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About the Program

Mission Statement

The Master of Arts in Leadership at Azusa Pacific University offers current and emerging leaders a graduate degree by means of theoretically grounded and practically applied courses. The objective is to award degrees to adult participants who develop not only academically, but also in accordance with a set of comprehensive leadership competencies.


The M.A. in Leadership program is based on the following essential principles for effective leadership:

Program Goals

Areas of Emphasis

The master’s in leadership program is designed for individuals in current leadership positions, those who aspire to be good leaders, and students eager to engage in more in-depth study of leadership. With admission to one of the program’s four areas of emphasis, students receive a focused leadership education.

Students interested in Sport Management and Integrated Leadership apply for admission directly to this emphasis. All other students who are admitted to the program are admitted to the Leadership Development emphasis. At the time of admission to the program, or no later than completion of 9 units of study, individuals seeking consideration for the Organizational Leadership and Leadership Studies emphases must complete supplementary material. For the Organizational Leadership emphasis, this requires a statement of intent, including a professional résumé demonstrating at least five years of significant post-baccalaureate leadership experience, extensive supervisory oversight of other professionals, and demonstrated oversight of executive- level leadership tasks, including budgeting, hiring and employee development, organizational assessment, and strategic planning. Applicants for the Leadership Studies emphasis must document research skills and identify their intended research area. Decisions regarding admission to the Organizational Leadership and Leadership Studies emphases are made by the program director.

1. Leadership Development

The Leadership Development emphasis primarily focuses on emerging leaders looking for preparation for leadership in current and future endeavors and/or those interested in learning how to create leadership development programs. The ability to embrace one’s leadership identity, capitalize on strengths, and increase emotional intelligence is at the heart of leadership development. Such leaders also have a commitment and ability to develop others to make important contributions.

2. Leadership Studies

Among those who study leadership are those whose interest is primarily research-oriented. Students in the Leadership Studies emphasis are eager to research the dynamics of good leadership, the nature of effective leader-follower relationships, the broad theories that inform thinking about leadership, and the scholarly work that informs this knowledge. While not without practical applications, this track focuses on furnishing students with the interdisciplinary tools necessary for further studies in leadership.

3. Organizational Leadership

The Organizational Leadership emphasis is designed to educate individuals who are in positions of significant leadership and seeking fresh tools to inspire and mobilize those they serve. Strategic planning, ethical decision making, effective communication, interpersonal conflict, working through teams to accomplish organizational goals, and accomplishing results in timely and meaningful ways are tasks that are required of today’s leaders. With a focus on organizational behavior, participants learn to view groups from a leadership perspective. This emphasis educates students about organizations while capitalizing on the vast experiences that adults bring to the learning environment.

4. Sport Management and Integrated Leadership

This emphasis is designed for those seeking entry or advancement in the growing field of sport management, which includes areas such as athletic programs, community sports programs, health and fitness clubs, colleges and universities, sports administration or athletics, national or local sport governing bodies, professional sports franchises, sports entrepreneurship, sports facilities, athletics/performance consulting, and player development. Students explore a range of topics relevant to the industry, including the sociology of sport, legal issues in athletics, and facility and event management. Further coursework in athletic administration and leadership theory is enhanced by an internship experience in a sport managemement setting.


The M.A. in Leadership equips students in a variety of life and work applications. Leadership is enhanced when professionals are systematically able to develop and expand their competencies. This program is committed to teaching eight leadership competencies. These foci are taught in order to assist students in developing their level of performance in each of the following competency areas:

About Our Students

APU is noted for its small classes and personal attention. Most courses do not exceed 25 students. The university has a diverse student body, representing all races, ages, and both genders. In this program, many students have an established background of leadership in various fields and industries. Others are more recent college graduates and emerging leaders, or are interested in approaching the field of leadership studies from a scholarly and research-based perspective.

Personalized Professional Opportunities

Note: This information is current for the 2013-14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.