University of Southern California
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Graduate Degrees

Executive Master of Leadership

The Executive Master of Leadership Program offers professionals from a variety of fields including public administration, public policy, planning, law enforcement, transportation and other public, nonprofit and business organizations, with at least five years of professional experience, the opportunity to build leadership skills at five levels: individual, team, organizational, community and institutional. The program design offers participants insight into the mechanisms that facilitate effective personal and organizational networks, as well as collaborative problem-solving strategies and practices.

The program follows a cohort model for the four required core courses. The degree curriculum has three distinguishing features: a design to connect ethics with leading through core values; an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary problem-solving approach; and transformational leadership that connects the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants for the Executive Master of Leadership apply directly to the program. A minimum of five years of experience with progressively greater levels of responsibility is required for entry into the program.

Candidates for admission must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. Exceptions to the minimum GPA requirement may be made when justified by exceptional work experience and letters of recommendation.

Applicants must submit a standard USC graduate application and fee along with official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Letters of recommendation, a current resume, an essay and an interview will also be required.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 28 units of graduate work – 16 units of required core courses and 12 units of electives.

PPD 640 Leadership Foundations: Competencies and Core Values4
PPD 641 Leading Individuals, Groups and Teams4
PPD 642Strategic Leadership of Organizations4
PPD 643Leading Transformations Across Sectors: Integrative Seminar4

In addition to these 16 required units, students are required to take 12 units of electives.

Elective courses will be selected in consultation with the faculty advisor based on the student’s individual learning/development plan. Students will choose these electives in order to concentrate in a particular area of study. The following are examples of concentrations that are available: public management, nonprofit policy and management, urban planning, transportation, public policy and political management. The School of Policy, Planning, and Development offers a wide range of electives to students each semester.