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The Graduate Leadership Academy is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year. The priority application deadline is Wednesday May 15th, 2024. All applications received before this date will receive a full review. Application instructions are located at the bottom of this page.

Program Overview

The Graduate Leadership Academy (GLA) prepares Montana State University graduate students for equitable, inclusive, and collaborative leadership across a variety of professional contexts. Based on the philosophy that complex challenges require diverse voices, knowledges, and life experiences for their solution, this program is centered on a transdisciplinary community of graduate students working together to grow their leadership abilities through workshops and collaborative projects. 

How will students accomplish these goals? What is the curriculum?

Throughout the fall semester, students participate in a series of workshops examining the relationship between leadership and inclusivity from both practical and theoretical perspectives and hear from a broad range of leaders from across the academic and professional world. Workshop themes include interdisciplinary teamwork, systemic challenges to inclusion in higher education, culturally responsive leadership, leadership and identity, communication, and ethics, compassion, and advocacy. Workshops also target practical training in areas such as public presentation skills and forming community partnerships. During the spring semester, program participants directly practice these themes by collaboratively designing and implementing student-driven service-learning projects aimed at promoting equity and inclusion across the MSU community. In many cases, these projects unfold with assistance from university partners and stakeholders.

Although the 2024-2025 curriculum has yet to be finalized, the 2023-2024 curriculum well indicates program content: 2023-2024 Graduate Leadership Academy Currciulum Overview (PDF).

Am I eligible to apply?

Most likely, yes! So long as you have already completed at least one year of graduate study at MSU or another institution and you are a student in good standing, you are eligible to apply. In 2022, the GLA returned to an in-person format; however, off-campus graduate students are also encouraged to apply as we will provide virtual access options for our remote students. 

How do I apply?

  • Prospective applicants should click on this link to complete the GLA application.
    • In addition to a few short questions, the GLA application also includes a short essay prompt as well as a drop box to upload your response.          
    • We require one letter of recommendation in addition to your application. Please ask your referee to email their recommendation to [email protected].

When do I need to apply, and when will the Graduate School respond to my application?

Prospective students should plan to have all materials, including their letters of recommendation, submitted on or before Wednesday, May 15th, 2023. The Graduate School will notify applicants of their admit status before Friday May 31st.

What commitments do I need to make to the program? What commitments does the program make to me?

  • Individual workshops are 2 hours each and occur approximately once every 2-3 weeks throughout the Fall semester. Depending on scheduling variables, typically one or two workshops are added to the beginning of the spring semester. From there, student groups mostly work independently on their spring semester service-learning projects, although we do meet for a large group check-in in mid-March, and we meet one last time in April to share our final presentations.
  • The Graduate School will provide students with workshop dates as far in advance as possible.
  • In addition to professional development training, program participants will also benefit from increased networking and mentorship opportunities.
  • Upon completion of the fall workshop series, GLA participants receive a $250 scholarship award. A second $250 award is again granted to students upon completion of the spring semester program components.
  • For in-person workshops, the Graduate Office provides coffee and breakfast or lunch for presenters and attendees through local catering vendors.


"I have learned a lot about ways to be an inclusive leader and leading with compassion. This is not something that you learn very much about being in a hard science like engineering."

"I have learned so much in this program about how to be a more inclusive leader. I really appreciated hearing so many different perspectives of leadership."

"I loved being exposed to a wide range of leadership principles and theories from people who come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Participating in the GLA has made me more aware of some important topics in leadership that I had not encountered before, and was an encouragement on my leadership journey moving forward."

Who do I contact if I have questions about the program or the application process?  

Please contact the Graduate Office at:

The Graduate School
Montana State University
P.O. Box 172580
Bozeman, MT 59717-2580

Tel: (406) 994-4145
Toll Free: 1-800-255-7962
Fax: (406) 994-4733
E-mail: [email protected]
Location: 104 Montana Hall