Doctorate in Leadership: About the Dissertation

As part of your coursework in the Doctorate in Leadership program, you are required to complete a dissertation and defend it in person during the second campus residency. The purpose of the Creighton Dissertation in Practice is to explore a significant and complex real-world problem based within your professional practice setting and to design an evidence-based solution incorporating leadership theories, reflective practice, and an interdisciplinary focus to contribute to the greater good of the professional practice field.

Dissertation Preparation

To prepare you for the dissertation, the curriculum includes classes in research design, professional inquiry and data analysis. In addition, you will review candidacy requirements and complete a mid-program reflection paper. The goal is to make sure you understand how to use and implement accepted scholarship practices for your proposal and the dissertation itself. Courses include:

  • ILD 812 Research Design and Professional Inquiry (3 credits)
  • ILD 813 Research Design and Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • ILD 809e Leadership Seminar II: Mid-Program Reflection and Dissertation Design (2 credits)

Choosing Your Dissertation Topic

For your dissertation, your workplace will be the “laboratory” where you will conduct a structured process of inquiry, applying leadership theory to practice. You should choose an original area of inquiry seeking to investigate and improve some aspect of professional practice in this setting, as well as offering evidence-based arguments for the suggested innovations.

The dissertation committee will consider your topic for approval to make sure that:

  • You have sufficient understanding and skill to carry out the proposed research design and methodology.
  • The topic and research design are appropriate for solving the professional issue you identified.
  • You understand the necessary research and skills.

Learn about some recent topics and findings by students. View the 60-second dissertations by graduates.

Dissertation and Defense

The Doctorate in Leadership dissertation (ILD 899) provides the structure for examination of your practice in a thoughtful and systematic way. After completing at least one research methodology courses (ILD 812), you will take the first dissertation credits in faculty facilitated courses:

  • 899e (1 credit): Focuses on the dissertation in practice process in which you determine the type and topic of dissertation
  • 809 (2 credits): Focuses on the dissertation proposal process, including completion of IRB training, and Candidacy requirements

The remaining 8 credits are to be taken over the next 1-2 years, working with your chair and dissertation committee collecting data, analyzing data, presenting results, summarizing findings, drawing conclusions, and developing a plan to implement and evaluate solutions in preparation for your final paper and oral defense.

Your final presentation and oral defense (ILD 810) will take place on campus at the end of the second residency of the program.

For other questions about the dissertation requirement of the online Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Leadership, call us at 866.717.6365 to speak to a Program Manager or request more information today.