Doctoral programs in organizational leadership look at leadership from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Top programs at the doctoral level prepare graduates to assume leadership in academia and in research. The best doctoral programs in organizational leadership stand out for their opportunities for students and for their parent university’s reputation for notable faculty, university impact, academic rigor and faculty publications, according to major ranking organizations such as the Times Higher Education or “U.S. News & World Report.” These programs challenge students to excel, expanding their perspective on organizational leadership.

Stanford University

Stanford University Graduate School of Business of Stanford, Calif., offers the Ph.D. in organizational behavior. In 2013, Stanford ranked second by “U.S. News & World Report” for top business schools, third in world universities by the Ranking Web of Universities, or Webometrics, and fourth by Times Higher Education, with three faculty Nobel laureates for economics and multiple recipients of other awards. The Stanford program stands out for its broad interdisciplinary and research focus. The program is highly selective, with micro- and macro-organizational behavior subareas. In addition, students can access an extensive network of research resources, such as the school’s research centers in leadership, global business and social innovation.

Harvard University

Harvard University Business School of Cambridge, Mass., offers the Ph.D. in organizational behavior. In 2013, Harvard ranked number one according to “U.S. News & World Report” and Webometrics and second according to Times Higher Education, with multiple Noble laureates and recipients of other medals for economics. The program stands out for its scholarly emphasis that bridges the gap between research, theory and actual organizational behavior, in a program that is taught by faculty with a wide-range of interests, such as decision making and economic sociology. Students specialize in micro-organizational behavior or sociology, plus all students have a required one-term teaching assignment and work as an apprentice to a faculty member for skills and experience in research.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management at Cambridge, Mass., offers a Ph.D. with a concentration in behavior and policy sciences. In 2013, MIT ranked fourth according to “U.S. News & World Report,” second according to Webometrics and fifth according to Times Higher Education, with multiple awards, including the Nobel Prize for economics. The Ph.D. program stands out for its rigorous approach to research that prepares scholars who will lead in productive research. The program is intense and highly individualized with research concentrations such as economic sociology, organization studies or global economics and management. Students complete their course work within the Sloan School, MIT or at Harvard University.

Northwestern University

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University of Evanston, Ill., offers a Ph.D. in management and organizations. In 2013, Northwestern University ranked fourth according to “U.S. News & World Report,” 22nd according to Times Higher Education, and 50th according to Webometrics with multiple faculty awards in research and teaching. The doctoral program stands out for its academic rigor, insight into the business environment and a culture of collaboration. Designed for students who want to study business and nonprofit organizations from a sociological perspective, the program intersects economics and sociology. Students engage in research projects throughout the program where they often intern with faculty, teach master's level courses and play a leadership role alongside faculty.