13 Best PhD Organizational Development Online Program 2020

In every aspect of human life, there are situations where we’re faced with the daunting task of leading at various categories. With a PhD in organizational development, the duty of leading effectively will be made easier.  

That being said, you can acquire a doctorate in organizational leadership online. To aid in the choice of school and program, World Scholarship Forum has carefully put together a list of institutions that offer an online doctorate in organizational development.

If you’re interested in pursuing high-level career opportunities in leadership roles, earning a doctoral degree in organizational development won’t be a bad idea.

Many graduates with doctoral degrees pursue advanced careers as training and development managers. While some careers in this field only require professionals to hold a bachelor’s degree, those who seek more advanced education can qualify for higher salary opportunities and more specialized job responsibilities.

For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, training and development managers earned median annual salaries of $111,340 in 2018.

In this post, we carefully listed the best schools that offer an online PhD in organizational development. Enjoy your read!

See the table of content below for a quick look at the post.

Table of Contents

What Is Organizational Development?

Organizational development or leadership involves generating strategies for organizing and managing a company’s pool of talent in order to complete tasks and reach an organization’s goals.

Furthermore, it can be seen as the use of organizational resources to improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace. An efficient organization can also increase employee morale because workers feel happier and valuable when your company is in good shape.

In addition, the importance of organizational development also stretches to how you solve problems within your company.

Why Should I Study Organizational Development?

The importance of organizational development also stretches to how you solve problems within your company as well as the ways in which you investigate a process to find a more efficient way of doing it.

Implementing organizational development requires an investment of justifiable time and money.

Organizational development helps one to achieve the following;

Helps identify areas that need change

One of the functions of organizational development is that it identifies areas in your company operations that need to change. Also, senior decision-makers and managers can examine each need, and project the potential effects of change into a management plan.

This plan outlines the specific ways in which the change will improve company operations, in a way staff members will feel the impact of the change.

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For instance, you may discover that productivity declines at your workplace after lunch, which risks projects with imminent due dates. To resolve this issue, you can front-load projects with critical timelines at the beginning of the day, and backload projects with greater timeline flexibility to the second half of the day.

Moreso, without organizational development, your company would have a difficult time developing effective change management programs.

It promotes and manages growth

Organizational development is an important tool in managing and planning corporate growth. You can achieve this through an organizational development analysis that brings together sales forecasts and customer demand to help determine the rate of your company’s growth.

For instance, through market research, an IT firm may determine that cyber-surveillance has become the dominant concern of many of its clients. In order to take advantage of this trend, the firm’s sales department should be aware and alive to develop the right strategies.

In some instances, the organizational development analysis may modify your company’s original business plan and push you into an exciting new direction. However, by using this analysis, you can properly designate company resources such as personnel to promote and manage future growth.

It helps product innovation

One of the chief functions of organizational development is product innovation, which requires the analysis of several kinds of information to be successful.

That is to say, organizational development is critical to product innovation because it can help analyze each element of product development and design a method for its efficiency.

Some of the processes involved are competitive analysis, technology development, consumer preferences, target market research, manufacturing capabilities analysis, and patents and trademarks.

Analyzes work processes

Analyzing your company’s work processes is another part of organizational development. When your company involves organizational development, you are able to analyze work processes for efficiency and accuracy. Furthermore, you can determine the balance in the things you’re doing, or if you need more employees to take up a task that is underserved.

Evaluators analyze a duplicate process or processes that can yield higher productivity, develop and implement detailed plans on how to improve company methods.

What Is a Doctorate in Organizational Development?

A PhD in organizational leadership is a terminal degree that prepares students to become specialists in change management, talent management, and leadership.

What can I do with An Online PhD or Doctorate in Organizational Development and Leadership?

With an online PhD in organizational development online degree, you’ll have many career prospects. It will offer a development, training, or business platform. Depending on your career focus, you should expect a promising employment outlook.

Some career opportunities include:

Business professor

Postsecondary professors at four-year institutions hold a PhD or doctorate in the field they teach. A PhD with a concentration in organizational leadership will qualify you for this role.

Management analyst

Management analysts are in any organization or business. Their job is to find problems and address issues that negatively impact efficiency in the organization. The more education you have in business and organizational leadership, the greater the responsibility and impact you have.

Operations research analyst

If you enjoy collecting data and researching methods, the operations research analyst position is where you belong. Furthermore, this position helps to improve an organization’s infrastructure and design by dissecting issues and efficiency.

Training and development manager

Training and development managers look for ways to develop the skills and knowledge of employees. This is usually a practical role with direct interaction among the organization’s staff.

What Are The Admission Requirements For An Online Doctorate in Organizational Development and Leadership?

To obtain admission for an online PhD in Organizational development, you need to tender the following;

  • GRADUATE TRANSCRIPTS: Applicants to doctoral programs usually need to hold a master’s degree and present official transcripts. These documents show the coursework and any specializations a student completed during their master’s program.
  • GMAT OR GRE SCORES: Across graduate programs, many applicants are to provide GMAT or GRE scores. Colleges and universities that require these scores usually outline least score requirements during the admissions process. Students can have their scores sent directly to their preferred institutions.
  • LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: Doctoral applicants are often to provide letters of recommendation with their application. Educational and/or professional contacts ARE TO WRITE THE RECOMMENDATION LETTERS, rather than family members or friends. Typically, learners provide 1-3 letters of recommendation, specifying why they would be a good fit for the program.
  • MINIMUM GPA: Organizational leadership doctoral programs often expect applicants to hold a minimum GPA to gain admission. These GPA requirements differ depending on the college or university but typically range from 3.0-3.5. Many institutions allow conditional admission for applicants who do not meet minimum GPA requirements as long as they display other competencies.
  • STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: During the admissions process, applicants may need to tender a statement of purpose or essay. These documents explain what educational and professional goals a student may have, stating how a degree will help them meet their goals.
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How Much Can You Earn With A Doctorate In Organizational Development?

PayScale, a global compensation research company, tells that individuals with a doctorate or PhD in organizational leadership earn an average salary of $85,000.

Top organizational development managers, according to PayScale, earned $122,848 per year while the lowest ten percent received $59,740. The average extra compensation for this job title, which includes bonuses and profit-sharing, consisted of $3,000 to $8,000 per year.

However, experience seems to impact earnings the most, as the higher experience an individual has, the greater the compensation package. Overall, earnings with experience have a definite trend. Individuals with below five years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $76,000. The total compensation includes salary, bonuses, and profit sharing.

Furthermore, mid-career organizational development managers with five to ten years of experience can expect to earn a total compensation of $87,000. Experienced organizational development managers with ten to twenty years of experience can anticipate earning $97,000 per annum. Mid-career and experienced managers generally oversee small to large teams and are responsible for employees. Those with the greatest years of experience, in excess of twenty years, can expect to earn a total compensation of $100,000 annually.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A PhD In Organizational Leadership?

The duration of time it takes to complete a PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online degree depends on the program. However, the average time is between three and seven years. Accelerated online programs may take less time, about three years, while part-time programs require additional time.

Furthermore, when considering an online PhD program, it is important to find out the number of years it takes to complete the degree requirements.

However, you want to earn a PhD as fast as possible, full-time enrollment is available. However, if you are incapable to take on a full load of study due to outside obligations such as work or family responsibilities, part-time options are available. Most part-time programs take three to five years to finish.

Also, it is possible to find programs that take three years. If you hold a master’s degree in organizational leadership, some programs may be ready to accept transfer credits, thus reducing the time it takes to complete the degree. The three-year average completion time consists of two years of study accompanied by one year of research and dissertation preparation. This is the typical format of most PhD or doctorate in organizational development online degree programs.

What Are The Certifications and Licenses A Doctorate in Organizational Development Can Obtain?

As a PhD holder in organizational development, you can apply for the following certifications and licenses;

Certified Analytics Professional

The top certification for analytics professionals, CAP expects applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience, or a master’s degree and three years of experience, to take the exam. CAP holders can further their careers in business intelligence, analytics, machine learning, data science, or optimization.

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Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Six Sigma is a management technique that reduces the probability of error and improves overall business processes. Its five basic phases are; define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. Six Sigma designates leaders according to the color of the belt they earn, with Master Black Belt being at the top. Master Black Belts earn an estimated $80,000 per year.

Certified ScrumMaster

Scrum is a teamwork methodology built on the ideas of Agile work. This methodology presents a framework for solving problems and delivering high-value products. A certified ScrumMaster can manage the information transfer process for a self-organized team. Certification requires taking a day course and passing the exam.

AMA Certificate in Leadership Development

Offered by the American Management Association, this certificate appears in two levels: one for aspiring leaders and one for those with more experience. The curriculum for experienced leaders includes strategic thinking, strategic planning, and achieving results. Upon completing the certificates, students should be able to recognize trends, inspire teams, and form strategic initiatives.

Certified Business Process Leader

The CBPL is the highest certificate given through the Association of Business Process Management Professionals International. To qualify for the 130-question exam, applicants must show 10 years or more of business process management. The certificate shows mastery of the business transformation life cycle and strategy execution.

13 Best PhD Organizational development online Program

Here’s a rundown of the top schools that offers online PhD in organizational development.

These schools were selected based on certain factors like tuition rate, affordability, acceptance rate and graduation rate.

13. Colorado Technical University

The Doctor of Management degree awards a specialization in organizational development and change. This program is a three-year, 100-credit, online degree. Students must complete an online curriculum with a residency component.

Courses include the application of action research, current topics in organizational development, leading and managing large scale transformation, organizational strategy and design, and system thinking and decision making.

U.S. News and World Report recognize Colorado Tech as an unranked regional university in the West. Also, the online graduate business programs rank #108 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,803

12. Cornerstone University

This program is for both emerging leaders and professionals who want to exhibit effective leadership in an organization. The program spans three to four years.

Students are to complete online courses and three multi-day intensives throughout the program.

To gain admission, you need to fulfil the following;

  • Minimum of five years of professional experience
  • Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum 3.0 G.P.A.
  • Application ($50 fee)
  • Statement of intent (500-1,000 words)
  • Official college and/or military transcripts
  • Official test score—GRE, GMAT or MAT
  • Three professional references
  • Resume or CV
  • International Students: TOEFL or IELTS score

U.S. News and World Report rank Cornerstone #106 in the best regional universities in the Midwest.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,726

11. Southeastern University

The program combines online courses with periodic one-week intensive classes that allow students to earn their PhD in a short period of time. The program demands a total of 60 credits and either a dissertation or capstone project.

Courses include cultural intelligence, ethical leadership, leadership theory, motivation and influence, organizational change and strategies, organizational systems and management, servant and authentic leadership, and situational and transformational leadership.

To gain admission, you need to tender a regionally accredited graduate degree with at least a 3.0 GPA and official transcripts.

U.S. News and World Report rank Southeastern #107-#141 in best regional universities in the South.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,960

10. Brandman University

The school’s EdD in organizational leadership is an online doctorate open to rising and existing leaders.

These classes include diversity and intercultural aspects of leadership, organizational communication and conflict management, organizational theory and development, the ethics and politics of decision making, and the leader as change ethics.

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Admission to the Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership demands the following;

  • Transcripts documenting successful achievement of a Masters Degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Submission of documents consisting of the following: two essays on topics provided in the application packet that show graduate-level writing and analytical skills;  a resume showing leadership experience, professional development, achievement awards or professional recognition; two letters of reference from persons who can attest to the applicant’s ability to do graduate-level work; and a letter of intent explaining reasons for wanting to enter this program.
  • If the applicant is not in a leadership position, a letter must be sent to the school explaining his/her plans for addressing assignments in nearly every course that involve working with individuals and groups in an organization to bring about important change.
  • All applicants must successfully participate in an intake interview with a doctoral faculty member assigned by the Associate Dean.

U.S. News and World Report rank Brandman amongst the best regional universities in the West and #6 in most innovative schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,880

9. Cabrini University

Cabrini University’s PhD in organizational development online degree program is open to mid- and senior-level executives from all industries and sectors of the workplace.

Two completion pathways allow students to select either a more theoretical (DBA) or a research-based degree (PhD).

Both programs last for three years. After a one-week intensive introduction each year, classes meet face-to-face once a month for individuals working full-time.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,610

8. Ashford University

Ashford University’s online PhD in organizational leadership prepares working professionals for careers in leadership.

The PhD program focuses on evidence-based practice and research, consisting of 62 credits and six- and nine-week classes.

Several specialization choices allow students to further tailor their studies. These specializations include innovation and entrepreneurship, organizational diversity, standard organizational development and leadership, and training and e-learning.

The school offers one of the most affordable PhD in organizational leadership online degree programs on our list.

U.S. News and World Report recognize Ashford University among the unranked regional universities in the West.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,514

7. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University’s online organizational development PhD program provides an innovative and challenging doctoral program designed for working professionals. While classes and discussions are online, three one-week summer residencies are also necessary.

Courses taught include advanced leadership theory, advanced research design, application of research methods, critical inquiry, leadership and personal development, organization theory, and design, qualitative research methods and analysis, and statistical research design.

Admission requires a master’s degree from an approved institution and a graduate GPA of 3.0 or better.

U.S. News and World Report rank Indiana Wesleyan #32 in best provincial universities in the Midwest and #67 in best value schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,392

6. Touro University

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000

Touro University offers a unique online doctorate program in organizational development. The program is 100% online and requires no residency.

Admission requirements do not include the GRE, though a master’s from an accredited institution and cumulative GPA of 3.4 or better must be tendered.

What makes this program unique is that the instructors are scholar-practitioners who are highly active in their own professional work. Furthermore, students must also conduct research and prepare and present a dissertation in order to meet degree requirements. Touro is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUS).

 5. Colorado State University

Colorado State University’s PhD in organizational development online program consists of 60 credits. The program spans across 3-4 years. Furthermore, the institution offers a unique structure of bi-weekly Saturday meetings held face-to-face in downtown Denver.

Courses include evaluation and assessment in organizational learning, foundations of educational research, qualitative data analysis, qualitative research, quantitative data collection methods and analysis, scenario planning in organizations, and systems leadership.

Summarily, the program is for working professionals, academics, and executives who want to develop their research expertise.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Colorado State #140 in best national universities and #141 in best value schools.

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000

4. Liberty University

Liberty University’s online organizational leadership PhD consists of 60 credits that last for three years.

Courses are 100% online and run eight weeks in length. These courses include organizational analysis and problem solving, strategic organizational change, strategic risk management process, and practice, and theories of educational leadership.

To gain admission, applicants must have a regionally or nationally accredited master’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0, official college transcripts, statement of purpose, and proof of English proficiency.

U.S. News and World Report rank Liberty #230-#301 in best national universities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,723

3. Wilmington University

Wilmington University’s organizational development online program prepares students to lead learning initiatives at the organizational level.

The doctorate is flexible and offers three concentrations to align with your professional goals. These concentrations include; strategic leadership, talent development, or workplace learning.

These courses include organizational learning theory, culture, and practice; personal mastery and communities of practice; talent development and workplace learning; and technology and organizational learning.

U.S. News and World Report rank Wilmington #230-#301 in best national universities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,438

2. Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University’s online PhD in organizational leadership program consists of 55 credits with courses delivered exclusively online.

The program treats the following courses, interdisciplinary analysis, organizational theory and leadership, planning and change for leaders, and seminar in organizational leadership.

Admission requirements include a master’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum graduate GPA of 3.5. GRE or MAT scores are also necessary.

U.S. News and World Report rank Valdosta State #230-#301 in best national universities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,628

1. Piedmont International University

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,410

Piedmont International University is open for students seeking an advanced degree leading to organizational leadership positions. It blends research, theory and practice, and provides a breadth of knowledge across the leadership field with in-depth research and study in pivotal areas. 

Furthermore, the program offers three concentrations alongside the PhD in leadership so that students may channel their degree to meet career goals. These concentrations include educational administration, ministry administration, and organizational management.

In addition, courses are online and include aspects of leadership, conflict resolution, global leadership, grant writing management, and program evaluation, leading leaders in multi-level organizations, and marketing for leaders.

To gain admission, you need to tender the following;

  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized college or university.
  • An accredited master’s degree or equivalent from a recognized college or university.
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • An autobiographical essay.
  • A current résumé.
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended schools.
  • Completed application with Piedmont International University.

All documents are to be sent to the school via admissions@piedmontu.edu


With a PhD in organizational leadership and development, the duty of leading effectively will be made easier. Therefore, this is an opportunity to enroll and get the knowledge for what it’s worth.

FAQs On Best PhD Organizational Development Online Program

What Is Organizational Development?

Organizational development or leadership involves generating strategies for organizing and managing a company’s pool of talent in order to complete tasks and reach an organization’s goals.

What can I do with a PhD or Doctorate in Organizational Development?

With a PhD or doctorate in organizational development online degree, you’ll have many career prospects. Such as; Business professor, Senior management in human resources, training and development manager, etc.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A PhD In Organizational Leadership?

The duration of time it takes to complete a PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership online degree depends on the program. However, the average time is between three and seven years.

What Are The Admission Requirements For An Online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership?

To be admitted to study a doctorate degree in organizational development, you need the following; GRADUATE TRANSCRIPTS, GMAT OR GRE SCORES, LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION, MINIMUM GPA OF 3.0, and STATEMENT OF PURPOSE.


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