International Leadership

Cuba Landscape 2

Focusing on theory in conjunction with its application to to real-world experience, this program explores the topics of international education, economic, ethics, health care and political development and underdevelopment, and the accompanying cross-cultural issues. Engaging, collaborative surroundings foster opportunities for you to build a professional network of colleagues who will become lifelong international leadership contacts. Whether through an intercultural exchange abroad or the International Leadership Forum, the International Leadership program offers you access to a world-wide network. View our Information Session to learn more, and stay tuned for more information about our 2015 study abroad program in Cuba.

Where can I go with this degree? 

  • Nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, including UNICEF and the National Democratic Institute
  • Health care and service organizations, including the Peace Corps and the World Trade Organization
  • Foreign affairs organizations, including USAID and the US State Department
  • Business and economic organizations, including the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and those involved with micro-financing


What you can earn

  • Certificate
  • Master of Arts (M.A.)

Where you will learn

  • On-campus (St. Thomas)



When to start

Enroll in Fall, Spring or Summer terms


 Certificate + MA

Certificate: 12

MA: 31


For the Certificate:

EDLD 868   International Development
EDLD 869   Leadership in International Contexts, including fieldwork trip
EDLD 891   Biography and Leadership
Electives - 3 credits

For the MA (add the following):
EDLD 621   Research Design, Analysis and Critique I
EDLD 807   Foundations of Leadership: an Intellectual and Ethical Practice
EDLD 872   Development, Underdevelopment and Education
EDLD 873   Discourse of the Future
EDLD 843   Fieldwork in International Leadership
EDLD 780   Integrative seminar
Electives - 6 credits

Full course catalog with descriptions


 Find current course offerings

How to Apply

1 | Meet the requirements:

  • A cumulative minimum undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 (4.0 scale)

If you do not meet the above requirement(s), you may be eligible for special admission, which requires:

  • A cumulative minimum undergraduate G.P.A. of 2.75 (4.0 scale).
  • The completion of a standardized test, such as the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), GRE, GMAT or LSAT
  • A possible interview with an admissions person/committee.

2 | Submit the following application materials:

  • Application form
  • Two positive letters of reference from non-related individuals
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work (unless that work was completed at the University of St. Thomas)
  • Personal statement

3 | Submit the supplementary materials:

  • International Applicants:  (1) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for any candidate whose primary language is not English. (2) Transcript Review: All international transcripts must be reviewed by an accredited evaluation service to determine U.S. equivalency of the degree awarded and the institution awarding the degree. Applications will not be reviewed for admissions until the official review is submitted.

Special Opportunities

Intercultural Exchanges Abroad

The International Leadership program includes an intercultural exchange, a two-week travel experience to Global South countries. The trip offers the unique opportunity of understanding Global South's leadership and future development through the eyes of those who have been direct agents of change. Should a student not be able to travel, he or she will be able to complete alternate coursework with the program director's approval. Learn more about our Study Abroad Program in Tanzania and the accompanying Leadership in International Contexts of Tanzania (EDLD 869) coursework. You can also view a video from the 2013 trip to Tanzania, a video from the International Leadership South African Immersion Program, or click through to learn more about previous opportunities: EDLD 869 in South Africa 2011 and EDLD 869 in Tanzania 2012.

International Leadership Forum

The International Leadership Forum hosts national leaders and international heads of states, including former democratically elected African leaders. The forum is designed to allow our students to benefit from their insights and leadership experience. Learn more about some of our previous forums: View a video of the Fall 2011 International Leadership Forum, or a video from the Spring 2012 International Leadership Forum.

Ongoing Professional Development

Whether networking with leaders in the area of policy reform, being inspired by change agents in microfinance or simply catching up on the latest qualitative research findings, annual events and conferences sponsored by the department of Leadership, Policy and Administration offer a variety of networking and professional development opportunities. Most events include continuing education units for a variety of professions.  

Community Partnerships

The International Leadership Program values engaging with and supporting the international communities and organizations in the Twin Cities Metro. In addition to hosting our annual, free international leadership forum, we will often provide sponsorship for events put on by local organizations. A few of these events include:

  • Iraqi Voices reception hosted by the Advocates for Human Rights and Iraqi + American Reconciliation Project. Iraqi authors and artists, and American veterans, had the chance to share their stories through art, film, and books.
  • Fourth Minnesota Cuban Film Festival. Thursdays, 7:00 p.m., February 21-March 28 at St. Anthony Main Theatre
  • Conference on the Role of Diaspora for Peace and Development in Ethiopia. Leaders from around the world will gather to discuss their role in resolving conflict in their home country.