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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:

Application and Admissions Deadlines

Fall Admission Only

Opens October 12

Closes March 1

Schedule an Informational Meeting

Brooke Rhodes

Contact Brooke Rhodes ( 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 (not audited) an introductory statistics course and an undergraduate financial accounting course.  Other background coursework may be required depending upon the student's concentration.

The following courses satisfy introductory statistics and financial accounting prerequisites:

JMU Offerings:

  • Undergraduate Accounting: COB 241
  • Undergraduate Statistics: PSYC 210

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

Virginia Community College (VCCS) Offerings:

  • Undergraduate Accounting: ACC 211
  • Undergraduate Statistics: PSY 213

Visit Virginia's Community Colleges course offerings web page for information on locations offering ACC 211 and PSY 213.


Expected Statistics Competencies for Incoming Students

PSYC 605 Intermediate Inferential Statistics is the first statistics course you will take in the program. In order to succeed in this course, you must already have knowledge of descriptive statistics, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, correlation, simple linear regression, t-tests, and chi-square. These pre-requisite skills ensure that students will enter PSYC 605 with adequate preparation so that they can be successful.  To succeed in this course, you need to have a strong understanding of the following fundamental concepts and be able to easily answer the following questions:

  • What is the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics?
  • What is a standard deviation?
  • What is a standard error?
  • What is the relationship between a sampling distribution and a standard error?
  • How does one interpret a p value?
  • How does p value relate to null hypothesis significance testing?
  • What is the link between significance testing and effect sizes?
  • Describe the z and t distributions and their relationships.
  • What is the relationship between correlation and causation?
  • When does one compute a correlation?
  • What is the difference between a correlation coefficient and a regression coefficient?
  • What are Type I and Type II errors?

These questions are derived from the PSYC 605 Self Assessment. This self assessment must be taken via Canvas in order to be granted permission to enroll in the course*. Students scoring less than 70% on this self-assessment (less than 17 correct) are advised to complete Introductory Statistics (see table below). For more information on requesting access to the PSYC 605 Self Assessment, please see the SSLS Registration Guide page

*JMU or Dukes email account required

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 30th, 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.


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