Organizational Leadership / Master of Arts


Organizational Management

Not-for-Profit Management

Training and Development

Higher Education – Student Services

Organizational and Leadership Coaching

Program Objectives

The 36-hour Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program offers a contemporary and people-focused course of study for students who seek to develop their leadership skills more effectively. Targeted for working adults seeking to maximize their contribution to leadership in the workplace, this course of study integrates the best of scholarship and professional practice. The program is designed for those who want to develop their own effectiveness and contributions within their respective organizations. This program supports people who are primarily focused on "people management" and who desire to bring the highest level of value to their organizations. The core courses build toward concentrations in Organizational Management, Not-For-Profit Management, Training and Development, Higher Education-Student Services, and Organizational and Leadership Coaching.

Program Rationale

Workplace literature is rich with the leadership theme. It is identified as the key to organizational effectiveness and success. Grounding its study in the social sciences, this program seeks to identify the complex understandings of both "leadership" and "organization," develops the skills associated with these themes, and prepares to bring these skills to the highest level of effectiveness in organizations. Further, students will embed these themes in areas of concentration or professional expertise.

At the end of this program, successful students will be able to:

1. Recognize and understand foundational leadership theories and the notion of leadership as a psycho-social phenomenon.

2. Critique models which apply to the practice of leadership in organizational change, conflict management, and team building.

3. Explore the foundational basis of ethical leadership with a focus on Lasallian and Servant Leadership.

4. Incorporate critical thinking and decision making skills to enhance leadership and organizational effectiveness.

5. Appraise the role of leadership in shaping organizational culture with particular emphasis on diversity, participative management, and self-reflection.

6. Evaluate workplace research in order to make decisions that foster organizational improvement and inform future directions.

7. Create a Capstone (case analysis, paper, and presentation) which reflects academic discipline and workplace/community application.

Program Design

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

Courses are offered on a 12-month basis in 8-week sessions. On-ground courses meet one evening per week at the Romeoville and Oak Brook campuses. Cohort groups meet weekly throughout the metropolitan Chicago area. All courses are also offered online.

Courses are scheduled to allow students to enter the program 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 students whose personal and professional interests would be better served by an accelerated format.

Students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 for continuation in 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.

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

Full Admission Requirements

Experience in the workplace, especially direct involvement in management, is an essential resource for our applicants.  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. Submit official transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended.

3. Have a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average OR have 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.

4. Complete a graduate application form, accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.  

5. Submit two letters of recommendation

6. Submit an essay concerning one’s personal and professional direction.

7. 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.

Provisional Admission Status

Students who apply for full admission status and are deficient in one or more of the requirements for full admission (for example, having earned less than a 3.0 GPA at the conclusion of their baccalaureate degree) may be granted provisional status until those deficiencies are removed.  Deficiencies must be removed after 6 semester hours of graduate coursework (no more than 2 sessions) taken at Lewis University.  Students will be informed in writing of the decision of the Graduate Council if provisional status is granted.

Student-At-Large Status

A student-at-large is not a degree candidate. In order to be admitted as a student-at-large, the applicant must submit official documentation of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education and complete a modified application form. The decision to admit an at-large student to graduate courses belongs to the Graduate Program Director, whose decision is based on an evaluation of the applicant’s undergraduate coursework and possibly an interview. However, should the student decide to apply for full admission status at a later time, but within 5 years of course completion, only a maximum of 6 semester hours of graduate coursework completed as a student-at-large can be applied toward an advanced degree, and only courses with grades of B or better will count toward the degree.

Transfer Procedures

Students may apply up to 9 semester hours of graduate-level work from a regionally-accredited institution. A transfer student must follow the criteria stated above for full or provisional admission.  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 5 years.

3. Appropriateness of coursework will be decided by the Organizational Leadership Department's Graduate Program Director 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. 

5. Credit for prior learning is not awarded for graduate courses.

[Students designated by the Department of Organizational Leadership as having been participants in good standing in the undergraduate Organizational Leadership Fast Track program offered by Lewis University and who have fulfilled all the requirements for Fast Track delineated in the undergraduate catalog may apply up to 9 credits towards the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.]

Grade Point Requirement

Only grades attained in Lewis University graduate courses will be used in determining the GPA. No more than 2 courses in which a grade of C is earned will count toward degree requirements. A grade of D will not count toward the degree or certification requirements.  A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.  Any student admitted to the graduate Organizational Leadership program whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be automatically placed on academic probation.

Academic Probation

A student in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. While on academic probation, the student must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or better in the courses taken during each 8-week session. If a student does not meet this minimum GPA requirement in the courses taken during any session on academic probation, he or she will be dismissed from the program. After a one-semester hiatus, the student may petition the Graduate Program Director in writing to resume studies. The Graduate Program Director, in consultation with Graduate Council, will make the final decision on whether to allow the student to resume studies. If consent is granted to resume studies in the MAOL program, the student will resume studies on academic probation. Once a student's GPA meets or exceeds 3.0, the student will be released from academic probation. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to graduate.

Time Limit

Candidates must complete all requirements within 7 years from the time of completion of their first graduate course at Lewis University. Students remain under the requirement of the catalog in effect at the time of matriculation unless they discontinue attendance for two consecutive years or more, in which case they will follow the catalog in effect upon their return.

Certificate Programs

The following eighteen-hour certificate programs are available: Higher Education Leadership, Organizational and Leadership Coaching, and Organizational Leadership.

Graduation Requirements

1. Successful completion of 36 semester hours of credit.

2. Successful completion of at least 27 semester hours of graded credit completed at Lewis University.

3. Completion of required courses including

  • 8 courses or 24 credit hours of Core courses;
  • 4 courses or 12 credit hours of Concentration courses; and
  • achievement of an overall GPA of at least a 3.0 (B) for all courses taken at Lewis University.

4. Students will be permitted to repeat a course only once. After an unsatisfactory second attempt, students will be subject to academic dismissal (pending review by the Graduate Program Director).

Degree Offered:  Master of Arts

Total Credit Hours:  36


I. Core Courses (24)

LL-509Leadership: Theories, Practices and Context


LL-512Assessing Leadership Skills


LL-524Leading Change


LL-536Ethics, Integrity and Social Responsibility


LL-539Conflict Management


LL-555Psychology of Motivation


LL-592Workplace Research: Critical Thinking and Decision Making


LL-595Capstone: Leadership and the Future


II. Concentration Courses (12)

Higher Education – Student Services Concentration

LL-516Principles of Higher Education: Mission and Directions


LL-556Systems and Services in Higher Education


LL-558Planning Strategically


LL-572Adult Development


Some courses in the Higher Education - Student Services Concentration may be offered online only.

Not-for-Profit Management Concentration

LL-558Planning Strategically


LL-561Organizational Cultures and Systems


LL-567Working with the Community: Boards to Volunteers


LL-570Stewardship and External Support


Some courses in the Not-for-Profit Management Concentration may be offered online only.

Organizational and Leadership Coaching Concentration

LL-546Introduction to Organizational and Leadership Coaching


LL-547Coaching Methodologies


LL-548Building A Coaching Practice


LL-549Coaching Research


The Organizational and Leadership Coaching Concentration follows the requirements set forth by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). While Lewis University does not provide a certificate upon completion of this concentration, it does prepare students who desire to obtain a coaching license/certificate. Students can obtain more information about this concentration from their advisor.

Some courses in the Organizational and Leadership Coaching Concentration may be offered online only and may require synchronous learning.

Organizational Management Concentration

LL-527Building Teams


LL-558Planning Strategically


LL-561Organizational Cultures and Systems


LL-565Finance as Organizational Text


Training and Development Concentration

LL-527Building Teams


LL-545Mentoring and Coaching


LL-561Organizational Cultures and Systems


LL-577Design and Delivery of Training