Admission Requirements

MA in Higher Education Leadership

Department of Leadership Studies

Application Checklist 

  • The University of San Diego graduate school admission application
  • One official sealed transcript from all colleges and universities attended, including community colleges. Foreign transcripts must be accompanied by a course-by-course transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES).
  • A minimum of two professional letters of recommendation from professors or employers
  • A current resumé or curriculum vitae
  • A 500-word statement of purpose. Please include a brief narrative describing yourself, your career goals and the importance of graduate study at this point in your life. In addition, please address how diversity, inclusion, and social justice influence who you are today and how you would approach your work in higher education. You may discuss influences on your intellectual development, education and cultural opportunities (or lack thereof), and the ways in which these experiences have affected you. This should not be a recording of facts already listed on the application; it should give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are and why you are applying to graduate school at the University of San Diego. If you are in a graduate program at another university, please explain why you wish to leave. 
  • International applicants only: official score reports for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Admission Requirements

Standardized Testing Requirements

  • No standardized testing is required in order to apply. Applicants who have taken the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) general test are welcome to submit scores, but this is not expected.
  • Applicants who feel that their grade point averages do not adequately represent their ability to succeed in a graduate program may find it helpful to submit GRE scores for consideration. For more information on preparing for the GRE, visit USD's Test Prep or call (619) 260-4579.

Education Requirements

  • Applicants must complete a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning the program. Applicants may apply prior to completing their bachelor's degree. In this case, please submit your most up-to-date transcripts, and if admitted, submit a second set of official transcripts after your degree is conferred.
  • The minimum cumulative grade point average is 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) in all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • This program does not have any specific prerequisite courses.

Experience Requirements

Professional experience is recommended, but not required to gain admission.

Interview Requirements

No admissions interviews will be required for this degree. Following a faculty review of completed applications, the most qualified candidates will receive offers of admission. All admitted students will be invited to USD to meet with leadership studies faculty, student affairs professionals, and current students and to interview for assistantships if interested.  Admitted students who live outside California and surrounding states (Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, or Nevada) will have the option of submitting a video and participating in a phone interview for assistantships. However, out-of-state students are strongly encouraged to attend the campus visit, if possible.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all international applicants and may only be waived if English is the applicant’s primary language or if he or she obtained a bachelor’s degree in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada or Australia.

  • TOEFL minimum scores:
    • Internet-based test: 83
    • Computer-based test: 237
    • Paper-based test: 580
  • IELTS minimum score:
    • Band score 7

Application Process

Application Deadline

All application materials, including transcripts, test score reports and letters of recommendation, must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the deadline in order for your application to be considered. View current deadlines for admission.

Application Status and Decisions

To confirm that application materials have been received or to check the status of your application, please log in to the MySanDiego portal with your applicant log-in or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (619) 260-4524. Admissions decision letters are sent via US Mail.

Submit all application materials online, or to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492

For questions about this program or the admissions requirements contact:

Office of Admissions and Outreach
School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 149

Phone: (619) 260-7988