MS in Leadership Development

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Application Process

Drake University’s Masters of Science in Leadership Development (MSLD) program is designed to serve emerging and aspiring leaders who are interested in developing their leadership ability or developing the leadership capacity of others. Whether you’re interested in executive coaching or organizational leadership, explore the program!‌

Creating a balance between work, life, and school can be challenging.  Courses in the MSLD program are offered in a weekend format offering you the flexibility to maintain this balance.  With entry points throughout the year and each course taking three non-consecutive weekends, Drake makes it convenient for you to enroll, attend classes and complete your advanced degree.  Some courses may be taken online offering additional convenience to students.  

Applicants to the Master of Science of Leadership Development must hold a bachelor’s degree.  Additionally, applicants must  have completed the degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. If you do not meet the minimum GPA criteria, please contact the Coordinator of Graduate Admissions for further assistance.  It is important to note that all application materials support the admissions decision including the statement of interest, resume, professional experience, and recommendations.  Applicants may also be asked to interview.

Students may be eligible to complete six to seven credit hours before being admitted to this program. Please contact the Coordinator of Graduate Admission for more details.

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Application materials required for an admission review include:

Application for Admission

Complete and digitally sign our online Application for Admission.

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

A current professional résumé or curriculum vitae is required. Please include information regarding current and/or past employment history as well as professional development and internships completed.

Statement of Interest

A statement of interest (double-spaced, approximately two pages) is required.  The statement of interest should address the following questions:  

  • What drives you to pursue an advanced degree in leadership development?  
  • What particularly intrigues you or interests you about the MSLD program?  Visit for additional information?  
  • How does your background, experiences, or personal characteristics (for example, values, traits, or motivations) help you be successful as a graduate student?
  • How does the MSLD support your personal and professional goals?  

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendations are required. When selecting your references, choose individuals such as professors and employers who can attest to your potential for success in a graduate program.

You will enter the names and email contacts for your two references into the online application. Your references will be contacted electronically with directions for submitting our letter of recommendation form on your behalf.

Official Transcripts

We require official transcripts from:

  • Any institution where you earned (or will earn) a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Any institution where you earned a post-bachelor’s (graduate) degree.
  • Any institution where you earned credit you would like considered toward an endorsement or graduate degree.
  • Upon application review, you may be required to provide additional transcripts, including those with courses taken while in high school or at a community college.

Official transcripts are designated as those coming directly from the university or college of attendance to Drake University.
Official transcripts may be sent via secure electronic transmission from the issuing institution to or via postal mail to:
Coordinator of Graduate Admission
School of Education – Drake University
Collier-Scripps Hall – Rm 221
2702 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Transcripts and other supporting materials are not returned to the applicant and become the property of Drake University.

No Testing Requirement

No standardized test is required to complete the MSLD degree.  

Writing Sample Requirement

The essay requirement is automatically waived if your overall undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or higher.  

A writing sample of 2-3 pages, double spaced, addressing one of the two prompts identified below is required.  There are no right or wrong answers. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate your ability to express and support your ideas.  No specific number of sources is required but please clearly cite any sources used.  

Email the essay to the Coordinator of Graduate Admission,  


A common leadership image is that of a visionary and charismatic hero, one who can guide followers to an exciting future.  For example, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner state:  

Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future. Kouzes & Posner, 2017, para. 4. 

Do you agree or disagree with this image of a leader? Please justify your answer. 

Source: Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2017). The five practices of exemplary leadership model. Retrieved from


Pick a quote related to leadership that means something to you.  Please explain:

  • Why you find that quote particularly appealing or intriguing
  • How the quote relates to your own leadership style or the leadership style you admire in others

International Candidates

Academic records and examination results must be submitted to Drake University in official form, which will differ from country to country. Faxed transcripts and transcripts photocopied without a fresh seal from the secondary or post-secondary school are not considered official records, and an admission decision cannot be made until the official records are submitted. Any translated record should be a literal translation, not an interpretative one, and should be accompanied by the original-language record. Both records should be freshly certified by the school, not by notaries or translators. 

Original or certified copies of academic records or transcripts in official form from all institutions attended, including exam results, must be submitted by the educational institution directly to Drake University either by mail or electronically. Candidates are also required to submit an official course-by-course credential evaluation for each international institution attended through World Education Services. 

Official records may be sent via secure electronic transmission from the issuing institution to or via postal mail to: 

Coordinator of Graduate Admission
School of Education – Drake University
Collier-Scripps Hall – Rm 221
2702 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit official evidence of language proficiency from one of the following exams. The minimum scores accepted are:

  • Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) 79
  • IELTS 6.6
  • DuoLingo English Test 110 

Scores dated within the last two years are acceptable and must be reported directly from the testing agency. Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the international equivalent degree from a university of recognized standing in a country in which all instruction is provided in English. 



Coordinator of Graduate Admission

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