2018-19 Catalogs

BS in Leadership and Organizational Studies

The baccalaureate degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies (LOS) combines a liberal arts program with the study of how organizations operate and how leadership functions. It emphasizes the critical need to understand and work with people, the dynamics of change, the interdisciplinary nature of organizational operations, and the practical application of theories and leadership concepts. Drawing on faculty from diverse backgrounds, the Leadership and Organizational Studies program is designed to prepare students for work in the nonprofit, public, or private sectors.

This program may be completed face-to-face on our Portland campus, fully online, or through a combination of the two.  For more information, please contact Admissions at admitusm@maine.edu.

The LOS program also offers an accelerated pathway option for current USM students in any major. For more information on the accelerated pathway, contact the Graduate Admissions office.

Please visit the Office of Undergraduate Admission for application information.

Students must meet the USM Core Curriculum requirements for their catalog year of matriculation in addition to the LOS major requirements. The core courses of the LOS major will introduce students to the theory and practice of organizational behavior and leadership with emphasis on communication skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, key quantitative skills, and team functioning. Required and prerequisite courses for the major (47 credits) are:

Non-leadership Core Requirements or Prerequisite Courses (9 credits)

  • Any basic accounting course (e.g., LOS 250 Org Accounting or ACC 110 Financial Accounting)
  • Any basic statistics course (e.g., LAC 120 Statistics for Informed Decision Making)
  • LAC 480 Senior Seminar (e.g., Capstone)


Requirements for the Major (28 credits)

  • Any Ethics Course that is three or more credits and 200-level or higher (e.g., LAC 370 Toward a Global Ethics) 3-4 cr
  • LOS 299 Writing in the Major 1 cr
  • LOS 300* Organizational Theory 3 cr
  • LOS 301 Group Dynamics 3 cr
  • LOS 304 Organizational Budgeting 3 cr
  • LOS 329 Research Methods 3 cr
  • LOS 350* Leadership 3 cr
  • LOS 440 Organizational Change and Development 3 cr
  • LAC 269 Exploring Careers 1.5 cr
  • LAC 413 Job Search 1.5 cr
  • LAC 447 Internship 3-6 cr

*All LOS majors must earn a grade of B- or better in both LOS 300 and LOS 350. No waiver courses or substitutions will be permitted for LOS 300 and 350.


Required electives for the Major (12 credits)

LOS majors must take any four LOS electives (LOS courses that are 300-level or higher). LOS Electives are listed below. They can be selected based on student interest or as concentrations, certificates, etc. Please note that not all LOS electives are available online.

  • LOS 270 Exploring Leadership on Campus 3 cr
  • LOS 302 Organizational Behavior 3 cr
  • LOS 308 Lean Systems and Methods (Principles) 3 cr
  • LOS 309 Lean Systems and Methods (Practicum) 3 cr
  • LOS 310 Science, Technology, and Society 3 cr
  • LOS 312 Human Resource Management 3 cr
  • LOS 314 Employee Relations 3 cr
  • LOS 316 Diversity in Organizations 3 cr
  • LOS 323 The Media and Politics 3 cr
  • LOS 325 Advancing Innovation in State and Local Government 3 cr
  • LOS 327 Leading through Conflict 3 cr
  • LOS 330 Leadership in Different Cultures 3 cr
  • LOS 336 Dealing with Difficult People and Behaviors
  • LOS 337 Project Management 3 cr
  • LOS 345 Leadership and Film 3 cr
  • LOS 351 Exploring Transformational Leadership 1 cr
  • LOS 352 Exploring Servant Leadership 1 cr
  • LOS 353 Exploring Authentic Leadership 1 cr
  • LOS 354 Exploring Chaos & Complexity Leadership 1 cr
  • LOS 355 Exploring Relational Leadership 1 cr
  • LOS 356 Exploring Followership 1 cr
  • LOS 360 Innovation in Organizations 3 cr
  • LOS 361 Entrepreneurship 3 cr
  • LOS 398 Independent Study cr
  • LOS 399 Special Topics 3 cr
  • LOS 422 Leadership in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors 3 cr
  • LOS 425 Training and Development 3 cr
  • LOS 430 Applied Social Policy 3 cr
  • LOS 436 Risk, Public Policy, and Society 3 cr
  • LOS 439 Women's Ways of Leading: Building Partnerships, Creating Change 3 cr
  • LOS 462 Community Leadership and Civic Engagement 3 cr
  • LOS 470 Leadership Study Abroad 6 cr


In addition to completing these course requirements for the major, baccalaureate degree students must meet the proficiency and residency requirements of the University of Southern Maine, and complete the Core Curriculum and elective courses to accrue a minimum of 120 credit hours of coursework.

Prerequisites for major courses may be met through specific courses, through any one of several programs of prior learning assessment sponsored by USM, or through waiver by the instructor of the course. Before taking 300-level courses in this major, students must have completed a 100-level college writing course or an equivalent with at least a grade of C.

No more than two courses from outside the major may be used toward completion of the requirements for the major without permission of the faculty—students may work with their advisor for this permission.

We recommend that students start their Leadership Studies coursework with LOS 300 Organizational Theory and LOS 350 Leadership. Both courses must be passed with a B- or higher for LOS majors. Students should work with their advisors to organize the scheduling of the rest of their coursework.