Human Organizational Learning Cross-Disciplinary Team

Apply to the Ph.D. in Education

Human and Organizational Learning (HOL) research and scholarship takes a cross-disciplinary approach to the study and application of leadership, learning, culture, and change at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. Our goal is to prepare graduates for a wide range of human and organizational learning related research positions. Our diverse student body typically represents educational or professional backgrounds in psychology, sociology, business, the humanities, education, or the sciences.

The program of study will enable Ph.D. students to (a) conduct cross-disciplinary research on complex organizational/societal topics, and (b) develop theories and models to guide global, equitable, and sustainable organizational practices. These objectives will be met by fostering an environment of cross-disciplinary collaboration, critical thinking, and a global mindset.

Our inaugural Human and Organizational Learning Cross-Disciplinary research team will be dedicated to understanding the changing nature of working in an environment of rapid sociocultural and technological changes. Examples of research questions addressed by this team will include:

  • How do institutional environments, informal learning ecosystems, and emerging lifelong learning patterns foster innovation in global and indigenous workforce development models and framework?
  • What are the emerging learning, leadership, and change strategies in an environment driven by rapid socio-cultural and technological changes such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, virtual work, and networked organizations to foster sustainable economic and organizational models?
  • How can neuroscience and emerging findings from evolutionary biology contribute to our understanding of learning and development in organizations?
  • How can emerging evidence from the quantum realm inform new leadership, organizational, and institutional models and frameworks?
  • What are the implications of the changing nature of work on effective organizational structures and change processes, and on social equity and inclusion?



Master’s degree in psychology, sociology, business, education, the sciences, or related fields.


Official transcripts from every institution attended whether or not a degree was completed; graduate and undergraduate.

Standardized Test Scores

GRE is optional. Official GRE Test scores not older than five years. International students must also submit TOEFL scores not older than two years. TOEFL score minimum for admission is 100 on the Internet-based or 600 paper-based; IELTS of 7.0. The institutional code is 5246.

Recommendations Required

Three (3) letters of recommendation, with one preferred from a professor in the applicant’s Master’s degree program.

Statement of Purpose

An essay of 1200 words or less, through which the applicant clearly identifies the purpose in undertaking cross-disciplinary graduate study in human and organizational learning (HOL) that includes: (a) rationale for seeking a Ph.D.; (b) articulation of research interests aligned with the research questions described above; and (c) how the applicant’s background and related qualifications prepared them for this work and a research intensive career.

Curriculum Vitae

Current curriculum vitae.

Writing Sample

Applicants are required to submit a current writing sample. The sample should reflect the applicant’s abilities to articulate complex ideas and to utilize evidence in support of the arguments provided. The writing sample should also provide evidence of the applicant’s research skills and engagement with scholarship.


An interview is required. Applicants should be prepared to discuss the alignment of their research interests with those of the research questions provided above. Additional materials may be required of applicants as a result of the interview.


Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2022 start term on a case-by-case basis.  If you have questions about submitting your application, please contact our Admission Office at or at 202.994.9283.


Ph.D. Foundations of Educational Science (6 credits)

Ph.D. Pro-Seminars (6 credits))

Research Methods Core Courses (12 credits)

EDUC 8120 Group Comparison Designs and Analyses (3 credits)
EDUC 8122 Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)
Advanced Research Methods – Quantitative (3 credits)
Advanced Research Methods – Qualitative (3 credits)

HOL Core Courses (15 credits)

HOL 8100: Socio-cultural and Technological Changes in the Workplace (3 credits)
HOL 8100: Technology and the Human Mind (3 credits)
HOL 8701: Adult Learning Research, Theory and Practice (3 credits)
HOL 8703: Human Systems Change (3 credits)
HOL 8704: Leadership in Organizations (3 credits)

Cross-disciplinary Individualized Coursework (9 credits)

Graduate-level courses determined in consultation with the advisor at the time of admission. Course selections are determined by the focus of the cross-disciplinary research team and the student’s research projects and dissertation.

Dissertation Research (12 credits)

HOL 8999 Dissertation Research (12 credits)

Successful completion of the program includes the following:

  • All required coursework
  • Second-year research project
  • Comprehensive examination
  • Dissertation proposal defense
  • Dissertation defense


Casey, Andrea Associate Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Cseh, Maria Associate Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Goldman, Ellen F. Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Khilji, Shaista E. Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Korte, Russell Associate Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Nakamura, Yoshie Tomozumi Assistant Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Scully-Russ, Ellen Associate Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Storberg-Walker, Julia Associate Professor, Human and Organizational Learning