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Frequently Asked QUESTIONS

Who should apply for the MS-Leadership?
Our goal is to identify and develop tomorrow’s leaders. Prime candidates include federal managers and executives GS-13 to GS-15, Senior Executive Service members and SES candidates. Private-sector applicants with several years of management experience are also encouraged to apply.

What are the MS-Leadership admission criteria?
Admission decisions are based on past career accomplishments, past educational attainment and performance, a personal statement, a short online assessment, and an interview.

How do I apply for the program?
Applications are 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 for the program?
The total cost of the program (tuition plus the assessment fee for all of the courses, including the residential capstone course) is approximately $59,000.

Do I need to take all of the courses in the Executive Pathways series to earn the degree?
MS-Leadership students must complete 30 credit hours of course work. 25 credits hours must come from our Executive Pathways Courses plus two week-long residential courses, worth 5 credit hours, at Washington University in St. Louis.

How fast can I complete the program?
The courses can be taken at your own pace. The fastest you can complete the program is approximately three years.

How long can I take to complete the program?
The courses can be taken at your own pace over several years. MS-Leadership students can matriculate for no longer than seven years if they are continually enrolled in courses each year to make annual progress toward the degree.

From which institution will the degree come?
The degree awarded will be a Master of Science in Leadership from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, which holds the accreditation, and is the only degree offered through Brookings Executive Education. Olin Business School’s MBA program ranks among the top 20 in the country. The Brooking Institution consistently ranks as the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank.

Will all of the courses be offered every year?
The majority of the courses will be offered every year. All courses will be offered within any two-year period.

Do my previous Brookings Executive Education courses count toward the degree?
Credit for up to three previous courses may be transferred to your degree by taking and passing the appropriate post-course assessments.

Can my employer-provided funds pay for these courses?
The courses in this program can be paid for by training allowances provided by your employer.

Why is there an additional fee for each course?
The $200-per-course fee covers the assessment that you will complete after each course. The assessment allows the faculty to assess your understanding of the course material and is needed to earn degree credits for the course. Additionally, a writing coach helps you elevate your written communication skills for each paper.

Are books and course materials included in the tuition price?
Yes, all materials are included in the tuition price.

How are grades determined? Will I receive letter grades or is the program pass/fail?
The faculty will assess your participation during the program as well as your understanding of course concepts and award a grade of: high pass, pass, low pass, or fail. Each course will have an assessment at the end of the course, completed outside of the course dates.

Additional questions? Please contact Specialty Program Manager Joy Jackson at 202-238-3192 or

Start your MS-Leadership application here. 

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