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Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply to the Master of Science in Leadership (MSL) program?
The MSL program is designed for government professionals at the GS-13 to GS-15 levels as well members of the Senior Executive Service.

What are the MSL program’s admissions requirements?
Admission decisions are based on your career aspirations and accomplishments, work performance, and educational background. In addition, you must submit a personal statement on why you want to pursue an MSL degree, submit a letter of recommendation from your supervisor, and be interviewed by a member of the MSL Admissions staff.

How do I apply to the MSL program?
You apply for the MSL program online. The application is available here.

When are the application deadlines?
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. You may apply at any time throughout the year.

What is the total cost of the program?
The total cost of the program (30 credit hours, courses, residencies and capstone) is approximately $64,000.

How long does it take to earn my degree?
For the most part, you can take MSL courses at your own pace and on your own schedule. But you must complete the seven credit hours of core courses within your first two years in the program (Daring to Lead, Ethics in Action, Problem Solving Through Critical Thinking, Strategic Thinking, Visioning and Leading Change, and Leading Innovation and Creating Value). And you must finish the 30 required credit hours within five years of your enrollment in the program.

What institution confers the MSL degree?
The degree is conferred by Washington University in St. Louis, ranked No. 18 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Is every course offered each year?
The majority of MSL courses are taught every year. All classes are offered within a two-year period.

Do my previous Brookings Executive Education courses count toward the degree?
You may be eligible to receive class credit from leadership and policy courses you have already taken at Brookings Executive Education. To learn how to convert past courses into credit hours contact

Can my employer-provided funds pay for MSL courses?
Yes, MSL courses may be paid for by training allowances provided by your employer.

How are grades determined? Will I receive letter grades or are MSL courses pass/fail?The faculty will assess your class participation, along with your understanding of key concepts based on a five- to seven-page paper you write for each course. The grades awarded are high pass, pass, low pass or fail.

For more information, contact MSL Program Manager Morgan Kaminski at 202-797-4396 or

Start your MSL application here.

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