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Building Well-Rounded Leaders

Organizations of all sizes—whether public, private, or nonprofit—benefit when their leaders are strategic thinkers, innovative problem solvers, and effective team builders. 

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership curriculum is designed to provide a learning environment that allows you to develop and refine your leadership skills for success in a variety of settings and prepares you to tackle additional leadership responsibilities as you advance in your career.

The Saint Mary’s curriculum helps students build analytical and interpersonal skills and is uniquely organized into five clusters, each building on the teachings of the previous cluster.

  • The Learning Leader—Ethics, critical thinking, leadership styles and theories, research
  • The Connected Leader—Collaboration, team building, and communication
  • The Global Leader—Economic, political, social, and cultural perspectives
  • The Change Leader—Talent management, organizational change, and development
  • The Adaptive Leader—Strategy and innovation

As with all Saint Mary’s programs, students who enroll in the M.A. in Organizational Leadership program will receive instruction from professors who are leaders in the field and will build a professional network that will support them in their educational journeys and beyond.

From Start to Finish

  • You can earn your M.A. in Organizational Leadership degree in a little more than one year.
  • Blended courses begin every fall.


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.

On-Campus or
Blended Programs

Fully Online Programs

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. 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).
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
    • 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.
  4. Two letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. 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


This program is offered at our Twin Cities location and online.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Each cluster of classes is taken in sequence and is a prerequisite set for the following cluster.

Cluster I: The Learning Leader: 8 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.

OL614 Leadership and Ethics (4 cr.)

This course focuses on theories and styles of leadership and the ways in which outcomes are influenced through increased awareness of personal style and skills. Personal and professional ethics are analyzed, and ethical issues in organizations are explored.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Evaluate personal leadership strengths and opportunities for leadership success.
  2. Analyze the role of the leader in the context of organizational issues.
  3. Analyze one's learning and communication style as it applies to leadership in a technological world.
  4. Distinguish emotional intelligence competencies that contribute to leadership success.
  5. Analyze ethical principles that affect decision making.
  6. Analyze ethical dilemmas within organizations.
  7. Synthesize the individual, organizational, and systemic issues in ethical situations.
  8. Construct a process for ethically responsible decision-making and apply this model to ethical decision points.

OL615 Critical Thinking and Research (4 cr.)

This course focuses on exploring, analyzing, and evaluating information in order to think critically when creating leadership strategy.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Assess the foundational criteria, assumptions, and sources of beliefs and values.
  2. Use creativity and innovation as an aspect of critical thinking for leadership practice.
  3. Articulate the complexity inherent in controversial issues.
  4. Analyze an issue from several points of view.
  5. Create a research design and protocol for a research question.
  6. Synthesize information from multiple sources in planning for change.
  7. Engage constituents in using research to address organizational needs.
  8. Apply ethical considerations in research.



Cluster II: The Connected Leader: 7 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.

OL624 Collaboration and Teambuilding (4 cr.)

This course focuses on collaboration skills in developing high performing teams. Personal power, conflict, and influence are examined. Teambuilding, communication techniques are also included.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Develop strategies for high performing teams.
  2. Evaluate the role of influence and personal power in building relationships.
  3. Analyze and apply appropriate conflict management approaches.
  4. Evaluate collaboration skills for teambuilding.
  5. Assess cultural situations in organizations.
  6. Evaluate supportive communication techniques.
  7. Analyze an emotional competence framework and apply it to teams.
  8. Apply systems theory, team collaboration, and shared vision to organizations.

OL625 Communication Strategies (3 cr.)

This course focuses on tools, techniques, and strategies for effective communication in organizational excellence. Presentation, negotiation, and advocacy are examined.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Evaluate how communication tools, channels, and techniques affect strategy.
  2. Demonstrate interpersonal communication to manage relationships via technology.
  3. Demonstrate effective and supportive listening skills in respectful engagement of others' ideas, behaviors, and beliefs.
  4. Demonstrate the use of narrative and storytelling as a communication strategy.
  5. Demonstrate successful negotiating skills.
  6. Match vocabulary and voice to audience needs.
  7. Argue for and influence an audience on a critical topic.
  8. Present material in a visually appealing manner.

Cluster III: The Global Leader: 7 cr. total

The 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.

OL634 Economic and Political Contexts (3 cr.)

This course focuses on global, economic, and political issues influencing today's organizations. Contextual factors and trends in world economics and politics are examined.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze the factors influencing the international political economy and the management of organizations.
  2. Analyze the viewpoints identified in global politics.
  3. Analyze the influence of organizational beliefs and policies on global economies.
  4. Synthesize the cultural, economic, political, and social perspectives that impact organizations.
  5. Evaluate global trends important for effective local management.
  6. Articulate the challenges unique to organizations that operate globally.

OL635 Social and Cultural Perspectives (4 cr.)

This course focuses on the ethical stewardship of an organization within a contextual environment. Increased awareness of social responsibility and global citizenship is addressed along with cultural influences that impact organizations.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate appropriate cultural and contextual communication.
  2. Evaluate components of and influences on organizational culture.
  3. Evaluate strategies for an organizational culture of diversity and inclusion.
  4. Respect viewpoints that differ from the view most dominant in cultures.
  5. Evaluate the choices and decisions required for social responsibility.
  6. Synthesize ethical requirements with organizational ethical frameworks.
  7. Analyze compliance issues and principles that affect an organizational operating internationally.

Cluster IV: The Change Leader: 7 cr. total

This course cluster focuses on the art and science of managing talent and organizational change to create a positive and progressive environment in organizations, utilizing holistic thinking and technical skills.

OL644 Talent Management (3 cr.)

This course focuses on talent analysis of the whole organization while advancing development of its mission delivery. Performance management principles are examined.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze organizational talent demands.
  2. Assess an organization's life cycle stage and plan for growth.
  3. Evaluate talent management models to address organizational needs.
  4. Evaluate recruitment and retention strategies for alignment with organizational values.
  5. Distinguish between talent management and leadership development.
  6. Synthesize intellectual capital issues related to talent management and knowledge management.

OL645 Organization Change and Development (4 cr.)

This course focuses on organizational change and the skills and strategies to address opportunities for positive impact on organizations and their missions. Systems thinking is examined.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze and understand micro-organizational behavior and organizations as systems.
  2. Compare managed and emergent change approaches.
  3. Evaluate opportunities for planned and emergent change approaches.
  4. Evaluate components of the continuous improvement and learning culture.
  5. Identify obstacles to change and strategies to address them.
  6. Distinguish between strategies for changing individuals and changing organizations.
  7. Propose and evaluate goals and measures of success for change.

Cluster V: The Adaptive Leader 7 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.

OL654 Strategy and Innovation (4 cr.)

This course focuses on strategic thinking and creativity in organizational leadership. Innovation is examined as a process to develop the strengths of a system or organization, and to deliver positive results.  Evaluation, analysis, and integration based on previous course learning is expected.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Evaluate the creative process.
  2. Apply the principles of strategic thinking, planning, and development.
  3. Evaluate the processes for developing a strategic initiative.
  4. Analyze the blocks and enhancements to developing creativity.
  5. Integrate creative thinking strategies in a system or an organization to build and/or foster its capacity to innovate, change, and develop.
  6. Analyze trends in technology which influence innovation and leadership.
  7. Assemble thoughtful, innovative strategies with creative practices for organizational/systems learning.

OL655 Capstone Symposium (3 cr.)

This course focuses on integrating the knowledge, skill, and experience from all leadership coursework through research, writing, and a proposal for creative change.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Integrate, synthesize, and apply coursework in order to assess the role of the leader and leadership practice, and its interconnection with organizational/systems functioning.
  2. Evaluate information and its sources critically.
  3. Synthesize knowledge, skills, and experiences with leaders and leadership.
  4. Evaluate peer presentations using a supportive communication style.

Total: 36 cr.

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Connect With Us

Austin Rueda-Pippin

SGPP Admission - Enrollment Counselor Graduate School of Business and Technology

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH114

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5198

Austin Rueda-Pippin


Patricia Angulo, Ed.D.

Health & Human Services Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

John Beleford, II, M.S.

MS ITM Program - Adjunct Instructor

(612) 799-6713

Brian Chupp, Ph.D.

MS Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Assistant Professor

David Cranmer, Ph.D.

MA in Human Resource Management Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

George Diaz, M.A.

M.A. in Organization Leadership - Program Director

Brother Louis Hall, BLH211

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4510

George Diaz M.A.
Charles Eltonga, M.S.

MA in Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Instructor

Jeffrey Eng, J.D.

MA in Organizational Leadership - Adjunct Instructor

(651) 321-8177

Cuthbert Fernandez, M.A.

MA in Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Instructor

(612) 673-2175

Lawrence Graber, M.A.

MA in Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Instructor

(651) 303-5316

Gay Holm, M.A.

MA in Organizational Leadership - Adjunct Instructor

(612) 215-5351

Christa Kalk, Ph.D.

M.A. in Organizational Leadership - Adjunct Associate Professor

(507) 995-0960

Jena Klein, M.S.

Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Rob Koonce, Ed.D.

MA in Organizational Leadership - Adjunct Associate Professor

(505) 670-6405

James Laumeyer, M.B.A.

Human Resource Management - Adjunct Program

Joseph Linton, Jr., M.S.

Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Instructor

Jeffrey Nolan, M.S.

MA in Organizational Leadership - Adjunct Instructor

(317) 490-0199

Jeremiah Okari, Ed.D.

MA Organizational Leadership - Adjunct Instructor

(612) 483-3965

Jaya Perez, Ph.D.

SGPP - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Jessica Samens, M.A.

MA Organizational Leadership - Adjunct Associate Professor

Diana-Christine Teodorescu, M.A.

MA Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

Brother Louis Hall, BLH211

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4510

Al Watts, M.A.

MA in Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Instructor