MA, Higher Ed Leadership

Arch of Dignity, Equality and Justice

Our new MA program prepares higher education leaders through an equity-minded praxis approach to engage in transformative thinking and practice with the goal of disrupting how power, in the form of racism, classism, sexism, and related oppressions intersect to (re)produce and sustain disparate higher educational opportunities in higher education.

The Higher Education Leadership Master’s Program directly aligns and amplifies the SJSU mission and Transformation 2030 Strategic Plan by serving the educational needs of the community and the region by preparing transformative future leaders through emancipatory and experiential learning approaches in the local and regional contexts; and by conducting cutting edge research that contributes to equity-minded and justice driven approaches to theory, practice, and education while concurrently advancing standards and values of Excellence, Ethics, Entrepreneurship, and Engagement.

Program Overview

  • Official Title: MA, Higher Education Leadership
  • Format: Cohort, hybrid model with courses taught in-person and online
  • Units: 30 units
  • Start Term: Summer only
  • Program length: 14-month program (summer, fall, spring, summer)
  • Application deadline : Applications accepted November 1, 2023 until we reach a full cohort - closing April 1, 2023
  • Letters of recommendation and transcripts deadline: April 17, 2023

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

  • BA degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0, based on a 4.0 scale
  • Two letters of recommendation, with option of third letter of recommendation
  • Candidates must also meet all SJSU admissions requirements
  • A preadmissions interview is required of all candidates
  • TOEFL score of 600 and above (for international students only)
    • Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores. Minimum TOEFL scores acceptable for admission are 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (internet-based)

Program Learning Outcomes

Curriculum and Roadmaps

For more details about each of these courses, visit the SJSU Catalog website

Upcoming Info Sessions

There are currently no information sessions scheduled. Please contact the department at with any questions you may have regarding the program.

Steps to Apply

International students only: Contact WES to have your international transcripts evaluated. You will also be required to take the TOEFL test and have ETS send your official TOEFL transcript to SJSU.

Step 1 | Notify Our Department

Contact Dr. María Ledesma, Higher Educational Leadership Program Coordinator, at to make her aware of your interest.

Step 2 | Begin your Cal State Apply application

Cal State Apply application opens on November 1, 2023

Follow the instructions provided SJSU Graduate Admissions Office to apply for admission to San Jose State University via CalState Apply.

  • Program name: Educational Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, MA
  • Visit to create your application profile and pay the $70 application fee.

Step 3 | Prepare Your Documents

After creating your Cal State Apply profile, keep in mind that you will need to prepare the three following required documents before the document deadline, April 1, 2024.


Create a PDF or Word version of your most recent resume that highlights your professional and leadership experience.

Statement of Purpose 

In no more than 600 words, describe how your educational pathway has influenced and prepared you for your future professional and educational goals.

How do you see the Higher Education Leadership MA degree program in the Department of Educational Leadership helping you achieve these goals? Provide specific examples that relate to the degree program and department.

Situational Essay

In no more than 750 words, respond to the following prompt:

What value and what tools does an equity-minded approach provide higher education leaders, practitioners, and policy makers to address and disrupt inequities and injustices in educational systems?

For a reference on equity-mindedness, visit

Step 4 | Request recommendations

By the application deadline, submit two (2) letters of recommendation, third letter of recommendation optional

  • Recommendation letters may be submitted directly from your recommender to the Higher Education Leadership MA Program. At least one letter must be from someone who can attest to your academic work, such as a professor or other faculty member. The other two may be from a previous supervisor or colleague, or someone with the knowledge of your potential leadership, this might include a recent/former supervisor, faculty, advisor and/or mentor.
  • All materials from the same recommender need to be uploaded as one PDF file on the Cal State Apply portal. A notification will be sent by the Cal State Apply system to your selected recommenders prompting them to upload their recommendation materials. 

Step 5 | Submit your transcripts

Request one official transcript from each college/university where you studied and submit the official sealed transcript(s) directly from each college/university to the SJSU Graduate Admissions office at: 

Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations
San Jose State University 
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0017

If the college/university provides official electronic transcripts, the institution can email the transcripts to Questions pertaining to transcripts, GPA calculations, and application fees should be directed to

Step 6 | Submit your application

Once you submit your application via Cal State Apply, check your application status online at Your ID and PINs are provided shortly by SJSU's Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations Office after you submit your application via Cal State Apply.

The total application processing time is between five to six weeks after all necessary documents have been received by the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations Office, so we recommend that you submit your application early in the processing cycle.

Next Steps | Application review

Applicants whose files are complete will be invited to an interview to finalize the application process.

Applicants will receive an email from the Department of Educational Leadership regarding their status (i.e., acceptance) by mid May. 

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information on the Higher Education Leadership Master’s Program, we advise you visit the Department of Educational Leadership

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Dr. María Ledesma, Higher Educational Leadership Program Coordinator, at

Additional Student Resources

For information about financial aid opportunities, internship and Lurie College of Education resources, and more, visit our Student Resources webpage.