Ph.D. in Human Sciences with a Specialization in Leadership Studies

Application Deadline for Fall 2024 is December 15, 2023

The priority deadline is December 15, 2023; applications submitted after that date may be considered if space is available.

The interdepartmental doctoral program in human sciences with a specialization in leadership studies is designed for individuals interested in studying leadership and leadership development theory and practice. It is ideal for those interested in becoming a leadership scholar in a faculty role or in a variety of other contexts, including communities, government agencies, non-profit and private sector organizations.

The Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication faculty and graduate students are internationally recognized for teaching, research, and outreach. We strive to develop close student-faculty relationships based on strong mentoring experiences.

The faculty encourages students to take classes from several departments campus-wide. Moreover, this program is one of the few doctoral-level leadership scholarship programs in the country.

It is ideal for preparing individuals for:

  • Leadership Faculty positions
  • Leadership Consulting
  • Organizational Change
  • Training and Organizational Development
  • Personnel and Human Resource Management
  • Community Facilitation

In this Doctoral program you will have the opportunity to:

  • Co-create a program focusing on leadership that most appropriately meets your personal and career goals
  • Study with faculty with expertise in the wide range of disciplines and subjects that comprise leadership studies
  • Learn through symposiums, workshops, internships, assistantships, formal classes, directed studies, and research projects
  • Develop your skills in human behavior (interpersonal communication, group dynamics, organizational development, and diversity)
  • Apply foundations of leadership to organizational and interpersonal settings in business, agriculture, education, non-profit, and government
  • Develop assessment skills to diagnose the leadership needs and issues faced at the interpersonal, group, organizational and societal levels
  • Learn to lead change (visioning, planning, collaborating, and problem solving)
  • Develop a command of the leadership literature and models
  • Integrate what you learn into your own professional job responsibilities
  • Develop your research and writing skills to produce publishable, quality research

Leadership Studies is a dynamic Doctoral program that will equip you to excel in all aspects of leadership.

Courses in the Leadership Studies Doctoral program:

Students will have considerable flexibility when they develop their programs of study with their doctoral advisory committee to fit their learning needs. Once admitted to our graduate study, students will consult with their advisor to prepare a formal program of study. Core program courses will focus on two main elements, 1) Leadership Scholarship and 2) Research Methods.

  1. Leadership scholarship refers to understanding the field of leadership from a research perspective, which includes leadership models & theories, leadership development & training, and leadership from several perspectives (e.g. motivation, power & influence, cultural diversity, etc.)
  2. Research methods refers to developing the skills necessary to conduct research related to leadership. We want our students to be able to contribute to leadership scholarship through research. This aspect of our program really explores how we know what we know about leadership, and how we effectively contribute to that knowing through evidence-based processes.

Additionally, students will be able to include courses within their programs that focus on:

  • Teaching, learning, and program development
  • Organizational behavior and management
  • Higher education administration
  • Social sciences (communication, psychology, sociology, & community development).

Students may select courses from several departments across the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, including Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication Communication Studies Community and Regional Planning Educational Administration; Management; Psychology, and Sociology.


Dr. Lindsay Hastings
ALEC Graduate Chair
Clifton Professor in Mentoring Research
Research Director, NHRI Leadership Research 
(402) 472-8739

ALEC Graduate Support Staff

Jennifer Greenlee
ALEC Office Associate, CEOE
(402) 472-2808

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ALEC Doctoral Core Courses ALEC Graduate Course Rotation Cycle ALEC Graduate Student Handbook ALEC Ph.D. Application Requirements Graduate Course Catalog ALEC Graduate Funding and Assitantships
How to Apply