Pastor preaching in a dark sanctuary


The Ph.D. in Leadership is a multidisciplinary degree designed to shape students as confessional scholars in the following primary areas: communication and pedagogy, organizational philosophy and strategy, and theology and human development. This degree, which is offered in modular format, is for leaders and educators in ministry, higher education, Christian schooling, and educational administration. Students choose from two possible concentrations: Organizational Leadership or Educational Leadership.


Incoming Ph.D. students are matched with a supervisor from our world-class faculty.
Dr. John David Trentham

John David Trentham

Research Interests:

  • Discipleship and Human Development
  • Higher Education
Dr. Justin Irving headshot

Justin Irving

Research Interests:

  • Leadership
Anthony Foster headshot

Anthony Foster

Research Interests:

  • Educational Technology
  • Christian Pedagogy
Dr. Timothy Paul Jones headshot

Timothy Paul Jones

Research Interests:

  • Christian Formation
  • Higher Education

All Leadership students complete 6 Leadership Core Seminars, 2 seminars in a particular Leadership Concentration (either Organizational Leadership or Educational Leadership), 4 Leadership Colloquia, Prospectus Development 1-4, and Empirical Research Methods.

91090 Leadership Character and Development

Explores the theory and practice of leadership development. Engages the spiritual and personal life of the leader, including themes related to leader character and sanctification.

92500 Philosophy for Leadership and Discipleship

An engagement with significant philosophical models and issues germane to the scholarship and practice of educational leadership and redemptive formation.

95300 Theological Analysis of Educational Assumptions

An investigation of the theological presuppositions that inform the education and leadership assumptions of ministry praxis.. Students will articulate and evaluate their working philosophy of ministry in light of biblical theology and systematic theology.

95700 Biblical and Theological Foundations for Leadership

Students examine leadership theory from a biblical worldview perspective by critically examining the theological assumptions that underlie various models of leadership. Examines theological themes that directly impact leadership practice. Builds a theological foundation for the practice of leadership.

96300 Organizational Theory and Development

Explores psychological and developmental underpinnings of organizations. Presents classical and contemporary theories and principles of organizational development. Students gain skills in the analysis of organizational culture, communication processes and staff training.

97000 Theological Anthropology and Human Development

A study of classical and contemporary perspectives on image bearing, human nature, human constitution, sex/gender, the body-soul relationship, human agency and the freedom of the will, sin and its destructive dimensions, and human embodiment. A particular focus will be the systematic and practical theology of holistic embodied existence from conception through eternity.


Organizational Leadership Concentration Seminars

93610 Communication and Team Dynamics

A study of team/group dynamics theories and their application to organizational leadership. Issues of team leadership and team effectiveness are explored. Examines theory and practice of professional communication in organizations and its impact on team process.

96400 Change and Conflict in Leadership

An analysis of the change process, the role of power and authority in the development of change and conflict, and approaches to conflict management.


Educational Leadership Concentration Seminars

93420 Curriculum Theory and Design

An exploration of the major curriculum developments in Christian education including a review of historical trends, the design of curriculum frameworks and teaching-learning sessions, course redesign, instructional planning and design, and the supervision, design, and critique of curricula. This course is designed to be highly interactive in exploring principles and practices of curriculum theory and design in the local church and Christian higher education.

95600 Teaching and Learning: Theory and Practice

An analysis of learning theory and contemporary models of teaching with an emphasis on instructional techniques used in higher education.


Colloquia and Prospectus Development:

  • 90000 Leadership Colloquium (x4)
  • 81220, 81221, 81222, 81223 Prospectus Development

Research Methodology

  • 96800 Empirical Research Methods



If you are interested in applying for the Ph.D. in this area of study, learn more about the Admissions Process.

Next Steps

Advance your theological education while your love for God grows.

Visit Campus

Visiting Southern will give you an opportunity to explore our beautiful campus and get all of your questions answered.  Schedule an individual visit or visit with a group.



Attend Preview Day

Southern Seminary hosts a Preview Day each spring and fall.  During this event, doctoral students additionally meet with a panel of doctoral studies faculty.



Request Information

If you would like to receive more information about any of our programs at Southern, please feel free to reach out to the admissions office!