Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies

Chairperson: JoAnne Danelo Barbour
Professors: S. Ferch
Associate Professors:
J.D. Barbour, C. Francovich, S. Wilson (Emerita),
Assistant Professor: C. Fu

The Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies is based on the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person. The program is designed for working professionals across a wide range of professions such as, education, health care, social services, theology, engineering, government, law enforcement, and business. The program is interdisciplinary and designed to develop scholarship and professional competencies while encouraging self-reflection and strengthening a commitment of service to others.

The program can be completed in as few as three and one half years by students who can attend full time and year-round, or in four to seven years by students who can attend part-time or during summers. Courses are conducted at convenient times (evenings, weekends, and summers).

The doctoral program centers on three dimensions of leadership:

    1. The leader as person.
    2. The leader in organizational systems.
    3. The leader in global systems.
    • Understand principles of contemplation and discernment in order to facilitate personal development and to become more authentic leaders.
    • Understand the role of ethics in leadership, and develop ethical reasoning and reflection skills that will enhance positive, healthy relationships and that will move self and others toward the goodness of life.
    • Inspire, create, and lead based on respect for and accountability to others, their organizations, and humanity as a whole.
    • Understand organizations as social constructions that are living, dynamic systems. This leads to purposeful thought, words, and action regarding the change process at the individual, organizational, and global levels.
    • Through the practice of positive organizational leadership, develop the ability to seek social justice and goodness, engender and amplify it, in personal, organizational, and global systems.
    • Understand and prize diversity and promote international and global approaches to issues, with special attention to the implications of diversity for individuals.
    • Demonstrate research competencies that are founded on practices of rigorous scholarship and that inform a practice of seeking truth in social science.
      1. A master’s degree (or its equivalent) with a minimum 3.50 GPA.
      2. A minimum of two years of professional experience.
      3. A minimum score of 50th percentile on either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
      4. Letters of recommendation from sources knowledgeable about the applicant’s skills. Admission is based on a review of a total profile with careful attention to the fit between the needs of the applicant and the mission of the program. Additional factors taken into consideration include motivation, character, commitment to social justice, and writing ability.
        1. A completed application form (see doctoral website or Doctoral Program Coordinator) and non-refundable fee.
        2. A written statement of purpose that includes the reasons for why the applicant is seeking a Doctorate in Leadership Studies as well as a description of critical issues of concern to the applicant. The statement must be typed and is limited to 500 words.
        3. A minimum of three recommendations using the Confidential Recommendation form (see website or Doctoral Program Coordinator). References must be selected from among supervisors, instructors, and colleagues who have worked with the applicant during the past five years. Two recommendations should come from the area of work experience and at least one from the applicant's academic experience.
        4. A resume that includes information about formal education, professional experience, academic achievements and honors, scholarly activity, and relevant non-professional experience.
        5. Two official transcripts from each college or university attended (international applicants must submit foreign transcripts in the original language and an English copy).  Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.
        6. Official score from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) taken within five years of the date of application.
        7. Submission of an official TOEFL score of at least 550 by each international applicant who graduated from a foreign college or university and whose native language is not English.
        8. A financial declaration and supporting documentation by each international applicant.
          1. Work to be transferred must clearly be doctoral-level coursework as defined by the granting institution.
          2. Coursework must have been completed while the individual was accepted in a doctoral program accredited by a regional accrediting agency.
          3. Coursework must have been completed within five years prior to the date of acceptance into the doctoral program at Gonzaga University.
          4. Courses may not be transferred for the four core courses (DPLS 700, DPLS 701, DPLS 703, & DPLS 720), or Proposal Seminar (DPLS 730).
          5. Transfer of other required courses will require faculty approval.
          6. Transfer credits will be applied to the elective 18 credits (which include individualized study credits).
          7. Coursework to be transferred must fit the mission of the doctoral program.

          After an initial conference with a student or potential student who wishes to transfer credit, the program chairperson will send a letter (with a copy placed in the student’s file) informing him or her as to what credits will be accepted and what stipulations, if any, have been made.

          Pass/Fail Option

          Doctoral students may opt either for a letter grade or for a pass/fail option in each course. Students wishing to explore this option should consult their advisor. The student is responsible for filing a pass/fail petition with the Registrar prior to the published deadline. A pass/fail request is considered a private matter between the student and the Registrar. If this request is filed, the Registrar will substitute a “P” or an “F” in place of the assigned grade. A “P” will be recorded for an assigned grade of B or higher, while an “F” will be recorded for an assigned grade of B- or lower. The decision to put a course on a pass/fail basis is irrevocable, and once made cannot be changed for any reason.

          Individualized Study

          Students may undertake individualized study to acquire more advanced knowledge in an area or to pursue topics not currently covered in regularly scheduled classes. Application for individualized study must be made on a form available from the program secretary. It is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate the relevancy of the proposed study and to negotiate the course content and timelines with a qualified instructor. A maximum of 12 credits of individualized study is permitted.


          Students enrolled in the doctoral program may complete an internship/field experience or mentorship as an elective by registering for one to three hours of DPLS 766. For internship or mentorship credit, students must submit a proposal at the beginning of the course and attach it to the “Application for Individualized Study” form marked for DPLS 766. A report or project must be submitted at the end of the internship/mentorship to complete the course. For internship credit, the proposal may be to gain experience in another work setting or to complete a work project that will require the application of DPLS coursework. For mentorship credit, the proposal should describe the purpose of the mentorship, identify the mentor, and explain how the mentorship will enhance leadership abilities in the personal, organizational, or global dimensions. In both cases, the proposal should show that the student will be challenged in some way and explain how it will be related to their DPLS coursework. Proposals must be submitted to the instructor who will be the “professor of record”. At the end of the internship/mentorship, the student will submit a report and/or products developed as a result of the experience to the “professor of record.” The grading mode for this course is Satisfactory/ Non-satisfactory. A maximum of three credits of internship/mentorship is permitted.

          Advanced Credits

          Credit for doctoral-level courses completed at Gonzaga University prior to admission of a student to regular status may be accepted by the doctoral program upon recommendation of the program chairperson as credits toward a degree. Such credits are termed “advanced credits” and are normally limited in number to 12 credits.


          Residence is defined as work taken in a recognized Gonzaga graduate program. In the doctoral program, the matriculation policy is defined as three out of four consecutive semesters of study on campus upon admission to the doctoral program. For students who are admitted to the doctoral program with the intent to attend summers only, the continuity of matriculation requirement may be satisfied by attending three out of four consecutive summer sessions upon being admitted to the program.

          Students enrolled in the doctoral program in the School of Professional Studies will have satisfied all continuity of matriculation requirements for the doctoral degree when they have completed three out of four consecutive semesters of graduate study earning a minimum of six (6) credit hours per semester.

          It is the student’s responsibility to adhere to the tenets of the continuity of matriculation policy, with the student’s temporary and permanent advisor(s) monitoring the compliance process from the date of admission to the completion of the doctoral program. Any deviation from this policy must be entered as a formal request for a “Leave of Absence.” The formal request for a leave of absence must be submitted by the student and approved by the temporary or permanent advisor and the program chairperson in the semester prior to the semester in which the leave will take effect.

          Doctoral Advisors and Committee Members

          A pre-candidacy advisor is assigned to each student at the time of admission to the program. Advisor’s responsibilities are to assist the student in making program decisions and to facilitate the student through the candidacy process. Once students have been advanced to candidacy, they select a chairperson and two or more additional committee members for their dissertation committee. Students should realize that it is not unusual for a chairperson or other committee members to change as a result of changes in the faculty or in response to the needs of the student. Before the defense of the proposal, students reach final agreement with their dissertation chairperson and with two or more additional dissertation committee members. Students who are not making timely progress on their proposal or dissertation and have had no contact with their dissertation chairperson for a semester or more should expect to confirm whether the individual is still available to work with them.

          It is expected that the chairperson of the committee and at least one of the remaining committee members will be selected from among the core faculty of the doctoral program. A student may petition to 1) have a core faculty member of the program as the chairperson of the committee and all other committee members from outside the program or 2) have the chairperson of the committee from outside the program and at least two of the remaining members from the program. Given the importance of the committee chairperson in facilitating the student’s completion of the dissertation, chairpersons selected from outside the core faculty must be prepared to work closely with committee members from the program and invest sufficient time to fully understand the unique requirements of the Gonzaga Doctoral Program. Any exceptions to the expected committee configuration should be carefully discussed with the advisor before individuals from outside the program are approached about participation on the committee. Written approval of the entire core doctoral faculty is required for any exceptions.

          Admission to Proposal Seminar

          The purpose of DPLS 730: Proposal Seminar is to craft the structure of the student’s dissertation. Before students can enroll in DPLS 730 they must have achieved candidacy and have completed or be enrolled in DPLS 722 and DPLS 723. In addition, enrollment in DPLS 730 requires a written petition to the doctoral faculty, submitted through a student’s dissertation chairperson at least 60 days before enrolling in the class. (Specifications for the petition are available on the doctoral program Website, from the doctoral faculty, or from the program secretary). Students who anticipate taking DPLS 730 should discuss timing with their dissertation committee chairperson. Ideally, students should be able to defend the dissertation proposal soon after taking this course.

          Doctoral Dissertation

          A scholarly research study must be completed by each student under the guidance of a dissertation committee. The dissertation process in the Gonzaga Doctoral Program includes a formal defense of the dissertation proposal (defined as the first three chapters of the dissertation). The dissertation committee will also review and approve the final copy of the dissertation, which then must be filed with the appropriate administrative office for final approval and acceptance by the University. Specific arrangements should be made with the doctoral program for microfilming and binding of the dissertation.

          Detailed dissertation procedures can be obtained from the program coordinator or dissertation chairperson.

          Outline: 60 credits
          Required Courses
      • Applications are reviewed by the doctoral faculty throughout the year. Applicants are notified of decisions within 45 days of the submission of a completed application.

        Provisional Admission

        If a careful review of an applicant’s portfolio suggests a strong possibility of success in the program despite weaknesses in one or more areas, the doctoral faculty may grant provisional admission to the program. Students admitted provisionally are not eligible for financial assistance. A letter offering provisional admission will state the conditions that must be satisfied before the admission status will be changed to regular admission (at which time the student may apply for financial assistance). Students who are admitted provisionally will not be allowed to enroll in courses beyond one semester unless their admission status has been changed to regular admission. The decision to convert a provisional admission to regular admission is made by the doctoral program faculty.

        General Academic Information

        Time Requirements for the Degree
        Consistent with doctoral program policy, students are to complete the doctoral degree within seven years of the first day of the semester in which a student first enrolls in a doctoral program class. To assure this timeline is met students are advised to gain candidacy status as early as possible. In the event of extraordinary circumstances, a student may petition for additional time to complete the degree. The doctoral faculty will consider this petition; and make its recommendation to the Dean of the School of Professional Studies who will make the final decision.

        Advancement to Candidacy

        Advancement to candidacy is a critical part of the program and is designed to provide an opportunity to reaffirm the appropriateness of the program relative to the needs and abilities of the students. Upon successful completion of the core courses (Leadership Theory, Organizational Theory, Policy and Global Systems, and Principles of Research) each student should see his or her pre-candidacy advisor to review the policies and procedures regarding candidacy. In order to protect the interests of students who may not be advanced to candidacy, students must apply for candidacy before completing 22 credits and must complete the process by 28 credits or they will be blocked from taking classes. More specific information about advancement to candidacy is available on the doctoral homepage.

        The method of achieving candidacy is the written response to a specified question or topic that is determined jointly by the student and his or her pre-candidacy advisor. The candidacy topic is to align with the core curriculum framework. One or more of the program dimensions, personal, organizational, or global systems, provides the conceptual framework for the paper. The paper must be of the quality acceptable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The paper is to be submitted to the journal for review, although advancement to candidacy is not contingent upon the paper being accepted. The journal to be used as a reference point is selected by the student and approved by the pre-candidacy advisor.

        Once the topic has been designated, the student has up to four months to submit two copies of the paper to the pre-candidacy advisor. The precandidacy advisor and one other doctoral faculty member will review the paper. The decision to award candidacy is based on: (a) the student’s demonstration of competence in conceptualizing significant and complex theoretical subject matter, and (b) the student’s abilities to write with coherence, relevance, appropriate mechanics, scholarly tone, and veracity. If the candidacy paper is found to be unacceptable, the student will be asked to rewrite the paper and resubmit it, according to departmental guidelines. Failure to pass a third attempt at writing this paper will result in the student’s separation from the program. The student will receive a written notice of advancement or non-advancement to candidacy.

        Transfer Credit

        Although it is presumed that all work for the doctorate will be completed at Gonzaga University, the doctoral program may accept up to 12 credit hours from another college or university for coursework in which a grade of “B” or higher was awarded. Transfer credits are not rounded up. The acceptance of transfer credits requires the recommendation of the doctoral program chairperson. No course for which a grade less than “B” has been awarded may be accepted in transfer, and transfer credits are not entered onto a student’s transcript until the student is advanced to doctoral candidacy.

        The limitations on transfer credit for the doctoral program are as follows:

    • Applicants can download the application materials from the doctoral website ( or obtain an application packet from the Doctoral Program Coordinator. Each applicant must submit a completed application packet with the following materials to the doctoral program:

  • Each dimension emphasizes the nature of change and the development of human capacities for life that are healthy and sustainable. Principles of research designed to honor humanity are threaded throughout the program and provide Doctoral students a structured way of thinking and coming to understand leadership from personal, organizational, and global systems perspectives.

    Because the use of computers is integrated into many courses, students need to have access to e-mail and have a general familiarity with navigating the web (or the world-wide web). For the most current information, as well as the conceptual framework detailing the theoretical foundation of the program, please consult the doctoral program website (

    Mission of the Doctoral Program

    The Doctoral Program in Leadership at Gonzaga University is premised on the belief that leadership is based on a deep understanding of the self and of the core values that drive one’s actions, thus effective leadership requires the development of a compelling personal vision that engages others by offering meaning, dignity, and purpose. The ultimate aim of leadership is the building of more humane relationships, organizations, and societies. Effective leaders need to develop the critical imagination required to embrace individual, organizational, and global change from a stance of hope and courage.

    In the Jesuit tradition, the doctoral program provides a learning community in which students can develop the personal qualities of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, a restless curiosity, a desire for truth, a mature concern for others, respect for human individuality, and a thirst for justice. The program promotes academic excellence and facilitates the strengthening of conceptual, scholarly, and professional competencies for use in leadership roles that serve others.

    Goals of the Doctoral Program

    As part of the doctoral program learning community, graduates of the program will be able to:


    Prior to filing an application to the program, it is advisable to secure an appointment for an interview with the program chairperson. (This interview can be conducted by phone for individuals who reside outside the geographic area). During this interview, potential applicants will be counseled on factors they need to carefully consider before considering an application to the program, issues to be considered regarding program fit, the relationship between their career goals and the Gonzaga doctoral program, and their likelihood for meeting the application requirements.

    Requirements for Admission: