Required Application Materials

Application Requirements:

  • Accredited Master's Degree
  • GRE or GMAT scores (note this program does not offer GRE or GMAT waivers)
  • Transcripts of all colleges and universities attended (Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application. Admitted students will be required to submit official transcripts to The Graduate School after accepting an offer of admission.)
  • Answer the two provided statement of purpose question prompts. Please limit your responses to 500 words maximum for each of the following questions:
    • How will pursuing an interdisciplinary leadership studies Ph.D. program support your research interests and professional goals?
    • What types of experiences have prepared you to excel in a rigorous Ph.D. program?
  • 3-5 years full-time work experience
  • Current CV/resume
  • 2 scholarly or professional writing samples
  • 3 professional references (at least one recommender must be from a current or former direct supervisor of the applicant) 

International Student Application Requirements:

  • Review complete admission requirements as detailed on the JMU Graduate School International Graduate Student webpage
  • Proof of English proficiency. Applicants that have not earned a previous degree (bachelor's or master's) must provide test scores for one of the following:
    • TOEFL (minimum score 100)
    • IELTS (minimum score 7)
    • DuoLingo (minimum score 120)
Application Deadlines

Fall Admission Only

Applications for Fall 2024 entry accepted online October 12, 2023 - February 1, 2024.

Prospective students are encouraged to begin collecting application materials 9-12 months before the application deadline.


Contact Us


Schedule an Informational Meeting


Contact Kira Lambert ( for program inquiries and admissions questions. 


Prerequisite Information

In addition to satisfying all admission requirements set forth by The Graduate School, the School of Strategic Leadership Studies requires applicants to have earned a master's degree from an accredited institution. Applicants are welcomed from any discipline, but should have completed an undergraduate financial accounting course.

The following courses satisfy the financial accounting prerequisite:

JMU Offerings:

  • Undergraduate Accounting: COB 241

In order to enroll in JMU prerequisites, you will need to apply through Continuing Education.

Virginia Community College (VCCS) Offerings:

  • Undergraduate Accounting: ACC 211

Visit Virginia's Community Colleges course offerings web page for information on locations offering ACC 211.


Preparing for Statistics

The School of Strategic Leadership Studies offers a rigorous, quantitative research degree. Since SSLS accepts students into the program from a variety of professional and educational backgrounds, the program realizes not all admitted students may have taken previous coursework in statistics. New admitted students without previous course work in statistics will be provided information and support to gain prerequisite knowledge in this area. If this situation applies to you, feel free to reach out to the program directly with your questions. 

When will I hear back?
  • You can check the status of your application at any time (including all materials except for references that may be missing from your application) on CollegeNET, the online application system. You will receive an email from us if we find you are missing references as the deadline approaches.
  • We will begin reviewing applications on the application deadline, and you can normally expect to hear from us within 2 weeks after the deadline if we would like to invite you for an interview.
  • Final decisions are usually announced within 30 days (and no more than 60 days) after the application deadline.
  • While the Graduate School manages the admissions process and maintains official deadlines, we would appreciate a confirmation of your intention to accept by April 15th, or within 60 days of the application deadline, to allow time for meeting with your advisor, assessing the need for any prerequisite coursework or pre-testing to be taken over the summer, and setting up your JMU email well in advance of your first semester.


Back to Top