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Leadership Studies

Saint Martin成人抖音first doctoral program is designed to empower the next generation of researchers, scholars and practitioners to make significant contributions to the field of leadership studies while addressing the pressing need for leadership in today成人抖音world. Please note: F1 and J1 status international students are not eligible for the Ph.D. program. The PhD in Leadership Studies program will have an updated curriculum in place for the next application review in February 2025 and therefore will be pausing the application process for 2024.

Why Saint Martin's University?

Saint Martin's Ph.D. in leadership studies offers:

  • Doctoral degree founded on a Benedictine liberal arts approach
  • Rigorous yet practical courses grounded in prevailing theory and a social change/transformation orientation
  • A collaborative approach to student and faculty relationships
  • Preparation for leaders to contribute to the global society
  • Close proximity to the state capitol, providing graduates local opportunities across a variety of sectors
  • Courses offered in blended online modalities
  • New cohorts begin each summer
  • Residency Week: TBD

Leadership Studies Requirements

Important: F1 and J1 status international students are not eligible for the Ph.D. program.

Applicants must submit all of the required materials for University graduate admission (see the graduate admission section of the catalog) plus the following program specific materials:

  • Master成人抖音degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation sent directly from the letter writer to the University (two of which should be from a faculty member who can speak to academic readiness for a doctoral degree)
  • A 750 word (or one and a half pages typed and double spaced) written statement of purpose in which applicants describe their preparation for the program, reasons for desiring entrance into the program, and career objectives
  • A 1,000 word (or three to five pages typed and double spaced) written scholarly response to provided article
  • Applicant interview
  • 3 to 5 years of professional work experience

In addition to the application, applicants may send forms, fees, and letters of recommendation to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
5000 Abbey Way SE
Lacey, WA 98503-7500

The curriculum will be updated in 2025 so please check back November 1, 2024.

Candidates plan courses of study in consultation with a program advisor. That course plan may not be changed without prior approval.

A student working toward a Ph.D. degree in leadership studies must be accepted as a degree candidate.

To be a degree candidate, the student must complete the following:

  • Have completed the leadership studies core curriculum with their cohort
  • Be in good standing
  • Have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.0
  • Successfully completed their expectations regarding comprehensive review of their candidacy (exam or other review established by the faculty)
  • Formed a dissertation committee (chairperson chosen and committee members identified with the chairperson)

Degree candidates must complete an approved course of 51 credit hours to secure their degree.

Leadership core curriculum (18 credits)

  • LD 801: Multi-disciplinary perspectives of leadership and practice
  • LD 802: Philosophies of knowledge, acquisition and research
  • LD 803: Political, economic and social understandings of leadership
  • LD 804: Past, present and current leadership theories 鈥 future possibilities
  • LD 805: Leadership through the lens of power, freedom and change
  • LD 806: Applied leadership practices (doctoral internship)

Concentration curriculum (15 credits)

  • Options to be determined by faculty teaching in current graduate programs and approved by your advisor/instructor. Transfer graduate credits can also count in this area.

Research curriculum (9 credits)


  • LD 810: Applied statistics and quantitative research methods
  • LD 811: Qualitative research methods

Choose one of the following (choose what is needed for dissertation)

  • LD 901: Advanced quantitative research methods, or
  • LD 902: Advanced qualitative research methods, or
  • LD 903: Action research methods, or
  • LD 904: Historical research methods

Dissertation research (9 credits)

  • LD 910: Dissertation proposal
  • LD 911: Dissertation I
  • LD 912: Dissertation II

How long does it take to complete the program?
The average time expected to complete the Ph.D. in leadership studies is two-and-a-half years for coursework with a self-paced dissertation to follow. With a full graduate load (six credits per semester and summer), it is possible to complete the program in three years (two years of intensive coursework and one year minimum for a dissertation).  

Is the program accredited?
The Ph.D. program in leadership studies is accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

What jobs will program graduates be qualified for?
After graduation, students may choose to become university or college professors, educational administrators (preschool-12 or higher education), policy analysts, ministers, local leaders, evaluators, consultants, executive coaches, or business leaders (C-suite). Being located near the state capitol offers graduates the opportunity to contribute to our greater community as leaders across a variety of sectors.

Leadership Studies at a Glance

Program Type
Main (Lacey)
Type of Instruction
College of Education and Counseling

Academic excellence

Get to know the Ph.D Program in Leadership Studies

Learn about the Ph.D. program from a student, who shares her experience in this video.

Ph.D. candidates pose in regalia at the food of the Saint Martin's grand staircase, with the college banners behind them and other graduates gathering around

First Ph.D. diplomas conferred in Saint Martin's 128-year history

SMU Leadership Studies students are professionals from many disciplines who helped build the doctoral program. Most students are full-time working professionals who study under the direction of faculty from multiple disciplines. The doctoral students also develop their leadership knowledge by associating with peers who bring governance and management experiences from a variety of fields to the classroom.

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College of Education and Counseling

The College of Education and Counseling is committed to educating dynamic, engaged, and culturally responsive leaders. Our graduates step into their schools, organizations, government agencies and nonprofits ready to engage with their communities in a way that honors and celebrates diversity in the spirit of Benedictine values. Join us in this important work - grounded in mission and driven by a vision of equitable education for all!