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About POLS

The Master of Arts program in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) draws upon an integrated knowledge base and the expertise of renowned faculty to create an experience that provides students with a foundation in leadership knowledge, theory, and skills. The program gives students the flexibility to explore important themes such as cultural diversity and language acquisition, learning theory, youth development, and school reform.

POLS is a rigorous 9 month, full-time, on-campus program that embraces the following vision and mission.


The POLS program builds on students’ prior experiences to facilitate their growth into innovative, socially responsible, action-oriented leaders who will transform educational organizations. In the context of a supportive cohort, students develop a critical eye toward theory, research, and practice as they weave together a wide range of inter-disciplinary course work and out-of-class experiences at the cutting edge of educational issues, policy debates, and leadership dynamics.


POLS students are characterized by their varied experiences and interests, past accomplishments, creativity, and commitment to education. The POLS program nurtures high quality leadership through engagement with outstanding Stanford scholars, practicing leaders, and field-based experiences. The POLS Seminar, courses, internships, and professional development workshops provided within the Graduate School of Education and beyond create the unique POLS experience. Students transform what they learn into their capstone POLS Project focused on a challenging educational problem. The POLS program is a passage through which students discover their personal missions for the next phase of their careers.

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