How to Apply

In alignment with the Jesuit tradition of caring for the whole person, admission is based on a total review of an applicant, with careful attention to the fit between the needs of the student and the offerings of the program.

Application Deadlines

Based on desired start term

  • Spring 2025: May 31, 2024 (Open)
  • Summer 2025: October 1, 2024
  • Fall 2025: February 28, 2025

Eligibility & Criteria

  • Master's Degree from a regionally accredited U.S. school or institution (or the equivalent)
  • Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills
  • An openness to learn from and about diverse individuals, perspectives, and theories
  • Alignment with Gonzaga University's mission and Jesuit values

Application Requirements

  • Complete the Online Application and pay the Application Fee.
  • Note that if any documents have been generated using artificial intelligence (AI), your application may be denied. 

Official Transcripts

We will need official transcripts from the schools or institutions where you earned both your bachelor's and master's degrees. You only need to list those schools on your application, unless you choose to submit additional transcripts from other schools.

Transcripts are only considered official if they are sent directly from your school(s) or institution(s) to Gonzaga. Transcripts can be sent electronically to or they can be mailed to the following address:

Gonzaga University
Attn: Graduate Admissions Operations
AD Box 102
502 E. Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99258-0102

Letters of Recommendation

To consider an application complete, three letters of recommendation are required. Applicants facilitate requests for letters through the online application. References will receive an email inviting them to complete the recommendation on an applicant’s behalf. References will be asked to complete a short evaluation in addition to attaching a formal letter of recommendation.

Applicants should pick professional references from among supervisors, instructors, and colleagues who have worked with the applicant in the last five years. When possible, it is encouraged applicants include one academic letter of recommendation from a previous professor, advisor, or research colleague.

References should be able to identify which program the applicant is applying to and evaluate an applicant’s leadership, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, judgment, professional practice, and the applicant’s ability to receive feedback.

Curriculum Vitae

Applicants must submit curriculum vitae that includes comprehensive information about their formal education, professional experience, academic achievements and honors, scholarly activity, and relevant non-professional experience.

Statement of Purpose

Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose written in their own words. The statement of purpose is key in allowing the faculty to evaluate a prospective student for admission as it provides them the ability to understand who you are, what drives you, and what your goals are. Instructions for crafting your statement of purpose are below:

In 2-3 pages, please answer the following questions. Make sure to weave in your personal story and give the admissions committee an understanding of your experience, background, and worldview/values as you answer these questions.

  • Why are you interested in a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies versus other degrees, fields, and institutions? (Speak specifically to why you are interested in a Ph.D., and why in leadership studies. Discussing things such as community/organizational impact, as well as future goals are helpful here.)
  • What aspects of the Gonzaga Mission speak to you and your current and future work in your organization/community? (We are looking for “why” Gonzaga and DPLS in this question.)
  • How do you understand the terms leader, leading, and leadership? How would learning more about these concepts impact how you understand the world around you? How will/do you engage with society/community? (Consider that these are not the same concepts- so discuss how you currently understand these.)
  • How do you intentionally create community and relationships with people who have varying perspectives, beliefs, worldviews, positionalities, and experiences than you (race, ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, ability, political beliefs etc.)?

The faculty recognize the pursuit of this degree provides a transformative personal experience. However, strong statements of purpose find a way to go beyond that, clearly articulating the applicant’s commitment to social justice or their commitment to improving their community, their organization and/ or the world around them. 

Writing Sample

Applicants must provide one writing sample, created on their own, that demonstrates an ability to write an academic, citation-based format. Work from an applicant’s graduate program, current work, or published scholarly articles are acceptable. An applicant can submit up to two writing samples.

Applicants should submit 3-5 pages of their writing sample to consider this component of their application complete.

Connect With an Admissions Specialist

We strongly encourage applicants to speak to our Admissions Specialist prior to applying. Set up an appointment for a phone call here.

Military-Connected & Veteran Students

  • Currently, all active-duty military members must have permission/approval from an Education Services Officer (ESO), Military Counselor, or the Military Service prior to applying.
  • For more information on how to apply for the GI Bill and related benefits, please visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs How to Apply page.
  • Visit Gonzaga’s Military & Veteran Students for more information regarding benefits and student support.

International Applicants

In addition to the eligibility and application requirements, international students must also submit the following:

Proof of English Language Proficiency

Non-native English speaking students must present evidence of their ability to perform in doctoral studies at Gonzaga by providing one of the following:

  • Official TOEFL exam results with a minimum iBt score of 88 or higher
  • Official IETLS exam results with a minimum overall band score of 6.5 or higher
  • Transcripts showing the applicant earned their bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited university in the U.S. within the last two years. 

In lieu of the TOEFL, Gonzaga will accept satisfactory completion of the Gonzaga University’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program with a grade point average of at least 3.3 and the recommendation of the ESL faculty. A separate application process is required to participate in the ESL program. Visit our English as a Second Language page to learn more.

If you do not meet the English proficiency requirements listed above, but believe your English to be equivalent to these levels for graduate studies at Gonzaga University due to work, education or language immersion experience, please contact your Admissions Specialist.

International Transcripts 

All international students applying directly to a Gonzaga University graduate program must have each foreign transcript evaluated through an AACRAO approved, third-party evaluator. This must include the required course-by-course evaluation of all university degrees earned outside of the United States.

SpanTran is our recommended agency for obtaining this evaluation, but we will also accept evaluations from World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). 

SpanTran has created a custom application for Gonzaga students that will make sure you select the correct evaluation at a discounted rate ($150 for the evaluation). You can access their application by clicking here.

If using ECE, please request the course-by-course evaluation.
If using WES, please select the course-by-course ICAP service.  

Official transcript evaluations can be sent electronically to or you can have them mailed to:

Gonzaga University
Attn: Graduate Admissions Operations
AD Box 102
502 E. Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99258-0102

Photocopies are not accepted as official documents and may not be used for evaluation purposes.

Copy of Passport Picture Page 

International applicants must provide a copy of their current passport picture page to complete their application.


Heather Schmitt, Admissions Specialist
Call or Text: (509) 313-6240 or (866)380-5323