Leadership Studies

Supplemental content for PhD in Leadership

Admission Information

Application Qualifications

Applicants must have an earned master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (by the start date of the doctoral program). Additionally, applicants should be working professionals with experience and interest in pursuing advanced study of leadership.


Application Deadline

December 1 for matriculation in the Fall semester.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: Waived for all applicants
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution. Preference will be given to students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in all graduate-level academic work.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience. Preference will be given to students with at least three years of relevant professional experience.
  • Essay: A personal statement that describes the applicant’s intent in applying to the program and how their personal and professional goals align with the program's mission/vision/values. 
  • Research interest statement: A description of the applicant’s scholarly area of interest and an outline of a plan for conducting an applied research project in that area of inquiry. This depiction will allow the admissions committee to evaluate the applicant’s potential for applied research.
  • Recommendations: Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, the achievement of excellence in leadership practice, capacity to connect theory and practice in solving leadership challenges, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in doctoral study. References should be from individuals who are qualified through direct experience with your academic or professional work.  One of these individuals should be a supervisor.  Both the supervisor and the other person writing a letter of reference on your behalf should comment on your qualities and experience as a leader and/or your ability to undertake doctoral-level graduate study.
  • A sample of scholarship, research, or academic writing that demonstrates the applicant’s readiness for doctoral-level work.
  • • Demonstration of sufficient quantitative reasoning skills for doctoral-level work by selecting one of the three options below:
    1. An official GRE (Graduate Records Examination) results with a Quantitative Reasoning subtest score of 150 or better
    2.  An official transcript showing a graduate-level quantitative reasoning course (e.g., a quantitative research methods course) with a grade of B or better 
    3. Completion of LOS Quantitative Reasoning course with a grade of B or better (offered during the Summer semester).
  • Interview: finalists will be invited to interview with faculty before confirming admission to the program
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo.  Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores and requirements.

Please note: Successful applicants will have demonstrated skills and competencies in their academic careers as well as their field of work, which may be in public, non-profit, or corporate sectors. (Examples of these demonstrated skills may include pursuits such as published research, teaching academic courses, presenting at academic conferences, etc.)

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in the electronic submission of transcripts can email us official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Test Option

Applicants who elect the GRE option to demonstrate quantitative reasoning skills must have earned a score of 150 or above on the Quantitative Reasoning subtest of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE must be taken within the last five years. More information about the GRE testing centers and preparation can be found here.

Applicants who have elected this option who do not score 150 or above on the Quantitative Reasoning subtest of the GRE
must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete doctoral studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

The University of Southern Maine’s GRE Institution Code number is: RA3691. This number must be included on test registration forms in order to have the official results sent to the university. Standardized testing must be completed well in advance of the deadline as it typically takes about two weeks for the score reports to arrive after a request is made.



International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

Applicants whose first language is not English

Students whose first language is not English may be required to provide test scores or credentials for English language proficiency.

USM accepts the following test scores and qualifications for admission into graduate programs:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL): scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): scores of 6.5 or higher
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): scores of 60 or higher
  • Duolingo Test of English:  scores of 105 or higher. Duolingo scores are being accepted on a trial for the 2022-23 academic year.
  • Bachelor's degree taught with English instruction

Questions regarding your experience and the requirements can be addressed with the Office of Admissions (usmadmit@maine.edu).

Learn More

For more information about courses and credit hours, view our Program Requirements.