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School of Education & Health Sciences

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Why Pursue a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership?

Do you want to rise as a leader that creates meaningful change in your organization? Are you looking for new ways to frame, approach, and tackle ambiguous problems and make strategic, evidence-based decisions? Do you need to hone your leadership skills so that you can develop, coach, and lead others?

The online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership teaches students how to effectively develop and motivate employees, solve problems, and lead and inspire others by example. In our program, students learn and apply evidence-based decision making, assessment tools, creative problem solving, and strategic planning.

Our students are aspiring leaders and changemakers who want to lead with confidence. They believe that with effective training, proper guidance, and reflection, they can become a force for good by helping others soar.


In-Demand Leadership Skills

More and more employers are looking for leaders who have the ability to connect with people, form creative solutions, and adapt to difficult and ambiguous situations. They recognize that soft skills and traits, such as creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management, are vital to a leader’s success.

These skills are interwoven throughout our degree’s curriculum. Students study the principles of creativity, inclusion, talent development, and data analytics, and apply those concepts to real-world situations.

Close Faculty Mentorship

We know that our students want to grow and develop personally and professionally. We offer graduate students the online flexibility they demand with the personal touch they desire. Each student is assigned a faculty-coach who will work with them throughout the program. This coach will meet one-on-one with our students each term, helping them make new connections and grow as leaders.

Our students will see and hear from their professors online, in both video lectures and occasional synchronous sessions with classmates. They will also have the opportunity to connect and engage with faculty, classmates, and other professional leaders during our Weekend Leadership Conference.

Degree Features

  • 100% Online Curriculum: Flexible courses designed to fit students’ busy schedules. Learn more about graduate online learning at North Central.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: A strong curriculum that looks to the future, covering topics such as diversity and inclusion, evidence-based decision making, innovative training and development, and leadership coaching.
  • Weekend Leadership Conference: A virtual professional leadership conference that connects students and exposes them to leadership experts, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and hands-on training experiences.

Program Outcomes

  • Articulate and apply theories of motivation, leadership and talent development.
  • Apply principles of conflict resolution and collaboration in their organizations and teams.
  • Apply ethical and legal principles and evidence-based decision making to solve dilemmas.
  • Demonstrate understanding of diversity, equity and cultural difference, and be able to utilize techniques to interrupt bias and create a culture of inclusion.
  • Articulate, critique and use talent development and training processes for the professional growth and development of themselves and their followers.
  • Understand how to create a culture of learning and development, and be able to craft development and strategic plans based on organizational and employee need.
  • Use key coaching principles to lead and challenge others.

Organizational Leadership, M.A.

A minimum of 36 credit hours: 15 credit hours of core courses, 15 credit hours in Organizational Leadership courses and six credit hours of electives.

Core Courses

Organizational Leadership Courses

Elective Courses

Two of the following:

Leadership Conference

Students are required to attend one Leadership Conference or approved alternative experience. The annual Leadership Conference provides students the space to take the principals of leadership theory that they learned in the virtual classroom and come together with faculty, classmates and professional leaders to learn how they can place those principals into real practice. The conference is not linked to specific courses, but instead, focuses on students' career and personal development and addresses the emerging trends in leadership.

Panel discussions will focus on a range of trending and relevant topics in leadership today. Some examples include:

  • Implicit Bias
  • People Analytics
  • Sensemaking
  • Women Leaders on Corporate Boards

Organizational Leadership Conference

Developing and honing leadership skills require constant training and intentional practice. The annual Leadership Conference provides the space to take the principals of leadership theory learned in the classroom and come together with faculty, classmates, and professional leaders to place those principals into real practice. The conference is not linked to specific courses, but instead, focuses on career and personal development and addresses the emerging trends in leadership.

Hands-on, Experiential Learning

The virtual conference connects students with other leaders and gives an opportunity to develop, implement, and analyze innovative leadership programs. There will be opportunities to work as a team to share takeaways and discuss how these innovative programs can be applied. 

Topics will include engaging panel discussions with expert faculty and industry leaders on the issues and challenges that leaders face in today's environment. 

Leadership Conference Topics

Panel discussions will focus on a range of trending and relevant topics in leadership today. Some examples include:

  • Implicit Bias
  • People Analytics
  • Sensemaking
  • Women Leaders on Corporate Boards

Virtual Conference Details

  • The virtual Leadership Conference will over a weekend to coordinate with working professionals. 
  • Students will not be charged tuition/fees for your attendance.
  • There is no limit to the number of conferences students can attend.

Organizational Leadership Outlook

An organizational leadership degree will set you on the path to success and help you advance your career in a fast growing industry. Regardless of your position or rank, you will discover how you can lead where you are.

Organizational leaders can make an impact in a variety of work settings:

  • Consulting firms
  • Corporations
  • Government agencies
  • Higher education
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Think tanks

Potential Career Opportunities 

  • Corporate Recruiting
  • Human Resources
  • Internal and External Management Consulting and Analysis
  • Knowledge Management
  • Leadership Coaching and Development
  • Learning or Training Departments
  • Organizational Development
  • Performance Improvement
  • Strategic Change and Planning
  • Talent Management

What Our Alumni Are Saying

"My leadership skills grew exponentially as a result of the Master of Arts in Leadership program. I have been able to take concepts we learned throughout the program and apply them in a real-life setting for my organization. As a result, we have made things more efficient, improved quality control and communication, and boosted morale among our workers."

"Since I received my Master's Degree from North Central College I was able to advance my career by receiving a position as Director of Operations where I currently oversee close to 40 employees and subcontractors. Along with my previous work experience, my degree was a key factor in receiving the position."

Bradley Johns M '16
Director of Operations at Great Western Flooring Co.

"Even though I’d been a leader for over 30 years, I found the Master of Arts in Leadership program to be extremely impactful. I experienced one epiphany after another as I began to connect my real-life experiences with the art and science of leadership models and theory. The curriculum reinforced and empowered me to see my unique leadership style through a clearer lens."

Scott Witte M '16
Director of Horticulture Cantigny Park