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College of Educational Studies


» Master of Arts in Leadership Development

The MLD program admits a new cohort each Fall. The Fall 2018 entry deadline is April 1, 2018.

The College of Educational Studies offers a pioneering Masters in Leadership Development (MLD) that can be completed in 18-24 months. Our leadership program encourages students to look beyond content and task outcomes to focus on relationships and critical processes. Our graduates develop the skills to be creative and innovative in driving purposeful and sustained change. In exploring the MLD, you may see yourself collaborating with others in:

  • Governmental, Community and Non-profit Organizations
  • Corporations, Businesses, and Entrepreneurial Start-ups
  • Institutions of Higher Education
  • Schools and other educational settings
  • Youth Organizations

The masters in leadership develops leaders who are capable of shaping leadership in others and serving purposes that transcend themselves and work for the common good of all. Modeling the core values of CES: self-awareness, caring, courage, service, affirming diversity and civic engagement, the MLD appeals to a wide range of professionals and educationally, diverse settings.

Paid internship positions (one academic year) are available through Chapman University’s Department of Student Engagement. Interested students will take 3 electives in this focus area taught by Ph.D. Leadership graduates and administrators.

Master's in Leadership Development Program Platform comprised of the program's: core values, mission/purpose statement and creed.

Learn More

+ - Admission Requirements

The admission for this program follows a cohort model. We admit students for the Fall semester. Please consult the Graduate Admission page for application deadlines

  • Submit an online application
  • Statement of Intent (prompt can be found within the online application)
  • Current resume
  • Official transcripts from all degree-granting colleges/universities attended
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • $60 application fee

GPA Requirements

Students applying to the Masters in Leadership program must possess a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA. If an applicant’s GPA falls below a 3.0 students must submit one of the following test scores:

  • California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): achieve a passing score on all sections.
  • Miller Analogies Test: achieve a minimum scaled score of 404.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): achieve a minimum score on any two of the three sections; 146 Quantitative, 152 Verbal, and 4.5 Analytical Writing.

Transfer of Coursework

A maximum of six credits of graduate transfer work is allowed. (Please see the Academic Policies and Procedures section of the Academic Catalog for transfer guidelines.)

Supporting documents may be mailed to:
Office of Graduate Admission
Chapman University
One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866

+ - Program Course Offerings

Course sequence: The capstone course LEAD 698 is taken at the end of the MLD program, when all of the other core courses have been successfully completed. It should be taken alone or with an elective course if necessary. If possible, LEAD 662 should be taken in the semester prior to taking the capstone. Any other sequence requires the approval of the faculty program coordinator.

Core courses (18 credits)
LEAD 505 Foundations of Leadership Development 3
LEAD 607 Leadership and Organizations 3
LEAD 655 Democracy and Social Change 3
LEAD 662 Creative Inquiry/Self Design 3
LEAD 688 Diversity, Equity and Community 3
LEAD 698 Leadership Capstone 3

Elective courses (12 credits)
Take four of the following
EDUC 626 Images of Leadership in Literature and Film 3
EDUC 644 Aesthetics and Learning: Florence, Italy 3
EDUC 661 Understanding Conflict 3
EDUC 663 Historical Foundations for Leadership in Higher Education 3
EDUC 664 Student Development in Higher Education 3
EDUC 665 Current Challenges for Leadership in Higher Education 3
LEAD 668 Leadership for Emerging Social Issues 3
EDUC 669 Adult Development and Learning Across the Lifespan 3
LEAD 674 Improvisation for Leadership Development 3
EDUC 679 Architecture of Social Change: Building NGOs in Theory and Practice 3
EDUC 699 Individual Study 3

K-12 leadership focus
EDUC 570 Foundational Issues of Voice, Diversity, Equity and Social Justice 3
EDUC 571 Collaboration for Inclusive Schooling 3
EDUC 634 Teaching Difficult Histories, Critical Discourse and Social Action 3
EDUC 649 Educating with Multiple Technologies 3

Bridge courses to MLD and electives for matriculated students
LEAD 526 Images of Leadership in Popular Culture 3
LEAD 585 Leadership in the Eye of the Storm: Hurricane Katrina Case Study 3

The capstone includes a research paper, a project embedded within that research paper, a presentation and a poster included in that presentation.

+ - Program Highlights

  • Cohort model
  • 30 units
  • Multiple travel study opportunities
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio with personalized education
  • Interactive and engaging classes without lectures
  • Interterm and Summer classes available
  • Designed for working individuals with late afternoon and evening classes
  • Independent study in preparation for capstone
  • More than half of admitted students receive some level of financial support

+ - Why I Chose the MLD Program...

Read a few testimonials from past students regarding the Master of Arts in Leadership Development program.

Nikki Jarrod

I'm currently sitting across from my new boss on my fourth day of work. My focus is on employee development, talent brand, training, on-boarding, recruiting, employee engagement and development. I am so excited to have this role.

I am writing to you because the leadership development program (MLD) at Chapman literally has not only shaped my career path but has also made me a strong, emotionally intelligent, structured, smarter, compassionate and more efficient worker. Today I shared stories with my new boss and how my classes in democracy and understanding conflict are providing me the tools to do my job. I even shared the metaphor "leading from any chair."

I can't believe how beneficial the MLD program was not only to my career but also to my life. Every single thing I learned in the leadership program has made me a better person and also helped me land this job.

- Nikki Jarrod


Jesse Gutierrez

I chose the MLD program because it placed an emphasis on developing others around oneself. Leadership is highly valued within society, but the ability to develop leaders around you is the crucial piece lacking at times. By focusing on my interpersonal, leadership development skills I can create more
equitable spaces for those in need.

- Jesse Gutierrez

Emma Johnston

The Masters of Leadership Development at Chapman University satisfied my purpose of making a difference in this world while providing me the skills to find my path and help me grow into my potential as the change-making leader I am! I could not have chosen a better program even if I had designed it myself. Not only has the Masters in Leadership Development allowed me the space to grow and be challenged as an individual, it has provided me with the skills I need to make my dreams become a practical reality. Because of the Masters of Leadership Development, I know that I will make a difference and fulfill my purpose of being the biggest contribution to our society that I can be.

- Emma Johnston

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