About the Program

Areas of Emphasis

Whether you’re an emerging leader looking for academic, professional, and personal development, a seasoned professional desiring fresh insight and innovative approaches to systemic and individual change, or an aspiring scholar wanting to dive deeper into theoretical research, the Master of Arts in Leadership offers a uniquely tailored program emphasis that will allow for growth, success, and transformation on your journey.

Emphasis Qualifications

We invite you to explore our four emphasis options and discover the possibilities that each has to offer. Master's in Leadership students may apply directly to any of our four emphases as indicated on the application form. For additional information, we encourage you to contact us.

Executive Leadership

The Executive Leadership emphasis is designed for seasoned leaders who seek fresh tools to inspire and mobilize those they serve. With coursework aimed at equipping leaders to think differently about strategic planning, ethical decision making, effective communication, interpersonal conflict, and organizational goal accomplishment, this emphasis focuses heavily on analyzing and understanding organizational behavior. Students who pursue this emphasis typically have significant professional leadership experience and a strong desire to take their leadership to the next level.

View course requirements (including core, emphasis, and elective options) and hear from students who have taken the master’s in leadership program.

Leadership Development

The Leadership Development emphasis primarily focuses on emerging, early-career to midcareer leaders who desire to engage with academic content that will aid in equipping them in their present-day leadership experiences, in addition to preparing them for the future influence they will have. The ability to embrace one’s identity, capitalize on strengths, and increase emotional and social intelligence is at the heart of leadership development. This emphasis gives students an opportunity to reflect on and hone their leadership capacities, as well as pursue the knowledge and skills necessary to create comprehensive leadership development programs.

Through the coursework, students will begin exploring a wide array of leadership topics, including authentic leadership, mentoring, the dynamics of change, organizational behavior, optimal learning environments, followership, and Christian ethics. Pursuing this emphasis will provide skills and confidence to those who desire to contribute to the leadership development of others.

View course requirements (including core, emphasis, and elective options) and hear from students who have taken the master’s in leadership program.

Leadership Studies

Among those who study leadership are those whose intent 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 application, this track focuses on furnishing students with the interdisciplinary tools necessary for further studies in leadership. As such, this emphasis culminates in a thesis paper rather than a capstone project. This emphasis will academically equip individuals to pursue a terminal degree.

View course requirements (including core, emphasis, and elective options) and hear from students who have taken the master’s in leadership program.

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 management setting.

View course requirements (including core, emphasis, and elective options) and hear from students who have taken the master’s in leadership program.


A distinctive of our Master of Arts in Leadership degree is our competency-based approach to learning. Each of our courses has been strategically aligned with one or more of the carefully selected competencies that reflect the essence of our program. Each competency will be introduced, developed, and applied throughout the program.

There are three meta-competencies that provide a framing through which all knowledge, skill acquisition, and personal development will be engaged:

There are five core competencies that are introduced and developed throughout the program, in various course readings, research, and assignments, with the goal of inspiring a holistic leader equipped to meet the challenges of today:


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

  • Viewing transformational leadership as a liberating force in the development of human resources, as well as organizational goals
  • Acknowledging that social science and biblical values are developed into an informed ethic of leading
  • Recognizing that individual leadership styles and personalities relate to the achievement of organizational goals
  • Developing communication, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict-resolution, change-strategy, and strategic-planning skills
  • Identifying and creating opportunities for learning in order to become proactive, lifelong learners and agents of change

Program Goals

  • Explore the process of human development as it relates to individual and organizational development.
  • Apply human development concepts in order to creatively solve organizational problems and promote healthy organizational development.
  • Facilitate the use of change-agent skills in the areas of program design, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Work with the design and development of strategies that promote personal development and enhance the functioning of organizations.

Course Load

Most master’s in leadership students are working adults and do not attend full time. Part-time students take at least three units every nine weeks. Academic advising is highly recommended to determine the course load required for students to finish in an ideal timeframe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many units do I take each semester?
You may take no more than six units per nine-week term.

How long is a semester?
Each semester has two terms (Fall I and Fall II, Spring I and Spring II). Each term is nine weeks in length.

How long are the class sessions?
Each class requires that students meet for approximately 5 hours, once a week, 4:45–9:45 p.m. Select classes may be offered via weekend delivery format.

How many evenings per week do I attend class?
The traditional format is one evening of class per course. Some courses, though, are offered in weekend format, while others may be offered in a six-week accelerated format during summer months.

Note: This information is current for the 2015-16 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.