» Master of Arts in Leadership Development

The College of Educational Studies offers a pioneering masters in leadership development (MLD) that can be completed in 18-24 months. It is taught by exceptionally devoted and qualified faculty, who recognize that leadership depends on both local and global knowledge. 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
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Corporations, businesses, and entrepreneurial start-ups
  • Schools and other educational settings
  • Health, wellness, and athletics

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

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

Take Charge of Your Learning

The graduate leadership program is 30 units and includes a self-designed component (3-6 units) within the program allowing you to make choices and take greater charge of your own learning. The program consists of theory or foundational core of 12 units, an applied inquiry core of 6 units, an elective plan of 9 units and a leadership development capstone project of 3 units at the end.

May 2016 CES Ph.D. Graduate, Ed Rodriguez Receives Appointment!

MLD Graduate Ed Rodriguez receives appointment

Dr. Ed Rodriguez is a May 2016 graduate of the CES PhD Leadership Studies program.  His dissertation was An Action Research study that resulted in a cross generational new employment model. He serves on the MLD Advisory Council, offers mentorship and curriculum  support and been an invited guest in classes. 

Golden State Foods is pleased to announce the appointment of Ed Rodriguez to the position of Vice President, Human Resources. View Announcement

Exceptional Chapman graduates honored at Student Leadership Awards

Doti Award winners Julia Walton, left, Ahmed Younis and Cheverton Award-winner Emily Frisch, at Chapman University.

Congratulations to Ahmed Younis, who teaches about non profit organizations in the MLD program, and Emily Frisch, a current student in the MLD, who were honored at the Student Leadership Awards and featured in the Orange Country Register. Recognized at the recent Student Leadership Awards, the students come from different backgrounds and follow different dreams, but for the past few years have had a common home at Chapman. During their stay, they have forged friendships, engaged with the community and had their knowledge tempered through education to become more complete people.

The highest achievements honoring these efforts are the Cheverton Award for undergrads, named for former Chapman president Cecil Cheverton and the James L. Doti Outstanding Graduate Student Award for graduate students, named for Chapman’s current president. This year, there were two recipients of the Doti Award: Ahmed Younis and Julia Walton. The Cheverton Award was bestowed upon Emily Frisch.

Read on about these exceptional students

Chapman students enrich themselves with travel courses over interterm

MLD students Learning to cook in Italy Penny Bryan, a professor of scholarly practice at Chapman, recently returned from a interterm travel course to Florence, Italy, with 13 students. During their three-week stay, these students lived the lives of true Florentines, immersing themselves in....

Read More from the Orange County Register

Why I Chose the MLD Program

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

The Excellence of the MLD Program

MLD Alumnus 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.... read more from Nikki Schenk ‘2015

Why I Chose the MLD Program

Emma Johnston

Finding the Masters of Leadership Development was like finding a long lost pair of Rainbows, the moment you put them on you know they have always been yours! The MLD fit just right and felt so good! (haha this one is just me being silly)

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.

I feel so fortunate to have found this program as it has far exceeded any expectation I ever had of what Graduate School could be. The Masters of Leadership Development has helped me immeasurably as I continue on my journey of making a difference in this world. The MLD has not only provided me with a quality education in the fields of Leadership, Organizations, Democracy, Equity, Education and Culture, but has fostered my growth and development in becoming the person, leader, and change-maker I am meant to be. Although my time in the program is coming to an end, I know that this is only the beginning.

- Emma Johnston

Current MLD Student SPARKS Summer 2015 issue of Chapman Magazine

Ross Loehner, current MLD student, author of summer 2015 issue of Chapman Magazine

Not that anyone could ever be bored during a staff meeting at Chapman University, but somehow Chapman Magazine editors learned that Web content manager Ross Loehner ’04 (MLD ’16) does the best doodles ever. (View Chapman Blog Here)

Now Loehner’s talent for illustration is out there for all to enjoy. Click Here to view the digital version.

Admission Requirements

Graduating class of May 2015

The admission deadline for this program is on a rolling basis. Students may submit applications up to 6 weeks prior to the start of the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

  • 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

MLD Approved Program Course Offerings

All our courses are 3 graduate credits.

The required core courses are: EDUC 505, 607, 654 (until 2016) 662 (starting Spring 2016) , 655, 688 and 698.

  • The electives are: EDUC 526, 585, 599, 629, 644, 661, 663, 664, 665, 668, 669, 674, 679, 699
  • By permission of the Coordinator, for those interested in educational leadership, additional approved electives are EDUC  570, 571, 634, 649.
  • Any other course would have to be by special permission from the Program Coordinator


Contact Us

MLD faculty Kris DePedro, Penny Bryan, and Whitney McIntyre Miller

For Admissions Information Please Contact:

Laura Burns
Admission Specialist
(714) 628-7263

For Program Information Please Contact:

Penny S. Bryan, Ph.D.
MLD Faculty Coordinator
(714) 744-7658