LEAD Frequently Asked Questions

Program Overview 

Who is LEAD for?

LEAD is designed for practicing leaders who are interested in leading complex educational systems, such as school districts, mission-aligned nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations. Interested students usually include principals, policy or advocacy leads, nonprofit directors or others whose work necessarily intersects with the public education system.

Does LEAD use a cohort model?

LEAD admits cohorts of ten students every other year. Students take multiple courses with their cohort as a whole, particularly over summers and during the first academic year. However, starting in Year 2, there is significant room for students to explore different interest areas through elective coursework, field visits, and the focus of their dissertation research. 

What sorts of research do doctoral candidates engage in?

With the support of their advisors, LEADers identify promising areas of research either within the traditional public school system (PreK-16+) or in the systems, nonprofits, government agencies and/or communities with which it intersects. Given LEAD’s focus, each research project approaches a core equity issue from a system leadership perspective, positing leading itself as a practice of freedom: transgressing systemic oppression toward belonging, liberation, and democracy.

What do graduates go on to do?

Our program prepares students for a career in complex system leadership. The majority of graduates are likely to pursue Cabinet-level or superintendent positions within school districts, while others may instead choose a career in nonprofit leadership, policy, advocacy, global educational ventures or other mission-aligned roles.

Can I clear my administrative credential through LEAD?

No. LEAD does not have a partnership with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) and does not offer any credential. Our sibling program, the Leadership Support Program, offers a comprehensive, equity-centered induction program for those seeking to clear their administrative credential. The two programs are independent and cannot be combined into one.

Program Structure

Is the program in person, online or hybrid?

LEAD is a hybrid program. There are significant portions of the program that require students to be on campus, including the summer intensive (4 weeks, 4 days/week) and the 12 annual all-day Saturday sessions. Some, but not all, weekday courses are available online. 

Is it a full-time or part-time program? How long does it take to complete?

LEAD is considered a full-time program, but operates on non-traditional hours (summers, weekday afternoons/evenings and weekends). This means that students take a full load of classes each semester and over summer session in order to complete their studies AND research within three years’ time. 

Can students work full-time during LEAD?

Yes! LEAD is designed for working professionals, with all coursework occurring outside of classic “school hours.” That said, the program is fast-paced and rigorous and will take a significant commitment of time and energy in order to complete successfully.

How much does LEAD cost?

Tuition is set by the Regents of the University of California. For 2021, the tuition is around $30,000/year, before any fellowships or scholarships are applied.

Admissions

Are you hosting any more info sessions?

When new information sessions are available, registration is available at our website, gse.berkeley.edu/lead.  Additionally, the site includes a recording of a recent info session. You can view the info session slide deck here.

Is a Master’s a firm requirement? What type of Master’s is expected?

Due to the highly accelerated nature of LEAD, a Master’s is required by the time of enrollment. Master’s degrees in education, educational leadership, and/or related fields such as school psychology or social work are the most common. That said, there is no subject requirement for the Master’s degree.

Is the GRE required?

In light of the global health crisis, the GRE requirement has been waived for 2021 applicants. At this time, we do anticipate that the GRE will continue to be required for future admissions to all doctoral programs at UC Berkeley (starting back in 2022). Please note that, when required, your GRE score is considered as one part of a holistic application, and there is no “cut-off” score. In other words, we will review your application in its entirety regardless of your GRE score.

Who should I ask to write my recommendation letters?

We recognize that many applicants completed their last degree years ago. As such, we do not require any academic letters of recommendation. Instead, please solicit letters of recommendations from individuals who can speak to your holistic potential as a system leader for social change. Rather than feel limited to former employers or professors, applicants are encouraged to outreach to those in their networks who could offer meaningful testimony about their capacity for leadership.

Are you required to have teaching or principal/admin experience or certification?

By design, we recruit for cohorts with diverse lived experiences and professional profiles, so no specific job experience or certification is required. Please note that LEAD is a doctoral program in system leadership. As such, it is assumed that applicants have a strong foundation in basic leadership principles prior to enrolling.

Why are so few students admitted?

We admit 10 applicants per cohort so that we can confidently provide the levels of individualized support needed for highly talented and passionate doctoral candidates to complete a rigorous research-based program within three years’ time.

More Questions

What if I still have questions?

Email us at lead.edd@berkeley.edu. We’re happy to answer specific questions by email or set up time to talk one-on-one. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!