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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Jun 14, 2024
2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Ph.D. Organizational Leadership

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Chicago - Los Angeles - Irvine -Washington D.C. - Online

Program Overview

Businesses large and small increasingly recognize the critical distinction between a manager and a leader-between someone who merely assigns tasks, and someone who paints a vision and then inspires employees to work effectively toward achieving it. Organizational leadership professionals work in both for-profit and nonprofit settings, helping to clearly define and communicate organizational objectives and strategy, ensuring that business processes are as effective and efficient as possible, building trust and bolstering morale, and helping each employee grow professionally and contribute meaningfully to advancing an organization’s mission. Curriculum includes coursework in leadership, research, ethics, interpersonal dynamics, and a range of electives to support each student’s unique career goals-preparing graduates to apply the principles of psychology and leadership theory in a broad range of settings, to more effectively lead individuals and organizations to success.  Graduates are able to select, implement, and manage appropriate leadership methodologies to meet individual, group and organizational needs in non-profit and for-profit settings.

Chicago, Los Angeles, Irvine, and Washington D.C.

This is a non-licensure, post-masters, 60 graduate semester hour, three (3) year degree.  This post-master’s program is offered in a unique format tailored to the needs of busy working professionals. The Executive Style program incorporates a blended approach. Courses meet on ground for one weekend (Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.) each month in the semester with readings, enhanced online discussions, papers and projects in between the on-ground sessions. Students are enrolled in two courses per semester. Students are required to pass a comprehensive exam and complete a dissertation to graduate. 


The online program meets primarily online, with two face-to-face residencies (typically on the Chicago campus). Residencies are mandatory and are required for graduation. Courses meet online in 7 week terms, six (6) terms a year, for three (3) years. Students are enrolled in one course per term. In addition, students are required to pass a comprehensive exam and to successfully complete a dissertation to graduate.  

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:

Research: evaluate studies to identify gaps and opportunities to refine the existing body of knowledge in organizational leadership and design research methodologies that may be used to further knowledge in the field of organizational leadership.

Diversity:  apply the knowledge on identity related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, religious belief, and ability, to leadership decision-making; to select interventions that acknowledge, preserve and promote diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, religious belief and ability; to revise existing interventions that are not inclusive; compare and critique policies mindful of the impact of privilege, prejudice, oppression, culture and sociopolitical structures.

Professional Behavior:  to evaluate different leadership theories with respect to their organizational fit; to apply the theories of leadership at personal, organizational and global levels; to create approaches to leadership that preserve and promote organizational effectiveness and efficiency;

Professional Practice: to apply the theories of leadership at personal, group, team, organizational and global levels;Students will be able to evaluate the effects of leadership development initiatives.

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School’s Organizational Leadership doctoral program is open to any person who has earned a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in psychology, the behavioral sciences, organizational discipline or other related field, and who meets other entrance requirements.

It is preferred that candidates have had three or more years of work experience prior to admissions.  The Graduate Record Examination is not required for admissions.  Applicants are also required to write a 500 word statement on leadership and what leadership means from both a personal and a professional perspective, as well as a statement of their research interests. Additionally, applicants will be required to submit a current Résumé/curriculum vitae, highlighting relevant work, volunteer, and research experiences.

Prior to enrolling in the program, applicants must have completed foundational courses in statistics, psychology, and organizational behavior.  Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. It is recommended that transcripts are submitted from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications.

For Distance Learning Students: In additional to the admission criteria, it is recommended that students have access to a computer that is less than three years old, a broadband or Internet connection, and the Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, and Outlook and, at minimum, the following computing skills: 

  • A comfort with basic Internet technology
  • The ability to open and attach files from and to email
  • The ability to send and receive email
  • The ability to save documents

Based on meeting these requirements, selected candidates will be invited to interview for further consideration of their application. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements.  Applications must be submitted with the $50.00 (USD) application fee in order to be evaluated.

TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students

TOEFL or IELTS:  If English is not the primary language, the student must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with the application (TOEFL School Code:  7161).  International students who received a master’s degree from a regionally accredited United States institution are exempt from this requirement.  The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based,  79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.

ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.

International credentials:  Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services ( or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc. (  In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.

International students:  International students residing in the United States may not be eligible to obtain an F-1 visa and, thus, may not enroll in this online program. 

Applicant Notification

After the initial review of all application materials, and if the Admission Committee so recommends, the candidate will be invited for an interview either face to face or via electronic means (i.e., telephone, webinar, Skype) with a member of the faculty. Interviews are by invitation only and mandatory for full consideration.  Post interview, the candidate will be notified of the Admission Committee’s decision regarding his or her application. The Chicago School does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.

If a student is offered admission and in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $500 for the on-ground program and $250 for the online program will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.

Articulation Agreements

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has established agreements between The M.A. Psychology and the Ph.D. Organizational Leadership program to allow qualified students to enter early into the doctoral program.  This agreement allows qualified students to begin their doctoral study while completing their master’s degree.  Click on this link  for details.


The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Transfer of Credit, Waiver of Courses, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Grading Scale, Grade Change Requests, Degree Completion, Degree Conferral, Minimum and Maximum Timeframe requirements, and Credit Hours per semester for Financial Aid.  Information on the Academic Success Program is located under Student Life.   

Academic Development Plans

An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the program in which the student is enrolled. When a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior, the ADP is initiated. The completion of an ADP does not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.

Student Learning Assessment

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is committed to offering the highest quality undergraduate completion program and graduate programs in applied professional disciplines. To meet TCSPP’s standard for academic quality, program learning outcomes are aligned with course learning outcomes and guide assessment.   Data collected from the results of student assessment and the aggregation of these data will inform how students are progressing towards achieving program outcomes.  

All academic programs report annual assessments of student learning and other indicators of program effectiveness as part of the Academic Program Review process.

Residency Requirements (Online Students Only)

Online students are engaged in two brief residencies (roughly three and a half days each) at one of our campuses-providing an opportunity for face-to-face interaction and networking with fellow students from around the globe who bring a wealth of diverse leadership experiences and perspectives.  At the first residency, students meet with their cohorts and faculty members and engage in focused seminars.  At the second residency, students participate in their competency exam.

Field Experience Requirements 

Students must have access to an organizational environment that will be available for use in research and reference for course work. 


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Ph.D. degree in Organizational Leadership. This program examines field of psychology from an organizational leadership perspective.  It is intended to develop professionals who can apply knowledge about principles of psychology and leadership to work more effectively with specific populations.  The program includes coursework in leadership, research, ethics, interpersonal dynamics, and a range of electives to support each student’s unique career goals preparing graduates to apply the principles of psychology and leadership theory in a broad range of settings, to more effectively lead individuals and organizations to success.  Graduates are able to select, implement, and manage appropriate leadership methodologies to meet individual, group and organizational needs in non-profit and for-profit settings.

Ethical and Professional Behavior 

Students are expected to engage in all graduate work, including but not limited to course work, research, and scholarship, with a high degree of integrity and professionalism. It is essential that students approach professional working relationships, collegial relationships, and client/partner-contact with respect. Further, students are expected to adhere to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as the “evolving universal code of ethics” (Gauthier, 2005).  Students who choose to seek employment in the field of psychology shall not work beyond their level of competence and shall not use titles governed by credentialing statutes and/or regulations unless authorized by the relevant jurisdictional authority. Students who fail to comply with ethical and professional behavior guidelines are subject to department remediation and/or referral to the Student Affairs Committee for disciplinary action and possible dismissal.

Competency Examination/Dissertation

Study in the Organizational Leadership doctoral program culminates in completion of the competency exam and dissertation completion.

Competency Examination

Every student is required to pass a Competency Examination (CE). The aim of this assessment exercise is to evaluate the student’s knowledge of theory, research, and practice. This is also an opportunity to assess the student’s ability to demonstrate this knowledge and skill in simulations in order to judge his or her abilities as a future organizational leader. The Comprehensive Examination is taken at the end of the student’s second year in the doctoral program

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.


Completion of the dissertation is an essential aspect of a students’ academic experience and professional education. It provides the school the opportunity to evaluate the student’s ability to apply Organizational Leadership theory and research and to think critically and creatively about an issue in the field.

The dissertation should clearly and concisely demonstrate the student’s command of the research in a specific area of Organizational Leadership. In the dissertation, the student will critically evaluate and synthesize relevant research and theory in the topic chosen for study. The student’s dissertation Committee is responsible for determining the appropriateness and acceptability of the dissertation proposal and for final approval of the dissertation.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

The Curriculum

Doctor of Philosophy, Organizational Leadership, Program Requirements

Intensive course work that balances theory and practice culminates in completion of the competency exam and the dissertation. Students entering post-master’s must complete 60 graduate semester hours of study:

Required Core Courses:  51 credits

Elective or Concentration Courses:  9 credits

Total Program

Ph.D. Organizational Leadership: 60 credits

Concentration: Consulting for Leaders (Online only)

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