For Prospective Students


Our Program    

About SSLS  
Admission Criteria  
Program Philosophy 

Courses and Registration

Registration Guide 
Course Schedule   
Course Catalog 
Curriculum Charts

What to Expect:

The School of Strategic Leadership Studies offers a rigorous, cross-disciplinary program that includes courses in business, statistics and research, leadership theory, ethics, assessment, finance, and topics specific to each concentration.  The curriculum includes an externship and research project, which are described in detail in the Handbook.

What Can I Do with a Ph.D. in Strategic Leadership?

Applicants choose from 3 possible tracks:


Postsecondary Analysis & Leadership
Graduates of this concentration are prepared to advance their careers in postsecondary administration, educational research, education policy, postsecondary instruction, and consulting. 

Nonprofit & Community Leadership
This program of study will prepare you for positions of nonprofit management, community leadership, consulting, research, or teaching on the postsecondary level.  Popular topics of focus include nonprofit governance, philanthropy, innovation in nonprofits, and international NGOs.

Does This Program Accommodate a Busy Schedule?

While this is a very rigorous program, most of our students are employed full-time.  Most students enroll in two courses per term, although it is possible to enroll as a full-tim student (3 courses per term) or take only one course during some semesters.  Whenever possible, courses are taught in late afternoons and evenings, and summer courses are available.  Of the required MBA courses, some are offered online, and some are offered in 8-week sessions, so that two courses may be completed consecutively in a semester.  See the Course Schedule for details.

What Else Would Be Helpful to Know?

The program consists of 66 credits, including 12 credits of dissertation, which extends over several terms.  See the Course Catalog for details.

You may transfer up to 9 credits from an MBA program, or up to 18 credits from JMU MBA coursework.

While funding is limited, Graduate Assistantships are available. 

Talk with your advisor if you are interested in teaching opportunities while enrolled in our program.

While it is expected that students continue to enroll in at least one course each semester (with the option of summers also), it is possible to pause your program of study without losing your place in the program.  See Continuous Enrollment for details.

You must present your dissertation proposal within one year of passing comprehensive exams and within the first five years of graduate coursework (see Handbook for details).  You must go on to complete the defense of your dissertation within three years of taking the comprehensive exams.  Otherwise, you may be required to repeat the comprehensive exams.  These deadlines are in place to help students to maintain momentum toward the completion of their degree.

See our FAQ and Current Students pages for more information.  Having trouble finding something?  Email us.