Doctorate in Human and Organizational Learning

The Human and Organizational Learning program offered in Washington, DC is designed to provide professionals with a foundation in relevant theories, concepts, and practices towards facilitating change initiatives and in becoming more effective leaders and decision-makers. Our students come from a variety of sectors including business, health care, military, education, federal agencies, hospitality, social services, IT and manufacturing. Approximately 25% of our students are international students. The multicultural and diverse composition of the student population provides both local and global networking opportunities.

The Human & Organizational Learning curriculum focuses on organizational issues such as strategic change, transformational leadership, individual and group learning processes, organizational development, and global and international issues. In addition to completing the required coursework, students work with an advisor to create an individually designed program around their research interests.

    Convenient Schedule: All classes are offered on weeknights - once per week, in 15-week sessions during the fall and spring semesters, allowing for students to continue working full-time while attending graduate school. Weekday evening classes allow for students to apply what they learn in their workplace the next day.

    Customized Plan of Study: The format is tailored to meet individual needs, allowing students to develop a personal plan of study. Students choose elective courses to create an individually designed program around their area of interest with options in organizational development and change; individual and collective learning processes; or, global HOL. Electives may include some courses within other departments at GW or within the Washington Metropolitan Area Consortium of Universities.


A minimum of 69 credits for students as well as and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.

Main Campus Program

Core Courses

HOL 8700 Foundations of Human and Organizational Learning
HOL 8701 Theory, Research, and Practice in Adult Learning and Development
HOL 8703 Human Systems Change
HOL 8704 Leadership Theory, Research, and Practice
HOL 8724 Creating and Planning Doctoral Research

Research methods

EDUC 8120 Group Comparison Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8122 Qualitative Research Methods
HOL 8720 Seminar: Applied Research in Human and Organizational Learning
HOL 8722 Seminar: Advanced Issues in Human and Organizational Learning

Three credits from the following:

EDUC 8100 Experimental Courses
EDUC 8130 Survey Research Methods
EDUC 8131 Case Study Research Methods
EDUC 8140 Ethnographic Research Methods
EDUC 8142 Phenomenological Research Methods
EDUC 8144 Discourse Analysis
EDUC 8170 Educational Measurement
EDUC 8171 Predictive Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8172 Multivariate Analysis
EDUC 8173 Structural Equation Modeling
EDUC 8174 Hierarchical Linear Modeling
EDUC 8175 Item Response Theory
EDUC 8177 Assessment Engineering


24 credits in elective courses selected in consultation with advisor


HOL 8998 Predissertation Seminar
HOL 8999 Dissertation Research (minimum 12 credits needed to complete requirement)

Successful completion of comprehensive exam required
Approved dissertation proposal required

Career Outlook


Students graduate from the program prepared to lead in multiple settings. Our recent graduates include:

  • Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Capitol One
  • Chief of Civilian Talent Development , US Army
  • VP Global Learning & Leadership, Marriott
  • Chief Learning Officer, Deloitte
  • Director, Leadership Coaching, Center of Excellence
  • Instructional Design Leader, IBM
  • Leadership Instructor, US Air Force

Find challenges solved with innovation and well executed strategy, and you will find a GSEHD HOL leader.


Program Entry: Fall, Summer
Prerequisites: Master's Degree
Campus: Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC Campus

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (academic and/or professional)
  • Transcripts (unofficial)
  • Standardized Test Scores (GRE or MAT or GMAT)
  • Application Fee

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.

(202) 994-5835
Associate Professor
(571) 553-3763
Associate Professor
(202) 994-7188
Associate Professor
(202) 994-8649
Associate Professor
(571) 553-3786
Visiting Assistant Professor
(202) 994-5760
Associate Professor
(571) 553-3787
Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Doctorate in Human and Organizational Learning program located on campus (202-994-3023).

In the News

GSEHD doctoral student Chilanay Safarli (Human and Organizational Learning) from Azerbaijan collaborated with GW's International Services Office (ISO) to organize the Azerbaijani Cultural Celebration at the GW Museum and Textile Museum. GSEHD doctoral student and ISO Director Jennifer Donaghue (Higher Education Administration) offered the welcome remarks. Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States, Elin Suleymanov and Chairman of the State Committee on Work with Diaspora, Fuad Muradov gave speeches as well. The event included a presentation about the Azerbaijani culture by Chilanay and GW student Yashar Aliyev, an opportunity to taste Azerbaijani food, a dance performance by children from Azerbaijani School at Georgetown, and a chance to see the Azerbaijani carpet exhibition at the Textile Museum.

The event was covered by Azerbaijani media.

Human and Organizational Learning program representatives participated in the 17th International Asian Conference of the Academy of Human Resource Development in Bangkok, Thailand:

  • Dr. Maria Cseh organized and participated in an expert panel discussion with GSEHD alumnus Dr. Oliver (“Ozzie”) S. Crocco (Ed.D., Human and Organizational Learning) and other colleagues entitled, "Preparing HRD Professionals for the Global Workplace: A Holistic Learning and Development Approach." The session was focused on the importance of global competence in today’s organizations.
  • Dr. Cseh, Dr. Crocco, and GSEHD doctoral student Chilanay Safarli (Ed.D., Human and Organizational Learning), presented the paper, “The Quest for Indigenous Knowledge, Theory and Practice: Implications for Global Human Resource Development.”
  • Dr. Crocco also presented with his colleague Dr. Oleksandr Tkachenko from the University of New Mexico the paper entitled, “Human Resource Development in ASEAN: Are We Ready to Discuss the Concept of Regional Human Resource Development.”
  • In addition on this trip, Dr. Cseh and Dr. Crocco conducted workshops on “Publishing in peer-reviewed journals and presenting at international conferences” for faculty and doctoral students and on “Cross-cultural Communication in Business Environments and Global Competence Development” for students at the International College, Payap University, and the Far Eastern University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Dr. Shaista E. Khilji's article, co-authored with GSEHD alumna Dr. Kelly Pumroy, (Ed.D., Human and Organizational Learning and a part time OLL faculty), was accepted for publication in Gender, Work and Organization. Titled, "We are strong, we are resilient- the career experiences of women engineers," this article hopes to illuminate persistence of male perspective in organizational literature and practice to promote a perspective of women as strong and resilient professionals.

Dr. Ellen Scully-Russ was the lead co-editor of the recent volume of New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, entitled Update on Informal and Incidental Learning Theory. She co-edited the volume with Drs. Aliki Nicholadies and Karen Watkins of the University of Georgia and Dr. Victoria Marsick of Teachers College. Dr. Scully-Russ also co-authored two chapters, including "Sowing the Seeds of Change: Equitable Food Initiative through the lens of Vygotsky's Cultural Historic Development Theory" with Kevin Boyle, and "Connections, Questions, Controversies and the Potential Paths Forward" with Dr. Nicholodies. GSEHD doctoral candidate Ximena Vidal De Col (Human and Organizational Learning) was the Editorial Assistant on this project.

GSEHD alumnus Dr. Michael Callanan (Ed.D, Human and Organizational Learning) and Dr. Andrea Casey won the Best Paper Award in the Healthcare and Public Sector Management Track at the Irish Academy of Management Annual Conference in Cork, Ireland on September 3, 2018. Their paper is entitled, Doctor’s Orders: Shifting Power Relations in the Practice of Medicine in a US Hospital.