Rooted in Theory, Embodied in Practice

Upon entering the program, doctoral students are encouraged to develop a focus within a dimension of leadership studies that is of personal interest to them and will drive their research throughout. With courses rooted in theory and enhanced by the education, experience, and in-depth knowledge of core faculty and disciplinary experts, students can expect a dynamic learning experience that meets the needs of an ever-changing world.

Required Courses (39 credits)

A total of 60 credits is required for program completion, 39 of which are from required courses and 21 from electives. All courses are 3 credits unless otherwise noted. 

Foundational Courses

Research Courses

Contemporary Leadership Studies Courses

Students are required to take a minimum of 3 courses for 9 credits:

 *Servant Leadership focus

Elective Courses (21 credits)

Includes Servant Leadership focus courses (noted with an asterisk), as well as any courses from the Contemporary Leadership Studies section once the credit requirement is fulfilled. The modality of these courses, (immersion or online) will be posted prior to registration.

*Servant Leadership focus

Independent Studies

Students/candidates may take up to 12 credits of independent study. The intended use of these credits is for student's to expand upon their dissertation topic. The student/candidate will be assigned a pre-candidacy advisor or dissertation chair, who will work with the student/candidate to set expectations and define deliverables for dissertation topic research.

Mentorship or Internship

Students/candidates may take up to 6 credits of mentorship or internship that enhances and relates to their DPLS coursework. Students/candidates must submit a proposal to their advisor/chair that describes the purpose of the mentorship or internship, identifies the mentor or organization, and defines deliverables. The proposal must be approved by the advisor/chair.

Transfer Credits

Students are allowed to transfer a maximum of 12 PhD level credits from another institution to be applied in lieu of independent study credits.

Course Catalog & Descriptions

All course descriptions may be found here.

Student Expectations

An ability to read and write critically, broadly, and in-depth is a fundamental component of the PhD program. Students should expect significant reading assignments in each class, which are essential for vibrant course discussions and research for written assignments. In order to facilitate and demonstrate learning in the field of Leadership Studies, students are also expected to write in an analytical and scholarly manner.


Heather Schmitt, Admissions Specialist
Call or Text: (509) 313-6240 or (866)380-5323