Jul 21, 2024  
2022-2023 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2028 
2022-2023 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2028 [Archived Catalog]

Leadership (MA)

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.


The Master of Arts in Leadership program explores approaches to decision-making; leadership dynamics in interpersonal, small group, organizational contexts; and ethical principles in leadership and organizational management.

This degree is designed for people who have earned a baccalaureate degree and find themselves wanting to think more intentionally about how to work in and with organizations to advance professional and personal goals. Some 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 can be tailored to each individual student’s future goals. Through experiential learning including simulations, case studies, and internships, students progress from the study of leadership in their core courses to applying leadership principles in practice. In addition, students develop a specialization area to deepen their knowledge and understanding and to advance their personal leadership goals.

Students who graduate from this program are well positioned to advance their careers with their current employers or to take jobs managing not-for-profit organizations and working as policy analysts in government and corporate positions.


The curriculum for Truman’s Master of Arts in Leadership consists of a 12 credit common core, a 12 credit area of specialization, and a capstone aligned with a culminating project, thesis, or internship and evaluation to reach 33 credit hours.

The 12 credit core curriculum required of all students provides them with three foundation courses and a simulation-based case study seminar where students integrate their knowledge based on real-world situations.

The 12 credit area of specialization permits students to select from identified emphasis pathways or to work with an advisor to tailor a focus of particular interest and utility to the student. Emphasis area options include Higher Education Administration; Sports Management; Data Science; Gifted Education; and Public Health: Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response (in collaboration with ATSU). Students may build a specialization in areas such as Public and Not-for-Profit Administration, or Advocacy, etc. Students can use a combination of courses up to six credit hours from the 300-600 level for this part of the degree.

The final area includes a culminating experience that requires the student to demonstrate and integrate learning from the core and the specialty curriculum in a signature assignment. The culminating project, thesis, or internship aligns with the capstone course so students engage in their own individual project, serve as sounding boards for peer projects, produce an individual portfolio of work from the degree, and present the 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 as a liaison with the site. The project or thesis is integrated with the capstone to engage in research or in production of a major event or campaign. The culminating project, thesis, or internship helps the student understand more clearly 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.

Degree Requirements (33 credits):

Specialty Area Courses (12 credits)

Students may choose a pre-existing specialization program (e.g. Sports Management; Data Science; Gifted Education; Higher Education Administration; or Public Health: Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response) or may work with their advisor to coordinate a series of courses designed to develop a specialization area appropriate to the student’s goals (options are provided below). If choosing an individually designed specialization, the student must submit a plan approved by their advisor to the Dean for the School of Social and Cultural Studies. 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 six credits of upper-level undergraduate course work. The student and the student’s advisor work to identify a mix of courses that meet the student’s needs. Any undergraduate courses that are included in this mix must take the student beyond their undergraduate curriculum.

Culminating Experience Capstone with Thesis, Project, or Internship (9 credits)