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Leadership, MA

Study MA in Leadership at Azusa Pacific University

Graduate equipped to stand out as an innovator in your field. You’ll be ready to adapt to changes within teams, the workplace, and the culture. We’ll open opportunities for you to add leadership experiences with reputable organizations to your résumé, and you'll dive into a human-centered approach to solving complex challenges. Your schedule options are flexible and designed to adapt to your working life, so you can graduate ready to lead for Christ.

Program at a Glance

The School of Business and Management cultivates students' skills, faith, and character to become business leaders who inspire change.

Application Deadline

  • Students are admitted to and can start the MA in Leadership program in any of the six sessions during the academic year. The application deadline is approximately three weeks before the start of any session.

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Program Units

Cost per Unit

Base Cost


  • Azusa (Main Campus), Online
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Yellow Ribbon and Military Friendly School

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Gain Hands-on Experience

  • Focus on character, creativity, curiosity, and innovation grounded in Christian values.
  • Participate in experiential learning opportunities with organizations such as Design Thinking and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. 
  • Develop skills and tools relevant across a wide range of careers.
  • Complete projects designed to integrate real-life experiences.
  • Present a final project during a Designer Symposium, a TEDx-style night of presentations.

By the Numbers

1 of 126 Best Western Colleges according to Princeton Review's 2023 Best Colleges Guide
10 :1 Student-to-faculty ratio
100 % of incoming students receive financial aid

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Program Details

The Master of Arts in Leadership (available face to face and online) is an interdisciplinary degree that equips leaders with skills and tools that can be applied across a variety of vocations and fields. With a focus on character, creativity, curiosity, and innovation grounded in a framework of Christian values, you will explore what being a leader means to you, and how you can hone your skills to help others thrive.

Browse the tabs below—if you have questions, visit the Student Services Center page, and we’ll make sure you get the info you need.

Students are admitted to and can start the MA in Leadership program in any of the six sessions during the academic year. The application deadline is approximately three weeks before the start of any session.

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

Applicants must possess:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. (Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals who do not meet this criteria if competency can be shown.)

Applicants must submit:

  • Graduate application for admission
  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and all postbaccalaureate study

    An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals with a lower GPA if competency can be shown through multiple measures.

  • Application essay of 1-2 pages, describing your professional and educational goals
  • Résumé or statement of experience

Interview and Writing Sample

Once the application materials have been received, potential candidates may be invited for a personal interview with a member of the Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology. This conversational meeting will allow us to further acknowledge your interests and goals in obtaining this degree.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

Azusa Pacific University is authorized under federal law by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State to enroll nonimmigrant, alien undergraduate and graduate students. APU issues and administers both the I-20 and DS 2019 (F-1 and J-1 status documents respectively).

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a placement test with the Academic Success Center, or through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English proficiency requirements must be submitted directly to International Services.
  • Provide a Graduate Affidavit of Financial Support (PDF) and a bank statement from within the last six months proving financial ability to pay for education costs through personal, family, or sponsor resources.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.
  • Get foreign transcripts evaluated. International credentials (transcripts, certificates, diplomas, and degrees) must be evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation agency. View our policy and a list of approved Foreign Transcript Evaluation Agencies.

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Student Services Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.

Conditional Admission

No GMAT or GRE score is required for the MA in Leadership. Conditional admits (those who have less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA) may need to complete prerequisite courses.

Many financial aid options are available to make your master’s in leadership affordable.

Delivering high-quality graduate programs takes a comprehensive support system. Your investment in an advanced degree includes a complete network of student services and access to a community of faculty and staff who partner with you in your pursuit of higher education. Below is a detailed breakdown of the fees associated with benefits and services that may be included in your degree program.

School of Business and Management Fees

Tuition (per unit) and Fees
Leadership, MA (per unit) $680
Master of Business Management (MBM, including online) $680
MBA (including online) $680
Organizational Psychology, MS (per unit) $680
Audit (per unit) half-price tuition

Leung School of Accounting

Tuition and Fees
Master of Professional Accountancy (per unit) $680
Master of Professional Accountancy Wiley Review Fee $1,085

View a complete list of university fees.

All stated financial information is subject to change. Contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020 for more information.

Financial Aid

Several types of financial aid are available to graduate students. The resources range from federal loans and state grants to, for some graduate programs, fellowships and scholarships. For details about financial aid available for your program, please contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020.

Military Benefits

Military members—and in some cases their spouses and dependents—qualify for financial assistance covering tuition, housing, and books. Azusa Pacific is a Yellow Ribbon University and Military Friendly School, so you can be confident that you’ll receive the benefits and flexibility you need to complete your education.

School of Business and Management Alumni Tuition Discounts

APU’s School of Business and Management offers an alumni tuition discount for APU alumni starting in the following graduate programs:

Students must be in good academic standing and maintain satisfactory academic progress with a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0. Students must be enrolled at least half-time. If qualifications are met, the discount may be renewed each term. APU will pay $500 per term (up to $2,000 over the course of the program). This discount cannot be combined with other institutional aid. Contact Student Financial Services for complete eligibility details.

Note: Award and eligibility are applicable for the 2022-23 academic year and apply to students admitted beginning fall 2020. The discount is subject to change.

To view specific requirements and coursework information, visit the current academic catalog:

Jackie Ray Slater

Football Coach, NFL Hall of Famer

I never thought I would, nor did I plan to, finish the Master of Arts in Leadership program. I originally applied for admission to keep busy and challenge myself cognitively.

However, as time went by and I began to apply myself and interact with the classes, I started to come to grips with the very essence of what the program is really all about: This program is about positively impacting the world around us. We can do this as leaders and as conscientious followers.

The impact of the program on an individual’s life is far more encompassing than a person’s career objectives. Although these objectives are thoroughly explored, the bigger picture of a Christ-centered worldview is far more enticing to the forward-thinking individuals I encountered while in the program.

The professors were all very bright people with hearts of gold. They possess a unique passion for teaching and watching their students grow.

I chose to pursue a Master of Arts in Leadership degree because it was always an interest of mine. I had always had leadership attributed to me, and to get a better understanding of leadership would help me to do a better job of leading the young men to whom I am constantly being entrusted. I was also challenged to cognitively enrich myself to promote a better quality of life. My fears and challenges centered around my having not been in school since I graduated from college in 1976.

I chose APU because I believe it was just the place for me. It proved to be an environment that was challenging to its students as well as its employees. A stimulating and thorough curriculum always left me feeling that I was growing and really becoming relevant in the unique field of organizational leadership.

The professors were all very bright people with hearts of gold. They possess a unique passion for teaching and watching their students grow. This, for me, after only a few classes, proved to be stimulating. As an older student trying to get back into the swing of things after being out of school for three decades, the help and encouragement by my professors kept me challenged while not leaving me with feelings of abandonment. I always felt that I was growing.

The professors made the heart and soul of the subject matter very relevant to each individual. It was relevant regardless of the current work environment or station in life that the students found themselves. This was refreshing and it allowed for individual relevancy.

The largest takeaway for me was the fact that many of my past experiences, which had no theoretical legs to stand on, were now brought to life as I explored and learned these many new leadership theories. I can honestly say that because of my new learning, I now have new avenues of expression as I attempt to live a positive and impactful life.

I would recommend this program to any person who dares to impact our world as a leader. Not only will the program equip you with cutting-edge skills as it adheres to its competency-based philosophy of leadership, but it will also help you gain a deeper and more accurate picture of who you are as a person. This program dives into the very uniqueness of your created self and indicates countless ways that you were made to have the greatest positive impact on our world.

My experience at APU as a student in this program has been one of the truly rewarding and impactful encounters of my professional life.

Amanda Bell

Nonprofit Fundraising Professional

During the 11 years that followed my bachelor’s degree, I pondered what my next field of study would be and where it would occur. I desired to invest in a graduate program that not only challenged me academically, but also reflected my values. APU’s master’s in leadership contained the educational elements of business management, human resources, and social work I was looking for, and was encased in Christian principles—as a new Christian, that proved tremendously edifying and inspiring.

Having never attended a Christian school, I was concerned that the program might be overly spiritual or unprofessional, but that was not the case. The program was challenging, thought provoking, and has given me a new understanding of and approach to leadership. My understanding of leadership before my graduate coursework was narrow and antiquated. I now see that leadership is about listening, not talking; moving, not standing; and lifting others up, not pushing others out of the way.

I encountered a diverse group of emerging and accomplished leaders who inspired me to develop as a nonprofit professional, parent, and follower of Christ.

I exit the program having learned from and alongside incredibly intelligent and inspiring scholars and business professionals—it was the guided study of leadership scholars like Lois Zachary and Ken Sande that was my favorite aspect of the program. Each in their own unique style, the professors I encountered at APU served as Christian role models and continue to remind me of the kind of leader and parent I want to be. Unlike the arrogant, distant professors I encountered in my undergraduate work, the professors at APU truly cared about me. They took the time to get to know me, they valued my experience, and challenged me to think differently. I strive to emulate their example and become a truly transformative leader.

The literature I studied, the lectures I heard, and coursework I completed profoundly impacted my life. I found the reading often directly related to challenges I was experiencing and helped me to better navigate them, and for the first time in my academic career, my homework helped me to solve the conflicts I encountered at work. The program provided me with strategies to plan for my organization’s growth, helped to solidify my professional calling, and pushed me to articulate a personal philosophy of leadership. I have learned to be a more strategic leader who truly listens, asks good questions, and is able to effectively mobilize a team to achieve new levels of success.

Intellectual conversation, rewarding teamwork, and unexpected opportunity proved abundant in my graduate school experience at APU. I encountered a diverse group of emerging and accomplished leaders who inspired me to develop as a nonprofit professional, parent, and follower of Christ. God led me to APU and I leave the program transformed and grateful. APU has exceeded my expectations and has left me personally and professionally transformed—I cannot imagine finding a better personal fit in a graduate program.

Paige Piontkowsky

International Student Admissions

I discovered my love for leadership through my first resident advisor position; I saw how effective leadership could transform students’ lives, and I wanted to gain more knowledge about leadership—good and bad leadership. I chose the Master of Arts in Leadership program over any other program because I was able to see the transformation in the lives of my friends and see how they were applying things learned in this program to their daily lives. It has definitely helped me to become more like the leader I desire to be.

Deep change is exactly what happens throughout the course of this program. I wasn’t prepared to go through the changes that I have, but I am so happy to have had the transformational experience of this program.

The professors in this program have changed my life; they encouraged, challenged, changed, and accepted me as the being God created me to be. The professors in this program make an investment in each of the students, something that I appreciate more than I could put into words. I learned that I have much growing to do before I am whole; the professors in this program have accepted and loved me despite my flaws, and have shown me the way to grow in order to become a whole being.

Deep Change by Robert Quinn was the first book I read in the program, and my first “God moment” of the program. Deep change is exactly what happens throughout the course of this program. I wasn’t prepared to go through the changes that I have, but I am so happy to have had the transformational experience of this program. It is an introspective program, and students need to be ready to have their hearts, minds, and spirits changed for God.

I would recommend this program because it is applicable to all areas of life. It allows students to take an introspective look into themselves in order to be the perfect leader. Even those who don’t see themselves as “leaders” will benefit from this program because it is not only about the leader, but also about those being led.

Tatsiana Zakharchanka

International Student

During the last five years, I have been exposed to different types of leadership positions, and I have always had contradictory feelings about it. On one hand, I enjoyed being responsible and organizing the whole department’s work, as well as working with people and help them work as a good team. On the other hand, I knew that I could do a much better job as a leader and that I needed to acquire all the necessary knowledge and tools to do so. I also needed to really get to know myself, to explore my capabilities and turn them into skills that I can build my leadership style on. Above all, I felt that it was time for me to restore, strengthen, and develop my relationship with God, which ultimately led me to APU.

Leaders are different, can be different, and should be different.

The biggest fear I had was not being able to overcome my insecurities (past failures) and be authentic. As an international student, I was also very self-conscious (and still am) about my language capabilities. But I have learned to take things one step at a time and do the best I can. I have learned that becoming/being a good leader is a process instead of a magical insight that just happens and lasts forever.

I knew from my friends (APU students at that time) that APU could be the best environment for me to accomplish the spiritual and professional goals that I set for myself, and I am happy to say that I made the right choice. I have never known as much about myself—my personality type, my strengths and weaknesses, etc.—as I know now. I have learned to acknowledge and value not only my good traits but also the ones to be improved upon, to be turned into potential and contribute to my authenticity.

It is amazing how different the Master of Arts in Leadership professors are, and it has led me to a very enlightening idea: leaders are different, can be different, and should be different. I have found that there is no template to copy, and that I need to build up my leadership on what God has equipped me with—and it needs to be unique and diverse. I think that we all need to integrate our own experience, views, and ideas with what we read and learn about. It is not about repeating someone’s ideas but having your own and sharing it with peers.

I have also learned to work in groups, embrace cultural diversity, and celebrate conflicts as an opportunity for spiritual, personal, and professional growth. This program integrates many disciplines (psychology, public relations, cultural studies) and, therefore, educates more than might be expected.

Stephen Coppenrath

Pastor of Family Ministries

After graduating from APU with a bachelor’s degree in 2004, I jumped straight into full-time church ministry. Nearly 10 years later, with two kids in tow and another on the way, things had only gotten busier, but the time seemed right to go back to school. It was intimidating at first, and I felt very much out of practice, but I quickly realized that it was a great fit—I loved that I had to be gone from the family only one night a week and could choose when I did my reading and homework.

From the start, my intention in working toward the MA in Leadership was to learn and grow professionally—I really wanted a degree that would equip me as a more competent leader to those I am serving alongside at church. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by the program’s additional focus on personal development, and I have been deeply challenged by the reading, discussions, and the personal stories of the others in class.

I wouldn’t have been ready for the challenges that faced me at church if it weren’t for what I was learning at APU.

Sarah Visser was my first professor, and she was a fantastic help to me in getting started in grad school. It was obvious that she thought deeply and intentionally about things, but her approachability and spiritual maturity endeared her to the whole class. There has been some modeling of healthy conflict and differing opinions in the classroom that has left a really positive impression on me. I like how the professors see the students as adults with worthwhile, thoughtful opinions.

I’ve learned that I enjoy the learning process much more than I thought; school has always been a necessity, but now in many ways I count it as a joy. As a pastor, I’ve also been struck by how many things have been helpful in local church ministry—It’s been a blessing to see the adage “All truth is God’s truth” really work out in my everyday experience.

The past year of grad school has in many ways amplified my experiences at church. I’ve been concurrently handed more influence and responsibility in the areas of leadership and staff development, as well as preaching and vision casting, and I know it’s no accident that God’s timing has played out the way it has. I wouldn’t have been ready for the challenges that faced me at church if it weren’t for what I was learning at APU.

Dianne Schlitt

Music Operations

Pursuing a master’s degree was a longtime personal goal. I wanted to improve my skills to enhance the ministry role I worked in, and then also be prepared for any future leadership responsibilities that God might entrust to me. I have always loved to learn, so I welcomed this new challenge, but there was some fear in returning to the academic environment, since it had been 26 years since I earned my bachelor’s degree—the changes in technology were probably the most intimidating thing. However, with the encouragement of my professors and fellow students, I quickly got over that and learned to not be shy about asking questions. I also quickly learned I had a lot to contribute with my life experiences.

APU was a natural choice for me. My undergraduate degree is from APU and my husband is an APU adjunct professor, and I have children who graduated from APU, and children who currently attend APU. Even more than that, though, I wanted to attend APU because the MA in Leadership program seemed to be a good fit and I highly valued integrating my faith into my leadership studies.

My experience in the program has been nothing but positive. I have felt appropriately challenged, and encouraged every step of the way. The professors see the value in what they are doing, and they are so willing to invest in the lives of the students. They truly want to equip and position leaders to be the best they can be.

This has been an incredible training process, and I am confident that it has prepared me for whatever my future holds.

One thing that stood out to me is the incredible way God consistently and specifically tied together courses I was taking, books I was reading, and papers I was writing to the exact things I was dealing with in my leadership responsibilities. I was able to immediately apply the knowledge, understanding, or skills from class to real-life circumstances, and I anticipate revisiting many of those ideas and thoughts.

Before entering the program, I anticipated receiving tools, skills, and insights that would be applicable to various leadership situations. What I didn’t anticipate was the life-changing, transformational process that I experienced. This truly has been a significant time that God has used to mold and shape me. It proved to be a time to reflect, a time of pruning, a time when I would be challenged, a time for some personal awareness and healing, and a time when my character would be reshaped. I more clearly defined my calling, clarified my passions, gained a deeper understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, and became equipped with many leadership insights. The program helped me think differently and see things differently. It stirred my passion to lead and make a difference in this world, and it built the leader in me from the inside out.

This has been an incredible training process, and I am confident that it has prepared me for whatever my future holds. As a result of this program, I will always be a student of leadership, and will encourage others who feel called as leaders to pursue this life-transforming experience.

Tia Joshua

Emerging Leader

My motivation in getting an MA in Leadership was simple: I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Ever since I was a little kid I have always wanted to make a difference in this world and impact the lives of individuals I come in contact with. I wondered, however, if I could I be a leader, if I could do what I felt the passion to do, but this program gave me the leadership skills that I needed to empower individuals to reach their maximum potential in their personal and professional lives.

I recommend this program to anyone who has a passion for people and helping others achieve success.

I enjoyed the down-to-earth personalities of the professors and their realistic techniques in helping each student realize their gifts and talents and how they could be used in the world. They gave me plenty of advice on how to stay the course, and knowing they believed in me and my leadership abilities meant the world to me. It is always good to know and hear that there are people who believe in you.

When I presented my capstone project, I was able to hear and see how the program had transformed me in my leadership journey. This was my “ah ha!” moment; I was seeing the fruit of my personal and professional growth, speaking with confidence, knowing that God was showing me I had leadership skills and that every challenge and obstacle I'd ever faced was leading me to that point. That experience embodied the whole concept of the program.

I recommend this program to anyone who has a passion for people and helping others achieve success. It is for the game changers in the world, those who are striving to make it a better place in their own way, whether it is in their personal or professional lives, or in their communities.

If you have questions, we’re here to help! Connect with a representative who can walk you through the program details and application process.

Contact Your Admissions Representative

Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology


(626) 812-3085


(626) 815-2023


Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000


Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Student Services Center

Contact (626) 812-3016 or [email protected], and visit apu.edu/ssc for details on the admissions process, financial aid, and class registration.

International Services

International students should contact +1-626-812-3055 or [email protected], and visit apu.edu/international/.

  • Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).  
  • The School of Business and Management receives accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), and is a member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Featured Faculty

Frances Wu

Frances Wu

Associate Professor

Todd Pheifer

Todd Pheifer

Director of Accreditation, Assessment, and Grants; Associate Professor

Ebenezer Puplampu

Ebenezer Puplampu

Senior Adjunct Professor, Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology

Career Outlooks and Outcomes

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.
*Base Cost (cost per unit x program units) is provided to aid in program comparison only.
All stated financial information is subject to change. View Tuition tab above.

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