Center for Leadership Studies

How to Apply to Center for Leadership Studies Programs

Please Note: The graduate application fee has been waived due to COVID-19.

A Successful Application Requires:

  • Master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • 3.00 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale.
  • Completed online application
  • Three references including one academic reference
  • Official (sealed) transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • GRE general test scores (taken within the last 5 years) for the Ph.D. program. Applicants to the Ed.D. are not required to take the GRE.
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Writing sample answering the essay prompts available on the CFLS online application.
  • Application Deadline: May 15th for the July Cohort start. November 15th for January admission.

International Students

International students (F-1) need to submit the following additional documents:

  • Language Score: TOEFL iBT100 (or an equivalent score from an approved test) or IELTS score of 7, OR completion of Level 4 Bridge of the ESL program at the Center of English Language Education (CELE) at Northwest University with a grade of 85% or higher and a GPA of 3.0 in NU Bridge classes, OR completion of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a regionally or nationally accredited higher education institution in the U.S. with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students holding a degree equivalent to a Bachelor's or Master's from another English-only speaking country (as determined by an official evaluation), you may be eligible to receive a waiver of the TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Passport Copy - a copy of the biographical/photo page of passport
  • Official Bank Statement (must reflect a fund availability of equivalent to $23,782.00 USD).
  • Any college or university transcript submitted from a school located outside of the US and Canada must be supplemented by an official evaluation of the transcript for US degree equivalency and GPA, performed by an institution approved by NACES. We recommend that students use FIS (Course-by-course evaluations are not required unless transfer credit is requested).
  • International students should contact Nick Greenlee, International Student Advisor, in the NU International Student Services office at

Once potential students have submitted their completed application along with all the application materials, each applicant will have an individual interview with the CFLS Admissions Committee.

Applicants must also exhibit qualities consistent with the ethos of the Center for Leadership Studies. The cohort model places great responsibility on faculty and students to work together to create a positive, supportive, and collaborative learning environment. Students must be committed to personal responsibility, time management, professional ethics, and interpersonal integrity to be successful in the program.

The CFLS Admissions Committee seeks to ascertain each student’s degree of readiness for this type of learning environment. It is the responsibility and authority of the Admissions Committee to determine an applicant’s degree of compatibility with the ethos of this program.

Credit Transfer

Students may be allowed to transfer a maximum of 12 graduate credits from other regionally accredited colleges and universities provided the CFLS can determine the credit equivalency of the coursework, and the transfer credits are awarded prior to registering for NU courses. There is no charge for transferred courses and transferred credits do not apply towards financial aid awards. Students must initiate credit transfer by contacting the CFLS office.

Program Transfer

A limited number of Ed.D. students may qualify for transfer to the Ph.D. program each academic year. Transfer applicants must have demonstrated academic excellence, a positive contribution to their cohort, and overall program fit. Transfers will be approved by the CFLS Admissions Committee.

Application Procedures

Application Deadline: May 15th for the July Cohort start. November 15th for January admission.

Start Application

Start a new Application

Continue Application

Continue an Application

  1. Please submit the completed online application form.
  2. Application Fee: The graduate application fee has been waived due to COVID-19.
  3. Essays.
    Write a high-quality essay in response to each of the prompts below:
    1. Personal – Why do you want to pursue doctoral studies at this time? Your answer should include, but need not be limited to, the following elements:
      • How have your leadership experiences shaped your motivation to earn a doctorate?
      • What aspects of leadership studies are of most interest and how did those interests develop?
      • What are your long-term goals as a student and a practitioner of leadership? Why is the Northwest doctoral program the best way to accomplish these goals?
      • Why do you want to pursue a doctorate at this time in your life?
      • How do you believe you can contribute to the life and learning of a doctoral cohort?
    2. Professional – Read this article and respond to it. Your answer should include, but need not be limited to, the following elements:
      • Summarize the author’s core argument and the evidence developed to support it.
      • Critique the author’s argument, reasoning, and evidence noting both strengths and weaknesses.
      • Apply the author’s argument to a real-world leadership scenario and assess its practical value.
  4. References.
    Please provide Reference Forms from three persons qualified to judge your professional expertise, character, and capacity for graduate-level study in each of the following areas:
    • Personally
    • Professionally
    • Academically
  5. Resume or curriculum vitae (CV).
    Please provide an accurate and detailed description of your past work experience.
  6. Degree and Transcripts.
    1. A Master of Arts or Science degree from a regionally accredited college or university is required to qualify for admission to the program. It is preferred, but not essential, that this degree be in a leadership-related field.
    2. Send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended directly to the Center for Leadership Studies at Northwest University. Colleges may charge a transcript request fee.
    Send electronic transcripts to:

    Mail paper transcripts to:

    Attn: Jamie Meeks
    Center for Leadership Studies
    Northwest University
    P.O. Box 579
    Kirkland, WA 98083-0579

  7. GRE.
    The general test is required for Ph.D. applicants. You must submit a GRE score earned within the last 5 years in order to be considered for admittance. (Northwest’s school code is 4541.) Ed.D. applicants are not required to take the GRE.


When all of the above materials are received, your application will be reviewed and qualified applicants will participate in an individual and/or group interview either in person or online. Following the application deadline and interview process, qualified applications will be considered for admission and the results will be communicated to the applicants shortly thereafter.