PhD Organisational Leadership

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PhD in Organisational Leadership

Duration: 3 years full-time
Delivery: On campus
Credit points: 8 units + doctoral thesis
Available to: Domestic (FEE-HELP)/International
IELTS: 7.0 with no band less than 6.5
AQF: Level 10
Tuition Fee: International students: $11,949 semester/$71,694 total

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The Doctor of Philosophy is an integrated program of study and research which combines advanced coursework in research methodology and preparation, and an academic discipline, for the purpose of systematic and critical investigation and analysis in a field of learning to uncover new knowledge by discovery, the formulation of theories and/or the innovative re-interpretation of known data and established ideas. The Doctor of Philosophy program offers a specialisation in Organisational Leadership.


The course has been designed in order to satisfy the intersecting requirements of:
(a) the Australian Qualifications Framework;
(b) Excelsia College’s Graduate Attributes; and
(c) the designated Learning Outcomes of the course.


Students are required to undertake nine units of study as part of the Doctor of Philosophy course, four of which are advanced postgraduate units in a discipline area related to the proposed research topic area; one ethics unit; three units which are a combination of advanced research methods learning and research preparation during which students will be required to prepare and present their research proposal, develop a literature review and other relevant background investigations, and devise an appropriate methodology for the conduct of the proposed research; and the thesis itself. Over the period of the research methods and preparation units, students will be required to progress their research proposal through all relevant College procedures and reviews for approvals, including ethics approvals and confirmation of candidature. Once candidature is confirmed, candidates will then concentrate on supervised research, analysis and other activities associated with the implementation of their approved research proposal, the final examinable product of which will be a thesis.


Course Units

The course structure is based on six semesters (each of 15 weeks duration), with four subjects/units representing a full-time study load in each of the first two semesters, followed by the two-year doctoral thesis. The course comprises:
4 compulsory Discipline units (24 credit points);
1 compulsory Ethics unit (6 credit points);
3 compulsory Research Methods units (18 credit points); and
1 compulsory Thesis unit (96 credit points).

Graduates will be equipped to pursue an academic career in organisational leadership or a related area. Graduates will also be equipped to seek employment in leadership and management roles in government, non-government organisations and corporations. Depending on the research focus of the student, other career options could include consulting, finance, policy analysis, market research, data analytics, technology transfer, and technical and professional writing.

Organisational Behaviour and Leadership

Study how people’s behaviours and motivations as individuals and teams determine the character, dynamics and effectiveness of an organisation. Learn how to analyse and integrate values-based frameworks in addressing leadership and organisational behavioural challenges. 

Leadership Theory

Learn to analyse and explain historical trends in leadership as well as distinguish between leadership and management functions. Students will apply and synthesise leadership theories and practices to case studies.

Organisational Learning and Change

Learn how to effectively identify and critique different approaches to change. Students will also begin to integrate the concepts and principles of organisational change and organisational learning in designing and implementing plans for development and transformation.

Stewardship and Governance

Understand and apply stewardship principles to influence organisations for sustainable performance through contributions to human, environmental and societal wellbeing. Integrate socially responsible practices and corporate governance in businesses through the lens of stewardship.  

Foundational Skills for Academic Research

Acquire foundational skills necessary to successfully engage with the research process.

Business Research Methods

Understand various business research designs and methods, and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This unit also delivers skills in designing and conducting research for a particular project, and explains the limitations, advantages, technical and ethical implications. Students will learn how to prepare a formal research proposal.

Business Research Methodology and Data Collection

This unit addresses methodological and data collection issues related to the research proposal developed in the unit Business Research Proposal and Literature Review. Students will develop the workflow of the proposed research, frame research questions, identify objectives and hypotheses, which techniques and tools will be used for data collection, and how data will be interpreted, analysed and presented.

Business Research Proposal and Literature Review

This unit takes as its starting point the introduction to research proposal development given in Business Research Methods. Students are required to develop a research proposal and related critical literature review for supervised research that will be undertaken in future units.


This unit is the capstone unit of the degree and provides the student with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of research. The student will be required to undertake a substantial research project resulting in a contribution to knowledge or understanding and/or the application of knowledge in a designated area of study within the field of organisational leadership.

Entry requirements

The entry criteria for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy program shall normally be:

(a) a bachelor degree with at least upper second-class Honours in an appropriate discipline (AQF Level 8) from an Australian higher education institution; or

(b) a coursework master degree with a research thesis of at least 25% of the course; or

(c) a qualification recognised by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) as equivalent to any of the above; or

(d) other qualifications and experience as may, on application by the student, be deemed equivalent to (a) by the Academic Board.


A student’s entry qualification need not include studies in business, management or related fields, but studies in these fields would be an advantage. Industry and/or professional experience in organisational leadership, management, business and/or a related field is normally a requirement for entry. Candidates seeking entry to the program without relevant industry/professional experience will have to provide documentation to satisfy the Admissions Committee that they possess the relevant skills and background to successfully complete the course.


In certain circumstances where it is unclear to the Admissions Committee or the Academic Board whether a student has the qualifications and/or experience to enter the program, the student may be required to attend an interview to determine their eligibility for entry to the program.

In addition to meeting the prerequisites above, international applicants who have not completed an educational qualification in English have to provide proof of proficiency in English through internationally recognised tests such as IELTS or TOEFL, or through satisfactory completion of an approved course at one of the College’s partner language colleges. Candidates must achieve an IELTS Academic minimum overall result of 7.0 with no band score below 6.5. 

For test score equivalencies for alternative tests visit the International Students page.

If the applicant is successful they will be issued an offer letter and a written agreement. Students will need to respond to the offer within 6 weeks. This is done online and a confirmation will be emailed back to the applicant. At this point, applicants are welcome to apply for Credit or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). If you are eligible for credit or RPL, you may be exempt from completing some units and you may be able to finish your degree in a shorter amount of time.

Please refer to the Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.

Download the Student Selection and Admission Policy and Procedure.

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