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SDSU Leadership


Undergraduate Program Graduate Program Concentration Focus Online Hybrid

Leadership Starts with the SDSU Leadership Minor

The SDSU Leadership Minor is a cross-departmental program offered through the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education (ARPE) and Student Life & Leadership.

Leadership Minor GraphicThe SDSU Leadership Minor seeks to develop emotionally intelligent, transformational leaders capable of taking themselves and others to higher levels of performance, purpose, and collaboration. Established in 2008, the minor is an interdisciplinary program open to all SDSU undergraduate students. The Leadership Minor consists of required coursework, experiential opportunities or Field Labs (which include internships, service learning, and formal leadership roles), plus elective coursework determined by the student, and a capstone class that integrates the art and science of leadership. The minor requires the completion of 15 units.

The research is clear that employers want students who can lead and work well with others. In the Leadership Minor program, students explore a variety of leadership theories and foster critical thinking related to leadership styles and practices. Central to the minor is increasing students’ self-awareness through the exploration of strengths, values, beliefs, culture, and identity. The curriculum considers ethical approaches to leadership, relational leadership, and a social change perspective. 


Course Requirements for the Leadership Minor

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Students engage the SCIENCE of leadership through sound theoretical exploration by critically examining the underpinnings of current leadership research. In collaboration with their instructors, students lay a foundation for understanding leadership and its application. Through the process of inquiry, the Leadership Minor fosters self-awareness and emotional intelligence and a corresponding awareness of others in order to promote effective engagement that transforms people, programs, and organizations. 

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The data are clear: employers want to hire college graduates who can lead others and work collaboratively as part of a team (National Association of Colleges and Employers). According to NACE (2016), leadership and teamwork are among the top two skills employers seek on a candidate’s resume. The ART and practice of leadership is explored through three modes of service that develop these critical skills:

  • Internships: Students engage in a 1-unit 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.
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SDSU Leadership Minor students benefit from cross-discipline collaboration with peers and faculty from the College of Education, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering, and other academic departments. These schools and colleges collectively afford students the opportunity to choose courses that support their academic and professional pursuits; courses that prepare them to effectively lead in the workplace and in their communities.

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The Capstone course, led by award-winning faculty, integrates the art and science of leadership and extends students’ understanding of leadership through the completion of an applied project. The focus of the Capstone is the interplay of current research on leadership along with the students’ experiences as leaders. One cornerstone of the Leadership Minor is praxis: connecting theory to practice.

Learn more about required courses.

Meet with an Advisor

The minor in Leadership consists of 15 units (see course requirements). You must meet with the Leadership Minor Advisor to enroll in the minor. 

We are located in Workstation #17 in Student Life & Leadership for advising. See the Peer Advisors tab for office hours.

Declaration of Minor

You may pick up a Declaration of Minor from the Registrar’s Office. The SIMS Minor Code for the Leadership Minor is 331907.


Faculty and Staff

Lisa Gates
Dr. Lisa Gates, Ph.D.

Director and Advisor for the SDSU Leadership Minor

Randall Timm
Dr. Randall Timm, Ed.D.

Dean of Students, Student Life & Leadership

Dr. Kara Bauer, Ed.D.

Director, Residential Education

Erica Aros
Erica Aros, M.Ed.

Associate Director, Student Ability Success Center

Robyn Adams
Dr. Robyn Adams, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Student Life & Leadership

Caren Sax
Dr. Caren Sax, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education

 Shareka White
Shareka White, M.A.

Assistant Director, Educational Opportunity Programs & Ethnic Affairs

 Chelsea Winer
Chelsea Winer, M.A.

Student Life Advisor, Student Life & Leadership 

Leadership Minor FAQs

Students interested in pursuing the Leadership Minor should enroll in the first required course entitled ARP 205: Exploring Leadership. Next, obtain and complete a Declaration of Minor form available at the Registrar’s Office Student Services West, Room 1641 and deliver it to the Leadership Minor Advisor, Dr. Lisa Gates. You may drop off the form in the ARPE Office Suite in Education and Business Administration (EBA) 246. From there, your form will be signed and submitted on your behalf to the Registrar’s Office for processing. Once your form has been processed, it will show up in Web Portal.
The Leadership Minor is open to students from all academic majors. Every discipline and industry needs strong, global leaders. Our classes are filled with majors from across the university. The Leadership Minor prepares you for success in any field of study.
Everyone leads, they just may not yet be aware of it just yet. As such, no formal leadership experience is necessary to declare the minor. The Leadership Minor is designed to include high impact experiences that offer you real leadership opportunities. You’ll have opportunities to lead on campus, through service learning opportunities, and through the experience of an internship of your choice.

The university will not allow “double dipping,” that is, having a course satisfy both a major and minor requirement. However, your upper division electives for the minor CAN count toward your upper division GE electives—this will save you time. Also, if you have taken a course/or wish to take one that is NOT on the approved list, and you believe that it could count toward your electives, please email the information below to Dr. Lisa Gates at [email protected] or deliver it to the ARPE Office Suite in EBA-246.

Please include:

  • Your contact information (name, Red ID, email, phone number)
  • A typewritten, well-reasoned rationale for why you believe the course should be approved as an elective (include the title of the course, the course number and the course description)
  • A brief (1-2 paragraphs) description of how it relates to the Leadership Minor theories, concepts, pathways, etc., the coursework required, and how many units it comprises.

It depends on your major course requirements. The Leadership Minor requires the completion of just 15 units. Typically, the minor can be completed in four semesters.

What is Leadership to You?

Hear from Leadership Minor students what leadership means to them.

Leaders Abroad

Enhancing Your Leadership Development through the Study Abroad Experience

Study abroad can be one of the most beneficial experiences in a college student's career. Studying abroad teaches students to be independent in a way college does not. Whilst abroad, students learn to navigate new areas, currencies, and languages. In turn, this will develop their leadership skills.