A doctorate for leaders and doers
While a traditional Ph.D. usually prepares graduates for academic positions, the PhilD is for practitioners and integrates philanthropy, leadership and inquiry. PhilD students and graduates will wield cutting-edge leadership tools and creative applications of existing research, scholarship, and data to help solve some of society’s most intractable problems through philanthropy, nonprofit and cross-sectoral initiatives. The curriculum is developed by members of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s award-winning faculty. Courses focus on applying new and existing knowledge, education, global perspectives, and professional experience to produce actionable insights that advance the practice of philanthropy and deliver social impact.
The PhilD is designed for working professionals. All courses are online and asynchronous. Students take a set curriculum delivered in year-round, sequential eight-week sessions for two years, even as they develop an applied research project. In lieu of a traditional dissertation, this final project, completed and presented in the third year of the degree program, utilizes extant or new research to address a real-world problem within an organization, an area of practice, or a particular initiative that may serve as a model for other leaders and organizations.
Final applied research projects are chosen by the student in conjunction with a faculty committee of their choosing, and students have wide latitude in the substantive area of applied research, as well as the form the project takes. The projects may address such areas of interest as leadership challenges, impact evaluation, diversity imperatives, policy development and implementation, fundraising technology or global considerations in rapidly changing civil society environments. The outcome of the final applied project may take one of myriad forms, including a written report, major case study, policy plan, impact evaluation tool, or other project outcomes that can be shared and used by the student author in a professional setting for real-world problem-solving.
Leaders from a wide range of fields, including the private, government and philanthropic sectors, are encouraged to apply. Experienced leaders within the C-suite or program leadership of their nonprofit organizations, founders, philanthropists, corporate foundation executives and government leaders who work in cross-sectoral environments are all examples of prospective students for the new PhilD. Leadership through extensive volunteering, such as serving as a long-term board member or trustee, may also qualify. PhilD students will move through the program as a cohort of peers, sharing and learning from their rich and diverse backgrounds and making lifelong professional connections. This diversity of experiences, training and thought will help support a vibrant community of thinkers and doers.