Leadership Studies Minor

The SDSU Leadership Minor is a multi-disciplinary program and a collaboration between the ARPE Department and Student Life & Leadership -- offering students both an in-depth look at leadership theory and opportunities to enact it in practice.

Leadership Studies: Explore, Serve, Inquire, Integrate

Minor Overview

The Interdisciplinary SDSU Leadership Minor seeks to develop self aware, culturally competent, transformational leaders. Established in 2008, the minor complements any major and is open to all undergraduate students. The Leadership Minor consists of required coursework, hands-on learning (internships, service learning, and leadership roles), plus elective coursework determined by the student, and a capstone class that integrates the art and science of leadership. 

We surveyed hundreds of employers and have designed the minor based on what they want from current graduates. Competencies resulting from the Leadership Minor include:

  • Understanding and Applying Current Leadership Theories
  • Engaging in Project Planning and Management
  • Creating a Shared Vision
  • Enacting Compassionate Leadership
  • Implementing Equity-mindedness, Diversity, and Inclusion 
  • Developing Effective Presentation Skills 
  • Working Collaboratively in Diverse Teams
  • Writing Effectively
“I learned A LOT from the SDSU Leadership Minor such as: Conflict Management Styles; Time Management; Strengths Based Leadership; Servant Leadership; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); presentation skills; interpersonal skills; intrapersonal skills, and much more!”




Students engage the SCIENCE of leadership through sound theoretical exploration by critically examining the underpinnings of current leadership research. The Leadership Minor fosters self-awareness and emotional intelligence and a corresponding awareness of others that transforms people, programs, and organizations.



According to our study of the Leadership Minor (2020), leadership, communication, and working in diverse teams are among the top skills employers seek on a candidate’s resume. The ART of leadership is explored through service learning that develops these critical skills:

  • Internships: Students engage in a 1-unit micro-internship experience in an area of work of their choice.
  • Service: Students connect with organizations to serve in the local San Diego community.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Students choose from the many opportunities to serve at San Diego State University in an on-campus leadership position.


SDSU Leadership Minor students benefit from cross-discipline collaboration with peers and faculty from the College of Education, the School of Communication, the Fowler College of Business, and other academic departments. These schools and colleges afford students the opportunity to choose upper-division electives that prepare them to effectively lead in the workplace and in their communities.



A cornerstone of the Leadership Minor is connecting theory to practice. The Capstone course, led by award-winning faculty, integrates the art and science of leadership through the completion of an applied project. The focus of the Capstone is the interplay of current research on leadership, vision development, and project management.

“The minor also opened my eyes to my previously unrecognized privilege. Privilege is not something a cis white female is taught to think about, but my time at SDSU and within the minor helped that to come into focus for me and the minor allowed me to truly open my mind to racial theories as well as what diversity, inclusion, and equal access truly mean in the workplace.”


Declaration of Minor

It is easy to declare the SDSU Leadership Minor. To declare the minor please email Dr. Lisa Gates, the Director and Advisor for the Leadership Minor, at [email protected] with your RED ID and she will proceed with your declaration of the minor through My.SDSU.

Have further questions about the SDSU Leadership Minor? Feel free to reach out to Dr. Gates with any questions.

Leadership Minor Advising Handbook

“It took all three years of learning, reflecting, and executing with the guidance of the leadership minor and the support of the leadership minor professors for me to envision myself as a leader and advocate in and beyond my nursing profession.”