Organizational Leadership / Master of Arts


Organizational Management

Training and Development

Higher Education – Student Services

Professional and Executive Coaching

Program Objectives

The 30-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, Training and Development, Higher Education-Student Services, and Professional and Executive Coaching.

Program Rationale

Workplace literature is centered on the theme of leadership. 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 understanding 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. Summarize foundational leadership theories which emphasize the dynamic relationship between leaders and followers as well as their influence of the leadership environment.

2. Evaluate models which apply to the practice of leadership in areas such as organizational change, conflict management, and team building.

3. Explore the role of ethics in leadership.

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

5. Evaluate the role of leadership as it relates to organizational culture, with consideration of issues related to individual and organizational differences.

6. Use research and data to support decisions, especially related to organizational practices and improvement.

7. Create a Capstone (case analysis, paper, and presentation) which reflects academic workplace 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 Oak Brook campus. 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 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 goals. (specific directions will be provided)

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 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. Courses accepted for transfer credit must be similar 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.



Good Academic Standing

See Good Academic Standing.


Academic Probation and Dismissal

See Academic Probation and Dismissal.

Time Limitation for Completing Program

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.

Graduation Requirements

1. Successful completion of 30 semester hours of credit.

2. Successful completion of at least 21 semester hours of graded credit completed at Lewis University.

3. Completion of required courses including

  • 6 courses or 18 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:  30

Degree Requirements

Program: MA-ORGL-2

I. Core Courses (18)

ORGL-50900Leadership: Theories, Practices and Context


ORGL-51200Assessing Leadership Skills


ORGL-52400Leading Change


ORGL-53800Conflict Management and Employee Engagement


ORGL-59100Ethics, Critical Thinking and Decision Making


ORGL-59500Capstone: Leadership and the Future


II. Concentration Courses (12)

Higher Education – Student Services Concentration

Concentration: HEDU
ORGL-51600Principles of Higher Education: Mission and Directions


ORGL-55600Systems and Services in Higher Education


ORGL-55800Planning Strategically


ORGL-56100Organizational Cultures and Systems


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

Organizational Management Concentration

Concentration: ORGM
ORGL-52700Building Teams


ORGL-55800Planning Strategically


ORGL-56100Organizational Cultures and Systems


ORGL-56500Finance as Organizational Text


Some courses in the Organizational Management Concentration may be offered online only.

Professional and Executive Coaching Concentration

Concentration: COAC
ORGL-54600Introduction to Professional and Executive Coaching


ORGL-54700Coaching Methodologies


ORGL-54800Building A Coaching Practice


ORGL-54900Coaching Assessments and Research


The Professional and Executive 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 coaching certification. Students can obtain more information about this concentration from their advisor.

All courses in the Professional and Executive Coaching Concentration will be offered online and will require synchronous learning.

Training and Development Concentration

Concentration: TRND
ORGL-52700Building Teams


ORGL-54500Mentoring and Coaching


ORGL-57700Introduction to Training and Development


ORGL-57800Managing and Implementing Training and Development Initiatives


Some courses in the Training and Development Concentration may be offered online only.