Ph.D. in Innovative Urban Leadership

About the Ph.D. Program

In a world of constant change and mutation, God calls Christian leaders to be at the forefront of global decision-making influences and innovative processes. Those with this call provide a prophetic voice for leaders who work for harmony and peace amid the most challenging areas of our shrinking global village.

This Ph.D. program aims to equip leaders at the highest levels as scholar-practitioners. Thus equipped, they combine the ability to think critically, research thoroughly, and analyze correctly with the skills to solve problems practically. Being thus equipped, they will speak prophetically with power and authority. They will be able to influence decision-makers, just as Joseph did in the ancient Egyptian court (Gen. 41:39).

You are the right Ph.D. candidate if you:
  • Have a Master's Degree;

  • Are a seasoned or influential leader;

  • Work in ministry, business, non-profit, higher education, or government;

  • Want to become an innovative thought leader;

  • Are looking for a global network of innovative urban leaders;

  • Love using research to solve problems.

BGU's Ph.D. will provide you with:
  • A U.S. nationally accredited TRACS accredited program,

  • Collaboration, community, and contextualization,

  • Urban focus with innovation emphasis,

  • Highly qualified instructors and researchers.

Note: If you are a BGU DMin or DTL alumnus, you can be granted advanced standing upon program entrance since you have already integrated BGU’s values and perspectives. What a great opportunity to be embraced! Do not hesitate to contact Martine Audéoud or Lester Hirst if you have further questions.

Ph.D. Advisory Council

The leadership of BGU’s Ph.D. program will ensure that the focus of research-based practice permeates teaching, mentoring, and research-driven by the Ph.D. program.

  • Dr. Martine Audéoud came to BGU several years ago with the desire to develop a Ph.D. program. Her years of missionary service include Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Niger, and Haiti. Born in France, she has embedded herself in African society, becoming a global educational leader dedicated to the development of global leadership across the world.

  • Dr. Lester Hirst, the academic coordinator for our Ph.D. program, has championed leadership development in Latin America and Asia as a missionary as well as serving Compassion International on their Global Leadership Development team.

  • Dr. Claire Henry led the design team for the Ph.D. program, culminating in the approval of the new offering by the TRACS accreditation agency in November of 2019. Dr. Henry grew up in Guyana and is passionate about providing high-quality research-focused education at the Masters and Doctoral levels.

  • Dr. Paulette Jordan is a retired Air Force Logistics Officer who has been teaching at local universities in the U.S. and various countries overseas. Dr. Jordan has successfully owned and operated several small businesses and served on management teams with major corporations while being an educator at heart. She teaches several courses in the Ph.D. program and is the Director of the BGU Doctor of Transformational Leadership (DTL) program.

Ph.D. Program Outline

View the PHD Course Calendar on our Calendar Page

Ph.D. Program Worksheet (Downloadable document.)

Please contact Dr. Martine Audéoud, or email her at Dr. Martine Audéoud to set up an appointment for assistance in planning out your classes for the next few years. Use the Program Worksheet (downloadable Word document) to plan out your degree, drawing from the two-course calendars.”

Ph.D. Admission Requirements

The Ph.D. in Innovative Urban Leadership is designed to equip practitioner-scholars and thought leaders to proactively innovate in the urban context. Potential students include seasoned and emerging leaders from a variety of settings including ministry settings, business, nonprofit, higher education, and government.

The admission requirements for the Ph.D. program are as follows:
  1. Online Application

  2. Application Fee: Non-refundable $60.00

  3. Official Transcripts: Must be mailed directly from school granting the highest degree earned. (If lower degrees are not listed on the official transcript, the applicant may be asked to provide unofficial transcripts for those degrees.)[1]

  4. Three Letters of Recommendation: Of these recommendations, at least one must be from an academic source. Letters must be accompanied by recommendation forms. (BGU forms available on the website). The recommendations should focus on the applicant’s ability to do academic work, complete original research, and potential for leadership. Recommendations are accepted via email with a PDF attachment, fax, and/or mail directly from the recommender. (EU). The other two recommendations should be from one professional and one ministerial colleague.

  5. Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae

  6. Applicant Essay: Applicants will write a two to five-page narrative describing five or more years of leadership experiences and research experience that they have had. This essay will be evaluated in the areas of supervisory responsibilities, entrepreneurial initiatives, professional credentials, and the level of management position(s) within the respective organizations, and knowledge/skills in conducting research.

  7. Statement of Purpose: Applicants must submit a four-page essay addressing how the program goals coincide with the student’s personal and professional objectives. Applicants should address what their goals will be once they obtain the degree. The essay will be evaluated on the basis of content, presentation, and evidence of doctoral-level writing ability.

  8. Academic Writing Sample: Applicants are required to submit an academic writing sample.

  9. Photograph

  10. Photo Identification:
    - For all applicants: A photocopy of a valid passport (photo page).
    - For all applicants applying for a student loan/FAFSA: Proof of US citizenship or US residency (must be a US Passport or US Birth Certificate and Driver’s License or valid US residency/green card).

  11. Personal Learning Community (a minimum of three signed agreements)

  12. TOEFL Score or Waiver Request (if English is not native/first language)

[1] Academic transcripts from non-US academic institutions may be evaluated by an outside firm like Evaluation World LLC ( Any fees associated with that evaluation must be paid by the student before he/she is admitted to any BGU degree program.

Next Steps

All application materials and forms should be completed and returned to the BGU Office of Admissions. The applicant will then be invited to have an interview with two members of the Ph.D. Advisory Committee.

BGU has a rolling admissions process and complete application files are reviewed when the Academic Cabinet meets on the first Thursday of each month. If an applicant has submitted the online application, he/she enters Application Pending status. In that status, he/she has up to 9 months to submit the additional required documentation to complete the application file. Any application that is not completed within 9 months will expire and the applicant is moved to Prospect status. Applicants who have confirmed with the registrar that they intend to take classes as part of a Preliminary Period shall have one year to complete the required courses in order to continue with the Two-Step Application Process.

When the application has been approved by the Academic Dean, a letter of acceptance will be emailed to the applicant. The applicant is then asked to sign a Student Agreement in which he/she formally accepts the offer to become a BGU student and agrees to pay tuition for all courses taken at BGU, etc. At this time the applicant also submits a signed Student Statement, affirming that he/she will respect BGU’s doctrinal statement and Code of Conduct while a BGU student.

Applicants are permitted to take up to two classes (maximum 6 credits for master’s applicants or 8 credits for doctoral or Ph. D. applicants) before being admitted into a BGU degree program. Applicants must understand that they are taking these classes at their own risk since there is no guarantee of admission into the desired program. Applicants must also understand they are taking these classes at their own expense. Only accepted students may apply for BGU scholarships, which are not retroactive.

Transfer of Credits

A maximum of 28 credits of doctoral-level work within the degree focus may be transferred into the Ph.D. program at the discretion of the Academic Cabinet.

GPA Requirement

Students who have a doctorate should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Students who have a master's should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.

Ph.D. Course Format

BGU's degree programs include courses fully online conducted primarily using a Learning Management platform as well as virtual weekly Zoom meetings. As a general rule, each course will be divided into the following format:

  • A weekly journal of thoughts and learnings that the student is experiencing.

  • Weekly discussion groups on topics appropriate to the syllabus as well as weekly Zoom meetings.

  • Ongoing reading from both a list of required resources and a list of recommended readings. Many of the books are available digitally in the BGU library.

  • A global city immersion with a focus on research.

  • Individual advising and mentoring.

Ph.D. Tuition and Fees

Tuition for 60 credits at $575 per credit:

Immersion (4 credits)

$ 2,300.00

INN courses (24 credits)


Research (19 credits)


Dissertation (13 credits)

$  7,475.00

Total Tuition

$ 34,500.00

Additional Estimated Expenses

Administration Fees

$    900.00

Resource Fees

$    900.00

Currently $60 per module = $200 annually

Graduation Fee

$    450.00

Technical & Second Reader Fees

$    600.00

Cap & Gown

$    200.00

(Only if student attends ceremony)


$    200.00

Total Additional Est. Expenses

$  3,250.00



Total Estimated Cost of Ph.D. Program:

$ 37,750.00

1 **These costs are approximate for an entire program at Bakke Graduate University and incorporate projected tuition increases over the next few years. They are only estimates and not exact; however, it can give you a rough outside estimate for the total program cost.

The Additional Estimated Expenses are estimated high and reflect costs for students who live outside of the United States and/or those who will be taking courses that require more travel and lodging. Therefore, these will be variable depending on the location of a student and course choices.

Ph.D. Resources

  • Read the article of BGU Academic Dean, Dr. Bryan McCabe on online learning and community: "A big key to effective online learning is building a sense of community. All students who enter into the five academic degree programs at BGU must apply what they’re learning where they live, work, and play. By offering online learning opportunities, BGU leaders are able to stay connected to their organizations and local communities while serving as transformational change agents through meaningful interventions and research.” Read more   

  • Read about the Organizational Innovativation course taught by Dr. Paulette Jordan: "Innovation is the lifeblood of thriving organizations regardless of the commodity, products, or services they provide. This course is designed to help students develop the skills and strategic discernment to build an organizational culture that will promote innovative ideas and trends at all organizational levels, as well as challenging its participants on a personal level.” Read more 

  • Read the article of Ph.D. Program Director Dr. Martine Audéoud: "The vision as we developed this program is to equip scholar-practitioners who proactively innovate in the urban context and thought leaders who encourage a culture of innovation. Leaders will accomplish this goal as they build on demonstrated leadership practice and research skills to exemplify sustainable and regenerative leadership grounded in collaboration, community, and contextualization.” Read more

  • Read the article by Ph.D. Academic Coordinator, Dr. Les Hirst: "Pursuing a Ph.D. is usually considered to be a high-brow, very theoretical, university-focused, imminently unpractical research endeavor. That is the opposite of what BGU stands for: transformation of society focusing on urban settings, its challenges, and joys. Our vision continues unchanged: to offer quality leadership development to Kingdom leaders in urban settings around the globe.” Read more

Why Ph.D.?

  • Read the testimony of Dr. Nita Kotiuga: "I see how academia and spiritual formation, when united as a focus, transform each student, encouraging them towards bringing flourishing to God’s beautiful creation. Despite our human foibles, we together seek God’s will and work hard at maintaining a unity across all time zones because we have all been called to a unique opportunity." Read more

  • Read the story of Bekele Bedada Tulu: "In my Ph.D. research, I want to clarify principles of leadership that need to be highlighted in my context which will open the eyes on how to engage our communities on transformational leadership. The scientific research that I have already started while working on my Ph.D. will transform my own practices.” Read more

  • Read and watch the story of Lauren Speeth: "My in urban, innovative leadership. My dissertation's title is: "A geographically diverse study of educational strategies to foster environmentally conscious global leaders." I was involved in a couple of different projects that had to do with environmental education. One of them was in Ukraine and one of them was in Jordan. And they both had water education as part of it. My motivation for my research was that I've been worrying about students and their sense of environmental angst." Read more

    Watch Lauren's story HERE.