Ph.D. in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies

Program Director: Alexander Dawoody, Ph.D.

Program Philosophy

With an emphasis on applied and evidence-based research, the PhD program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies (SLAS) challenges students to further develop their administrative and leadership roles in the public, non-profit, or corporate organizations, as well as scholarly opportunities for those seeking employment in higher education. Through a focused approach, students are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century by providing unifying administration and leadership in an increasingly interdependent world.


Consistent with the mission of Marywood University, the Ph.D. program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies (SLAS) has as its primary goal the mastery of the administrative and leadership skills necessary for professionals working in business, education, health care, and social services. This mission aspires to engender professionals who pursue their leadership careers with a commitment to expertise, ethics, and empathy in an interconnected world.

Program Goals

  1. Develop a cross-disciplinary understanding of the administrative and leadership roles that reflect the complexity of today’s business, education, health care, and social services organizations.
  2. Examine the ethical issues related to administrative and leadership roles.
  3. Engage in interdisciplinary scientific inquiry and research to address the complex problems of today’s organizations.
  4. Advanced knowledge of ethical administrative and leadership practice.
  5. Demonstrate competence as a leader and the desire to provoke social change.

A Cross-disciplinary Approach

The Ph.D. program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies instills in students a cross- disciplinary understanding of ethical considerations related to administration and leadership. The program combines the knowledge and skills of more traditional doctorates, of strong research and instructional skills.

Marywood’s Ph.D. program is unique in its cross-disciplinary focus at the doctoral level. Emphasizing critical, multifaceted analysis of complex problems, it enables students to make creative connections across disciplines, and to learn from the synergy of multiple points of view. Furthermore, a cross-disciplinary program allows for better exploration of the complex problems and issues of the 21st century.

Graduates of the Ph.D. program are well prepared to provide administrative leader- ship in a variety of settings. The cognitive flexibility and skill developed by learning to view challenges through a cross-disciplinary lens apply readily to areas such as business, education, administration, health care, and social services.

Expert faculty from disciplines across the University are engaged in the Ph.D. program through teaching the courses, serving as dissertation mentors and committee members, and serving as qualifying examination reviewers.

Ph.D. Program Overview

The total number of credits for this program is 60, however up to 12 Master’s level course credits may be applied as electives upon the acceptance of the student into the program and based on the discretion of the Ph.D. Program Director. Transferred credits must be related to the program's field of study with grades of B or higher.

Dependent upon the number of Master’s credits transferred to the program, students can earn their doctoral degree within three years. Continuous registration each semester is required. Degree completion is expected within seven years of program entry.

Transfer of Credits

The PhD program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies (SLAS) accepts the transfer of qualified master-level credits to the program. The following conditions must apply:

  1. Up to 12 graduate credits (4 eligible courses) from an accredited institution can be transferred to the program as electives.
  2. A student must be enrolled in the program before applying for credit transfer and all credit transfer applications must be approved by the Program Director.
  3. Transferred credits must be related to the program's field of study. Practicum, field-studies, internships, and clinical courses are not considered.
  4. Grade of any transferred course must be B or higher.

Standards for Continuation

A cumulative QPA of 3.00 is the minimum for continuation in the program. Students who fail to maintain a 3.00 average in their coursework will be required to meet with the Ph.D. Program Director and a corrective action plan will be enforced. Typically, one or two semesters will be allowed for the student to re‐establish the required 3.00 average otherwise the student will be dismissed from the program. A minimum letter grade of "B-" is also required for all coursework. Continuous registration is required during fall and spring semesters. Students must successfully complete their Qualifying Seminar after the completion of their course work. Professional conduct is always expected.

Time Limitation Policy

All degree requirements must be completed within 7 years of program entry. A one-year extension of the terminal date is considered only when there is substantial evidence that the student has made regular and consistent progress toward completion of degree requirements. Requests for extensions must be made in writing to the Program Director; full documentation of serious cause must be included. If in support of the request, then the Program Director will notify the student, the Dissertation Committee Chair, and Registrar's office of the decision. This period is rarely extended and is granted only under dire circumstances.


Admissions to the PhD program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies (SLAS) at Marywood University is based on open enrollment throughout the academic year. To be considered for priority admissions, completed applications that include a Master's degree from an accredited college or university, an official transcript from each college, university, and/or professional school attended, two letters of recommendation, a reflective essay, and a resume must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions. GRE or MAT scores are not required. Additionally, for international students, a TOEFL score is required.

The Program Director will review applications and makes recommendation to accept or decline an applicant's request for admission. Students may apply for scholarship and/or assistantship awards by contacting the Director of Financial Aid in the Financial Aid Office LAC #85.

Students may elect to defer an offer of admissions by one year and have approval by the Ph.D. Program Director. After that time, the student must reapply to the program through the Graduate Admissions.

The Ph.D. Program is an online interdisciplinary program. A student may complete the program in 2 to 3 years. While enrolled in the program, students must register during Fall, and Spring semesters on full or part-time basis.


All student forms must be processed by the Program Director to ensure that they are completed and are following the program guidelines for graduation. The Program Director will serve as the academic advisor to all doctoral students.

Most of the doctoral faculty members are in various departments and colleges across the campus. Students can contact faculty using the Marywood University Staff Directory through Marywood University’s home page. Faculty members participating in any graduate group are subject to change as members join, resign, or retire.

Keep informed during your graduate career: seek out opportunities to discuss your career goals and plans for attaining them with the Ph.D. Program Director. Be aware of opportunities for social and intellectual interactions in your program and take advantage of them.

Take time to read the various publications designed to inform graduate students, e.g., the Graduate Student Handbook, Class Schedule and Registration Guide. There are also several bulletin boards across campus that contains general information about employment opportunities, fellowships, and scholarships. The Ph.D. Program web page ( also is a good resource for information.

Professional Conduct

The Ph.D. program requires students and doctoral faculty to conduct themselves as professionals. As such, students and faculty are expected to act in a manner that displays the highest regard for human dignity. This professional behavior is expected both in the classroom and other relevant professional settings.

Any student found lacking in professional conduct may be placed on probation or dismissed from the program. Students placed on probation are given one semester to rectify the problems identified in a written Corrective Action Plan. If the Program Director, in consultation with the College Dean, believes the situation has been rectified during a probationary period, then the student will be allowed to continue in the program.

If the situation is not rectified, then the student will either be recommended for dismissal or the probationary period may be extended if sufficient progress is being made to rectify the problems identified in the Corrective Action Plan and a revised Corrective Action Plan will be implemented. Additionally, in the event a conflict of interest arises between a student and a faculty member serving on a dissertation committee, the committee member should consult with the dissertation chair or in the circumstance where the conflict is with the dissertation chair, then the student should consult with the Program Director. Students are required to adhere to their relevant professional code of ethics, as well as the University’s conduct policies. Students may appeal any program

decisions following the grievance procedures of the University.

Journal of Applied Professional Studies (JAPS)

The Journal of Applied Professional Studies (JAPS) is the flagship scholarly peer-review open-access online journal of the PhD program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies. Faculty, students and researchers can submit their research articles, defended Master Thesis, PhD Qualifying Papers or Dissertations for publication at the journal. The journal also accepts research articles, defended Dissertations, and Master Thesis from students, faculty and researchers at other departments in the university as well as outside the university on local, regional, national and international levels. 

The journal emphasizes applied fields of study with a strong interdisciplinary component and practical experience. As the name indicates, "Applied Professional Studies" refers to academic disciplines that combine theory and practice-based professional learning while focusing on a body of knowledge that is more rigorously applied and established than non-professional studies.

The journal seeks a reassessment and observation of all applied professional studies. The need for interdisciplinary approaches as a key to reviving and incorporating both theory and practice is the main focus of the journal. As research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, the journal can provide opportunities for discoveries useful for local, regional, national and international collaboration, ongoing scholarly research and practical approaches to solutions. The scope of the journal is also to embrace a variety of scholarly fields including administrative studies, architecture, business and management, communication, counseling, criminal justice, education, health administration, nursing, public administration, psychology, and social work.

Acceptance for publication is subject to a peer-review process. Authors are expected to write clearly and accessibly for an international audience. No particular theories are favored.

This journal provides direct open access to its manuscripts on the basis that making research freely available to the public provides a larger opportunity for exchange of knowledge.