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 at the main campus location and 72 credits for students in the Executive Leadership program 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 from the following selected in consultation with advisor
HOL 6100 Special Workshop
HOL 6707 Organizational Learning
HOL 6721 Assessing the Impact of Organizational Change
HOL 6724 Increasing the Capacity to Learn
HOL 6743 Action Learning
HOL 6744 Meaningful Workplaces
HOL 6747 International and Multicultural Issues in Organizations
HOL 8101 Research and Independent Study
HOL 8721 Practicum in Human and Organizational Learning
HOL 8742 Work, Identity, and Adult Development


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 page.

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

Principal Investigator Dr. Ellen Goldman and research team member Andrea Scott (GSEHD ABD, Human and Organizational Learning) published an article in the journal Teaching and Learning in Medicine entitled Systems Thinking and Systems-Based Practice Across the Health Professions: An Inquiry Into Definitions, Teaching Practices, and Assessment about their study of system thinking teaching and assessment.

GSEHD doctoral candidate Mariela Campuzano (Human and Organizational Learning) recently published an article with Dr. Julia Storberg-Walker and Dr. Jon Werner, Professor of Management at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. The article, Promoting Your Research on Social Media: Part 1, is part of the Fall 2017 issue of New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development.

Heather Walter and Lauren Naples, GSEHD doctoral students in special education and disability studies, participated in the 5th Annual D.C. Public Health Case Challenge at the National Academy of Sciences. Along with four other GW students representing the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the School of Medicine, the GW team was awarded the Best Interprofessional Solution prize for their solution to this year's case challenge topic: Lead and Adverse Childhood Experiences: Neurological and Behavioral Consequences for Youth in the District of Columbia. This prize reflects the innovative, translational lens and cross-disciplinarity the team brought to the case solution. The team was co-advised by Dr. Beth Tuckwiller and GW ISCOPES director (and GSEHD alumna) Dr. Angela Hinzey (Ed.D., human and organizational learning). Congratulations!

Dr. Maria Cseh and GSEHD doctoral student Oliver Crocco (human and organizational learning) led a group of 12 students to Lisbon, Portugal as part of HOL 6747: International and Multicultural Issues in Organizations.

Dr. Shaista E. Khilji's case entitled Maintaining the "Single Samsung" Spirit: New Challenges in a Changing Environment has made it to Ivey Publishing's May 2017 Best Seller List. She co-authored this case with GSEHD student Chang Hwan Oh and GSEHD alumna Nisha Manikoth (Ed.D., human and organizational learning).