Feb 22, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog

Leadership Studies, B.S.

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(Major Code: 49060) (Academic Plan Code: 331908BSS)

The mission of the Leadership Studies major at San Diego State University is to develop culturally aware leaders who can address the critical problems facing our society today. Students majoring in leadership studies will explore the ways leadership has been conceptualized and studied, as well as how those in leadership positions have applied their knowledge, skills, and analytical/assessment practices to address team, organizational, and societal issues. The major emphasizes theory-to-practice and active learning approaches; students will be supported in developing strategies for identifying, analyzing, and solving team and organizational problems. Further, students will explore effective, ethical, and relational leadership practices to address community, national, and global challenges for positive organizational and social change. 

The Leadership Studies major is multidisciplinary and includes courses in psychology, communication, education, business, public administration, philosophy, political science, journalism and media studies, and the interdisciplinary studies of race, ethnicity, identity, and indigeneity.  The major is a response to what employers are looking for in college graduates and includes a career development focus offering practical skill-building in several key areas: project management, coaching for improved performance and inclusion, delivering positive and developmental feedback, navigating difficult conversations, creating inclusive environments, developing high-performance teams, delegation, and empowering others. Students engage in experiential leadership development opportunities on campus and in the San Diego community in preparation for their post-SDSU career or graduate studies. 

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this degree, the Leadership Studies major is excellent preparation for graduate study in law, educational leadership, management, organizational leadership, student affairs, organizational development, and organizational psychology. Graduates may pursue positions in occupations such as non-profit management, employee relations, sales, project management, learning and development, government, community engagement, human resources, institutional/organizational assessment, and education. The program is also excellent preparation for students pursuing military careers, either as commissioned or non-commissioned officers.

All candidates for a bachelor’s of science degree in applied arts and sciences must complete the graduation requirements listed in the section of this catalog on “Graduation Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree .”

Lower division preparation for the major courses may be satisfied by comparable courses in community colleges or other institutions with which the university has articulation agreements.

A minor or auxiliary discipline is not required with this major but is recommended.

Admission to the Major

To be admitted to the leadership studies major, students must meet the following criteria:

  1. Complete preparation for the major;
  2. Complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units;
  3. Have a minimum GPA of (2.0) or better.

To complete the leadership studies major, students must fulfill the degree requirements for the major described in the catalog in effect at the time they are accepted into the premajor at SDSU (assuming continuous enrollment).


A minimum of 36 upper division units to include:

LEAD 307 Leadership Community Service  

LEAD 350 Introduction to Leadership Inquiry  

LEAD 404 Leadership Internship and Career  

LEAD 405 Enacting Leadership  

LEAD 420 Ethnography of Organizational Culture and Leadership  

LEAD 440 Organizational Assessment  

COMM 307 Communication in Professional Settings  


And no fewer than 15 elective units from the following areas:

  • Organizational Leadership and Communication (6 units)
  • Ethical and Inclusive Leadership Development (6 units)
  • Organizational Systems and Dynamics (6 units)
  • Community, National, and/or Global Perspectives on Leadership (6 units)
  • Leadership Research and Organizational Assessment (9 units)

Lower Division Preparation for the Leadership Studies Major (17 units)

The Preparation for the Major classes listed below may not be taken Cr/NC and must be completed with a minimum grade point average of C (2.0) or better in each course. 

Major Requirements

(36 units)

Ethical and Inclusive Leadership Development (6 units)

Explore critical perspectives toward building inclusive and ethical workplace and community environments.

Organizational Leadership and Communication (6 units)

Cultivate professional approaches to communication to communicate ethically and effectively with individuals and audiences representing diverse interests to promote effective leadership practices.

Organizational Systems and Dynamics (6 units)

Critically analyze organizational systems and complex organizational issues to align leadership skills to challenging situations.

Community, National, and Global Perspectives on Leadership (6 units)

Contextualize and reflect on local, national, and global challenges in leadership to explore leadership beyond the individual, team, and institution. Emphasis on facilitating equity, diversity and inclusion. Consideration of community leadership and civic engagement.

Leadership Research and Organizational Assessment (9 units)

Develop research literacy applying methods and research practices to identify opportunities for individual, team, and organizational development and change. Evaluate data, make connections, and draw conclusions in a rational and unbiased manner with depth, accuracy, clarity, and logic.

Leadership Capstone Course (3 units)

Admission to a major or minor in Leadership Studies. Focus on vision development, project management, and coaching skills. Assignments, activities, and discussions provide students with the chance to imagine, and engage in a leadership impact project. Review of key leadership theories and models. Should be taken in the last or second-to-last semester.


For courses with prerequisites, please contact your advisor for further information before registering.

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