Ph.D. in Administration and Leadership Studies, Nonprofit and Public Sectors

  • The Ph.D. program in Administration and Leadership Studies (ALS), Nonprofit and Public Sectors, is designed to educate leaders in human services, health care, state and local government agencies, higher education, and other public and nonprofit organizations. This program is offered by the Sociology Department in collaboration with the Department of Economics.

    The ALS program’s goals are to provide leadership development and enhanced administrative capacity through application of theory and research in the public and nonprofit services context. Student learning is constituted by the following objectives:

    • Thorough knowledge of the scholarship and research on leadership and the ability to utilize this knowledge in an applied, professional context
    • Knowledge and skills in nonprofit and public sector program planning and administration that reflect a social science perspective
    • The capacity to locate and critique research and evaluation studies and to successfully design, conduct, and defend an original research study

    As the majority of students are midcareer professionals with full-time positions, required courses are offered evenings and/or Saturdays, two courses per term. Courses are offered in fall, spring, and an eleven-week summer session.

    Admission Criteria

    Students are admitted in cohorts. The admissions process involves a review of an assortment of materials, including an application for admission form, transcripts, GRE test scores, three letters of recommendation from academic or professional references, a work experience statement (either a vitae or résumé), a goal statement in which the applicant explains why she/he wishes to be admitted to the program, and a major writing sample such as a master’s thesis, course paper, policy document, or program report. A personal interview may be required at the option of the Admissions Committee. A master’s degree is required. Prospective students should be aware that this is a social science program, with most courses taught by professors of Sociology and Economics; therefore, some background in the social sciences is helpful but not required.

    Program Requirements

    Each student admitted to a doctoral program receives doctoral candidacy after completing at least 18 graduate credits beyond the master’s degree, with a GPA of 3.0, and passing both core and research methods area comprehensive examination. To be eligible for graduation, students must complete the 61 credit hours specified in the curriculum, successfully pass all comprehensive examinations, and successfully defend a dissertation proposal and a completed dissertation. Program curriculum requirements are as follows:

    Core (28 cr.)

    LDRS 800 Proseminar 1 cr.
    LDRS 801 Leadership Theories 3 cr.
    LDRS 802 Leadership Applications 3 cr.
    LDRS 810 Nonprofit Management 3 cr.
    LDRS 811 Administration in the Public Sector 3 cr.
    SOC 802 Classical Social and Organizational Theories 3 cr.
    SOC 803 Contemporary Social and Organization Theories 3 cr.
    SOC 804 Social Policy 3 cr.
    ECON 820 Managerial Economics for Decision Making and Leadership 3 cr.
    LDRS 900 Dissertation Seminar 3 cr.

    Research (24 cr.)

    SOC 862 Analysis of Social Data 3 cr.
    SOC 863 Quantitative Research Methods I 3 cr.
    SOC 864 Quantitative Research Methods II 3 cr.
    SOC 865 Qualitative Research Methods 3 cr.
    LDRS 861 Program Evaluation 3 cr.
    LDRS 995 Dissertation 9 cr.

    Electives (9 cr.)

    Nine credits from among any relevant graduate-level courses with permission of the doctoral coordinator.

    For detailed information about the program, you may contact the program coordinator at 724-357-2956 (Indiana), or e-mail to The program’s website may be viewed at