Facebook pixel PhD in Global Leadership and Change | Pepperdine GSEP Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

PhD in Global Leadership and Change

Program Overview

Cost: $1,720 per EdD unit; $2,040 per PhD unit
Units: 66 units + 2 units per term until completion of dissertation
Terms: Fall
Length: 4 years
Location(s): West Los Angeles
Format: Online-Hybrid

The Doctor of Philosophy in Global Leadership and Change program prepares students to become visionary leaders and agents of change in strategy and policy for nonprofit, government, for-profit, and academic institutions.

This highly selective leadership and change Ph.D. program employs the researcher-scholar model of doctoral training, in which academics and research are conjoined. Three years of rigorous coursework incorporate national and international trips, providing students with a global perspective on leadership and policy and access to prominent global experts, followed by a one-to-two-year dissertation process*, where each student will contribute new knowledge to the field of their selected topic of research.
*Average time to completion

Program Learning Outcomes +

Request Information

Please enter your information

Quick Facts

  • $10,000+Scholarships Available
  • 2Policy Trips
  • 1International Trip
  • HybridCourse Format

Program Benefits

  • Highly selective doctoral program at the #46-ranked university in the US*
  • Outstanding faculty of scholar-practitioners with exemplary academic achievements and professional expertise
  • Global Access format (60 percent face-to-face/40 percent online) is ideal for working professionals
  • Small class sizes provide an environment for faculty mentorship
  • Cohort model enables students to build upon leadership skills while forging valuable relationships with colleagues
  • Classes conveniently located at our West Los Angeles Graduate Campus, close to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and just off the 405 freeway
  • Extensive alumni network creates influential connections with more than 20,000 professionals

* U.S. News & Report, Best Colleges Rankings, National Universities

Tuition and Scholarships

Pepperdine GSEP generously offers $5,500,000 in scholarships every year, with the majority of students receiving some form of financial assistance. An incoming GSEP student is eligible to be awarded up to $10,000 in Pepperdine scholarships.*

Total tuition $126,240
GSEP scholarships available -$10,000
Total tuition after GSEP scholarships $116,240

*GSEP scholarship amount is based on data from the 2019-2020 academic year and only includes new incoming students who received aid from Pepperdine within GSEP programs. Does not include other external forms of financial aid.


Do I need a master's degree to apply to the PhD in Leadership and Change program?

Yes, all applicants must have a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. We do not require that applicants have a master's degree in a specific field; we take a holistic approach to application review. If you are currently pursuing your master's degree, you can still apply for the program as long as your degree is posted before the doctoral program begins.

What is the required GPA?

We ask that candidates to our PhD in Leadership and Change program have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA from both their master's and baccalaureate programs; however, we review all applications holistically for individuals who show potential for success in our program. If you are concerned about your GPA, you are welcome to include a brief "GPA Statement of Explanation" with your application.

Do I have to take GRE?

All applicants are required to submit scores from the GRE or GMAT exams. This includes the general test; verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications, including standardized test scores. We do not adhere to a strict minimum score for any exam. Admission decisions are based on an applicant's potential for success in our program.

Applicants may submit a GRE Waiver Request which will be reviewed by the PhD admission committee.

Our institutional code for the GRE is 4326.

When does the program start?

The PhD in Leadership and Change program begins with a Community-Building Workshop and Orientation in August. Classes start mid-September, which will be face-to-face at our West Los Angeles Graduate Campus.

Will I be able to apply my EdD/PhD towards a post-doctoral program?

Pepperdine GSEP and the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business have partnered together for the Bridge to Business Post-Doctoral Program. This 5-month program is an online hybrid with one weekend per month at Hough Graduate School of Business in Gainesville, FL.

The Bridge to Business Post-Doctoral Program prepares and qualifies graduates for teaching and research centers in AACSB accredited schools in the world and can attain Scholarly Academics (SA) status.

Pepperdine GSEP is offering a $6K scholarship for students and alumni who enroll. Please contact your enrollment officer for details and conditions.

What does rolling admission mean?

We begin reviewing applications once the full completed application is received. It typically takes 4-5 weeks to receive an admissions decision.

If an application is received after the deadline, it will be reviewed on a space-available basis. If the program is full, the applicant will be considered for the following year.

Is there an interview process?

Yes. Qualified applicants with completed applications will be invited to participate in an interview with the program director or designee.

A writing sample and/or critical thinking assessment may be assigned to a candidate before the potential admission at the discretion of the program director.

How long does the PhD program take to complete?

The first three years of this doctoral program are dedicated to completing coursework. Following coursework, all students are required to complete their comprehensive exam and dissertation in order to graduate.

For our doctoral programs, students generally complete the programs in 3.5- 4 years, but students have up to 8 years to complete their entire program.

I am an International Applicant. What additional admission requirements do I need to submit?

Applicants who attended schools outside the United States are required to submit certified transcripts in English. Submitted transcripts must include a cumulative grade point average (GPA on a 4.0 scale, A = 4.0) that has been evaluated by a NACES member credential service (www.naces.org) such as the World Education Services, Inc. (www.wes.org) or the International Education Research Foundation (www.ierf.org)

If you have not completed your bachelor's degree at the time of application, submit a current transcript. Upon degree completion, you are required to provide official transcripts in a sealed envelope prior to enrollment.

Mailing Address:
Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology Admissions
6100 Center Drive 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA

International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a minimum passing score of 550 on the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). The computer-based TOEFL test requires a minimum passing score of 80. Information concerning the availability of this test in foreign countries can be obtained by contacting TOEFL, Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA or online at www.toefl.org. As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit a score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS exam. You can find out more at www.ielts.org

How much does the program cost?

Please visit our Financial Aid page for current information on program costs, financial aid, scholarships, and grants.

Our financial aid award packages can consist of Colleagues grants, federal direct loans, and departmental scholarship. To be eligible for the most amount of aid, we encourage all applicants to submit their FAFSA applications.

When are the policy trips?

The international policy experience and national policy trips are course requirements. The international policy trip takes place during the first summer of the program. Students will have the opportunity to explore an international location.

The national policy trip takes place in the second summer of the program in Washington D.C. Actual dates vary by year.

Where is the program offered?

The PhD in Leadership and Change program is primarily online with required meetings at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus.

When are classes held?

This program is online with face-to-face meetings two weekends per term at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus.

What is the difference between a PhD and EdD?

The PhD is research-focused while the EdD is oriented toward educational practice and the application of theory and research. Both degrees require dissertations.

What kind of job opportunities will be available to me once I graduate from this program?

Graduates of the program are likely to hold senior-level positions in NGOs, think tanks, higher education, health care, military leadership, federal and state government, and other organizations.

How can I learn more about this doctoral program?

You are welcome to attend one of our formal in-person or online information sessions. To see the upcoming schedule and to RSVP for a meeting, please visit our page on information sessions.

If you are unable to attend an information session, you are welcome to connect with the Admissions and Recruitment Team at gsep-recruitment@pepperdine.edu to schedule a personal consultation.

Contact Us

Cathy Liao

Enrollment Officer
Recruitment and Admissions
Pepperdine University
Graduate School of Education and Psychology