SOLES Graduate Pathway Program

For International Applicants

The SOLES Graduate Pathway Program is a collaborative effort between the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) and The English Language Academy at USD. The SOLES Graduate Pathway Program offers academically prepared international students the opportunity to become degree-seeking graduate students at SOLES through successful completion of an English language and graduate degree program readiness curriculum. After application review, you may be admitted conditionally by way of the SOLES Graduate Pathway ProgramTo qualify for recommendation to the SOLES Graduate Pathway Program, applicants must have a minimum TOEFL score of 75 or IELTS score of 6.

The English Language Academy (ELA) will conduct an individualized assessment of your academic aptitude, English language proficiency and college readiness at the graduate level. A personalized pathway will then be developed based on these assessments, and your progress will be closely monitored by the ELA and the SOLES Office of Admissions and Outreach throughout the program to ensure your success. The English Language Academy is certified by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), which is the highest certification awarded for English Language programs. 

To learn more about the SOLES Graduate Pathway Program, contact the SOLES Admissions and Outreach Office at

SOLES Graduate Program Pathway Plan

Step 1: Application Review & Conditional Acceptance to a USD SOLES Program

The program begins with an individualized assessment in several areas, including academic aptitude and English language proficiency. A personalized pathway will then be developed based on these assessments, and your progress will be closely monitored throughout the program to ensure success.


Conditional acceptance is granted to qualified candidates. The conditions will include participation in the USD Graduate Pathway Program in order to satisfy:

  • Achieve English Language proficiency by meeting the minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores required for admission to the intended SOLES degree program.
  • Successful completion of SOLES Graduate Pathway Program courses

Step 2: English Language Assessments & Personalized Curriculum Developed

Upon entrance to the SOLES Graduate Pathway Program, you will receive a personalized course schedule based on your English language proficiency level. USD's English Language Academy will determine your level through a six-level scale of English comprehension and competency. All courses will be located on the beautiful USD campus in San Diego, California.


  • Successful completion of designated ELA Graduate Pathway courses, with a passing grade of B or better in all required courses.

Step 3: Graduate Degree Program Readiness Assessments

You will learn the latest strategies on how to succeed as a graduate student while improving your English speaking and communication skills by:

  • Acquiring the tools to successfully meet the academic demands of your program
  • Becoming more confident, focused, and prepared for graduate-level writing and research
  • Gaining an edge for future academic success


  • Letter of recommendation from the English Language Academy academic team.

Step 4: Admission into a SOLES Graduate Degree Program 

By completing the graduate degree program readiness milestones, you will become a degree-seeking student at USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) for the next applicable entry term. In doing so, you will be prepared with the requisite language skills as well as the confidence to know you can successfully complete graduate-level coursework. You will also have made important connections to USD resources and will be on your way to becoming a successful member of the USD Alumni Network.