Leadership Studies

Get inspired. Get effective. Get started.

Transform the way you work, communicate and live. Each program within the Department of Leadership Studies gives students the skills, theory and hands-on practice to lead change in organizations and communities for the better.

Explore degree programs that work across disciplines to teach listening skills, introspection, communication skills, teamwork, critical thinking and working through feedback. Take courses in Leadership and Ethics, Volunteer Engagement, Social Entrepreneurship, Nonprofit Finance and Human Relations for Leaders. Working with seasoned faculty who are both academics and practitioners, you'll gain insights on managing a group dynamic, engaging in meaningful dialogue, advocating effectively and collaborating with people who have diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

These programs serve as launchpads for professionals seeking a deeper impact as leaders and advocates. Learn to affect change within your professional or academic realm, and pursue specialized, cause-based leadership in the areas you're most passionate about.

Our Vision

To educate scholars and practitioners committed to impactful, ethical and inclusive leadership for social change.

Our Mission

Our mission is to: (1) facilitate the development of knowledge,
skills and dispositions of current and future leaders, both those with
positional power and those who exercise leadership and influence
informally; (2) contribute to advancing the study of leadership to address
the most challenging issues of our societies; and (3) provide service that
promotes equity and inclusion for social justice at local, national and
global levels to professions, communities, and the larger society.

SOLES Virtual Open House Week

Join us for our virtual program sessions hosted on October 19-23 by our highly-respected and renowned faculty. With degrees focused on educationleadershipcounseling, and therapy, SOLES offers a variety of graduate and doctoral programs designed to help you excel in your current and future careers.


Financial aid to make your SOLES education happen

A number of merit-based, memorial, and diversity scholarships are available to help our students pursue the program they're passionate about. If you want to make a difference in yourself and in the world at large, we share that goal and will help you invest in it. 

See our scholarships page and let's start working together.

justine avila


Meet Student Ambassador Justine Avila

The curriculum, student involvement opportunities, and caring environment drew Justine to apply to the MA in Leadership Studies program at USD. "I love that my courses are very hands-on, and appreciate the constant support I receive from my peers, colleagues, and professors."

Learn about Justine and our other SOLES Student Ambassadors.

Center for Restorative Justice: Repairing Harm and Rebuilding Trust

Restorative justice focuses on the harm caused by misconduct or crime, enabling those affected to identify responses that best meet their needs.

The Center for Restorative Justice promotes research, teaching, training, and technical assistance for restorative justice projects in higher education as well as K-12 schools, communities, and the criminal justice system. The Center for RJ provides:

  • Facilitator trainings on restorative practices
  • Educational resources, presentations, and coursework on best practices in restorative justice
  • Consultation and facilitation to institutions seeking a restorative response to harmful incidents
  • Networking groups/learning communities
  • Research on innovative practice and evaluation of restorative programs

SOLES' Nonprofit Institute: countless ways to make a difference

SOLES Leadership students have the opportunity to work with our Nonprofit Institute, an inspiring organization that empowers leaders and citizens to affect positive change in their communities. Their signature programs include Climate Education Partners, Nonprofit Training and Consulting and Conscious Leadership Academy.

Learn how you can get involved and build your skills as well as your impact.

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