The M.A. in Organizational Leadership combines theoretical and practical leadership strategies with best practices to equip today’s adaptive leaders—those who stand poised to respond quickly yet intelligently to ongoing change. The program is delivered in six distinct clusters, each cluster establishing a layer of skills and thinking that builds to the next layer, culminating in a synthesis of applicable adaptive leadership principles. Developing their own leadership style, students learn both analytical and interpersonal skills such as influencing, collaborating, and managing conflict. They become agents of organization development and effectiveness as they learn to think critically and strategically about a myriad of organizational and ethical issues, to communicate and collaborate, to manage talent, to build high performing teams, to become inclusive and responsive, and to be creative in problem-solving.
Graduates of the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program are expected to be able to do the following:
- Interpret the contexts and environments in which organizations operate.
- Integrate and apply analytical principles and skills to make complex strategic decisions.
- Develop individual awareness, style, and communication skills that influence outcomes.
- Collaborate in complex work teams utilizing effective communication techniques.
- Develop and integrate creative, adaptive strategies that promote positive change and innovation.
- Evaluate the ethical implications of one’s actions.
- Conduct research and communicate results successfully.
- Create an organizational culture of diversity and inclusion.
- Activate self-directed strategies for continued personal and professional learning.
The program is organized by themes. Six clusters of skills and knowledge are examined that combined create a contemporary organizational leader. A cohort of students moves through the program together, taking courses in sequential order.
- Cluster I: The Learning Leader reflects on individual experience, preferences, and attitudes to build a growing awareness of how a leader influences outcomes with personal style and skills.
- Cluster II: The Connected Leader builds the relationships and connections essential for successful organizations.
- Cluster III: The Global Leader understands and maneuvers among the cultural, economic, political, legal, and social spheres that influence work.
- Cluster IV: The Organizational Leader considers both the art and science of managing talent and exploring the dynamics of power and influence to create a positive and progressive environment in organizations.
- Cluster V: The Change Leader considers both organization development and organizational effectiveness to address opportunities for positive impact on organizations and their missions.
- Cluster VI: The Adaptive Leader synthesizes and applies leadership principles from the previous clusters to create a strategic, innovative, and competitive organization.
Program Structure and Delivery
The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program is offered in a blended format or fully online. Courses delivered in the blended format integrate face-to-face classroom meetings and online activities or interactions in a planned, instructionally valuable manner.
Each cluster of classes is taken in sequence and is a prerequisite set for the following cluster.
Cluster I: The Learning Leader: 6 cr. total
This course cluster examines individual experience, preferences, and attitudes in developing a leader’s personal competence. Emotional intelligence and critical and strategic thinking are introduced as vital development skills throughout the program. Formulating significant questions within the discipline become the foundation for research methods in organizational leadership.
Cluster II: The Connected Leader: 6 cr. total
This course cluster focuses on building relationships and connections necessary for leading successful organizational operations. Communication strategies and approaches for influencing, negotiating, advocating, and teambuilding are emphasized. Collaborative relationships are examined.
Cluster III: The Global Leader: 6 cr. total
This course cluster examines all spheres—cultural, economic, political, legal, and social—that influence an organization’s domestic or global mission. World politics and corporate social responsibility are addressed.
Cluster IV: The Organizational Leader: 6 cr. total
This course cluster focuses on managing talent and exploring the dynamics of power and influence to create a positive and progressive environment in organizations, utilizing holistic thinking and technical skills.
Cluster V: The Change Leader: 6 cr. total
This course cluster focuses on organization development and organizational effectiveness and the skills and
strategies to address opportunities for positive impact on organizations and their missions.
Cluster VI: The Adaptive Leader: 6 cr. total
This course cluster focuses on synthesizing and applying leadership principles from the previous clusters to create a strategic, innovative, and competitive organization. The previously studied areas of personal, collaborative, global, and change awareness are integrated into a comprehensive view of contemporary leadership.
Applicants may apply for admission to master’s degree programs at any time during the year. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. Applicants must complete an interview with a program administrator as part of the admission process.
Applicants must submit:
- Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel) and,
- An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. ( An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
- A personal statement which includes:
- brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience and,
- statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program and,
- description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
- personal information the applicant wishes to share.
- Letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability.
- A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
- Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)
Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404