faculty in the USD School of Business Administration.

Other alumni job titles include:

  • CEO
  • Chief of Police
  • Leadership Consultant
  • President
  • Professor

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies in the Department of Leadership Studies offers students an outstanding foundation in leadership theory and practice, as well as in research methodology. Students also specialize in a particular area of leadership through elective coursework and research.

The Organizational Leadership and Consulting Specialization encompasses 18 units of coursework. Students work closely with their faculty advisers to design a course of study that will serve their personal and professional growth needs. Our faculty bring with them practical experience in consulting, facilitation, and management in a variety of organizational settings, including in business, the nonprofit sector, the military, government, and PK-16 education.

Distinguishing Features

  • Personalized faculty advising to tailor course selection to student needs
  • In-depth exploration of emerging trends in the leadership literature, and their implications for practice
  • Opportunity for short-term coursework abroad, taught by Leadership Studies faculty
  • Training in conducting original research and making evidence-based decisions in a variety of organizational settings
  • Interaction with students in other leadership disciplines, such as higher education leadership, nonprofit/philanthropic leadership, and PK-12 school leadership, for a broader learning experience

Curriculum

In addition to the core leadership and research courses included in the doctoral program of study, students select 18 units of electives, which may include:

Course Number Course Title Graduate Units
LEAD 530 Creative Leadership: Assessment, Challenge and Support 1
LEAD 535I Models of Participatory Leadership 3
LEAD 580 Consulting to Groups 3
LEAD 581 Special Topics in Leadership Studies 3
LEAD 585 Leadership for Change 1
LEAD 586 Leading Dialogue 3
LEAD 698 Internship 1-3

Students preparing for research careers are advised to take additional upper level research methodology courses.

Other electives may be drawn from SOLES, or coursework in other graduate divisions of USD such as the School of Business, School of Law, and Joan. B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

Faculty

The faculty whose primary area of research is in Organizational Leadership and Consulting include:

Green Monroe Nahavandi Reed
Zachary Green Terri Monroe Afsaneh Nahavandi George Reed

View all doctoral faculty biographies.

Admissions

For information on how to apply to the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership and Consulting, visit the main Ph.D. program page.

specialization-in-pk12-public-and-private-school-leadershipSpecialization in Teaching, Learning and Leadership/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-pk12-public-and-private-school-leadershipsolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-in-pk12-public-and-private-school-leadershipdisplay-in-navNoparent-areaPh.D. Leadership StudiesPh.D. in Leadership Studies Department of Leadership Studies/images/content/banner-pk12-specialization.jpgdisplay-in-navNosite://soles/images/content/banner-pk12-specialization.jpgsolesbanner-pk12-specialization.jpgBanner PK12 SpecializationBanner Image

The teaching, learning, and leadership specialization within the leadership studies PhD program is designed to prepare the next generation of teacher educators, educational researchers, educational innovators, school and district leaders, and policy makers in K-12 education.   The program blends a strong research and policy foundation with practical opportunities to engage in strengthening teaching and learning in local and global contexts. Throughout their coursework, research and field-based experiences, doctoral students will work alongside faculty from both the Department of Leadership Studies and the Department of Learning and Teaching with the expertise to support students in deepening their instructional knowledge, building their leadership capacity and expanding their professional opportunities. Applicants for the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership specialization will be expected to demonstrate significant interest and substantial experience related to K-12 education. This specialization replaces the former specialization in PK-12 Public/Private School Leadership

 

Careers

Newman

"The SOLES faculty make it their mission to provide doctoral candidates with a curriculum that is not only relevant, but also rooted in real world experience."

- Rich Newman '05

Our doctoral program empowers students to make a difference. Since graduating, Newman has worked on an education leadership initiative with the nationally recognized Wallace Foundation, served as principal of two elementary schools, and is currently Director of Learning Support Services at Poway Unified School District.

Other alumni job titles include:

  • Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum
  • Director of Assessment
  • Executive Director
  • Head of School
  • Principal
  • Professor
  • Superintendent
  • Teacher Education Department Chair
  • Educational Researcher

Program Overview

The PhD in leadership studies in the Department of Leadership Studies offers students an outstanding foundation in leadership theory and practice, as well as in research methodology. Students also specialize in a particular area of leadership through elective coursework and research.

As with all specializations for the PhD program, students in the teaching, learning and leadership specialization will be required to complete and defend a dissertation.  The focus of the dissertation for students in the teaching, learning, and leadership specialization should address one or more aspects of K-12 education, teacher education, teacher professional growth, educational reform or education policy.

Distinguishing Features

  • Personalized faculty advising to tailor course selection to student needs
  • Opportunity for short-term coursework abroad, taught by Leadership Studies and/or Learning and Teaching faculty
  • Interaction with students in other leadership specializations, such as organizational leadership, higher education leadership, and nonprofit leadership, for a broader learning experience
  • Opportunity to build knowledge and expertise in conducting research, analyzing educational policy and practice, and developing innovative uses of educational technology
  • Examination of educational outcomes with focused attention on the racialized, class-based and gendered school experiences on a national and international level.

Curriculum

The Teaching, Learning and Leadership specialization coursework which is designed to address three major areas:  Teacher education and professional learning, K-12 teaching and learning, and Education policy. These courses include:

Area Course Title Graduate Units
Teacher Education and
Professional Learning
Research, Policy and Practice in Teacher Education and Professional Development  3
Teacher Education Lab 3
Professional Development Lab
K-12 Teaching and
Learning
Assessment and Evaluation of Teaching and Learning  3
Technology and Educational Innovation 3
Education Policy Seminar on the Law and Politics of Educational Policy and Development 3
Sociology of Education Seminar


Students in the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership specialization will be required to take at least one course in each of these three areas above.  The balance of the 18-unit specialization may be distributed across areas based on the candidate’s interests and goals with the approval of the student's academic advisor. In addition to the above courses, students, in consultation with their advisor, may select upto 6 units from 500 level courses listed below or other 600-level courses offered.

Course Code Course Title Graduate Units
EDUC 510 Cognition and Learning 3
EDUC 511 Educational Reform 3
EDUC 597 Historical Struggles for Educational Equity 3
LEAD 552 School Law 3
LEAD 573 The Economics of Education 3

Students preparing for research careers are advised to take additional upper level research methodology courses.

The 18-unit specialization is in addition to the core leadership and research courses included in the doctoral program of study.

Admissions

For information on how to apply to the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Teaching, Learning and Leadership, visit the main PhD program page.

specialization-individualized-optionSpecialization in Higher Education Leadership/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-individualized-optionsolessite://soles/academics/phd-leadership-studies/specialization-individualized-optiondisplay-in-navNoparent-areaPh.D. Leadership Studies/Enter your content here.

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Our Students

Our students are incredibly diverse in their backgrounds, research interests and career trajectories. Click on our featured student profiles below to learn about the types of students in our doctoral program. View additional doctoral student profiles.

Learning Outcomes

Outcome 1: Ph.D. candidates will articulate prominent leadership theories in Leadership Studies, analyze and critique these theories, and apply these theories in the course of addressing a variety of organizational issues and problems.

Outcome 2: Ph.D. candidates will realistically appraise their personal strengths and weaknesses exercising leadership. They will actualize leadership in real and complex situations.

Outcome 3: Ph.D. candidates will be able to use a range of perspectives and theoretical constructs from various social science/humanities disciplines/fields of study to analyze, critique, and make decisions about an array of leadership and organizational issues and problems.

Outcome 4: Ph.D. candidates will demonstrate the methodological skills necessary to design, analyze, critique, and conduct research using both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.

Outcome 5: Students’ written and oral communication will be clear, coherent, well organized, and technically correct. 

Outcome 6: Students will critically examine culture other than own, and apply the knowledge gained within their personal and professional lives.

Alumni Outcomes

There are over 300 alumni of the doctorate in Leadership Studies. Our alumni include professors, researchers, educators, policymakers, school leaders, university administrators, consultants, executive directors of nonprofits, business leaders, and more.

Dissertation Directory

Explore our searchable directory of doctoral alumni below. To learn more about any individual click the arrow to the right of his or her name.