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PhD in Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development

Immerse yourself in advanced scholarly inquiry into the nature of learning and change—for adults, groups, and organizations—with a Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development. This degree will help you develop the knowledge and skills to foster learning and change in adults and systems during complex times.

Our unique framework emphasizes both the mindsets and skillsets required for research and scholarship focused on leading adult learning and change. We encourage our students to investigate the real-world problems and work with faculty members and other graduate students to advance the knowledge base related to learning, leadership, and organization development. Our graduates go on to top universities and professional organizations around the world.


  1. Learn cutting-edge approaches to adult learning and organization development
  2. Strong, personalized focus
  3. Prepare for a research-oriented career, or to put research into practice
  4. Most students complete this degree in 5-6 years

Virtual Information Sessions

Learn more about the Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development at a virtual information session.

To register, just click on the date/time that works best for you (under Upcoming Dates on this page). You’ll be prompted to register for that session, and will receive a confirmation with a link for it when your registration is complete.

Upcoming Dates


The Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development includes 66 credit hours of graduate study for substantive, theoretical, and methodological preparation. Coursework includes:

  • Foundations courses in learning, leadership, and organizational development
  • Theoretical and applied course electives
  • Research methods
  • Advanced doctoral support courses

A typical pattern of study

First and second year

You will take courses to fulfill the core requirements for your program of study. These courses cover the foundations of the fields as well as the theoretical orientations and content underlying the knowledge base of adult education, learning, and organization development.

Third and fourth year

During these years, you will take a more individualized program of study with courses that prepare you for the comprehensive examination. Your advisor will help you develop your own curriculum plan, focusing on an area of specialization within the fields of adult education, learning, and organization development.

We encourage interdisciplinary work through electives taken outside the program area. Courses in research methodology and specialized courses also help you build your expertise as a scholar. Then, assess your professional competence through a comprehensive examination, preparation of a publishable manuscript, and successful completion of a research dissertation.

Fourth and fifth year

Your individualized work focuses on preparing your dissertation prospectus, writing an article for publication, field work, and defense of your dissertation.

Along with your dissertation, completion of the Ph.D. also requires:

  • Comprehensive exam
  • Prospectus development
  • An article for publication

Faculty are internationally recognized as leading scholars in the fields of adult learning, adult education, human resource development, and organization development.

Download a Program of Study (PDF)

How to Apply

Part 1: Apply to the University of Georgia

The Graduate School handles admission for all graduate programs at the University of Georgia, including those in the College of Education. The Graduate School website contains important details about the application process, orientation, and many other useful links to guide you through the process of attending UGA at the graduate level.

Start A Graduate School Application

Part 2: Apply to the Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development

The Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development only admits students for Fall semester admission each year.

Also while completing the Graduate School application, be sure to attach the following documents:

  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Official transcripts
  • Academic Writing Sample
    (recommended 10 pages - excerpts are welcome)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation

Deadline To Apply

January 15

Log Into Existing Application

Additional Resources

Please use our online form if you have any questions for the department. Please be as specific as possible so that we may quickly assist you.

Faculty and Advisors

The College’s programs are taught by dedicated faculty who are experts in a range of areas and are passionate about helping students succeed both in their programs and professionally.

Meet the Faculty

Most graduate students at UGA are not assigned to a faculty advisor until after admittance. A close working relationship with your advisor is paramount to progressing through your program of study.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Almost all in-state students begin their studies at UGA paying limited tuition or fees. Please note that these amounts are subject to change and are meant to give prospective students an idea of the costs associated with a degree at the University of Georgia College of Education.

Students may qualify for a variety of assistantships, scholarships, and other financial awards to help offset the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.

Tuition Rates   Browse Financial Aid

Graduate Assistantships

Applicants wishing to be considered for a Graduate School assistantship must complete applications by January 10 for fall semester. Applicants who would like to be considered for a departmental assistantship for fall semester must complete applications by March 1.

Student Life

Your experience will be different depending on whether you are a full-time or part-time student.

  • As a full-time student, you have opportunities to work with faculty, which includes course support, teaching at the graduate level, and conducting research. Full-time students may also apply for graduate assistantships.
  • As a part-time student, you can take advantage of convenient access to classes offered in the evenings in Athens or Gwinnett, or in a blended course format.

The University of Georgia Lifelong Learning Association (UGALLA) provides a network for students, faculty, and professionals interested in lifelong learning. The group also supports learning experiences such as seminars, field trips, workshops, and leadership opportunities.

See for yourself how much UGA College of Education has to offer! Schedule a tour of campus to learn more about the UGA student experience.

Schedule A Visit

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