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 for International Applicants:

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 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at

Program Requirements

Leadership Core12
LEAD 550Integral Leadership Theory3
LEAD 551Human Relations for Leaders3
LEAD 555Ethical Leadership for Global Social Justice3
LEAD 559Organizational Theory and Change 3
Research Requirement6
LEAD 547Action Research Methods I3
LEAD 552Action Research Methods Seminar I 1.5
LEAD 553Action Research Methods Seminar II1.5
Higher Education Core12
LEAD 569Making Meaning and the Collegiate Experience3
Select 9 units from the following:9
LEAD 565Dynamics of Race, Gender and Culture in Higher Education3
LEAD 540Introduction to Restorative Justice: A Global Social Movement3
LEAD 568IGlobal Perspectives in Higher Education3
LEAD 571History and Philosophy of Higher Education3
LEAD 576Community College Leadership3
LEAD 577Higher Education Policy3
LEAD 578Higher Education Administration3
LEAD 582Women in Higher Education Leadership Summit (WHELS): Professional development and conferences3
LEAD 594Higher Education Professional Development Seminar (may take for a total of 3 units to meet this requirement)1.5
Internship (Practical Experience)3
LEAD 594Higher Education Professional Development Seminar (must take for a total of 3 units to meet this requirement)1.5
LEAD 598Leadership Internship3
Students may take a maximum of 6 units of LEAD 594. 3 units may be counted towards the HE Core, and 3 units may be counted towards the Internship requirement.
Electives are selected in consultation with an advisor from USD’s graduate programs.

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.

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