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M.A. in Organizational Leadership

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership is designed to meet the needs of diverse students for professional training that is based upon knowledge from business, economics, communication, organizational functioning, leadership principles, political science, psychology and research.

Ask any CEO what they need to make their operations successful. It’s talented individuals who can effectively lead and manage different aspects of the organization. Look online at the many surveys of top career fields to pursue. Managers with a solid combination of technical and professional skills consistently top the lists.

The Organizational Leadership program at WKU prepares you for a career in a wide variety of professions. OL students enhance their college studies and technical backgrounds by developing the applied leadership, managerial, and professional skills that are in great demand. The program is practical and applied, not theoretical.

The program provides unique opportunities for students to apply what they are learning. Students focus on influencing people, while managing processes, products, and services. Employers value the leadership skills, decision-making, and operational knowledge that graduates possess.

Additionally, this degree lets you select your elective courses based on your personal interests and professional goals. Students develop their own program that allows them to advance in their chosen career field, which allows enough flexibility for you to focus on an area of specialization and earn a graduate certificate while moving toward a master’s degree.

The minimum requirements for acceptance are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • 2.75 GPA (on a 4.0 Scale)
    • Conditional admission is considered on a case by case basis for those not meeting this requirement.
    • This admission process will be based on a holistic evaluation of the candidate’s body of academic and professional experiences.
    • Candidates who apply for an alternative admission must submit a resume and any other credentials that verify their professional experiences.
    • Students admitted under the alternative admission requirements are conditionally admitted and must achieve a 3.0 GPA in the first 6 credits of graduate courses. 
  • Application and Fee
  • Official copy of Transcript(s)
  • The GRE or GMAT IS NOT required for admission into this program.

Application Process

1. Apply for admission

  • Visit the WKU Online Admission Page for more information.
    • There is a $65 application fee.
  • Complete the WKU Domestic and International Graduate Application
    • Under Planned Course of Study Section, Choose:
      • Category of Study >>> Masters
      • Planned Course of Study >>> Organizational Leadership (0467)

2. Submit Required Materials:

    • Request at least one official transcript showing the completed degree from accredited institutions other than WKU.
    • The transcript must be forwarded from the college or university registrar electronically or directly to the Graduate School. 
    • Send your official transcripts from each college attended to Graduate Admissions. 
      • You may request electronic transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse. This speeds up the admissions process considerably. If your school is not listed with the Clearinghouse, please contact them directly to see if they have another process in place for electronic submissions or request that an official copy be sent by mail.
  • For additional information on university admission requirements please visit the Graduate School Admission Page.

Deadlines for Admission Applications & Transcripts

  • Fall Semester: Rolling Admission
  • Spring Semester: Rolling Admission

The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership requires 30 credit hours.

Below is a list of program requirements and the semester in which the courses may be available via web through WKU Online, which refers to semester-based online courses or self-paced through On Demand.

Core Requirements (15 hours)

LEAD 500

Effective Leadership Studies (Offered Fall, Spring, and Summer)

LEAD 525

Leadership Ethics (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

LEAD 600

Capstone in Leadership Experience (Fall, Spring, and Summer)



LEAD 560

Research Methods (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer)

Quantitative Methods of Social Research (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

Applied Research Methods in Organizational Leadership (Fall and Spring)




LEAD 565

Organizational Change (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

Leading Teams (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

Leadership in Global Context (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

Leadership Coaching within Organizations (Fall and Spring)

Electives (15 hours)

ADED 611

Adult Development and Learning (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

AMS 520

Resource Management (Spring)

AMS 671

Quality Management (Spring)

BA 592

Special Topics in Business (Fall and Spring)

COMM 561

Multinational Organizational Communication (Fall)

EDFN 500

Research Methods (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer)

GERO 501

Perspectives in Aging (Fall and Spring)

GERO 503

Policy Foundations of Aging Services (Spring)

HCA 540

Health Care Organization and Management (Fall)

PS 520

Elements of Public Administration (Winter)

SOCL 513

Quantitative Methods of Social Research (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

With the approval of the instructor and based on prior academic experience, career aspirations, and/or matriculation concerns, students may select other electives.

Please note the following as you plan your program of study:

  • Additional course options are available on campus. Please click HERE to see the full schedule of classes.
  • Students can also choose to enroll in a graduate certificate program and use up to 12 hours of courses to fulfill their elective requirements with advisor approval. 
  • A list of available graduate certificates can be found HERE.
  • Students may transfer up to 12 hours from another graduate program or institution to fulfill program requirements (if courses meet transfer requirements and advisor approval).

Financial Aid: Eligibility Requirements and the Application Process

Financial Aid includes grants, scholarships and loans for educational purposes. To qualify for federal student aid you must meet certain requirements. General eligibility requirements can be reviewed on the Federal Student Aid website at studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/basic-criteria. Here are a few basics to keep in mind:

  • Your eligibility is determined through an application process. So, your first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Even if you doubt your eligibility, apply. Approximately 90% of those who apply qualify for some form of aid. A step-by-step guide through the application process can be found at wku.edu/financialaid/applying/how-to-apply.php.
  • Distance learning courses are treated the same as face-to-face courses. If your application is approved, you may elect to take web, on demand or face-to-face courses.  Distance courses through On Demand require same semester completion and an On Demand Agreement.
  • You must be classified as a degree-seeking student to qualify. Degree seeking normally refers to an  associate, baccalaureate or master degree. However, some stand-alone certificates are also eligible.
  • Certificate Program Eligibility:  As a general rule, if you are seeking an undergraduate certificate (certificate only; no degree), the program must require at least 16 credit hours, 15 weeks of instruction and be clearly tied to a profession. If you are seeking a graduate certificate (certificate only; no degree), the program must require at least 8 credit hours, 10 weeks of instruction and be clearly tied to a profession. For additional information on certificate eligibility, please email fa.help@wku.edu. Certificates may also be earned in conjunction with degrees at the associate, baccalaureate and master levels. Degree seeking students at the associate, bachelor and master levels will be awarded financial aid based on the primary degree listed.
  • You must be registered at least half-time to receive aid (6 credit hours for undergrad students; 4.5 credit hours for grad students).
  • You must meet federal and state regulations regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to remain eligible. The complete SAP Policy is available at wku.edu/financialaid/sap.php.
  • The WKU School Code for the FAFSA application is 002002.

Veterans and Active Military

WKU is a military friendly school. Veterans and active military are required to file additional forms for military tuition assistance. The Office of Veterans Affairs unit that helps ensure all appropriate information is on file. For additional information visit wku.edu/veteran/ or email va.questions@wku.edu

Helpful Resources

Academic Department

Program Advisor: Dr. John Baker
(270) 745-5149
Website: wku.edu/leadership/graduate/masters.php

WKU Online

Email: learn.online@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-5173
Toll-Free: (888) 4WKUWEB / (888) 495-8932
Website: wku.edu/online 

The Graduate School

Email: graduate.school@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2446
Website: wku.edu/graduate 

For more information about the program, fill out the form below.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 9/4/20