2013-14 Catalogs

MA in Leadership Studies

The master's in leadership studies is an interdisciplinary professional program that blends the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities to explore the complex set of leadership issues and challenges that go beyond a particular subject or field of work. Graduates of the program will attain a mastery of leadership theory and skills that will enable them to perform as successful leaders in their work organizations, their communities, and the world.

The master's degree in leadership studies supports the development of organizational and community leaders who seek to build a deep understanding of the dynamics of leadership, the convergence of leadership with other human relations, and the role of the individual as leader in society. Consistent with the mission of USM and Lewiston-Auburn College, this cutting edge program responds to student and marketplace needs and builds on demonstrated university strengths. The MLS is designed for students who desire an educational opportunity in leadership that is not discipline-specific, but opens new doors of thought and analysis by synthesizing knowledge from the humanities, social sciences, communication, and the natural and environmental sciences. The program aims to help students approach their leadership roles with a sense of social responsibility, a concern for ethics, and a commitment to the public good.

Check out the M.A. Leadership student's quick reference "From Matriculation to Marching" guide.

The Master's Degree in Leadership Studies is available both fully online and in a blended (partially online, partially face-to-face) format.  For more information, email: gradprograms@usm.maine.edu




The admissions procedures for the graduate program are designed to balance considerations of preparedness, high-quality standards, and access for mid-career adults. Successful applicants to the program must demonstrate:

  • A basic understanding of how organizations work through a combination of prior undergraduate or graduate course work, at least two years of organizational experience with more preferred, and an application essay;
  • Knowledge of quantitative research methods and analysis through prior undergraduate or graduate course work and/or submission of a research product completed substantially by the applicant which demonstrates knowledge of quantitative research (to be reviewed by the admitting faculty committee)
  • Computer proficiency at the LAC 150 Microcomputer Applications level (a proficiency test is available to applicants who have not completed this or a comparable course);
  • A strong record of success (3.0 average or better) in the last 30 credits of prior academic course work or, when prior academic work was completed more than five years ago, a prior learning portfolio of recently completed professional work that demonstrates the candidate's ability to successfully complete graduate level work.

Students, who show potential through work experience, a presentation of past work, and current writing skills, may be admitted on a probationary status and allowed to take two courses. If these students earn grades of B or better in their graduate level coursework, they may apply for regular student status.

Cornerstones (6 credits): Students start their coursework with two Foundations of Leadership Studies courses to ground them in the latest thinking in leadership theory and practice.

Competencies (9 credits): Laid upon the cornerstones of this foundational work are the competency courses which are geared toward developing essential skills sets for leadership effectiveness.

Contexts (6 credits): The contexts courses place the rest of the work in situations, exploring the forces that environment places on leadership and followership.

Electives (9 credits): Students tailor their degrees to their particular interests through the selection of elective courses in leadership studies. If students wish, up to two electives may be selected from courses in other graduate programs (subject to advisor approval).

Capstone Seminar & Project/Thesis (6 or more credits): At the end of the master's program, students do their capstone work which includes collegial (student) as well as faculty critique and assistance in developing research and projects. Students electing the project option design an intensive theory-based, action research, applied project that explores the role of leadership in developing and/or implementing meaningful change in an organization or community. Students electing the thesis option select a topic for intensive library research, reading, and analysis. It may, for example, summarize and analyze work in new methods or contribute a new theoretical proposal that calls for further testing or research.