About 100 students are enrolled in the doctoral leadership program at any given time.

Classes generally consist of 12-15 students. 

Depending on the student, most complete the program in 5-7 years. Based on your professional and personal obligations, you determine the number of courses you take each term, as well as which terms you choose to enroll how frequent of credits taken each term. It typically takes 4-5 years to complete the required credits. Additional time to complete the dissertation process can be expected.


The program values the learning, relationships, and growth that are fostered through in-person experiences. With this in mind, the immersion format is uniquely designed to provide an equally accessible and transformational experience for both local students, as well as those from across the country and abroad.


Immersions include a 2-4 day interactive classroom experience on the beautiful Gonzaga campus in Spokane, WA, and are an opportunity for students to apply, practice and deeply engage with what they've been learning on Blackboard. The DPLS program requires 7 immersions, one of which students have the ability to select from our Contemporary Leadership Studies list. These immersions are scheduled consecutively so that students can attend multiple, reducing travel costs and frequency. With this in mind, students can expect to travel to campus anywhere from 4-7 times, with the opportunity for many more via elective offerings. For more information, visit our Immersions page.


While most of the required courses are immersion format, there are many opportunities to take online courses as electives.


Students are responsible for all travel accommodations when attending immersions (flight, gas, rental car, hotel, meals, etc.). A list of nearby hotels and contact information can be found under Hotel and Dining options.


This will vary depending on the courses you are taking, your learning style, and your course load. However, most students dedicate approximately 25-30 hours per week to coursework. This may fluctuate - during a week with a major paper or project due, or those with scheduled immersions, you will likely spend more time on coursework than other weeks. What remains true is that you will get out of this program what you put into it. 


Unlike cohort-based programs, the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies allows admitted students to begin during the fall, spring, or summer termsPlease click here to view the application deadlines.


Tuition is $1,170 per credit. For more information, please visit our Tuition & Financial Aid page. 


One option is to apply for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA), which is not based on need. We also recommend exploring financing or reimbursement options through your employer. Finally, you can apply for external scholarships. Visit the Financial Aid page for information on funding options or to speak with a staff member.  


The transdisciplinary nature of the program supports a wide variety of research and dissertation topics. DPLS faculty each specialize in different research areas, including servant leadership, organizational evaluation, global leadership, leading in complexity and feminist leadership. This collection is representative of the program's intention to explore emergent issues in the growing field of Leadership Studies; as a student, you are encouraged to follow your passions and interests to contribute to this growth. 


Upon admission, each student is assigned an advisor. Once you've passed candidacy (18-24 credits), you will choose a dissertation faculty advisor, also known as a dissertation chairperson, who will work with you to complete your requirements for graduation. Faculty members also serve as mentors, providing encouragement and support as you move through the program. Visit our PhD Process page for more information! 


If you want to take a course before or during the application process, you can register as a non-matriculated student. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the curriculum, faculty, and program experience before committing to the Ph.D. journey. Up to 12 credits from non-matriculated courses will be applied to your degree if you choose to apply to the program and are accepted. To arrange this, please contact your Admissions Specialist, Heather Schmitt, at schmitth@gonzaga.edu or 509-313-6240.For more information on the non-matriculation process, please see the Curriculum page.


Applicants have the option to transfer up to 12 PhD level credits from another college or university for coursework in which a grade of "B" or higher was awarded. For more information on requirements for transfer credits, please visit our How to Apply Page.


The PhD journey requires the commitment of time, presence, and energy and we understand that professional and personal obligations may limit your capacity to fully commit. The variety of course offerings and flexible progression plans that the program offers allow you to stay engaged when these situations arise. If needed, you can choose to take a term(s) off and return when able. Your student status will become inactive and will need to be reactivated when you choose to return.