MAL Mission

The purpose of the Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) program is to develop leaders for organizations, the community, and society. Organizations seek leaders who possess:

  • An ethically and morally responsible vision
  • An understanding of how change occurs and how it can be managed
  • A sensitivity to the complex problems of organizations and an ability to find solutions consistent with their mission
  • Cultural competence and sensitivity to the needs of a diverse population
  • The ability to inspire and motivate people to work toward a common goal

The Augsburg leadership development model provides a framework through which the program recruits its students and develops their skills.

Program Overview

The study of leadership is central to Augsburg College. The College mission statement says, “Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.” The Master of Arts in Leadership is quintessentially Augsburg. The integrated liberal arts perspective on leadership education is what we think of as the “Augsburg difference.”

The Master of Arts in Leadership is the core program of Augsburg’s Center for Leadership Studies (CLS). Developed and launched in 1987, it is Augsburg’s oldest graduate degree and one of the oldest leadership graduate degrees in the United States. The program responds to the leadership development needs of both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. MAL has a deep theoretical base in leadership studies, yet also offers its students practical approaches to leadership that can be applied in the workplace and society.

Leadership Development Model

The MAL program promotes leadership as a process that:

  • Inspires cooperation among people who must compete for limited resources
  • Promotes productivity within and beyond the organization
  • Works toward progress for the individual and the organization

To accomplish this, individuals aspiring to positions of leadership must possess three key attributes: a sense of vision, the ability to persuade, and the ability to direct action. Underlying these attributes are abilities and awareness, outlined in the Leadership Development Model, which serve as specific outcomes for the MAL program. Augsburg’s model of leadership development is designed to assess, promote, enhance, and refine these capabilities within the individual.

Learning Goals and Outcomes

The MAL program is designed to support students in developing the knowledge and skills to:

  • Explore the nature and practice of leadership in a wide variety of dynamic organizational and community settings
  • Develop a personal understanding and philosophy of leadership
  • Aspire to be responsible leaders who are informed citizens, critical thinkers, and thoughtful stewards
  • Enhance knowledge of self and the capacity to be reflective learners
  • Analyze and navigate increasingly complex changing environments
  • Formulate and articulate a shared vision in order to inspire others to achieve desired goals

MAL Courses

Each course encourages pursuit of the designated outcomes and uses a variety of learning techniques appropriate to adult learners. Instructional techniques include case studies, debate, written and oral presentations, and group activity. These techniques develop targeted leadership abilities and understanding. Students are encouraged to see abilities and understandings as cross-disciplinary and to view content areas as integrated. The program reflects the view that the world in which we operate is complex and that dealing with it successfully requires well-developed integrative abilities.

Plan of Study

Accommodating the Full-Time Work Schedule

Designed to meet the needs and preferences of working adults, the MAL program is based on the assumption that the students who enroll are career-oriented, self-disciplined, and well-motivated individuals seeking a balance of classroom experience, group interaction, and individual study. Courses are organized as seminars with the opportunity for discussion and dialogue.

The program features classes taught by faculty from multiple disciplines and offers two formats to allow students to choose the option that works best for them. Both formats offer a combination of classroom and online learning styles in different proportions. The classic classroom format emphasizes face-to-face instruction augmented by online work. The integrated hybrid format combines online and intensive learning experiences with occasional sessions in a traditional classroom setting.

Admission to the Master of Arts in Leadership Program

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the program must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited, four-year college or university
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for graduate courses completed at an accredited college or university. Should an applicant not meet the minimum admission requirements, a conditional admission may be possible as decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants to the program must have two years of experience (or equivalent) with one or more organizations in a position of leadership or position demonstrating leadership potential.
  • Applicants holding a master’s or other advanced degrees from accredited colleges or universities are admissible.
  • Decisions about admission to the program will be made on an individual basis by the MAL Admissions Committee. Admission is handled on a “rolling” basis, with students admitted at the beginning of the fall, spring, and summer terms. Selection of candidates will be made on the basis of an evaluation of each applicant’s:
  • Previous college record
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Experience and organizational background
  • Written statement
  • Interview, if requested

Application Checklist

The following materials must be submitted to the Office of Admissions:

  • Completed application form
  • $35 non-refundable application fee (waived if online application is used)
  • A 1-3 page statement relating the applicant’s career and life goals to leadership aspirations
  • Recommendation letter from an immediate supervisor, assessing leadership potential
  • Recommendation letter from a work colleague (at the same level) describing the applicant’s work style and leadership potential
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended, listing all courses taken and any degree(s) conferred
  • Official transcripts from all graduate institutions attended, listing courses taken and degree(s) conferred, if any.
  • Résumé

Applicants may be asked to participate in an interview with graduate program faculty and/or staff members.

For further information, contact: Office of Admissions, 612-330-1101, or

Admission as an International Student

International applicants must submit the required application materials listed above. Refer to the additional requirements outline in Admission of International Students in the Graduate Admissions section.

Academic Policies

Academic Evaluation

Courses not offered on the numbered grading system are noted in the course descriptions in this catalog as being graded on P/N basis. In order to receive a grade of P, a student must achieve at least a grade of 3.0. No more than two courses with a grade below 3.0 will count toward the degree. No more than two courses with a grade of or below 2.5 can be repeated. Only the credits and grades earned the second time are counted in the grade point average. Any course with a grade of 2.0 or lower will be transcribed as 0.0 academic credit.

In order to graduate, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. All required courses and the final projects must be successfully completed. A student registered for a final course may be permitted to participate in commencement but will not receive a diploma until all courses are successfully completed.

Academic Probation and Dismissal Policies

Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. If a student falls below a 3.0 average, the student will be placed on probation for the following term. A 3.0 cumulative grade point average must be restored in order for a student to be removed from probation. If a student receives a grade of N or 0.0 in a course, the student must petition successfully with the MAL director before being allowed to continue in the program. A plan for the student to follow would be outlined at that time. If a second grade of N or 0.0 is received, the student may be dismissed from the program. Students may also be dismissed for behavior detrimental to the program, such as a gross violation of College policy (as published in the Student Guide). Dismissal would occur only after established procedures were followed.

MAL Program Enrollment Policy

Students normally take either one or two courses per semester. Enrolling in two courses per semester (including summer semester) enables a student to complete the coursework in the program within two years.

Students who are away from classes for one year or longer must complete an Application for Readmission and submit it to the Registrar’s Office. Students who have been out of the program for more than two years may, at the discretion of the program director, be required to take additional courses to refresh their understanding of the field.

Accreditation and Affiliation

Augsburg is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For a complete list of Augsburg’s accreditation, approvals, and memberships, in the Accreditation, Approvals and Memberships section.