Jun 18, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 
Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Organizational Leadership (DProf)

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John R. Goss, III, Professor of Research, Organizational and Leadership Studies
Bowman Building, Office 216B; (540) 678-4447; jgoss@su.edu

Advanced study in Organizational Leadership at Shenandoah University offers learners the opportunity to think deeply, examine thoughtfully, and understand theoretical challenges and problems facing institutions of public trust (e.g., public- and private-sector and post -secondary educational organizations). The Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) degree is appropriate for professionals who have substantive experience in their respective professional fields, which may be considered as no fewer than five (5) years in a organizational setting.  This experience will inform the shape of the individual’s program of study as well as serving as a foundation positioning learners to develop substantive skills leading to the potential to assume significant leadership roles in their professions.

A minimum of 66 credits is required in this program of study. The program is organized around a core of leadership and research courses (both theoretical and applied), complemented by courses in the learner’s concentration. This program is unique among doctoral programs in its emphasis on the application of theory to real-world problems and lived experiences. The dissertation requirement is more theoretically driven than that which is expected in the EdD in Administrative Leadership program.

The DProf is student-centered, inquiry-driven and problem-oriented. It is built around an interdisciplinary leadership and research core, with distinct program philosophy using the servant leadership model.  The program should appeal to professionals in institutions of public trust such as nonprofit service-oriented or community-based organizations, public-sector organizations, and higher education professions. The flexibility in design of a learner’s concentration courses allows for optimal learning in one’s specific area of interest. 

DProf students adhere to regulations regarding academic standing and program time limits published in the university graduate catalog. In addition to these standards, any DProf student receiving a grade below a “C” in any course will receive a letter of concern from the program head. DProf students receiving a failing grade in any course will be required to meet with the program head to discuss the circumstances leading to the awarding of that grade. Remediation plans may result. DProf students with a failing grade in any course may not sit for the qualifying examinations and may not begin or continue dissertation research until the failing grade is remediated. Doctoral students with two or more grades of “C” or below will be placed on academic probation.

Admissions Requirements

*International students seeking F-1 (student) visas are not eligible to apply to this program due to limited number of credit hours offered per term and the challenge of meeting visa requirements.

Applicants should have a minimum of 3.5 GPA in the master’s degree.

Applicants must submit an essay, not to exceed three pages, that summarizes intentions and

proposed focus of study within the program.

Applicants must submit all graduate transcripts.

Applicants must submit a one-page resume.

Applicants must contact and schedule an interview with the head of the DProf program.

Applicants must submit three recommendations: two from someone who can address the applicant’s critical thinking abilities and one from a professional who knows the applicant’s ability in the chosen field of concentration.

Transfer Credits

The DProf in Organizational Leadership is a 66-credit degree. Up to 15 transfer credits are permitted into SU doctoral programs; transfer credits are approved in consultation with the program director and/or advisor and with the Director of the School of Education and Leadership and program faculty. Students may substitute graduate courses taken at a regionally-accredited institution other than Shenandoah University for courses in the doctoral program. Such substitutions are meant to acknowledge the duplication of content only; additional courses may be required to create a viable degree program. These transfer credits are approved in consultation with the program director and/or advisor and may not have been applied in earning a previous graduate degree. Credits earned at Shenandoah University as a non-degree graduate student or in a professional studies certificate may apply to this program, based on a recommendation of the advisor. Applicants needing foundational coursework will be so advised of the necessity before they will be permitted to take advanced-level coursework.

Program Requirements

Total: 15 credits

Total: 12 credits

Total: 6 credits


Total: 18 credits

Guidelines for concentrations are commonly accepted field/profession/discipline defined knowledge areas germane to the student’s professional and/or academic objectives and are determined jointly by the student and the academic advisor, informed by the student’s professional and/or academic objectives.


Once a student registers for RST 799, they must continuously register for credits in RST 799 in Fall and Spring semesters (in consultation with the dissertation chair).  Students who fail to complete the dissertation after earning 15 credits of RST 799 will be required to remain continuously enrolled in RST 799 (one credit hour each term) until the dissertation is completed, which must occur within the 8-year time-to-degree requirement.

The final defense of the dissertation must be held (publicly), and the dissertation successfully defended, no fewer than 45 days prior to the graduation date in a given term to be eligible to graduate in a given term.  Doctoral candidates are not eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies until all the requirements for the degree are met.

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