• MLD students working together
Attallah College of Educational Studies

» M.A. in Leadership Development

Discover leadership with a purpose at Chapman University. The Master of Arts in Leadership Development (MLD) at the Attallah College of Educational Studies is a transformative, interdisciplinary program that prepares students to engage in leadership for the common good of all. The program brings together a diverse group of students in a cohort model structure typically completed in two years. Through the MLD, students will:

  • Increase self-awareness and develop a leadership vision to implement for the common good
  • Develop leadership skills to facilitate collaboration among teams and groups with diverse identities, experiences, and perspectives 
  • Apply organizational and leadership theories and research to create system change to address small- and large-scale social challenges
  • Critically examine leadership systems and structures and create spaces for equitable organizations, communities, schools and institutions 

MLD students take six core classes and four electives taught by faculty and experts in their field. Students often focus in the areas of Learning and Development, K-12 and Higher Education, and Nonprofit Leadership. The program culminates in a year-long capstone course, where students partner with local organizations or departments on campus to complete a leadership project.

Students often select organizations that align with their current and future career goals, such as schools, community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and governmental agencies. See a list of recent MLD Capstone projects.

Why Attallah College?

  • Achieve your master’s degree with just 10 courses (30 credits) offered once a week at 4 p.m. or 7 p.m.
  • Receive personalized education with a low student-to-faculty ratio and small cohorts of working professionals
  • Engage with students and faculty in interactive, discussion-based classes
  • Participate in an optional travel study course – most recent course destinations include Costa Rica, Iceland, England, Peru, and Cambodia
  • Get first-hand experience through for-credit internships or paid Student Affairs graduate assistantships

Our Students and Alumni

Our MLD alumni have successful careers in a variety of fields and organizations, including:

  • Higher Education Administration
  • Student Affairs
  • Business and Corporate Settings
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Nonprofit Leadership
  • Government Agencies
  • Human Resources
  • Teacher Leadership
Alumni Highlight
Frank Burgess, MA '21
"The MLD program has allowed me to open my heart and mind as a leader even further than I thought imaginable. The faculty, staff, and fellow graduate students are some of the brightest and most caring leaders I have ever met. I know that my time in the MLD program will propel me to be the best leader I can be no matter where I go in this world."
Alumni Highlight
Nshyira Korankyi, MA '22
“To graduate is humbling, to have an experience that developed you at your core is life-changing, and to have students that give you purpose is priceless. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity the MLD program provided to create and structure curriculum that supported my love of learning.”
Alumni Highlight
Beth Weiner, MA '20
“Each course I took in the MLD program was impactful because the professors themselves are inspiring examples of leadership in action. I gained tremendous insights regarding organizational change through the opportunity to support an amazing local organization for my capstone project. I was even offered a job after completing the capstone!"
Alumni Highlight
Alisa Driscoll, MA '19
“I learned invaluable lessons from the faculty and my cohort that helped shape me into a better leader, manager, and person. I am also tremendously thankful for the opportunity to create an individualized program that was meaningful for me as a working professional and to be able to implement what I learned immediately with my team.”

More Information

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Application Deadlines

Priority Application Deadline: February 1, 2025

Regular Application Deadline: March 14, 2025

Please note: To be considered for fellowship opportunities, prospective students must submit their application by the priority deadline date.