M.A. in Organizational Leadership

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  • Course description


    Total Credit Hours: 37


    Organizational Management

    Not-for-Profit Management

    Training and Development

    Public Administration

    Higher Education – Student Services


    The 37-hour Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program offers a contemporary and holistic course of study for persons who seek to develop more fully and integrate more effectively the skills of team or mission-oriented leadership. Targeted for working adults seeking to maximize their contribution to leadership in the workplace, the course of study integrates the best of scholarship and the cutting edge of professional practice. It is designed for those who want to learn how to see the larger picture and integrate their responsibilities within their respective organizations. We support people who are primarily focused on "people management" and develop the skills and perspectives they need to add the highest level of value to their organizations. The core courses build toward concentrations in management (corporate and not-for-profit), organizational learning, public administration, and higher education – student services.


    Workplace literature is rich with the leadership theme. It is identified as the key to organizational effectiveness and success. Grounding our study in the social sciences, we seek to identify the multiple understandings of both "leadership" and "organization," develop the skills associated with these themes, and prepare to bring these skills to the highest level of effectiveness in our organizations. Further, candidates embed these themes in areas of concentration or professional expertise.

    The objectives of the program include development of leadership skills, lifelong learning, and self-managed learning, with a program emphasis on non-traditional thinking. The program focuses on managing the human side of the enterprise through the development of such skills as critical thinking, managing change, communication, and leadership. Participants are provided an opportunity to think critically, create vision based upon ethical values, discern the future, take risks, become global leaders, and make a difference by instituting change within an organization.


    This program is designed for adults with full lives and deep workplace commitments. It is designed for flexibility and completion.

    Courses are offered on a 12-month basis in 8-week sessions and meet one evening per week at the Romeoville and Oak Brook campuses. We also offer the entire curriculum in weekend format throughout the year as well as online. We are committed to supporting the goal that candidates experience the best of graduate study while continuing their involvement at home, in the community, and in the workplace.

    This is an open entry program where students may enter at any time. Courses are scheduled to allow students to enter at the beginning of any of the 8-week course sessions throughout the year. The schedule is also designed to allow students to take time out from enrollment and re-enter as circumstances permit.

    This program enables students to advance their academic preparation in the context of full-time commitments at work and home. It is designed for graduates of these and other similar programs whose personal and professional interests would be better served by an accelerated format.


    Experience in the workplace, especially direct involvement in management, is an essential resource for our applicants.

    Applicants should be 24 years of age or older, submit verification by official transcripts of completion of a baccalaureate degree at a regionally accredited institution, have a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average, submit two university-provided letters of recommendation, and have three years of work experience. An essay concerning one’s personal and professional direction is required for full admission to the program. Admission will be determined by the Program Director with final approval by the Graduate Council of the College of Arts and Sciences.

    Students are welcome to apply who have continued their academic development and skill level in the workplace. Applicants with less than a 3.0 grade point average and/or writing deficiencies may be admitted with provisional status that remains in effect for no more than two sessions. We believe we have the resources to help candidates succeed.

    Three categories of student enrollment are offered in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program: full admission, provisional admission, and student-at-large.


    Students seeking a graduate degree must fulfill the following minimal requirements:
    1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
    2. Maintain an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 undergraduate hours, or possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 based upon the completion of two 3-credit hour leadership graduate courses at Lewis University with no grade lower than B.
    3. Complete a graduate application form, accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.
    4. Submit complete official transcripts from accredited institutions previously attended.
    5. Meet with the Program Director for a personal interview to discuss the student’s goals and to set up a planned sequence of courses.
    6. Be accepted by the Graduate Council of the College of Arts and Sciences. (Students will be informed in writing of the decision of the Graduate Council.)


    Students who apply for full admission status and are deficient in one or more of the requirements for full admission may be granted provisional status until those deficiencies are removed. Deficiencies must be removed after six semester hours of graduate coursework taken at Lewis University. (Students will be informed in writing of the decision of the Graduate Council.)


    A student with a baccalaureate degree who wants to take certain graduate courses with the intention of becoming a degree or certification candidate may be admitted as a student-at-large by meeting the following requirements:
    1. Submit official documentation of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
    2. Complete an application form, accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.

    Should a student-at-large seek full admission status, six semester hours completed as a student-at-large is the maximum credit toward an advanced degree that can be granted.

    A student with a baccalaureate degree who wants to take certain courses, but not a full degree endorsement or certification program, may be admitted as a student-at-large.

    1. Successful completion of 37 semester hours of credit.
    2. Successful completion of at least 28 semester hours of graded credit completed from Lewis University.
    3. Completion of required courses including 
      • six (6) courses and two (2) seminars or nineteen (19) credit hours of core courses;
      • six (6) courses or eighteen (18) credit hours of concentration courses; and
      • achievement of an overall grade point average of at least a 3.0 (B) for all courses taken from Lewis University.


    A student has seven years to complete the program. Students remain under the requirement of the catalog in effect at the time of matriculation unless they discontinue attendance for more than two consecutive years, in which case they will follow the catalog in effect upon their return.


    Students may apply up to nine semester hours of graduate-level work from a regionally accredited institution. A transfer student must follow the admission criteria stated on the previous page (full or provisional).

    The following conditions apply to the acceptance of transfer credit.
    1. Only courses with a grade of B or better will be accepted. 
    2. Coursework must have been completed within the last five years. 
    3. Appropriateness of coursework will be decided by the Director of the Organizational Leadership program at the time of the student’s application to the program. Generally, courses accepted for transfer credit must bear similarity to the courses in this program. 
    4. Courses from outside the United States will be considered if they are evaluated as graduate level by the Office of Admission or the Commission on Accreditation of the American Council on Education.

    Credit for prior learning is not awarded for graduate courses. Students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0/4.0 for continuation of the program. No content or discipline-specific qualifying or comprehensive examinations are required. These competencies are acquired throughout the curriculum. No foreign language is required.


    Please contact the Program Director when you are nearing completion of the degree program. Students are solely responsible for completing the required form by the end of the first week of the semester in which they intend to graduate. The application for degree form is available online at www.lewisu.edu.

    I. Core Courses (19)
    LL-509 Leadership: Theories, Practices and Context (3)
    LL-512 Assessing Leadership Skills (3)
    LL-515 Critical Thinking and Decision Making (3)
    LL-536 Ethics, Integrity and Social Responsibility (3)
    LL-539 Conflict Management (3)
    LL-502 Directed Research Study (1)
    LL-590 Leadership and the Future (2)
    LL-576 Organizational Assessment (1)

    II. Concentration Courses (18)

    Organizational Management Concentration
    LL-527 Building Teams (3)
    LL-558 Planning Strategically (3)
    LL-561 Organizational Cultures and Systems (3)
    LL-565 Finance as Organizational Text (3)

    Not-for-Profit Management Concentration
    LL-558 Planning Strategically (3)
    LL-561 Organizational Cultures and Systems (3)
    LL-567 Working with the Community: Boards to Volunteers (3)
    LL-570 Stewardship and External Support (3)

    Public Administration Concentration
    LL-560 Themes in Public Policy, Administration and Leadership (3)
    LL-564 Public Policy and Governmental Relations (3)
    LL-530 Managing Diversity (3)
    LL-558 Planning Strategically (3)

    Organizational Training and Development Concentration
    LL-572 Adult Development; Learning Models and Practices (3)
    LL-518 Organizational Communication (3)
    LL-577 Design and Delivery of Training (3)
    LL-555 Psychology of Motivation (3)

    Higher Education – Student Services Concentration
    LL-516 Principles of Higher Education; Mission and Directions (3)
    LL-556 Systems and Services in Higher Education (3)
    LL-527 Building Teams (3)
    LL-572 Adult Development; Learning Models and Practices (3)

    III. Electives (3)

    Choose one graduate elective:

    LL-522 Technology and Resource Development (3)
    LL-524 Maximizing Organizational Change (3)
    LL-533 Transnational Leadership (3)
    LL-573 Independent Inquiry (1-3)
    LL-579 Selected Topics (1-3)
    LL-585 International Leadership Themes (3)

    IV. The advanced writing requirement is satisfied by successful completion of LL-440 Organizational Research Analysis.

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