Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online

The Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online (OCL online) is is designed for current and emerging leaders who are looking to drive systemic change in their organization. These leaders include individuals who currently hold or are seeking leadership positions within colleges and universities, private firms, nonprofits and government organizations.

Delivered through a blend of online interactions and real-world experiences, the OCL online program allows students to continue working full time while pursuing a degree that will distinguish them as organizational leaders. In this OCL online program, students will explore how learning occurs in formal and informal workplace settings, examine effective strategies for facilitating organizational learning, and learn to create systems that produce more effective, adaptable and competitive organizations.

Coursework in the OCL online program focuses on practices of motivating and supervising others, assessing organizational priorities and driving innovation through new technologies. Students earning their EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership online degree will complete most coursework online and will attend an annual immersion weekend held on campus at the University of Southern California. The program culminates in a dissertation and longitudinal reflective self-assessment in which students demonstrate effective application of the program’s theories and concepts.

Program Specifications

The OCL online program requires 60 units of coursework and can be completed in three to four years.

Students who currently hold a master’s degree may be admitted with advanced standing and are required to take only 43 units in order to complete the program.

View list of course descriptions for the 43 unit curriculum

Students who do not have a master’s degree but have substantial work and leadership experience will be required to complete the full 60 units of coursework over four years.

View list of course descriptions for the 60 unit curriculum


Successful leaders know how to foster and sustain conditions within organizations that support continuous improvement. The OCL online program curriculum focuses on preparing leaders who can facilitate conditions for organizational learning in order to create organizations that will be effective, adaptable and competitive.

Graduates will be equipped with the experience and expertise to:

  • Use principles and practices of learning and motivation to supervise others.
  • Drive innovation through technology-enabled and blended-learning formats.
  • Organize and deploy organizational resources, especially human and financial resources, to attain organizational goals.
  • Gather and interpret qualitative and quantitative data to assess the status of organizational priorities.
  • Create a culminating dissertation in practice that demonstrates effective application of the program’s theories and concepts.
  • Assess and reflect upon their own skill as a leader and the performance of their team(s) and organization and then modify their strategies as needed based on those data.

There are four themes that are addressed in each course. These four themes are: dispositions, leadership, problem solving and reflection.

Course theme category and description of purpose
Dispositions Develops fundamental characteristics of successful leaders, such as resilience and the courage to lead change.
Leadership Addresses key skills, such as creating environments of inclusion and transparency and establishing and communicating widely-shared visions and goals.
Problem Solving Strengthens skills in evidence-based decision-making, effective use of data, program evaluation and assessment.
Reflection Challenges students to contemplate the mission, process and outcomes of specific learning initiatives through targeted questions.

On-Campus Immersion

While coursework for the OCL online program is completed through a blend of online assignments and real-world experiences, students will be required to attend an annual immersion weekend held on the University of Southern California campus. This immersion experience will give students the opportunity to meet their classmates and professors face-to-face and complete various collaborative learning exercises designed to build essential leadership skills.


The EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership online capstone experience demonstrates students’ understanding of the materials learned throughout the OCL online program and their ability to put those skills into practice. The Capstone consists of a Dissertation, a Reflective Self-Assessment and additional coursework deliverables that represent students’ mastery of core proficiencies.

Learn More About the Capstone.


After completing the OCL online program, students will be prepared with skills and knowledge of how to become leaders in roles in public and private education, government agencies, nonprofits and education administration. Graduates of the USC Rossier OCL online program have taken on roles such as:

  • Human Resources Director
  • Non-profit Manager/Executive Director
  • Healthcare Administrator
  • Higher Education Administrator
  • Athletic Director
  • Associate Professor
  • CEO
  • Finance Director
  • Police Chief
  • Planning Director

The online doctoral program in education provides graduates with applicable experiences and skills that prepare them to take the next step in their career. Students graduate with a new network of education professionals as well as support from USC Rossier’s Career Services department.