IUPUI Bulletins » Schools » IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI » Graduate Programs » Professional Doctoral Degree in Philanthropic Leadership (PhilD)


Professional Doctorate in Philanthropic Leadership - PhilD

Philanthropic leadership connects the notion of philanthropy as a tool for social advancement and community connection with the practice of transformational and adaptive leadership. PhilD graduates will serve as exceptional philanthropic thought leaders, practitioners, and innovators. The degree will support high-performing leaders with deeper knowledge so they can contribute to advancing philanthropy by creating pragmatic wisdom that improves outcomes, builds community and raises awareness.

Students take two years of coursework on campus, pass qualifying exams, defend a dissertation proposal, then research, write, and defend a final dissertation. Students should plan to complete coursework, pass their exams, and defend their dissertation proposal within three years of full-time enrollment. All doctoral students submit annual progress reviews to the Director of Graduate Programs and their Research Committee Chair.

Admission Eligibility

Students apply online through the IUPUI Graduate School. The program is designed for professionals who have clearly demonstrated success in leading for the public good. Learners will enter the program with a completed master’s degree and at least 5 years of meaningful leadership experience. The program will welcome learners of various backgrounds, as diversity of experience and thought will support a vibrant community of thinkers and doers. Learners with well-defined ideas for their final applied project are likely to be among the first entrants into the program. Candidates from the private, public and nonprofit sectors with demonstrated commitments to advancing the social good will be encouraged to apply.

Time to Completion

The program will be offered online with a 3-day in-person orientation at the beginning. Online courses will be asynchronous with some optional/supplemental synchronous sessions. The duration of the program will be 3 years, with 2 years of coursework and a final year of project work. Each cohort of 15- 20 students will progress through twelve 8-week courses together in the first 2 years and continue to interact intensively during the third year of project work. Faculty will be drawn from the core and affiliate faculty of the school and select virtuoso practitioners invited to teach in the program. A faculty director whose career has bridged the academy and the world of practice will be recruited to head the program. The program will require 45 credits to complete.

Degree Outcomes

To complete a “dissertation in practice,” learners will craft a final applied project, in consultation with a committee of their choosing, for a particular end that would be beneficial to the organizational or sectoral context within which learners seek to deliver social impact.

The final applied project will translate research into actionable strategies designed to solve real and complex problems. It is expected that the final applied project will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and practitioners, reflecting the pragmatic curiosity of exceptional leaders as they engage pioneers in the field. Graduates will be prepared to serve as the next cadre of innovative, senior leaders for a diversity of philanthropic arenas.

Course of Study

Year 1

  • Philanthropic Leadership Practices (P721: 3 credits, May/Jun)
  • The Landscape of Philanthropy (P722: 3 credits, Jul/Aug)
  • Cultivating Generous Societies (P723: 3 credits, Sept/Oct)
  • Domains of Philanthropic Practices (P724: 3 credits, Nov/Dec)
  • Community Collaboration, Power, Politics and Philanthropy (P725: 3 credits, Jan/Feb)
  • Applied Philanthropy Project I (P726: 3 credits, Mar/Apr)

Year 2

  • The Art & Science of Synthesis (P727: 3 credits, May/Jun)
  • Philanthropy, Justice, and Ethics (P728: 3 credits - Jul/Aug)
  • Philanthropy Practices & Policies (P729: 3 credits, Sept/Oct)
  • Data for Good (P730: 3 credits, Nov/Dec)
  • Philanthropic Leadership Case Study (P731: 3 credits, Jan/Feb)
  • Applied Philanthropy Project II (P732: 3 credits, Mar/Apr)

Year 3

  • Project research, writing and presentation (4 credits each)

Last updated: August 2022