Jul 13, 2024  
2015-2016 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2021 
2015-2016 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2021 [Archived Catalog]

Leadership (MA)

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Affiliation: Graduate School


The mission of Truman’s Master of Arts in Leadership degree is to offer a diverse group of traditional and non-traditional students with a variety of academic and professional backgrounds the opportunity to develop higher levels of leadership potential through increased knowledge and understanding of personal and organizational leadership.


Many people who have earned a baccalaureate degree find themselves wanting to think more intentionally about how to work in and with organizations to advance professional and personal goals. This degree is tailored to such an audience. Some students may be contemplating a change in career; others may want to add an emphasis to prior professional credentials and experience. Still others may realize that to really excel in their career choice, they need to acquire a greater understanding of how to lead and navigate organizations and how to build successful relations within and among organizations.

The Master of Arts in Leadership program is very flexible and is tailored to each individual student’s future goals. Students who graduate from this program, for example, are well positioned to take jobs managing not-for-profit organizations and working as policy analysts in government and corporate positions. Completion also helps to advance the careers of individuals with their current employers. Through experiential learning including simulations, case studies, and internships, students apply learning from core courses and progress from the study of leadership to its application and practice. In addition, students develop a specialization area to further their knowledge and understanding in a chosen area of focus designed to advance their personal leadership goals.


The curriculum for Truman’s Master of Arts in Leadership consists of a 15 credit common core, a nine credit internship and evaluation, and a 15 credit area of specialization. The 15 credit core required of all students provides them with three foundation courses that cover leadership at the individual and small group level, leadership in organizations, and decision-making. This is followed by a case study and simulation-based seminar where students integrate their knowledge from the foundation courses with case studies and simulations based on real-world situations. The final course in the required core is a capstone project where students participate in a research seminar to complete an individual project, serve as sounding boards for peer projects, produce an individual portfolio of work from the degree, and present findings of their project to peers.

The internship experience deepens the student’s understanding of leadership as they observe leaders and seek to demonstrate their own leadership potential. Students have mentors at the work site and a faculty member to better understand the dilemmas leaders face, the types of decisions they must make, the lack of certainty surrounding choice processes, and the influences of individual and organizational behavior patterns, politics, and expertise.

The fifteen credit area of specialization permits students to work with an advisor to tailor a focus of particular interest and utility to the student. Students may build a specialization in areas such as Public and Not-for-Profit Administration, Liberal Arts and Education, Sustainability and Environment, Sports Management and Organizational Communication to name a few. Because students can use a combination of courses from the 300-600 level for this part of the degree, they have many opportunities to tailor a program that fits their interests and needs.

Degree Requirements (39 credits)

Specialty Area Courses (15 credits)

Students may choose a pre-existing specialization program (e.g. Public and Not for Profit Management, Sustainability and Environment) or may work with their advisor to tailor a series of courses designed to develop a specialization area appropriate to the student’s goals. If choosing an individually designed specialization, the student must submit a plan approved by their advisor to the Graduate Dean. Students and advisors need to do this prior to the student taking the first course in the specialization. Credits toward the specialization are usually taken at the 500 and 600 levels but may include up to nine credits of upper-level course work. The student and student’s advisor work to identify a mix of courses that meets the student’s needs. Any undergraduate courses that are included in this mix must take the student beyond their undergraduate curriculum.

Requirements for Thesis, Internship, or other Capstone Experience (9 credits)

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