Doctorate in Human and Organizational Learning / Executive Leadership Programs

On the way to becoming change agents, leaders, facilitators of adult learning, and designers of learning environments, students are provided with two alternative paths to earn a Doctor of Education in Human and Organizational Learning (HOL) at the George Washington University (GW). This degree takes a multidisciplinary approach by focusing on the development of rigorous research skills that inform effective decision-making through scholarly practice to impact leadership change. The doctoral degree prepares learning professionals dedicated to positive growth to challenge assumptions through critical reflection, practice, and theory, and foster group and self-directed learning in people, organizations, and systems. The HOL Department is a two-time recipient of the Academy of Human Resource Development's "Outstanding Program" Award. It is the first program in this multidisciplinary field in the United States, having been established in 1958.

Typically, students earning this degree are working professionals who are in mid- or senior-level positions. They include directors, managers, consultants, and self-employed business owners from leading organizations of varying size and type (e.g., for-profit, government, military, non-profit, community based). Students bring a variety of educational backgrounds, with degrees in fields such as business, education, health and medical sciences, engineering, and technology. Students are encouraged to form learning communities to provide collective support, promote action learning, and model a learning culture.

The doctoral degree is delivered in the following two formats:

Executive Leadership Program (ELP)

For students seeking an executive format for their graduate studies, the cohort-based Executive Leadership Program (ELP) delivers classes one weekend per month at GW's Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, VA. Of note, the ELP has a vital and active alumni network of nearly 800 senior leaders around the world.

Learn more about this program.

Human and Organizational Learning Program (HOL)

For students seeking the traditional semester format for their graduate studies, part-time or full-time enrollment is available and the program delivers classes on weekday evenings on GW's main campus in Washington, DC. In addition to completing the required course work with their peers, students work with their academic advisor to create an individually designed program around their areas of interest. In the past 40 years, the program’s alumni have served in senior leadership positions around the world.

Learn more about this program.

In the News

Dr. Andrea Casey served as an invited scholar and facilitator for the Cognition in the Rough workshop at the annual conference of the Academy of Management held August 7-11. Originally scheduled for Vancouver, this year’s conference was virtual with more than 1,500 sessions and 7,224 attendees. Cognition in the Rough is an annual session focused on helping scholars develop research papers. In addition, Dr.

Dr. Diana Burley participated in the Millennium Alliance Advisory Board's Virtual Panel Series: "Leading Effectively During COVID-19." In addition, Dr.

Dr. Diana Burley traveled to the Cybertech Global event in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she led several discussions during the week on building cyber workforce capacity. She traveled as part of the Israeli Embassy US delegation and met with a collection of universities, start-ups, larger companies and government agencies to explore potential partnership opportunities.

Dr. Mary Ottolini, MEd, Dr. Ellen Goldman, and three other physicians from Children's National Medical Center published an article entitled "Virtual Coaching and Deliberate Practice to Enhance Medical Students' Clinical Reasoning during Oral Case Presentations" in the Journal of the Maine Medical Center.

Professor Emeritus Michael Marquardt co-authored a chapter with GSEHD alumna Dr. Robin Hurst (Master's and Ed.D. in Human Resource Development), Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, entitled “Action Learning: Past, Present and Future” which will appear in the book Demystifying Action Research: An Overview of the Different Genres (Emerald Press). Dr. Marquardt also wrote a chapter entitled “Using Action Learning to Build Learning Organzations” for the Oxford Handbook of the Learning Organization (Oxford Press). In addition, he co-authored an article with GSEHD alumna Dr. Veronica Haight (Ed.D., Executive Leadership Program), Training Specialist in People Operations at Google, for The Learning Organization Journal entitled “How Chief Learning Officers Build Learning Organizations.”

For more information, please request information or contact our admission office at or 202-994-9283.