2019-20 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 (49-55 credits) are:

Non-leadership Core Requirements or Prerequisite Courses (6 credits)

  • Any basic statistics course (e.g., LOS 120 Statistics for Informed Decision Making)
  • LOS 400 Senior Seminar: Global Citizenship

 Service-Learning Component--choose one of the following (3-6 credits):

  • LOS 270 Introduction to Leadership 3 cr
  • LOS 399 Special Topics (see advisor for approved courses) 3 cr
  • LOS 462 Community Leadership and Civic Engagement 3 cr
  • LOS 470 Leadership Study Abroad 6 cr

Requirements for the Major (28-31 credits)

  • Any Ethics Course that is three or more credits and 200-level or higher (e.g., SBS 370 Toward a Global Ethics) 3-4 cr
  • LOS 299 Writing in the Major 1 cr (must be taken in first semester of program)
  • 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 330 Leading Across Cultures 3 cr
  • LOS 350* Leadership 3 cr
  • LOS 440 Leading Organizational Change 3 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 Introduction to Leadership 3 cr
  • LOS 302 Organizational Behavior 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 336 Dealing with Difficult People and Behaviors
  • LOS 345 Leadership and Film 3 cr
  • LOS 360 Innovation in Organizations 3 cr
  • LOS 361 Entrepreneurship 3 cr
  • LOS 387 Collegiate Leadership Competition 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 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 the permission of the faculty—students may work with their advisor for this permission.

For the best overall Financial Aid package, submit your USM application and complete your FAFSA by January 15. However, you can apply at any time. Undergraduate applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.  

Learn More about the Undergraduate Application Requirements & Process

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.