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Two Steps to Apply Online For the MSSL Program

First, you need to submit the Graduate Studies application. Click here to submit this application online.

Second, gather the following items and mail them to the address below:

  1. Submit a personal essay, approximately 3-5 pages (double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman), which should include the following:
    • Past: Leadership experience (what leadership roles and responsibilities have you personally held and/or currently hold?)
    • Present: A self assessment of leadership strengths and weaknesses (you might find it helpful to use an existing framework of leadership characteristics, such as the book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell, which has a leadership questionnaire in the back, or Colonel Horton’s essay on leadership, others can be found online.)
    • Future: A self assessment of your leadership potential (what future leadership potential do you anticipate for yourself and how do you see this program strengthening your potential?)

    1. Submit a current Resume

    1. Submit an official BS/BA transcript from an accredited college/university. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. If your GPA is below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, we also require the following:

    1. GPA 3.0 to 4.0: No additional transcript requirements

  1. GPA 2.75 up to 3.0: Please submit a personal statement recognizing the deficiency that addresses why you believe you will be successful in graduate school. Also submit a minimum five page research paper, essay, or professional writing sample on a topic related to an aspect of leadership in your field. This writing sample may take a variety of forms including professional publications. These items should be submitted to the MSSL Program Coordinator at MSSL@BHSU.edu.

  1. GPA 2.5 up to 2.75: In addition to the personal statement (see above) and the research paper (see above) please take the Graduate Records Exam and submit scores to the MSSL Program Coordinator at MSSL@BHSU.edu.

  1. Submit three letters of recommendation; please use our Recommendation Form. They can be from a professor in the applicant’s BA/BS degree program, an employer, or anyone else of your choice. The recommendation letters should provide the university with evidence of the applicant’s potential for academic success in graduate studies and professional success as a leader.

  1. Submit the $35 (non-refundable) application fee.

  1. For International Students Only: Provide TOEFL results (if most recent academic degree is from a university where English is NOT the primary language of instruction). The international studies program requirement states that a minimum score on the paper exam acceptable at BHSU is 500 (IBT = 61). If you do not have scores you enroll in our Academic English Preparatory Program.

Mailing Address

Graduate Studies Office
Black Hills State University
1200 University St. Unit 9501
Spearfish, SD 57799-9501


Materials may be submitted electronically to: MSSL@BHSU.edu (Note: Official Transcripts must be sent directly from the granting institution to the mailing address listed on this page.)

Contact Info

Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg
Phone: 605.645.7228

Black Hills State University
1200 University St.
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799

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