How to Apply: Leaders for Equity and Democracy (LEAD) EdD

The application window for LEAD Cohort 2 is closed. The next admissions cycle will begin in fall 2024, with courses commencing in July 2025.

LEAD offers admission biennially.

Online Application

  • Application deadline: The LEAD program offers admission biennially.
  • The next application period will be September-December 2024 with courses starting in Summer 2025.
  • The online application for admission can be found at the Graduate Division website.
    • Select Term: Summer; Degree objective: Education EdD.
    • All uploaded documents should be in PDF format only.

All materials are due by the application deadline.

All application materials become property of the University of California. Materials can neither be returned to you nor released to any other party.

Application Fee

  • When you apply for graduate admission, you will be required to submit the application fee using a major credit card.
  • If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the application fee is $135; for all others, the fee is $155.
  • The application fee is non-refundable.
  • You may qualify for an application fee waiver. To check eligibility, visit the Graduate Division website


You are required to submit two essays: a Statement of Purpose, and a Personal History. There is no minimum or maximum length. We recommend one to three pages; 12-point font; and single-spaced, for each essay.

Statement of Purpose

Describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you.

Personal History 

Describe how your personal background and experiences inform your decision to pursue a graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on how you have overcome barriers to access higher education; evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others; evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education; evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality; or evidence of your leadership among such groups.

GPA Worksheet

You must calculate your Advanced GPA, which is defined as all coursework after the first two years of your bachelor's degree.

For applicants whose undergraduate trajectory was not a standard 4 years at one institution, simply use your last two years of your Undergraduate degree.

If you need a GPA calculator, we recommend this online resource.

If you have a graduate degree, there is a separate box for you to enter your graduate degree GPA.

If your GPA is not on a 4.0 scale there is no need to convert it. Enter it as is, in the appropriate GPA box.


  • Scan and upload PDF copies of all transcripts.
    • Unofficial transcripts should include all information an official transcript would:
      • Student information (i.e., first/last name)
      • Institution information
      • Degree conferral date(s) when applicable
      • All coursework information
  • Hard copies are not accepted.
  • Upload ​​transcripts from every post-secondary school you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.
    • Upload PDF scans of your final transcripts from institutions where you did not receive a degree (e.g., community college) if you received credit that was later applied toward your degree, or if credit from that institution is listed on your bachelor's degree transcript.
  • Official transcripts will be required if you are accepted into our program; please do not send transcripts before official acceptance.

Letters of Recommendation

You are required to submit three (3) letters of recommendation.

  • Letters may be from professional and/or academic recommenders.

You will add the recommenders' information to the online application. Each recommender is then responsible for uploading their letter directly into the online portal.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

You are required to submit a resume that includes education and professional work history; other professional activities (e.g., professional organizations); professional productivity (e.g., professional publications or professional development); and other major professional, vocational, community, or recreational activities, interests, and pursuits.

Submit via the online Graduate Division application, Resume/CV section.

English Language Proficiency

  • All applicants who have completed a basic degree in a country/region in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency.
  • Use recipient code 4833 for UC Berkeley.
  • For current information regarding this requirement, visit the Graduate Division website.

LEAD Supplemental Materials

Supplemental materials will be submitted via the online application.

Information about supplemental materials for the EdD (LEAD) program are listed below, and posted here.

Part A: Leadership Artifact
In the online application, attach one leadership artifact, as referenced in Essay Question #1, below.

Part B: Essay Questions
These essays are required in addition to your Statement of Purpose and Personal History.

  1. Consider your leadership to date. Please choose ONE leadership artifact to share and attach it to your online application (it can be anything: a video of you leading a meeting or training; a strategic plan you created; a slide deck; an innovative school schedule; a vision statement). Why did you choose this particular artifact? What does it say about your beliefs about leadership? (Limit response to one-page; double-spaced; using 12-point font.)
  2. We focus student research in LEAD on investigations that examine how oppressive systems can be transformed into systems that create belonging and liberation. What is an educational inequity you have observed that you would potentially be interested in studying? What dimensions would you look at and how would you hope to see outcomes shift? (Limit response to one-page; double-spaced; using 12-point font.)
  3. Whose research has influenced your development as a leader to date? Please name 2-3 scholars and explain their impact on your understanding of, and approach to, leadership. (Limit response to one-page; double-spaced; using 12-point font.)

Part C: Individual and Employer Statement of Commitment
This form can be found on the last page of our Supplemental materials. Upload the signed Statement of Commitment, which must include a signature from your current employer, even if a change in employer in the future is anticipated.

Review Process

A faculty admissions committee will review all completed application files for their relevant area of study. In accordance with students' active participation in School of Education governance, duly appointed students may also participate in reviewing applicant files. Since the LEAD is a program designed for scholar-practitioners with existing leadership experience, in addition to grades and test scores, we will assess your application by noting achievements in leadership through employment; extracurricular and other voluntary activities that you describe in your statement of purpose; and supplemental application.

LEAD requires a comprehensive interview of top-ranked applicants, which consists of a personal interview and several performance assessments (some individual and some in a group setting with other applicants). We will notify all applicants who are selected for an interview and provide additional information.

Notification of Decision

The School of Education sends recommendations for admission to the Graduate Division between February and April for final approval. Notice from the Graduate Division constitutes official approval of admission. Communication or correspondence with the School of Education or an individual faculty member does not constitute approval of admission.