2018-2019 Graduate Academic Catalog

An Introduction to Lesley

In 1909, Edith Lesley had a vision of an institution that would prepare young women to enter early childhood careers as leaders and catalysts for change. Along with educational opportunity and professional advancement, she and they wanted to serve and transform society.  Today, Edith Lesley’s founding vision anchors the University’s commitment to quality, innovation, responsiveness, service to students, and positive social change. There is an institution-wide commitment to academic and artistic excellence, flexibility, innovation, and responsiveness focused on supporting individual student learning and success. An entrepreneurial spirit, deeply rooted in our mission, enables faculty and staff to identify emerging needs and opportunities and meet them with relevant, high quality program offerings and approaches. 


Teaching and learning can take many forms at Lesley, but a hallmark is active engagement with real-world applications that integrate theory and practice. We are a community focused on educating, engaging, and empowering our students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to reach their goals and lead examined, productive, and satisfying lives. A Lesley University education provides the academic foundation and the practical experience to equip students to become leaders in their chosen professions.

A Lesley University education fosters the qualities of critical thinking and compassion essential in teaching, care giving, counseling, and initiating constructive change. This commitment to the value-added dimension of service unites successive generations of Lesley University students and graduates. 

Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences

The programs of the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences - Counseling and Psychology, Expressive Therapies, International Higher Education and Intercultural Relations, Mindfulness, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, and the MFA in Creative Writing – are at the forefront of their fields, with reputations achieved by the quality of the programs and the professional accomplishments of the faculty. The arts and social sciences form the basis of investigating the human condition and informing professional practice. Students, faculty, and graduates are continually engaged in developing new programs and redefining their professional fields to meet emerging needs in a swiftly changing social, political, and economic environment.

Graduate School of Education

The Graduate School of Education is marked by its commitment to education reform, action-oriented research, and its philosophy of providing lifelong learning for educators. With nationally recognized programs in early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school education; special education; literacy and language arts; creative arts in learning; and instructional technology, Lesley is a major source of teachers and other educational personnel for schools across the country. The Graduate School of Education’s goal is to expand its leadership in the public policy arena and continue to develop new ways to work collaboratively with schools and districts to enhance learning for all children.

College of Art + Design

The Lesley University College of Art + Design was founded in 1912 as the School of Practical Arts to primarily teach commercial art skills. In 1967 the school changed its name to the Art Institute of Boston (AIB) and added fine art programs to establish itself as a professional art and design school. In 1998 the school merged with Lesley University. In 2013 AIB changed its name to Lesley University College of Art and Design in anticipation of its move from Boston to Cambridge. The Boston-Cambridge area has on average 98 cultural events per day, bringing art and design education outside the studio and classroom. In 2015, LA+D moved into the new Lunder Arts Center in Cambridge to join its sister colleges at Lesley. This merger and move strengthened and broadened the college’s curricula as one of the few professional art and design schools within a university that provides a strong liberal arts education to complement its art and design education. Art and design students are educated, not just trained, in liberal arts courses. An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, the college’s mission remains focused on providing artists and designers with rigorous studio education and training grounded in the liberal arts. Its goal to produce contributing and responsible citizens is supported by 100% internship placements and a 93% employment rate. Students are able to work in the art and design community with one of over 50 community partners, gaining experience teaching, organizing, and exhibiting their work. Five gallery spaces feature over 25 exhibitions per year by professional artists and designers, community artists, and students. Undergraduates benefit from studying with graduate students in the LA+D MFA programs, ranked in the top 20 in the United States. With 600 students, the college is not too big, not too small, but rather just right —a close, inclusive, supporting community. The College of Art + Design offers Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs. For more information refer to the Lesley University Undergraduate Catalog. 

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences traces its roots to the original founding of Lesley in 1909. The College offers a cosmopolitan, residential college experience combining a strong foundation in the liberal arts with professional coursework and practical internship experience. The small college experience is broadened by the resources and opportunities of the larger university such as accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs and opportunities for cross-registration with The College of Art and Design and other schools of the University. For more information refer to the Lesley University Undergraduate Catalog.