PH.D. In Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship


The Ph.D. Program in Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship equips students to become scholar-practitioners through advanced, doctoral-level, empirical research and practical application that will enable them to develop original approaches to problems that are particularly urban.

The program targets current, aspiring, and emerging leaders and those who desire to employ critical thinking principles and practices associated with entrepreneurs. Existing leaders may desire a higher credential to enhance their credibility in the field. The program is a partnership between the University of the District of Columbia and Fielding Graduate University.


The Ph.D. Program in Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship is the only Doctoral level program of its kind in the nation. It utilizes a scholar-practitioner approach to learning and research. Upon program completion, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate analytical thinking
  • Employ empirical methods to create new knowledge and fill existing knowledge gaps
  • Analyze, reach, and defend methods, literature review, and conclusions
  • Demonstrate ethics and integrity
  • Demonstrate the ability to form work groups and teams based on strengths of individuals
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze and clearly articulate and transmit information to various audience types
  • Demonstrate the ability to adapt quickly to a situation, anticipate consequences of a course of action, and learn and grow from mistakes
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in self-directed learning
  • Demonstrate the ability to use knowledge and tools to develop new products, ideas, and applications


The following concentrations are offered in the program. Students may select one concentration or a combination of concentrations to focus their course work and dissertation.

Urban Government and Political Leadership

The Urban Government and Political Leadership concentration focuses on competencies, skills and knowledge needed in urban governmental settings, such as city or county mayoral offices, city/county government agencies, and/or state/federal government agencies. A focus will be the role of urban political and governmental leadership in addressing issues arising from multiethnic, multicultural, urban populations. This concentration will primarily build on UDC’s graduate program in Public Administration and Certification in Public Contracting, as well the David A. Clarke School of Law.

Urban Sustainability and Resilience Leadership

The Urban Sustainability and Resilience Leadership concentration focuses on competencies, skills, and knowledge needed by leaders around urban sustainability and resilience issues. Focus areas might include the role of leadership in sustainable urban planning, mitigation of urban environmental issues, and environmental justice issues where multiethnic, multicultural urban populations feel disparate impacts. The concentration will build upon UDC’s graduate program in urban sustainability as well as Fielding’s strong emphasis upon environmental and sustainability.

Urban Entrepreneurial Leadership

The Urban Entrepreneurial Leadership concentration focuses on competencies, skills, and knowledge needed by entrepreneurs and others in the for-profit sector in an urban setting. Such leaders might be entrepreneurs and/or members of local urban business associations, chambers of commerce, or other agencies or organizations in the urban business environment. This concentration may have overlapping courses, students, and faculty with the Urban Non-Governmental Organization Leadership concentration, focuses on entrepreneurial leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Urban Health Leadership (expected Fall 2021)

The Urban Health Leadership concentration focuses on competencies, skills, and knowledge needed by leaders in health and medicine-focused organizations in an urban environment. Such leaders might work in public health agencies, public and private medical centers, community health centers and other organizations. Leaders may come from both a managerial and a medical focus, but the concentration will focus on Organizational Leadership capacities for the urban health leader. This concentration draws upon UDC’s graduate programming in Health and Health Sciences.

Urban Education Leadership (expected Fall 2021)

The Urban Education Leadership concentration focuses on competencies, skills, and knowledge needed by leaders in urban higher education institutions. This concentration draws upon UDC’s programs in Education along with Fielding’s existing concentrations in Higher Education Leadership and Community College Leadership, as well as its multiple National Science Foundation-funded projects to research effective academic leadership.

Application Requirements

The deadline to apply to the fall 2021 cohort of the program is April 30, 2021. There is no spring admission into the program. The application for admission can be found here.

To qualify for admission, applicants must have a master’s degree (any field is acceptable) with a minimum GPA of 3.0. These standards align with UDC’s approach to “inclusive excellence,” and also align with Fielding’s holistic model.

Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Official Transcript(s)
  • CV or Resume
  • Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement
  • Critical Thinking Writing Sample*
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation

Standardized test scores are NOT required for admission into the program; however, potential students have the option to include such scores as part of their admissions submission.

*Applicants should submit a 500-word essay answering the following questions:
What do you see as the most critical urban issue today, and why?
What would be your approach to addressing it?

To expedite the processing of your application, it is advisable to submit your transcripts through a digital service, such as the “National Student Clearinghouse” or “Parchment.” The CV or resume , Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement, Critical Thinking Writing Sample, and letters of recommendation can be submitted, in pdf format, to and Mrs. Akua Jordan, Director, Graduate Office of Admissions, at Please copy Marshelle Hailstock, Project Coordinator, Outreach and Recruitment, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), at The $50 application fee can be paid online.

Career Options

Graduates of the program will most likely be employed in industries with a higher than average expected growth rate. These industries include:

  • Leadership and Management Consulting
  • Academia
  • Start-ups and Innovation Programs
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Public Sector: Government Leaders and Officials (e.g. Mayor, Governor)
  • CEO
  • Non-Profit Leadership
  • Competitive Intelligence Analyst
  • Research and Development (R&D)
  • New Venture Creation
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Chief Innovation Officer
  • Sustainability and Social Innovation
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Architecture and Urban Planning Firms

Cost & Financial Aid

Tuition rates for the University of the District of Columbia can be found here. Financial Aid information for the University of the District of Columbia can be found here.

Information Sessions

A program information session is scheduled for November 9, 2021, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. You may register here.

Faculty Contact

Dr. Sabine O’Hara
Program Director

For more program information or to learn more about our Distinguished Professor & PhD Program Director, visit here.


2020 Fall Research Seminar Series Virtual Event:

Fielding Graduate University

Ph.D. Student – Andrew Narva, MD Inaugural Cohort

Andrew Narva - PhD Candidate CAUSES Program

“The reason UDC’s program was of interest to me is because of its direct focus on the nation’s capital — Washington, DC is the lab. The entire program is innovative and dynamic, and it does not exist anywhere else.  Through UDC’s Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship program, I hope to forge a new career path through a more formal exploration of my lifelong interest in environmental sustainability. The opportunity to learn in a rigorous and  real-world-based program is exciting.”

For More Information

    Choose Program

    Urban Sustainability and Resilience LeadershipUrban Political/Governmental LeadershipUrban Entrepreneurship