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Degree Requirements 2018-2019

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 challenges students and develops their skills.

Program Overview

The study of leadership is central to Augsburg University. The University mission statement says, “Augsburg University 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 multiple formats to allow students to choose the option that works best for them. Main 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. Additionally, some courses are offered in a shortened, intensive format including a study abroad experience, while others are offered 100% online.

Two Convenient Formats: Classic Classroom and Integrated Hybrid

Overview of Classic Classroom Format

For over 30 years, our classic classroom format has featured a flexible choice model that allows students to select courses that focus on individual goals, interests, and learning style. Students can also determine the pace at which they move through the program. This format offers numerous electives and allows for individualized studies. Some online work is incorporated into this format.


During fall and spring semesters, classes usually meet every other Saturday morning or afternoon for four hours. Additional instruction time is provided online. Seven Saturday sessions are included in one semester. Some select classes meet on a weekday evening or are offered completely online. Students can take a combination of these offerings.

A sample class schedule in the classic classroom format:

Period I                Saturday             8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Period II               Saturday             1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Period III             Weeknights       6:00 pm to 9:45 pm

Note: Each class taken commits a student to Period I, Period II, or Period III, an average of two meetings a month. A few courses are taught on an immersion model, which features fewer but longer sessions.

The MAL program also offers summer semester courses in seven-week, fourteen-week, or special immersion formats. Most summer semester courses meet on weeknights from 6:00 pm to 9:45 pm rather than on Saturdays.


Three core courses:

ML 505 – Foundations of Leadership

ML 514 – Evaluating Empirical Research

ML 585 – Integrating the Theory and Practice of Responsible Leadership (Capstone Course)

Eight electives, selected from more than 20 offerings*

*Students may petition the program to do a thesis in place of two of the elective courses. Students who do the thesis are required to develop and carry out an in-depth study of some aspect of leadership or of a leadership-related topic and register for ML 592 Thesis Consultation I and ML 593 Thesis Consultation II. Students electing to write a thesis are still required to take ML 585 to complete the program.

Elective courses for the Classic Classroom format

The MAL program requires that eight elective courses be selected from the following course list. All courses are 3 semester credits:

ML 510 – Visions of Leadership

ML 511 – Creativity and the Problem-Solving Process

ML 520 – Self-Identity and Values: Keys to Authentic Leadership

ML 527 – Spirituality and Leadership in the Workplace

ML 530 – Ethics in Communication

ML 531 – The Dynamics of Change

ML 535 – Organization Theory and Leadership

ML 536 – Facilitating Organizational Change

ML 538 – Communication Skills for Leadership

ML 539 – Communicating a Self in the Modern Organization

ML 540 – Political Leadership: Theory and Practice

ML 545 – Decision Making and Leadership

ML 548 – Coaching and Consulting

ML 550 – Communication, Decision Making, and Technology

ML 553 – Design and Leadership

ML 557 – Language of Leadership

ML 560 – Cultural Competence and Effective Leadership

ML 563 – Leadership in a Global Society

ML 565 – Women and Leadership

ML 570 – Negotiation: Theory and Practice

ML 574 – Strategic Leadership

ML 575 – Constructive Conflict Resolution

ML 576 – Leading Innovation

ML 577 – Universal Responsibility and Leadership: A Nicaraguan Experience

ML 598 – Independent Study

ML 599 – Topics

Overview of Integrated Hybrid Cohort Format

A combination of online, classroom, and experiential learning

The integrated hybrid model is completed in two years with a combination of intensive face-to-face sessions and online coursework. Students complete the program with a cohort of peers representing many different perspectives. Students learn from each other and build relationships that will provide support throughout the program and a valuable network for the future.


After starting with a five-day summer experience, classes meet on a semester schedule September through mid-April (fall and spring semesters) and mid-May through mid-August (summer semester). Coursework will be online and supported by three on-campus class sessions per term.


*ML 505 – Foundations of Leadership

ML 512 – Responsible Leadership for the 21st Century (Intensive)

*ML 514 – Evaluating Empirical Research

ML 520 – Self-Identity and Values: Keys to Authentic Leadership

ML 535 – Organization Theory and Leadership

ML 553 – Design and Leadership

ML 563 – Leadership in a Global Society

ML 574 – Strategic Leadership

ML 577 – Universal Responsibility and Leadership: A Nicaraguan Experience (or alternative   elective)

*ML 585 – Integrating the Theory and Practice of Responsible Leadership (Capstone Course)

* Core courses offered in the integrated hybrid format (required for all students)

A sequenced list of eight electives is prepared for each cohort. In the cohort program, students complete 11 courses, including a capstone course (ML 585).

MBA/MAL Dual Degree

The dual degree program takes advantage of the intellectual benefits of studying business administration and leadership in a coordinated program. It leverages Augsburg’s long tradition of graduate leadership training via the MA in Leadership with the robust demand for business education through our MBA program. The dual degree provides students with the leadership skills needed to run a business and, at the same time, helps them develop the comprehensive outlook they need to thrive in today’s interconnected world.

A minimum of 18 Augsburg courses completes the MBA/MA in Leadership dual degree, including at least 7 MBA courses and 7 MA in Leadership courses.

The following dual degree program requirements must be met.

Seven courses are required from MBA courses:

  • MBA 510 – Applied Managerial Economics
  • MBA 520 – Accounting for Business Managers
  • MBA 530 – Managerial Finance
  • MBA 540 – Business and Professional Ethics
  • MBA 550 – Marketing Management
  • MBA 570 – Quantitative Decision Making for Managers
  • MBA 580 – Management Consulting Project

Three core courses are required from MA in Leadership courses with 3 MAL elective courses:

  • ML 505 – Foundations of Leadership
  • ML 514 – Evaluating Empirical Research
  • ML 585 — Integrating the Theory and Practice of Responsible Leadership
  • ML Electives (4)

Three Focus Area Courses

Students will choose one course from each of the focus areas:

Focus Area #1: Organizational Development

  • MBA 545 – Organizational Behavior
  • ML 535 – Organization Theory and Leadership
  • Director approved course with organizational development focus

Focus Area #2: Global/Multicultural Perspective

  • MBA 565 – Managing in a Global Environment
  • ML 560 – Cultural Competence and Effective Leadership
  • ML 563 – Leadership in a Global Society
  • Director approved course with global/multicultural focus

Focus Area #3: Strategic Leadership

  • MBA 595 – Strategic Management
  • ML 574 – Strategic Leadership
  • Director approved course with strategic leadership focus

One Additional Elective Course

Elective course may be taken in either MBA or MA in Leadership Program

Admission to the Dual Degree Program

Admission for the dual degree program is handled on a “rolling” basis and requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited four-year college or university. In addition to a current résumé and two recommendations, applicants must submit an official transcript(s) from the regionally-accredited institution granting the Bachelor’s degree and from the most recently attended institution, if not the same. An interview with the program director is also part of the admissions process.

Although we do accept the GMAT and GRE, we also offer candidates an alternative math and writing profile assessment entitled the Individual Learning Profile (ILP) which provides a review of quantitative skills. The profile is not an admissions screening instrument but an important tool in preparation for some MBA courses.

Earning the dual degree during or after the MBA or MA in Leadership program

Students who are currently enrolled in the MBA or MA in Leadership program or alumni who wish to return to Augsburg may add the dual degree to their existing degree by completing most of the same requirements listed on the front of this page. Students may use previously completed application pieces and coursework to help meet these requirements.

Returning students may complete an abbreviated application form after consultation with the MBA or ML program director. Upon entering the MBA program, the quantitative review must also be completed.

Students with an MA in Leadership who wish to add the dual degree will take a minimum of 7 required MBA courses. Students will complete one course in each of the 3 focus areas if they did not complete these courses during their MAL program. Each student’s program will be slightly different based on their prior course selections.

Students with an MBA will complete 4 required and 3 elective MA in Leadership courses. Students will need to complete one course in each of the 3 focus areas if they did not complete these courses during their MBA program. Each student’s program will be slightly different based on their prior course selections.

Students in both programs will meet individually with the program directors to determine whether their completed final project meets the criteria aligned with the dual degree final project. Directors may ask that the project be modified or added to or ask the student to complete another project. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies

The certificate program is an attractive option for people who want to develop their leadership skills without undertaking a full degree program. A certificate is awarded after completion of three Augsburg MAL courses in leadership. Students pursuing this option take ML 505 – Foundations of Leadership and two additional electives. All three courses may count toward an MA in leadership. No more than one course may be double counted in another Augsburg graduate degree program. The normal application process is used for students who wish to pursue the certificate.

Joint BA in Accounting and Master of Arts in Leadership

A BA in Accounting and an MA in Leadership (MAL) can be earned in this five-year program designed for students who wish to qualify for CPA certification and obtain a master’s degree. By the end of the fifth year and successful completion of all requirements, the student receives both a BA in Accounting and an MA in Leadership and will have fulfilled the 150-hour requirement to qualify for the CPA certification. The MAL program offers a large number of courses on a Saturday and weeknight schedule. Refer to the MAL program schedule for the list of courses each year and to the accounting program coordinator for a detailed academic plan. Students should meet with both the MAL director and an accounting advisor to create an effective plan for successful completion of the five-year program.

General Requirements for the Accounting/MAL Program

Accounting students planning to pursue the five-year degree must apply for admission to the MAL program at the end of their junior year. The application process includes submission of:

  • Completed application form
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from a professor and one from an employer)
  • Personal statement
  • Example of applicant’s writing in an academic paper
  • GPA of at least 3.30
  • Interview with the Director of the MAL program

Students must also have faculty endorsement from the Accounting program. Students must complete at least one year of accounting work experience (either a job or internship) by the time they graduate from the MAL program.

For a complete list of courses and descriptions, see the Course Description Search.

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, 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
  • Applicants must submit an official transcript(s) from the regionally-accredited institution granting the Bachelor’s degree and from the most recently attended institution, if not the same.
    • Military veterans are required to submit all official transcripts from previously attended institutions to qualify for military benefits.
    • In the case where prerequisite requirements exist or transfer credits or waivers are sought, official transcripts are required from institutions at which the prerequisites or equivalents were completed.
    • The Program Director may ask for additional transcripts if determined to be necessary.
    • 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 letter 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 B. No more than two courses with a grade below B will count toward the degree. No more than two courses with a grade of or below B- can be repeated.

In order to graduate, a student must have a cumulative graduate 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 University 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. For a complete list of Augsburg’s accreditation, approvals, and memberships, in the Accreditation, Approvals and Memberships section.