​Specialization in Coaching and Organizational Consulting

​Leadership 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.

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

Students in the program 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.

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. Students work closely with their faculty advisors to design a course of study that will serve their personal and professional growth needs. The 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 and education, for a broader learning experience


Helen 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


In addition to the core leadership and research courses included in the doctoral program of study, students select 24 units of electives, which may include:

list of courses required
Course Number Course Title Graduate Units
LEAD 535I Models of Participatory Leadership 3
LEAD 581 Special Topics in Leadership Studies 3
LEAD 585 Leadership for Change 3
LEAD 600 Integral Leadership Theory 3
LEAD 650 Leadership in Organizational Contexts 3
LEAD 651 Organizational Behavior 3
LEAD 698 Internship 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.


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

View all doctoral faculty biographies


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