Diversity and Inclusion Leadership

In the interdisciplinary Diversity and Inclusion Leadership program, you will learn to lead, create, and assess inclusive organizational change.

Illustration of a network of diverse people.
  • Program Overview
  • Curriculum
  • Faculty
  • Application Requirements
  • Contact Information

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Office of Graduate Admissions
Bendetson Hall
Medford, MA 02155
(617) 627-3395

M.A. in Diversity and Inclusion Leadership

In the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership program, you will learn the scholarly theories and practical tools to implement institutional changes that promote diversity and foster inclusivity. To be an effective leader in diversity and inclusion, you must understand the social contexts and psychological processes that result in implicit bias, discrimination, and marginalization. Illustration of diverse people with talk bubbles.

Organizations are increasingly creating roles such as chief diversity officers, diversity managers, consultants, educational administrators, human resources, and/or college admissions professionals that can transform their communities. At Tufts, you’ll become the strong, informed, skilled leader that can help create more inclusive organizations.

You will join students from a variety of backgrounds and scholarly fields, all united in their desire to explore diversity in interdisciplinary contexts. Upon completion of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership master’s program, you will be capable of:

  • Engaging in organizational observation using appropriate methods
  • Implementing necessary changes to enhance equality and prevent marginalization
  • Prioritizing these changes based on the culture and needs of the organization
  • Designing and evaluating programs to enact these changes
  • Leading organizations through sustainable transformation

Our Approach

Since this program is truly interdisciplinary in nature, you may choose from a suite of courses designed and inspired in part from the suggested training goals of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE).

Students may complete the program in one to two years depending on academic and summer course load.

Two-year plan – Individuals in the standard track of the program take two courses per semester and have the opportunity to write a thesis in the second year of this track.

One-year plan – Individuals in this track should have several years of work experience before attempting the program. Students will need to take to an average of three courses per semester (including summer) and take an internship, practicum, or civic engagement project over the summer.

There are a variety of courses available that allow you to tailor your program to best suit individual goals. The program includes four knowledge components, comprising of one core course and your choice of an elective. The final component consists of a capstone project with thesis or civic engagement/internship options.

View all DLS courses. Not all courses offered every year, please check SIS for current offerings and descriptions.

I. Individuals, Groups, & Society

Team-Taught Introductory Core Seminar (2 half-credit core courses)

This course is a year-long interdisciplinary introduction into the program. It is taught by at least two faculty members from participating departments. It provides an introduction and detailed examination of the key theoretical foundations in contemporary ideas about diversity and inclusion.

Social & Historical Context (1-2 elective courses)

This elective provides a contextual and theoretical foundation to core issues in diversity and inclusion.

Cultural Sensitivity & Competence (1-2 elective courses)

This elective involves learning about cultural perspectives, understanding biases, and acquiring the skills and cultural humility necessary to succeed in diverse environments.

II. Organizational and Interpersonal Leadership

Organizational Behavior & Change (1 core course)

This course provides leadership skills necessary to be successful in diverse contexts and how to promote organizational change.

Interpersonal Relations/Conflict management (1 elective course)

This elective provides information concerning how to manage and resolve conflicts and influence 

III. Research Design, Measurement, & Analytics

Assessment, Evaluation, & Policy (1 elective course)

This course provides information on the measurement and evaluation of programs and policies and the legal context of these programs.

Data Analytics (1 elective course)

This course will provide the modern digital, statistical, and visual tools available to administrative leaders.

IV. Integrative Capstone Experience

An important part of students’ academic and professional development is a practical experience that integrates and synthesizes their knowledge within the areas studied above. Two options are available to meet this requirement:

Internship, Practicum, or Civic Engagement Option (2 courses)

This is a one-semester project involving an internship-like experience. This activity and will require a written summary at completion. This document should focus on the integration of theoretical and conceptual ideas from coursework with applied experiences–enabling the student to demonstrate understanding and application of critical concepts. The second 3-credit activity could be a second semester of an internship or related experience, or a companion elective course suggested by the student or a listed course from one of the three components above. This course-oriented option is for individuals attempting to complete the course of study in a single year, where an extended experience would not be possible.

Thesis option (2 courses)

The thesis option is an integrative one-year activity available only to individuals taking two years to complete the degree. It consists of standard thesis requirements with both a written document and oral presentation of an original scholarly idea to a faculty committee. The thesis option would be strongly encouraged for those students thinking of using the program as a foundation for further Ph.D. studies.

Each cohort will have an annual presentation day to share their integrative capstone to promote a unified experience and sense of community to this interdisciplinary program.



Julian Agyeman
Ph.D. , University of London
Sustainability policy and planning, environmental and food justice, intercultural cities
Jennifer Allen
Jennifer Allen
Professor and Chair
Sc.D., MPH, MSN, RN , Harvard School of Public Health
Community Health, Community-based interventions to promote health in underserved populations, with an ultimate goal of reducing health disparities
Linda Beardsley
Senior Lecturer
M.Ed. , Tufts University
Director of Middle and High School Teacher Education
Steven Cohen
Senior Lecturer
Ph.D. , Brandeis University
High school history
Robert Cook
Professor, Dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Ph.D. , University of California, Berkeley
Animal Cognition and Learning
Pawan Dhingra
Pawan Dhingra
Professor, Chair
Ph.D. , Cornell University
Asian America, Immigrant Adaptation, Race and Ethnic Relations, Social/Cultural Inequalities
Peter Levine
Peter Levine
Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs
Ph.D. , University of Oxford
Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life
Penn Loh
Lecturer and Director of the M.P.P. Program and Community Practice
M.S. , University of California, Berkeley
Environmental justice, solidarity and new economy, community organizing
Barbara M. Parmenter
Lecturer, Student Affairs Coordinator, and Certificate Program Advisor
Ph.D. , University of Texas at Austin
Geographic Information systems
Ellen Pinderhughes
Ellen E. Pinderhughes
Professor and Graduate Program Director (Ph.D.)
Ph.D. , Yale University
Adoption and foster care and Influences on family socialization processes among families with children at risk for problematic outcomes
Sarah Pinto
Sarah Pinto
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , Princeton University
Medical anthropology, gender, mental health, reproduction, cultures of biomedicine, kinship, global feminism, history of the body
Erin Seaton
Ed.D. , Harvard Graduate School of Education
School Psychology
Sabina Elena Vaught
Sabina Elena Vaught
Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Education
Ph.D. , University of Wisconsin-Madison
Director of the Program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Application Deadline

Fall: February 15
Spring: October 15

Application Requirements: 

> Application fee
> Resume/CV
> Personal statement
> Official GRE required
> Official TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable
> Transcripts
> Three letters of recommendation 

View all general application requirements

For questions about this program, contact Dean Robert Cook, interim program director, and Ariana Hajmiragha, program administrator.

For questions about your application, contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 617.627.3395 or gradadmissions@tufts.edu.