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Leadership Studies, PhD

Reach the highest level of leadership education with a PhD in Leadership Studies from CBU. 

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Program Intro

CBU's Leadership Studies, PhD program is designed for individuals who want to make learning and leading their lifelong purpose. Graduates will attain the theoretical, scientific and practical knowledge for effective, ethical and transformational leadership.

The PhD offers flexibility: in-person, synchronous online, and asynchronous online instruction. (One-week residency per year in June)

58 Units

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3 Years
$700 +fees Cost Per Unit

*Based on current academic year. Subject to change.

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Why Earn a PhD in Leadership Studies at CBU?

Beginning with the end in mind¹

One of doctoral students’ greatest fears is failure to complete their dissertation. CBU understands that concern and designed the PhD in Leadership Studies so that you can complete your coursework and dissertation in the summer following your third year. You are assigned a faculty mentor on day-one of the program and immediately begin the process of writing your research question. With faculty support throughout the program, CBU provides the road map for you to develop and successfully defend your dissertation – on time.

Creating a community of scholars

As a Christian university, CBU values community in life and in higher education. You are admitted as part of an interdisciplinary cohort and begin developing your academic community as you participate in a 5-day residence experience during the first semester of the program and in each subsequent summer. Taking place in late June at the California Baptist University campus, the summer residence provides you the opportunity to engage in seminar-based learning opportunities with your cohort, program faculty and other leadership professionals.

Emphasizing a distinctly Christian worldview

CBU recognizes the need for leaders equipped with biblically based ethical principles and practices which emphasize character, courage and wisdom as integral elements within effective leadership.

Focus your learning into your passion

With twelve elective units built into the program, you can choose specific graduate-level courses from within CBU’s campus-based or online course catalog which are relevant to your profession or passion.

¹From "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey

What You'll Learn

  1. Candidates will demonstrate expertise in leadership and organizational strategies and practices.
  2. Candidates will demonstrate expertise in research.
  3. Candidates will demonstrate expertise in transformational servant leadership.
  4. Candidates will demonstrate ability to manage complex institutional environments.
  5. Candidates will demonstrate the ability to facilitate strategic change.
  6. Candidates will demonstrate the ability to make and implement creative and wise decisions.
  7. Candidates will demonstrate the ability to engage in scholarly research that both evaluates existing knowledge and expands the body of knowledge in leadership studies.
  8. Candidates will demonstrate propensities toward an ethical lifestyle.
  9. Candidates will demonstrate propensities toward interdisciplinary life-long learning.
  10. Candidates will demonstrate propensities toward transformational-servant leadership.

Program Details

LDR 730: Culture and Sociology of Organization

This course evaluates the sociological and cultural aspects associated organizational life and one’s own personal and professional development.

LDR 740: Creative and Effective Decision Making

Students will evaluate common reasoning fallacies and biases that make for flawed decisions and develop more robust and creative decision making strategies and processes that meet the needs of the situation.

LDR 750: Leadership Ethics, Virtues and Practices

This course evaluates various ethical frameworks and worldviews with an emphasis on the Christian worldview in order to promote ethical and virtuous leaders.

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1. How long will the program take?
Students complete 58 semester units. The program is designed for students to complete the course and dissertation requirements in three years or ten continuous semesters of study. Students have the option for additional time to complete their dissertation if necessary.

2. What will this degree do for me?
The doctorate in leadership studies is an excellent choice for those with relevant work experience seeking senior leadership positions in a variety of professional and academic communities. 

3. Is there a minimum GPA to stay in the program?
Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the program.

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Chris McHorney, Ph.D.

Professor of Political Science

Office Phone: 951-343-4757
Office Location: The Point 225

John Shoup, Ph.D.

Professor of Leadership Studies

Office Phone: 951-343-4205
Office Location: College of Health Science, BLDG A1 Room A23

Gaynell Vanderslice, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Business Management

Office Location: Jabs School of Business

As you make decisions about graduate school, keep in mind the full social, spiritual and educational experience awaiting you at CBU. Here, you will be supported by professors, staff and fellow students who will help you discover your strengths and challenge you to do more than you ever thought you could. Let us equip you with the education, training and opportunities you'll need to start making a unique difference doing what you love.

Application Deadlines Fall
Priority May 15
Standard August 1

Application Requirements


Career Possibilities

Graduates of PhD in Leadership Studies program will be well prepared for leadership roles in any industry.

  • CEO
  • Top Executive
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Post-secondary Education Administrator
  • Administrative Services Manager

Related Programs

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Next Steps

Join our community. At CBU, you’ll be challenged to become an individual whose skills, integrity, and sense of purpose glorify God and distinguish you in the world.