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Master of Science in Leadership Master of Science in Leadership Master of Science in Leadership

Master of Science in Leadership

Earn Your Master’s in Leadership Degree from SC!

Total Credit Hours: 36

Transfer Credits: Up to 6

Program Length: Approx. 14 months

Your master’s of science in leadership degree will pave the way to a wide variety of career options! The online MSL program at Southwestern College will prepare you for jobs in healthcare, education, and business! Courses are facilitated by industry experts who bring their knowledge and expertise to the virtual classroom setting. Learners enjoy the flexibility of attending classes on their time from anywhere while they balance time at work and with family!

Recently ranked as one of the Top Accredited Online Colleges, Southwestern College offers quality online degrees to adult learners. With courses taught by expert faculty and access to a variety of student resources, SC learners are provided with the tools and flexibility needed to succeed in their education while preparing for professional advancement.

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Projected Job Growth (BLS): 11%

Average Salary (PayScale): $75k

Graduates of the online MSL program at Southwestern College will be prepared for a variety of careers, including:
  • Program manager
  • Training and development manager
  • General/operations manager


“I would recommend Southwestern College. As a matter of fact, that‘s what I do when someone asks me about higher education. Whether they are starting at the bachelors level or whether they are going to the master’s or doctorate program, I do recommend the to Southwestern College to see if there is a fit because of the flexibility of the college, because of the flexibility of the online program, and because of the phenomenal help that the academic success coaches give you as you walk through the program.”
Donna, 2015 Graduate

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Students enrolled in the online Leadership program at Southwestern College can expect to:
  • Evaluate different leadership contexts by integrating knowledge of effective leadership practices and competencies for leading organizations.
  • Distinguish themselves as excellent candidates for advancement and qualified for leadership positions within their industry or discipline.
  • Articulate the importance and implication of ethical reasoning for today’s leaders.
  • Exhibit poise and confidence in effective verbal, interpersonal, and written communication.
  • Demonstrate the ability to build and develop continuous learning opportunities in the key areas of leading organizations.


Visit our faculty page to view current leadership instructors.


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The Southwestern College Professional Studies Master of Science in Leadership program prepares the learner for leadership positions in various organizations. The learner develops skills required to become a more effective leader in military, government, health care and education organizations as well as small business, non-profit or corporate environments. The emphasis is on practical application of relationship management; best leadership practices, which are strongly supported by research; and successful examples of leadership styles and organizational structures with a global and ethical perspective.

The MSL graduate exhibits competency in interpersonal and written communication, and also demonstrates the essential leadership practices of inspiring a vision, encouraging others to act, data driven strategic planning and ethical reasoning, which are all necessary for leaders in today’s society. The program is designed so that learners can use resources provided throughout the program to apply their leadership skills to leading change and quality initiatives. Students learn practical problem solving and how to evaluate the most effective ways to lead their organizations. The Master of Science in Leadership program also may inspire learners to continue in additional graduate degree programs.

Admission Process

  1. Complete graduate application forms
  2. Provide current resume
  3. Submit two professional letters of recommendation (at least one from a current or former employer)
  4. Turn in one-page personal essay
  5. Submit an official transcript from a bachelor’s degree-granting institution. Official transcripts must be received within 8 weeks following the start of class.

Core Major Requirements

LEAD500: Leadership Styles and Theory

The course will cover fundamentals of leadership, definitions of leadership, and an introduction to the tools available for research in leadership. Emphasis is on the application of theoretical concepts to actual organizational settings and situations, culminating in the determination of participant’s dominant leadership style and articulation of a personal leadership profile.

MGMT560: Ethics in the Global Marketplace

What are the challenges for an organization to be considered an ethical corporate citizen, locally and globally? How can an organization effectively address those challenges in a diverse global society, economy, and marketplace while also pursuing profitability? Learners explore ethical leadership and the organization, and the triple bottom line, evaluating the means and potential strategies for ethically balancing profit, corporate social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. Learners also examine the local and global impact of those strategies, inclusive of the impact on societies, cultures, economies, and stakeholder constituencies.

LEAD510: Leadership in Context

Participants will be able to demonstrate an understanding of how economic, social and/or political events and relationships‐‐whether local, national or worldwide‐‐affect organizations and impact culture and community. Participants will develop a plan of action for dealing with that impact.

LEAD515: Leadership Communication and Conflict Resolution

The course will teach leaders to hone and refine important communication and conflict resolution skills including interpersonal and small group communication, persuasion, media communication, and crisis communication.

LEAD520: Leadership Coaching

The course will help students coach, mentor and empower future leaders. The course will review coaching theories and models as well as the theoretical and applied aspects of teamwork. Participants will focus on building the skills of collaboration. Participants will articulate a personal leadership development plan.

LEAD560: Leading Change in Organizations

Participants will learn to navigate the world of needs assessment tools in order to build an organization’s ability to operate on the consistent generation of information. Systems used to analyze information and implement change resulting from data will be covered through case studies, individual and group exercises. Participants will develop practical tools for engaging people at all levels of an organization through inevitable change.

LEAD565: Knowledge Based Leadership

The course will cover the integration and alignment of strategic planning, mission, vision with goals and objectives to position organizations to transition to a knowledge‐based environment. Participants will develop a plan for capturing “tribal knowledge” and using that knowledge to create and communicate a shared vision.

LEAD570: Leadership for the Future

Participants will learn to identify trends, implement change initiatives, maximize resources, and develop a response to changing workforce dynamics. This course provides a thorough foundation in the methods used when leading project initiatives.

LEAD575: Organizational Structures and Behavior

Participants will learn decision making models, principles of organizational hierarchy, and how organizations are impacted by leadership styles. Participants will analyze how their own leadership behavior impacts others through 360‐degree feedback.

LEAD580: Practical Problem Solving for Today’s Organizations

Working from current and relevant case studies, students will develop the skills to make real‐world, real‐time decisions.

LEAD585: Leading Quality Improvement Initiatives

The course will address the importance of implementing quality principles integral to leadership which will benefit stakeholders, provide an understanding of the philosophies underlying quality, emphasize the importance of employee empowerment, deal with issues surrounding teams and group dynamics, and develop an awareness of process improvement and its role in building solid effective organizations. Students will be qualified to earn the credential of Certified Quality Improvement Associate.

CAPS590: Graduate Project

Learners engage an applied research project that demonstrates their mastery of the knowledge and skills gained from the program and professional experience. Each learner will prepare a comprehensive report and presentation of the research findings by the conclusion of this course.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of all major courses.

Graduation Requirements

Applicants are required to submit:

  1. Complete the specific program requirements for the master’s program
  2. Have an overall grade point average of 2.5, with no grade below a C (2.0)
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours

All degree requirements are subject to change. Please see Southwestern College Professional Studies Catalog for the most current degree requirements.

Leadership PDF

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