The Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies is based on the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person. The program is designed for working professionals across a wide range of professions such as education, health care, social services, business, faith-based, engineering, government, and law enforcement. The transdisciplinary curriculum is designed to develop scholarship and professional competencies while encouraging self-reflection and strengthening a commitment of service to others.
The doctoral program centers on three dimensions of a leader:
- The leader as person.
- The leader in organizational systems.
- The leader in global systems.
Each dimension emphasizes the nature of change as well as the development of human capacities for lives that are healthy, sustainable, and grounded in relationship with others. Threaded throughout the program are principles of research, a holistic look at relationships, and complex systems that are designed to honor humanity. and provide Doctoral students a structured way of thinking and coming to understand leadership as scholarship and practice.
Mission of the Doctoral Program
The mission of the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies is to educate scholars who possess conceptual and theoretical knowledge and professional and practical competencies for use in scholarly and practitioner roles that serve and engage others creatively, meaningfully, and purposefully for the greater good.
Values of the Doctoral Program
Studies creates a space where critical thought and moral conviction meet the questions of humanity. Understanding that leadership is a complex phenomenon, faculty in the doctoral program hold the following: We believe that leadership is based on a deep understanding of the self in relationship with others, and of the core values that drive one’s actions. Effective leading requires self-development with meaning, dignity, and purpose, so that we, in turn, help others to flourish with meaning, dignity and purpose. Because we believe that effective leaders need to develop the moral imagination required to embrace individual, organizational, and global change from a stance of hope and courage, we designed a leadership studies curriculum that supports the mission with a focus on three interrelated perspectives: Scholarly, Conceptual, and Professional. Each perspective is threaded through the curriculum. The Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies emphasizes the nature of change and the development of human capacities for lives that are healthy, socially just, and sustainable.
Prior to completing an application, it is advisable to secure an appointment with a Graduate Enrollment Management Admissions Specialist. During this conversation, potential applicants will be counseled on factors they need to carefully consider before considering an application to the program, issues to be considered regarding program fit, the relationship between their career goals and the Gonzaga doctoral program, and their likelihood for meeting the application requirements. The Graduate Enrollment Management Admissions Specialists will answer any questions prospective students have about the program. Additional program questions may be answered by the department chairperson.
Admission is based on a review of a total profile with careful attention to the fit between the needs of the applicant and the mission of the program.
Each applicant must submit a completed application packet to include the following materials:
- A completed online application for admission (visit DPLS website or contact the Graduate Enrollment Management Admissions Application Specialist).
- A written statement of purpose as requested on the online application for admission.
- A minimum of three recommendations. References must be selected from among supervisors, instructors, and colleagues who have worked with the applicant during the past five years. At least one recommendation should come from the applicant's academic experience.
- A resume that includes information about formal education, professional experience, academic achievements and honors, scholarly activity, and relevant non-professional experience.
- One degree-bearing transcript from a regionally accredited university. Only the highest level of degree achieved is required (minimum: master’s degree). Additional transcripts may be requested upon review. *Additional documents may be requested
- International Transcript Evaluation: All international students applying directly to a Gonzaga University graduate program must have each foreign transcript evaluated through an AACRAO approved, third-party evaluator (such as World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)). Canadian transcripts are exempt from this requirement.
- All international applicants who have not graduated from a United States or Canadian institution or whose native language is not English, must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score. The preferred TOEFL iBT score is 92 or IELTS of 7.0, or better. Details can be found here: https://www.gonzaga.edu/catalogs/current/graduate/08_general-academic-information
- Submission of a financial declaration and supporting documentation by each international applicant.
Applications are reviewed by the doctoral faculty three times per academic year, once per term. Students are notified of application status within 2-3 weeks of the respective deadline.
Gonzaga encourages and welcomes applications from international students. In addition to the application materials required for acceptance into the DPLS program listed above, international students must also meet certain requirements. These are outlined in the International Students section of our Student Services page.
- A master’s degree (or its equivalent) with a minimum 3.50 GPA from an accredited institution will be accepted
- A minimum of two years of professional experience.
If a careful review of an applicant’s portfolio suggests a strong possibility of success in the program despite weaknesses in one or more areas, the doctoral faculty may grant provisional admission to the program. A letter offering provisional admission will state the conditions that must be satisfied before the admission status will be changed to regular admission (at which time the student may apply for financial assistance). Students who are admitted provisionally will not be allowed to enroll in courses beyond one semester unless their admission status has been changed to regular admission. The decision to convert a provisional admission to regular admission is made by the doctoral program faculty.
General Academic Information
Time Requirements for the Degree
Consistent with doctoral program policy, students are to complete the doctoral degree within seven years of the first day of the semester in which a student first enrolls in a doctoral program class. In the event of extraordinary circumstances, a student may petition for additional time to complete the degree. The doctoral faculty will consider this petition, and make its recommendation to the Dean of the School of Leadership Studies who will make the final decision.
Advancement to CandidacyAdvancement to candidacy is a critical part of the program, designed to provide an opportunity to reaffirm the appropriateness of the program relative to the needs and abilities of the students. When a student is advanced to candidacy, it means she/he is a candidate for the Ph.D.; this signifies the Doctoral Faculty’s confidence in the candidate’s ability to successfully complete the program, including the dissertation.
Upon successful completion of DPLS 700, DPLS 701, DPLS 703, and DPLS 720 courses, each student should see his or her pre-candidacy advisor to review the policies and procedures regarding candidacy (this process should begin once students have completed 15-18 credits).
Students must apply for candidacy before completing 24 credits and must complete the process by 30 credits or they will be unable to register for classes.
Process and Paper Specifications:
The process for advancing to candidacy involves researching, writing, and submitting an original, high quality theoretical/conceptual paper, a written response to a specified question or topic that is determined jointly by the student and their pre-candidacy advisor.
The candidacy topic is to align with the foundational curriculum framework. One or more of the program dimensions (personal, organizational, or global systems) provides the conceptual framework for the paper.
Once a topic has been decided upon in conjunction with their faculty advisor, the student will complete the candidacy application and send it to the DPLS Student Service Coordinator and their faculty advisor. The student will receive an email response that the program is aware of the candidacy application.
After the application has been submitted, the student has up to three months to submit an electronic copy of the paper with the candidacy application to the Student Services Coordinator, who will then forward these to the pre-candidacy advisor and one other doctoral faculty member for review within 3-4 weeks. [Please note: An advisor can help the student with preliminary work on the candidacy paper. That is, the advisor can help with brainstorming to narrow the topic, or help outline or mind-map; however, once the application is submitted and the candidate has begun writing the paper, the advisor cannot help until or unless the candidate reaches an impasse or a major personal hurdle.]
The decision to award candidacy is based on (a) the student’s demonstration of competence in conceptualizing significant and complex theoretical subject matter, and (b) the student’s abilities to write with coherence, relevance, appropriate mechanics, scholarly tone, and veracity. [See the scoring rubric on the doctoral myGU website.]
Advancement past candidacy means the student is now a Doctoral Candidate. From the department, the letter of advancement to candidacy will include next steps for the Doctoral Candidate beginning with choosing a Dissertation Chair.
If the candidacy paper is found to be unacceptable [in whole or in parts], the student will be asked to rewrite the paper and resubmit it, according to departmental guidelines. If the paper fails to pass on the second review, a third reader will be appointed to also review the third and final submission. Failure to pass a third attempt at writing this paper will result in termination from the program.
Although it is presumed that all work for the doctorate will be completed at Gonzaga University, the doctoral program may accept up to 12 credit hours from another accredited college or university for coursework in which a grade of “B+” or higher was awarded. The acceptance of transfer credits requires the recommendation of the doctoral program chairperson. Transfer credits are not included on a student’s transcript until the student is advanced to doctoral candidacy.
The limitations on transfer credit for the doctoral program are as follows:
- Work to be transferred must clearly be doctoral-level coursework as defined by Gonzaga University.
- Coursework must have been completed while the individual was accepted in a doctoral program accredited by a regional accrediting agency.
- Coursework must have been completed within five years prior to the date of acceptance into the doctoral program at Gonzaga University.
- Courses may not be transferred for the four core courses (DPLS 700, DPLS 701, DPLS 703, DPLS 745) Principles of Research (DPLS 720), or Proposal Seminar (DPLS 730).
- Coursework to be transferred must fit the mission of the doctoral program.
Doctoral students may opt either for a letter grade or for a pass/fail option in each course. Students wishing to explore this option should consult their advisor. The student is responsible for filing a pass/fail petition with the Registrar prior to the published deadline. A pass/fail request is considered a private matter between the student and the Registrar. If this request is filed, the Registrar will substitute a “P” or an “F” in place of the assigned grade. A “P” will be recorded for an assigned grade of B or higher, while an “F” will be recorded for lower than a grade of B. The decision to put a course on a pass/fail basis is irrevocable, and once made cannot be changed for any reason.
Students may undertake individualized study to acquire more advanced knowledge in an area or to pursue topics not currently covered in regularly scheduled classes. These credits are typically used for the advancement of a dissertation topic. It is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate the relevancy of the proposed study and to negotiate the course content and timelines with a qualified instructor. A maximum of 12 credits of individualized study is permitted.
Students enrolled in the doctoral program may complete an internship/field experience or mentorship as an elective by registering for one to three hours of DPLS 766. Students must submit an “Application for Individualized Study”, which requires a proposal demonstrating the relevance of the individualized study to DPLS coursework. For internship credit, the goal may be to gain experience in another work setting or to complete a work project that will require the application of DPLS coursework. For mentorship credit, the purpose of the mentorship must be clearly defined. Proposals must be submitted to the instructor who will be the “professor of record.” At the end of the internship/mentorship, the student will submit a report and/or products developed as a result of the experience to the “professor of record.” The grading mode for this course is Satisfactory/ Non-satisfactory. A maximum of three credits of internship/mentorship is permitted.
Credit for doctoral-level courses completed at Gonzaga University prior to admission of a student may be accepted by the doctoral program upon recommendation of the program chairperson as credits toward a degree. Such credits are termed “non-matriculated credits” and are limited to no more than 12 credits.
Residence is defined as work taken in a recognized Gonzaga graduate program. In the doctoral program, the matriculation policy is defined as three out of four consecutive semesters of study upon admission to the doctoral program.
Students enrolled in the doctoral program in the School of Leadership Studies will have satisfied all continuity of matriculation requirements for the doctoral degree when they have completed three out of four consecutive semesters of graduate study earning a minimum of six (6) credit hours per semester.
It is the student’s responsibility to adhere to the tenets of the continuity of matriculation policy, with the student’s temporary and permanent advisor(s) monitoring the compliance process from the date of admission to the completion of the doctoral program. Any deviation from this policy must be entered as a formal request for a “Leave of Absence.” The formal request for a leave of absence must be submitted by the student and approved by the temporary or permanent advisor and the program chairperson in the semester prior to the semester in which the leave will take effect.
Doctoral Advisors and Committee Members
A pre-candidacy advisor is assigned to each student at the time of admission to the program. Advisors' responsibilities are to assist the student in making program decisions and to facilitate the student through the candidacy process. Once students have been advanced to candidacy, they select a dissertation chairperson. In conversation with their chairperson and before the defense of the proposal, candidates select two or more additional dissertation committee members. Students who are not making timely progress on their proposal or dissertation, and/or have had little or no contact with their dissertation chairperson for a semester or more should expect to confirm whether the individual is still available to work with them.
It is expected that the chairperson of the committee and at least one of the remaining committee members will be selected from among the core faculty of the doctoral program. A student may petition to: 1) have a core faculty member of the program as the chairperson of the committee and all other committee members from outside the program, or 2) have the chairperson of the committee from outside the program and at least two of the remaining members from the program. Given the importance of the committee chairperson in facilitating the student’s completion of the dissertation, chairpersons selected from outside the core faculty must be prepared to work closely with committee members from the program and invest sufficient time to fully understand the unique requirements of Gonzaga's Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies. Any exceptions to the expected committee configuration should be carefully discussed with the advisor before individuals from outside the program are approached about participation on the committee. Written approval of the entire core doctoral faculty is required for any exceptions.
Admission to Proposal Seminar
The purpose of DPLS 730: Proposal Seminar is to craft the structure of the student’s dissertation. Before students can enroll in DPLS 730, they must have achieved candidacy and have completed or be enrolled in DPLS 722 and DPLS 723. In addition, enrollment in DPLS 730 requires a written petition to the doctoral faculty Proposal Seminar instructor, submitted through a student’s dissertation chairperson at least 30 days before enrolling in the class. (Specifications for the petition are available on the doctoral program myGU website, from the doctoral faculty, or from the Admissions and Advising Specialist.) Students who anticipate taking DPLS 730 should discuss timing with their dissertation committee chairperson. Ideally, students should be able to defend the dissertation proposal soon after taking this course.
A scholarly research study must be completed by each student under the guidance of a dissertation committee. The dissertation process in the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies includes a formal defense of the dissertation proposal (defined as the first three chapters of the dissertation). The dissertation committee will also review and approve the final copy of the dissertation (that includes a dissertation defense), which then must be filed with the appropriate administrative office for final approval and acceptance by the University. Specific arrangements should be made with the doctoral program for publishing and binding of the dissertation.
Detailed dissertation procedures can be obtained from the Admissions and Advising Specialist or dissertation chairperson.
Outline: 60 creditsRequired Courses: 30 credits
|DPLS 700 Leadership Theory||3 credits|
|DPLS 701 Organizational Theory||3 credits|
|DPLS 703 Global Leadership||3 credits|
|DPLS 720 Principles of Research||3 credits|
|DPLS 722 Quantitative Data Analysis||3 credits|
|DPLS 723 Qualitative Research||3 credits|
|DPLS 730 Proposal Seminar||3 credits|
|DPLS 735 Proposal Defense||1 credit|
|DPLS 736 Dissertation||5 credits|
|DPLS 745 Ethics & Leadership Studies||3 credits
|Electives: 30 credits|
|DPLS 705 Leadership and Social Justice||3 credits|
|DPLS 706 Leadership and Diversity||3 credits|
|DPLS 707 Leadership and Technology||3 credits|
|DPLS 708 Leadership, Forgiveness and Restorative Justice||3 credits|
|DPLS 709 Leadership and Spirituality||3 credits|
|DPLS 710 Planning for Change||3 credits|
|DPLS 711 Organizational Culture||3 credits|
|DPLS 712 Leadership for Environmental & Social Change||3 credits|
|DPLS 713 Leadership and Law||3 credits|
|DPLS 714 Writing for Publication||1 credit|
|DPLS 715 Leadership Ruminations||1 credit|
|DPLS 716 Social Construction and Leadership||3 credits|
|DPLS 717 Leadership and Film||3 credits|
|DPLS 718 Ways of Knowing: Teaching, Learning, and Leadership||3 credits|
|DPLS 719 Emergent Organizational Change||3 credits|
|DPLS 726 Advanced Qualitative Research||3 credits|
|DPLS 727 Complexity and Leadership Studies||3 credits|
|DPLS 728 Conceptual Framework and Research Design||3 credits|
|DPLS 741 The Art and Practice of Dialogue||3 credits|
|DPLS 742 Critical Theory & Leadership||3 credits|
|DPLS 743 Leadership and Consulting||3 credits|
|DPLS 744 Leadership, Language and Culture||3 credits|
|DPLS 746 Leadership and Applied Ethics
|DPLS 747 Leadership and Classical Ethics
|DPLS 748 Leadership and Feminist Ethics
|DPLS 749 Leadership and Eco Ethics||3 credits|
|DPLS 750 Leadership and Post-Modern Ethics
|DPLS 752 Narrative Inquiry & Identity||3 credits|
|DPLS 751 Leadership and History||3 credits|
|DPLS 755 Leadership and Communications||3 credits|
|DPLS 756 Leadership and Psychology||3 credits|
|DPLS 757 Power and Influence in Leadership||3 credits|
|DPLS 780 Servant Leadership||3 credits|
|DPLS 781 Listen, Discern, Decide||3 credits|
|DPLS 782 Foresight & Strategy||3 credits|
|DPLS 783 Seminar in Servant Leadership||1 credit|