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.


Unlike cohort-based programs, the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies allows admitted students to begin during the fall, spring, or summer terms. Applications are reviewed by the doctoral faculty three times per academic year, once per term.

Update: Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies is changing their admissions deadline to provide admitted students more time to prepare for their doctoral journey. 

If you plan to start the DPLS program in Spring 2021 or Summer 2021, all application materials must be received by November 7, 2020.

Future application deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall 2021 term: April 2, 2021
  • Spring 2022 term: July 2, 2021
  • Summer 2022 term: November 7, 2021

Criteria and Requirements

Factors considered in determining admission include:

  • Completion of a Master's degree (or its 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 Materials

Each of the following items is required for applicants to be considered for acceptance into the program:

  • Completion of the online application form
  • Official transcripts from each institution college or university attended Only degrees and courses from regionally accredited institutions will be accepted.

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

  • Three letters of recommendation
    • Academic references are encouraged, but not required
  •  Writing sample
    •  Master's thesis, Master's coursework, or published articles 
  • A personal statement of up to 500 words
    • Describe your motivations and purpose for applying to the program
    • What do you hope to learn, achieve, or affect in your doctoral studies at Gonzaga?
  • An in-person, phone, or virtual interview with a program representative. This is an opportunity to:
    • Discuss questions, concerns, and considerations in preparation for embarking on a Ph.D. journey
    • Assess the relationship between an applicant's career goals and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies
    • Determine if the needs of the applicant meet the philosophy and offerings of the program

International students: See section below for additional admission requirements.

Transfer Credits

Applicants have the option to transfer up to 12 Ph.D. level credits from another college or university for coursework in which a grade of "B" or higher was awarded. The limitations on transfer credit for the doctoral program are as follows:

  • Work to be transferred must clearly be doctoral-level coursework as defined by Gonzaga University
  • Coursework must have been completed within five years prior to the date of acceptance into the Doctoral Program of Leadership Studies
  • Transfer credits will be applied as elective credits
  • The acceptance of transfer credits is under the discretion of the chairperson and faculty


Students can take up to 12 credits as a non-matriculated student before they are formally admitted to the program. Application form to apply to the program as a non-matriculated student.

International Students

Gonzaga encourages and welcomes applications from international students. In addition to the application materials required for acceptance into the DPLS program listed above, international students must also meet the following requirements:

  • Students who speak English as a second language must present evidence of English proficiency sufficient for graduate-level work, demonstrated by ONE of the following:
    • Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores
      • In lieu of the TOEFL, Gonzaga will accept satisfactory completion of the university's English as a Second Language program with a grade point average of at least 3.3 and the recommendation of the ESL faculty.
    • Earned degree from a primarily English-speaking institution 
  • Provide official transcripts from each college or university attended
    • If transcripts are not in English, applicant must provide a certified English translation
    • Photocopies are not accepted as official documents and may not be used for evaluation purposes
  • Provide copy of passport photo page
  • Submit Financial Declaration form to and include financial documentation. Options include:
    • Bank statement or a letter from your bank certifying that you have available the amount listed on your financial declaration
    • Letter from a government agency sponsor
    • Letter from a private sponsor, such as a family member, explaining that he or she will sponsor the student in his or her studies. The private sponsor must also include a bank document certifying that he or she is financially prepared to do so.

Gonzaga offers scholarships for international students.  For details go to our International Graduate Student Scholarship webpage.

For more information and to gain support through the application process, contact the International Student and Scholar Services office at

Want to connect with the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies?

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502 E. Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258
(509) 313-3485