What Do You Want to Know? Frequently Asked Questions about the Ph.D./D.B.A. Program in Values-Driven Leadership

Amber Johnson Doctoral Program

Cohort 1 of the Ph.D./D.B.A. Program in Values-Driven Leadership just wrapped up their first year in the program. With champagne and generous slices of cake we toasted the 5833 pages read, 5170 pages written, and 279 hours spent in the classroom. And while we were gathered, we took time to ask the current cohort to reflect on how they made it to the program.

What were you looking for, in a doctoral program, and have you found it? we asked.

“I was looking for a few specific things in a doctoral program: I wanted a strong set of classmates and a strong curriculum with access to thought leaders in the field. It needed to fit my lifestyle because I couldn’t put my career on hold. And I wanted a program that let me explore the breadth of a topic and then find my own niche. I found all those things at Benedictine,” Jackie Woodard, Senior Vice President for RBS Financial and a member of the current cohort, told us.

What are you looking for? Below you’ll find answers to some of the questions we hear most frequently from executives considering our program. Is your top question not here? Visit www.cvdl.org/doctorate, or email us at info@cvdl.org.

What’s the difference between a Ph.D. and a D.B.A. degree?

A Ph.D. degree concludes with a scholarly dissertation based on original research. A D.B.A. degree concludes with an applied dissertation (similar to a thorough case study) based on the design and implementation of a significant change initiative.

Who is the target audience for the program?

Our primary target audience is senior business leaders with track records of success and a desire to lead profitable, sustainable, high-integrity companies with excellence. This includes CEO’s, chief officers and their direct reports, presidents and vice presidents, and heads of business groups. Professionals at the director and manager levels (or equivalent) are also encouraged to apply.

Our goal is to create a diverse cohort of highly qualified students. We consider quality and quantity of relevant work experience, emphasizing positions of major responsibility. Each application is considered on a case by case basis.

Where and when are classes held?

Classes are held at Benedictine University’s Lisle, Illinois campus one weekend a month and during an annual 8-day intensive each year. Most weekend classes are held Friday 6:30 – 9:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Some classes are held Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Classes during the 8-day intensives are held 8:00 am – 5:00 pm each day. The campus is located 30 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports.

Can this program be accomplished online?

No, this is not an online program. One of the program’s greatest strengths is the deep learning that occurs in class and elsewhere when cohort members meet face-to-face with the world’s top scholars and executives to exchange experiences and ideas at the forefront of leadership theory and practice.


Not ready for the time commitment of a doctoral program? Consider our M.S. in Values-Driven Leadership Program – designed for executives.

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