Master of Arts in Leadership Studies

This 36 unit program is designed for candidates who seek to create innovative and dynamic approaches to learning and leadership. The MA offers a unique degree of freedom and flexibility in how one seeks this degree. Students are invited to examine, reflect and act on passionate concerns, working closely with faculty and fellow students, to bring theory and practice together to meet academic and professional goals.

All students in the Leadership Studies Program take five courses (15 units) in the leadership core. These courses are designed to enhance students’ understanding of leadership theory, its practical applications and the ethical dimensions of leadership–concepts we believe are universally applicable in today’s society. Students also take a 3-unit research design and methodology course and are required to take a 3-unit internship course and engage in an internship at an external site of their choosing. Finally, students will enroll in three units of Capstone Seminar.

Students also select 12 units of elective coursework that meets their specific needs and interests. Areas of specialization include:  Organizational Leadership/Consulting or Coaching. Students are also permitted to craft an individualized specialization using courses from Leadership Studies and other SOLES programs. Courses may also be selected from USD’s graduate programs with approval of advisor and program administrator.

Master of Arts in Leadership Studies

See here for basic admission requirements.

Entrance Semesters Fall, Spring and Summer
Application Deadlines Visit
Minimum Grade Point Average 3.0 (4.0 scale) in all undergraduate coursework
Standardized Admission Test Not required. Applicants at or near the minimum GPA may choose to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores to strengthen their application.
Additional Requirements An interview may be required for admission.
Statement of Purpose
Two letters of recommendation

Program Requirements

Leadership Core15
LEAD 545Survey of Leadership Theories3
LEAD 550Integral Leadership Theory3
LEAD 551Human Relations for Leaders3
LEAD 555Leadership and Ethics3
LEAD 559Leadership and Organizational Change3
Research Requirement3
LEAD 549Research Methods3
Internship (Practical Experience)3
LEAD 598Leadership Internship3
LEAD 589Capstone Seminar (Students will enroll in 1 unit of LEAD 589 in each of their last 3 semesters.)1
Electives 12
Electives are selected in consultation with an advisor from USD's graduate programs.

International Requirement

At SOLES, all masters and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally.  International experiences are approved by each student's faculty advisor and can be credit based or non-credit based activities. 

Exit Requirement

The program has an exit requirement of a research project.   

Candidates should confer with their advisor during their first year in the program regarding the selection of their exit requirement. Candidates should also refer to the guidelines noted in their Handbook.

Thesis: This option is available for candidates who plan post-master’s or doctoral work. Candidates who select this exit option will register for LEAD 595 Thesis Supervision in place of LEAD 589 Capstone Seminar. Guidelines for thesis work can be found in the Handbook. Candidates must continue to register for at least 1 unit of LEAD 595 each semester until the thesis has been approved.