Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership

Online Application:

  • The University of San Diego Graduate School Admission Application and $45 application fee

    • Upload the following to submit your online application
      • Statement of Purpose
      • Resume
      • Recommenders’ Contact Information


An official transcript from the university where you earned your bachelor’s degree is required at the time of application.


  • Official E-Transcripts are acceptable only if emailed to
  • Transcripts from study abroad courses and transfer credits are not required.

Degrees Earned Outside of the United States:

Letters of Recommendation:

  • A minimum of two professional letters of recommendation from professors or employers


  • Current resumé or curriculum vitae

Statement of Purpose:

  • A 500-word maximum 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.

English Proficiency Exam (EPEX) Score for International Applicants:

EPEX Requirement

An official score report for the  or the  is required of all international applicants. Official score reports must be two years old or less from the time you submit your online application in order to be considered. 

Official scores can be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions,  school code: 4849.

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

Waiving out of the English Language exam requirement: The English Language Exam waiver may be requested if you:

  1. Have submitted your online application and 
  2. You meet one of the following: 
    • English is your primary language
    • You completed a 4-year bachelor's degree or 2-year master's degree, and obtained (or in the process of obtaining) a bachelor’s or master's degree in the U.S. with a minimum 3.0 GPA. 
    • You obtained your bachelor's degree in Great Britain, Canada, or Australia with an equivalent minimum 3.0 GPA. 

Be sure to promptly order official transcripts or official transcript evaluations, as they are also required to determine waiver eligibility.

If you believe you are eligible for an EPEX waiver, please email the SOLES Admissions and Outreach Office at . Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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.

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2022-23, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2022. Access the catalog of record at

Program Requirements

Leadership Core12
LEAD 540Introduction to Restorative Justice: A Global Social Movement3
LEAD 550Integral Leadership Theory3
LEAD 551Human Relations for Leaders3
LEAD 559Organizational Theory and Change 3
Research Requirement6
LEAD 547Action Research Methods I3
LEAD 552Action Research Practicum I 1.5
LEAD 553Action Research Practicum II1.5
LEAD 542PRestorative Justice Leadership in Practice (LEAD 542P may take the place of 552 & 553)
Higher Education Core9
LEAD 569Making Meaning and the Collegiate Experience3
LEAD 571History and Philosophy of Higher Education3
LEAD 594Higher Education Professional Development Seminar must take twice, for a total of 3 units to meet this requirement1.5
Higher Education Electives9
LEAD 541Restorative Justice Facilitation Skill-Building Intensive 3
LEAD 555Ethical Leadership for Global Social Justice3
LEAD 565Dynamics of Race, Gender and Culture in Higher Education3
LEAD 568IGlobal Perspectives in Higher Education3
LEAD 576Community College Leadership3
LEAD 577Higher Education Policy3
LEAD 578Higher Education Admin3
LEAD 582Women in Higher Education Leadership Summit (WHELS): Professional development and conferences3
LEAD 594Higher Education Professional Development Seminar Students in the SASC will register in 3 more units of 594, beyond the 3 units required for the HE core, which will count for 3 units of electives.1.5

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

Action Research Project or Action Research Thesis (please consult advisor and student handbook for specific requirements)


All application materials must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the final deadline in order for your application to be considered for admission.

Start Your Application

Tuition and Financial Aid

Review tuition rates, fees, and financial aid opportunities to start investing in yourself. 

Status and Decisions

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

Submit all supplemental materials to:

Office of Graduate Admissions 
University of San Diego, Manchester Hall 105
5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492

For questions about the admissions contact:

SOLES Office of Admissions and Outreach 
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 143
(619) 260-7988
Advising Appointments