Doctorate in Leadership Studies

Lead the way in research and organizational excellence

You see opportunities in your organization but need the specialized skills to gather, organize and interpret the data necessary to make the most of them. Or maybe, you want to earn the credentials you need to begin the next stage of your career. Whatever your goals, our Doctorate in Leadership Studies offers the academic rigor and individual attention you need to get there. 

At Ashland, we understand that there’s no cookie-cutter conception of what makes a great leader. If you’re looking to follow your own unique approach to leadership and research, we’ve created a program just for you. Whereas most doctoral research programs are rigid in their focus, Ashland’s Doctorate in Leadership Studies gives you options, allowing you to earn your degree while following your own path and areas of emphasis. 

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Advance Your Career–On Your Own Terms

Learn the skills and make the connections you need to thrive

Graduates of Ashland’s Doctorate in Leadership Studies program have gone on to hold positions as varied and unique as college faculty and directors of mental health organizations to high-ranking positions with the Federal Reserve–and a wide array of positions in between. If your goal is to maximize your ability to serve others and lead your team toward a data-driven and research-enabled vision of the future, this program will equip you for success.

Traditional Path

Our Doctorate of Leadership Studies traditional path combines the best of both worlds. Pursue your individual goals and get the personalized faculty attention you need while progressing through the academic milestones at the same pace of most doctorate programs. With a more scholarly focus, you’ll master the data collection and analysis skills needed to lead your team through the pitfalls and challenges that can spell disaster for many organizations.

Executive Path

Faster paced than the traditional path, our executive path is more business-focused and is designed for mid-to senior-level managers who want to learn the skills and earn the credentials necessary for effectively leading their organization into the future. 

Program Benefits

Program Benefits

What To Expect

Program Requirements & Sample Curriculum

Total Coursework

  • Research (16 credits)
  • Organizational Leadership (15 credits)
  • Cognate ^ (15 credits)
  • Proposal and Dissertation (13 credits)


Year 1

  • Orientation & Training on Blackboard
  • EDLS 9889 – Organizational Development *
  • EDLS 9819 – Becoming a Researcher *
  • EDLS 9881 – Organizational Behavior *
  • EDLS 9860 – Institutional Effectiveness *
  • EDLS 9821 – Qualitative Inquiry *
  • EDLS 9880 – Leadership Theory *


Year 2

  • EDLS 9820 – Quantitative Statistical Analysis *
  • EDLS 9830 – Mentorship *
  • EDLS XXXX – Cognate ^
  • EDLS 9829 – Leadership Research *
  • EDLS 9830 – Mentorship *
  • EDLS XXXX – Cognate ^
  • EDLS 9887 – Institutional Policy & Leadership *
  • EDLS 9830 – Mentorship *
  • EDLS XXXX – Cognate ^


Year 3

  • EDLS 9830 – Mentorship *
  • EDLS XXXX – Cognate ^
  • EDLS 9823 – Dissertation Proposal Development *
  • Mentorship Presentation – Comprehensive Examination
  • EDLS 9899 – Dissertation

*Hybrid courses meet face-to-face & online (participate in online sessions when it’s convenient for you).

^Cognate courses can be taken any time after admission to the program. The schedule indicates recommended, but not required, times.

  • Cohorts begin in May of each year, with 5 to 15 students from a wide range of employment sectors.
  • Core classes are held at Ashland University’s Columbus Center.
  • Core classes meet two Fridays (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and two Saturdays (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) each month, allowing you to work full-time while earning your degree.
  • Classes are taught year-round in a hybrid structure (online and face-to-face).
  • Core classes are completed across four semesters (16 months); the remaining time is dedicated to completing your dissertation.

About Ashland University

Founded in 1878, Ashland University continues to have a rich tradition as a private, comprehensive institution preparing students for exciting, impactful professions and careers. Your success is our goal, not just while you are a student but for the rest of your life as a member of the Eagle family.

We place a great emphasis on the importance of each member of our community. The phrase “Accent on the Individual ” has been our motto for many years and characterizes well the nature and content of both the online and campus environment.

We promise to teach you how to think, not what to think. We promise to work with you to create an individualized plan for your future, and we promise you an affordable education. We promise you will be guided by mentors invested in you as an individual. They will, within a diverse community of respect, design personalized transformative experiences to develop you as a person who works, serves and leads with integrity. And we promise you a lifelong commitment as we continue to help you discern your life calling and make a positive impact on your family, community and the world at large.

Take the Next Step Towards Your Future