Admission Requirements

Master of Arts in Leadership Studies

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 Evaluation Services (WES).
  • Three professional letters of recommendation from professors or employers
  • A current resumé or curriculum vita
  • 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. You may discuss influences on your intellectual development, educational and cultural opportunities (or lack of them) which have been available to you, 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)

Admissions 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.

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 for admission.

Interview Requirements

After an initial review of applications to the program, the most qualified candidates will be invited to USD for a group interview with the Leadership Studies faculty. Applicants who live outside California and surrounding states (Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, or Nevada) will have the option of participating in a phone interview. However, out-of-state applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the on-campus group interview, 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 Deadlines

The MALS program only admits student to start in the Fall semester. However, we will consider early applications in the Fall in October and November as well as in January. If the program fills prior to any application deadline, we reserve the right to cease taking applications. For individuals who wish to be considered for Department of Leadership Studies scholarship funding, we recommend submitting complete applications by the earliest deadline to receive full consideration for the Dean's Merit Scholarship. Prospective students seeking other scholarships and loans should contact the Office of Financial Aid for financial aid deadlines and submit their applications accordingly.

Please keep in mind that we only admit students to begin in the Fall semester. We do not admit for Spring semester starts.

Priority Deadlines for Fall 2015:

  • October 15, 2014: Complete applications by this deadline will be reviewed, interviews will be conducted (as needed) and decisions will be made by November 20, 2014.  Applicants will be required to make their admissions confirmation deposit no later than December 20, 2014.
  • November 20, 2014: Complete applications by this deadline will be reviewed, interviews will be conducted (as needed) and decisions will be made by January 10, 2015.  Applicants will be required to make their admissions confirmation deposit no later than February 10, 2015.
  • January 15, 2015: Complete applications by this deadline will be reviewed, interviews will be conducted (as needed) and decisions will be made by February 28, 2015.  Applicants will be required to make their admissions confirmation deposit no later than March 30, 2015.


Final Deadline (space permitting):

  • April 1, 2015: Complete applications by the date will be reviewed, interviews will be conducted (as needed) and decisions will be made by May 15, 2015.  Applicants will be required to make their admissions confirmation deposit no later than June 15, 2015.

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

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
Email: grads@sandiego.edu

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
Email: solesadmissions@sandiego.edu