Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies Ethical & Creative Leadership

Our Ethical and Creative Leadership (ECL) Concentration aims to prepare diverse leader-practitioners and scholars to transform organizations, communities, and societies in order to achieve equity, belongingness, and true democracy.

Ethical and creative leadership profoundly matters for a world in chaos, communities torn by difference and indifference, and lives injured by systemic injustice. Ranging across cultures and professions, our ECL concentration offers each student an interdisciplinary journey tailored to their own aspirations as leaders, culminating in a dissertation that enlightens their own leadership path as well as others. Our students learn through critical evaluation of leadership and followership philosophies and practices around the world. They are motivated to question assumptions, interrogate power structures, and create new principles and practices that meld contemporary scholarship, experiential learning, and collective imagining to help resolve the storm of crises that beset us in every sphere of life.

66 Total credits
$1095 Cost Per Credit Hour
Jan 1 Next Start Date

What you can expect from this program

  • Become a creative leader who challenges societal norms to address social issues and overcome boundaries.
  • Help create a diverse society that works for everyone in it.
  • Gain a unique perspective on the role of leaders and leadership in a changing and complex world.
  • 66 credit hour program
  • Full & part-time options
  • *Hybrid program
  • January & July start dates
  • Complete your degree in as little as 3 years

*100% online classes with a one-week residency in Cincinnati at the start of each term.


You have the option of exploring courses outside the ECL concentration or using electives for a certificate (e.g. Executive Leadership) or for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Studies specialization.

EMBEDDED CERTIFICATES - No extra time or cost to complete

Graduate certificates provide you with a distinguished addition to your Ph.D. focus. All students in the Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies have the option to pursue one of these graduate certificates embedded in the program:

  • Creative Writing
  • Design Thinking
  • Educational Leadership
  • Ethics and Philosophy
  • Executive Leadership
  • Museum Studies
  • Women’s & Gender Studies

Dissertation Information and Examples

The program supports a variety of formats for doctoral dissertations, including theoretical, historical, and interpretive research, social action research projects, empirical research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods, and creative dissertations. Here are some examples from our Ethical & Creative Leadership graduates:


  • Crudup, Larry Terrell (2021). Walk Together Children: Black Congregational Leadership-as-Social Ethic.
  • Worthen, Merritt (2020). Showing Faith through Work(s): Examining how Christian-Based Businesses are Practicing Faith in a Materialistic Society.
  • Bradbury, Douglas S. (2019). Quantum Reconciliation: A Framework for Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Inescapable Mutuality.
  • Washington, Michael A. (2019). Prince Hall Masonic Order Leader and Leadership Development.

Funding Your Future

Explore your financial aid & scholarship options. We strive to make college affordable. See what makes Union the best value.