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Attallah College of Educational Studies

» Master of Arts in Leadership Development

Chapman's MLD program admits a new cohort each fall. The Fall 2019 priority entry deadline is February 1, 2019.

The Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies offers a pioneering Master of Arts in Leadership Development (MLD) that can be completed in 2 years. 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 Nonprofit Organizations
  • Corporations, Businesses, and Entrepreneurial Start-ups
  • Institutions of Higher Education
  • Schools and Other Educational Settings
  • Youth Organizations

The MLD 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 Attallah College: self-awareness, caring, courage, service, affirming diversity, and civic engagement, the MLD appeals to a range of professionals and educationally diverse settings.

The MLD Program Platform, developed by MLD students, contains the program's mission, creed, and core values.


To generate, empower, and sustain authentic leadership through collaboration, creative ideas and healthy practices. To inspire equitable, just and inclusive social change, locally and globally.


To cultivate courageous leadership worthy of the human spirit.

Core Values

  • Courage
  • Inspiration
  • Change
  • Affirming Diversity
  • Passion
  • Purpose
  • Justice
  • Wisdom
  • Collaboration


MLD students will take 6 core classes and 4 electives taught by faculty and experts in their field. Students can choose a standard course plan or a higher education emphasis. For a detailed discussion of courses, see the program course offerings section below.

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.

GRE Institution Code: 4047

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 this address:
Office of Graduate Admission
Chapman University
One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866

+ - Program Course Offerings

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

MLD THEORY AND PRACTICE CORE – 4 Courses (12 units)
  LEAD 505 Foundations of Leadership Development
  LEAD 607 Leadership and Organizations
  LEAD 655 Democracy and Social Change
  LEAD 688 Diversity and Community

MLD ELECTIVES (SAMPLE OFFERINGS) – 4 Courses (12 credits)
  LEAD 510 Leadership in International Contexts: Travel Course
  LEAD 526 Images of Leadership in Popular Culture
  LEAD 530 Peace Leadership
  LEAD 585 Leadership in the Eye of the Storm: Hurricane Katrina Case Study (Interterm Travel, New Orleans)
  LEAD 596 Gender and Leadership
  EDUC 644 Aesthetics and Learning (Interterm Travel, Florence, Italy)
  LEAD 661 Understanding Conflict
  LEAD 668 Leadership for Emerging Social Issues
  LEAD 669 Adult Learning and Development
  LEAD 674 Improvisation for Leadership Development
  LEAD 679 Non Profit Organizations and Leadership
  LEAD 699 Individual Study
  Higher education interest area focus
  LEAD 663 Historical Foundations in Higher Education
  LEAD 664 Student Development in Higher Education
  LEAD 665 Politics of Higher Education
  K-12 leadership focus
  EDUC 570 Pedagogies for Social Change
  EDUC 571 Educating Diverse Learners in Inclusive Classrooms
  EDUC 634 Teaching Difficult Histories, Critical Discourse, and Social Action
  EDUC 649 Educating with Multiple Technologies

MLD CAPSTONE SEQUENCE – 2 Courses (6 units)
  LEAD 662 Creative Inquiry
  LEAD 698 Leadership Capstone

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 discussion-based classes
  • Interterm and Summer classes available
  • Designed for working individuals with late afternoon and evening classes (4 pm and 7 pm time slots)
  • Independent study options in preparation for capstone
  • Majority of admitted students receive some level of financial support

+ - Why I Chose the MLD 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 GutierrezI 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 JohnstonThe 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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