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PhD in Organizational Leadership



The Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Organizational Leadership includes both onsite classes in Indiana and online coursework. Its mission is to provide a Christ centered, innovative, and challenging doctoral program, which enables students to become accomplished in current knowledge, best practices, research, self-directed learning, and teaching. 

Our curriculum is designed to contribute to the student’s development as a servant leader who has mastered all of the elements represented in the conceptional leadership model.

Relevant and Convenient

  • Program is offered online and the onsite is offered in a blended format.
  • Complete your degree in as few as 40 months.
  • Cohort groups provide mutual support.
  • Professors combine academic credentials with professional expertise
  • Hybrid students will have onsite class sessions once in the January, April and September terms in addition to the one week Summer Institute in July. Each of those terms will also include two synchronous, technology supported virtual class sessions. Online students will join synchronously for 3 sessions each term and attend the one week Summer Institute.


We appreciate your decision to consider enrolling in the Indiana Wesleyan University doctoral program. This degree offers advanced graduate education for students seeking academic positions in research and teaching at leading universities, and for those seeking leadership opportunities (in corporations, entrepreneurial business, health care, faith-based institutions, government, and non-profit organizations). The program is designed for working adults who are intellectually driven for advanced study, who thrive on the challenge of self-directed learning, who desire to master the discipline of organizational leadership, and who purpose to contribute to Indiana Wesleyan University’s mission to raise up leaders as world changers.

This doctoral program offers integrated and seamless lock-step curriculum, coursework that is grounded in theory and practice. Our graduate faculty is committed to critical inquiry, excellent teaching, and responsiveness to students. The curriculum reflects current knowledge and best practice related to the field of organizational leadership.

To assist in your decision, we invite you to contact a Program Representative at 866-498-4968 or graduate@indwes.edu, or arrange for a campus visit to meet our faculty.

Dr. Mark Rennaker, Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies

Contact Indiana Wesleyan to learn more about our nonprofit Christian university, our Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, or our other degree completion and Master's programs.


Residency for the doctoral program is satisfied by living on campus during three one week long Summer Institutes. Students are expected to be in attendance every day of each Institute and are not allowed an absence from required workshops, events, or class sessions that are scheduled during the Institute.

Attendance Policy

All doctoral courses are a blend of live and interactive online discussions. Students are expected to attend all live sessions and substantively engage in all interactive online discussions, tests, quizzes, and prescribed learning activities.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Credit Hours Tuition
60 Total

$839 / credit hour

*Effective July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.

The total cost of the program, including tuition and any fees, will be determined prior to your enrollment. Payment for each course is due three weeks before the course begins. Course textbooks are not included in the costs listed above.

The total credit hours and per-credit-hour costs listed above are effective for the core program. For prerequisite or other required courses if applicable, students will need to pay for appropriate tuition, books, and any additional fees. Costs may change if you withdraw from the program and restart in a future program at a later date.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, veterans benefits, and even employer reimbursement.

For information about financial aid, call 800-621-8667, ext. 2516, visit our financial aid website, or email IWUfinaid@indwes.edu.


The curriculum of the Indiana Wesleyan University Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Organizational Leadership degree program is designed to contribute to the student's development as a servant leader who has mastered seven domains of knowledge:

  • Personal Authenticity
  • Organizational Learning
  • Organizational Theory and Research
  • Change, Innovation, Entrepreneurship
  • Globalization and Multiculturalism
  • Governance and Ethics
  • Servant Leaders as World Changers

Full course descriptions may be viewed by clicking on the course titles below.


NOTE: DOL 920B and DOL 920C are also required in subsequent terms, for a program total of 60 credit hours. If needed, additional terms to complete the dissertation will be done in DOL 922: Dissertation Continuation, at 1 credit hour per each term.

A foundational expertise integrated into each domain is the mastery of critical thinking, research, and problem solving.

The program offers an integrated and seamless progression through courses that requires a one-step enrollment process for the entire program. Courses are taken with a cohort of fellow students, which develops into an action learning team that incorporates the leadership knowledge and experience of both faculty and students. Terms are normally 12 weeks in length and include a blend of classroom and online sessions. Classes meet at IWU's Indianapolis (North) Education Center three Saturdays of each term, with summer residencies held on the main campus in Marion, Indiana, for eight days each July and followed by nine weeks of online discussion forums.

*Course sequence may be changed based on modality.


Below are the lists of requirements for the PhD in Organizational Leadership program. Click on each link to expand the requirements. If you have any questions about the admissions process, feel free to contact one of our admissions representatives at 1-866-498-4968.

Admission Requirements

This is a selective program and there is no guaranteed admittance even though applicants meet all the admissions requirements. The requirements for admission to the program include the following:

  1. A master's degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body or by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, verified on official transcripts sent by the institution directly to Indiana Wesleyan University.
  2. An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or higher from the baccalaureate degree-granting institution at which a minimum of 30 credit hours was completed.
  3. A graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher from the master's degree-granting institution at which a minimum of 24 credit hours was completed.
  4. A minimum of five years of leadership experience in the workplace, in volunteer organizations, or in the classroom as a teacher or instructor.
  5. Submission of all documents required by the Admissions Selection Committee and approval by the committee for admission into the program (see Application Procedures).

NOTE: The Admissions Selection Committee retains the right to waive admission requirements for special circumstances.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer up to nine hours of post-master’s credit from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body of the Association for Biblical Higher Education provided a grade of “B” or higher was earned in a post-master’s course meeting the following criteria of the transcript audit:

  1. The course is clearly comparable to one of the Ph.D. program course offerings.
  2. The course is at the 600 or higher numbering system and was not part of the master’s degree requirements.
  3. The course has been completed within the past five years.
  4. The course reflects current knowledge-base and best practices.
  5. The course reflects higher order thinking, study, and assessment requirements of the scholarship of discovery.
  6. The course has been evaluated by IWU faculty and approved to meet program requirements.

Graduation Requirements

To fulfill graduation requirements, students must have completed all of the following:

  1. All credits required in the course of studies with a minimum GPA of 3.25. Dissertation credits are recorded as Credit or No Credit.
  2. Grade of “B-” or higher in each course.
  3. Successful completion of all required course work and required comprehensive exams.
  4. Dissertation successfully completed and defended orally. Dissertation must be completed within six years from the point of completing DOL 915.
  5. Payment of all tuition and fees.

Residency Requirements

Residency for the doctoral program is satisfied by living on the campus in Marion, Indiana, during three Summer Institutes. These institutes take place over seven days, during the month of July.

NOTE: Students are required to attend the three intensives held in the January, April and September terms which run Friday and Saturday at Indianapolis North campus. Online students will attend through synchronized online sessions.

Attendance Policy

All doctoral courses are a blend of live and asynchronous online discussions. Students are expected to attend all live synchronous sessions. Online attendance is determined by participating in weekly asynchronous discussions. Attendance is required every day of the Summer Institute for all students.

Complete the Online Application.

This is your first step toward making your dreams come true for your future. Whether it's to advance your current career, start a new career path, or simply continue that lifelong love of learning, Indiana Wesleyan University is the place for you.

Online Application

Additional Steps to Apply

1. Transcripts

Official transcripts showing degrees conferred for both the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees are required. Indiana Wesleyan University will accept for its permanent file only those transcripts sent directly to IWU by the registrar of the attended institution(s) Official transcripts must exhibit the official seal and signature of the registrar. Transcripts that are stamped “student copy,” “issued to student,” or “unofficial” cannot be accepted as official.

2. Résumé

Submit a current résumé to include a career objective, previous undergraduate and graduate work, work experience, and special recognition or awards. The résumé should include the number of employees you have supervised in all leadership positions.

3. Recommendation Forms

Using this form, completed recommendations must be made by your current leadership team within the past three to five years (for CEOs, this may be the chairman of the board of directors or a peer at another organization), an academic professor or leader in higher education, and someone who can speak to your spiritual character.

4. Essay

The essay is an essential aspect of the admission process and will be carefully assessed in order to make an informed decision regarding your acceptance into the program. Please follow the guidelines and carefully address each question.


  • Title page, typed, double spaced and numbered with a minimum of 5 pages and maximum of 6 pages
  • Clear and convincing response to the questions.
  • Organization and presentation (i.e., readability and formatting).
  • Evidence of critical thinking that is clearly expressed
  • It should be carefully proof read and use convincing language and phrasing
  • Evidence of scholarly (academic) writing skills that evidences an ability to analyze and integrate literature from the leadership field

Scholarly Essay

Included in the essay are the following three components:

  • Describe your current understanding of leadership, organizational leadership and one guiding theory.
  • Describe your leadership role, in detail provide information that discusses the following:
    1. Your organization
    2. Your organizational structure
    3. Your leadership position
    4. Your leadership style
    5. Your span of control
    6. Challenges
    7. Opportunities
  • Describe why a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership is important and how will it assist you in your current role and prepare you for future roles.

5. TOEFL Scores

Submit a copy of your TOEFL scores if English is not your primary language. For more information about this test, visit www.toefl.org.

Materials should be mailed to:

Indiana Wesleyan University
Adult Enrollment Services
1900 W. 50th St.
Marion, IN 46953

Please contact your program representative if you have any questions.

Start Dates

Coursework for the Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership is completed online or at IWU's Indianapolis (North) Education Center, with summer residencies completed at our Marion, Indiana, campus. A new cohort of students begins in January and July of each year. Applications and supporting documentation (current résumé, letters of recommendation, essay, undergraduate and graduate transcripts) are due by April 1 for the July cohort group and by October 1st for the January cohort group.

Applicants are encouraged to contact us and speak with a program representative with any questions.

*Early applications are considered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Organizational Leadership?

A: The University defines an organization as a group of people working together under a common structure to attain shared goals. Doctoral students in the cohort learning community will represent organizations or institutions including small companies, Fortune 500 companies, faith-based institutions, non-profit organizations, education, health care, and churches. Doctoral students, practicing organizational leadership principles and skills, will study and research ways to improve organizational behavior and organizational learning. The goal is the continuous improvement of the culture, performance, and productivity of the organization.

Q: When does the program start?

A: A new cohort of students begins in January and July of each year.

Q: What are the prerequisites for entering into the program?

A: Applicants gaining admission into the doctoral program will have earned a master's degree and have five or more years of full-time work experience, with an interest in and commitment to learning to conduct field-based research and advancing to higher levels of leadership influence in organizations. In reviewing applications, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence of the candidate's ability and commitment to grow as a leader, foster continuous improvement in his or her organization, and conduct scholarly research.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, veterans benefits, and even employer reimbursement. For information about financial aid, call 800-621-8667, ext. 2516, visit our Financial Aid website, or e-mail apsfinaid@indwes.edu.

Q: Is there an application fee?

A: Indiana Wesleyan University does not require an application fee for Adult and Graduate Programs.

Q: When is the application due?

A: Applications and supporting documentation (current résumé, letters of recommendation, essay, graduate transcripts) are due by April 1st for the July cohort group and by October 1st for the January cohort group.

Early applications are considered.

Q: Is the TOEFL required? Can it be waived if time has been spent living or studying in an English-speaking country?

A: If your native language is not English, you must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (250 computer-based or 100 Internet-based). The TOEFL requirement may be waived if you have earned a graduate degree in an English-speaking country from an institution where English is the language of instruction. To have the TOEFL requirement waived, you must include a letter requesting the waiver with your application and provide documentation that your medium of education was English.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program?

A:The lock-step integrated curriculum is designed to be completed in approximately 36 months. Upon completion of the integrated curriculum, a student will submit the dissertation proposal, write the dissertation, and then defend the dissertation. Therefore, the length of time needed to complete the program will depend on how long the student takes in completing and defending the dissertation.

Q: Is there a residency requirement? What is its length?

A: The three-year program is designed for the self-directed adult learner who chooses to maintain a full-time job and can make the commitment of 15 to 25 hours per week of study, review of literature, interaction with colleagues, field-based action learning, and research. Students will participate in an eight-day residency during summers I, II, and III. They will also be engaged in field-based action learning and organizational improvement projects, and nine Saturday classes during each of the first two years of the program.

During the academic years, doctoral students will be engaged in fulfilling action learning and assessment requirements via interactive online courses, to be supplemented by one-day live seminars and assessment sessions with University advisers.

Q: Is there a foreign language requirement?

A: No. The University does recognize the global nature of commerce and the need to be able to communicate with customers, suppliers, and alliance colleagues from other countries and differing cultures. However, we do not require foreign language capabilities.

Q: Is it possible to arrange an interview as part of the application process?

A: Applicants are encouraged to interview with faculty in person or via telephone or e-mail interaction. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 765-677-1388.

Q: What is the cost of the program?

A: In addition to the per-unit tuition charge and the cost of books, there is an Educational Resource Fee and a Graduation Fee. If selected for admission, there will be a required deposit that will go toward your tuition. See the Tuition & Financial Aid page for more information.

Q: When will I be notified whether I'm admitted? When do courses begin?

A: Applicants will be notified by e-mail by late May for July entry or by late November for January entry about the admissions committee decision. You will then have one week to accept the admissions offer and make the deposit. If applications are submitted before April 1st / October 1st, an early decision may be made. If you do not meet the deadline, the offer will be rescinded and the next applicant on the waiting list will be contacted.

For July entries, the first two courses begin online in early July and focus on required readings that prepare students for the Summer Residency. (Required reading assignments will be e-mailed to you by early June.) The Summer Residency takes place in mid-July.


The members of the Organizational Leadership faculty bring a combination of leadership, teaching ability, and scholarly experience to the classroom and dissertation process. You will learn from professors who have been leaders in business, industry, entrepreneurial companies, higher education, public schools, and nongovernmental organizations. Your experience here will take you far beyond basic leadership theory to implement innovative best practices in your own life and work.

Click on a faculty member's name below to learn more about that individual.

boyd johnson; MA; PhD

Professor, DOL

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james freemyer; MS; MA; EdD

Professor, DOL

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joanne barnes; MS; Ed.D.

Dean, Graduate School; Professor

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laverne ludden; EdD

Faculty Emeritus, DOL

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mike linville; MA; EdD

Associate Professor, DOL

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patricia johnson; PhD

Associate Professor, DOL

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tim beuthin; MDiv; PhD

Professor, DOL

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