May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

School of Strategic Leadership Studies

Academic Unit Head and Graduate Program Director
Margaret F. Sloan

Phone: (540) 568-7020

M. Sloan

Associate Professor
B. Selznick, A. Vanhove

Assistant Professor
N. Yoon

Admission Criteria and Degree Requirements

All applicants must first satisfy the general application requirements of The Graduate School as described for prospective graduate students.

The School of Strategic Leadership Studies requires applicants to have a master’s degree from an accredited institution. The school welcomes applicants from any area or discipline, but applicants should have completed an introductory statistics course and an undergraduate financial accounting course.

To Apply

For information about the application process, an online application form and instructions, create an account via the Applicant Center at All application materials are uploaded through this website.

Required Materials

A master’s degree from an accredited institution is required for all applicants. In addition, the School of Strategic Leadership Studies requires all prospective applicants to submit evidence of the following:

  • 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?
  • Three to five years of full-time equivalent work experience.
  • A current résumé or CV that details the applicant’s relevant job experience.
  • Three personal evaluations along with letters of recommendation (including at least one from a current or former direct supervisor).
  • Two scholarly or professional samples that demonstrate the applicant’s ability to conduct research.

The program highly recommends that applicants communicate with the school prior to submitting their application. Prospective students should contact the school to set up a phone discussion or in-person meeting. Per conversation with the Educational & Student Support Specialist, an in-person meeting or phone conversation will be scheduled with the program director.

Application Deadlines

The application deadline is February 1 for fall admission. Incomplete applications are not considered. Applicants are responsible for assuring all materials have been received by reviewing their status online in the Applicant Center. To check on the status of references, contact All other application materials can be viewed by logging on to the Applicant Center.


James Madison University offers an innovative doctoral program in Strategic Leadership Studies.

This program emphasizes business principles, accountability, and leadership theory and applications, all areas important for new organizational, nonprofit and higher education leaders. Students are instructed in the broader visionary perspectives necessary for effective leadership. The program emphasizes practical applications grounded in sophisticated research skills needed for data-based, innovative decision-making in current and future practice.

The leadership course work encompasses models, theories and processes which are tested through application to situations faced by practicing leaders. The capstone leadership course requires an externship. In addition to leadership course work, students enroll in clusters of courses centered on research methodology including: measurement; statistics and accountability; business administration; managerial finance and accounting for decision-making and control; and electives in organizational science and leadership, postsecondary analysis and leadership, or nonprofit and community leadership. All students study strategic management and advanced leadership dynamics.