MS in Leadership Development

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This is a 30-credit hour program that can be completed online or in person in less than two years.

Program Options

Students may begin the program in any term.  

On campus in person.  Courses are offered in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters and follow a format of 3 non-consecutive weekends, often Friday night and Saturday.

Online program option.  Students interested in online classes can take up to eight courses online and asynchronously – we have excellent online materials and you will receive strong support from your professors during your journey. You may complete the remaining two courses either in their normal weekend format or in a residency week, in which you would complete the contact hours for two courses.

Course Schedules


The following components make up the degree

  • Core - there are four foundational courses required for all students
  • Concentration - students select from two concentration areas and take at least three courses within their chosen track
    • Leadership Concentration
    • Talent Development Concentration
  • Electives - students take an additional two courses from either concentration area
  • Capstone - the capstone course is taken at the end of the program and allows students to reflect on their leadership journey and apply their learning to a project or research study 

Developing competence on a personal level while equally focused on relational and strategic competence are key to developing effective leadership skills.  These competencies provide the structure for this program.  


Core Courses

All students will take 12 credits of core courses.  This equates to four, 3-credit courses.

MSLD 201:  Understanding Self and Others

MSLD 202:  Leadership in Organizations

MSLD 204:  Ethics and Leadership

MSLD 206:  Analyzing and Communicating with Data

In addition to the core courses, students will take an additional 5 courses with at least 3 of those courses coming from a selected concentration.

Leadership Concentration

The focus of this concentration is to strengthen the leader’s ability to obtain results through others.

You will gain knowledge on topics such as personality, influencing others, engagement, and intercultural relations. You should select this option if you are interested in becoming a stronger, more inspiring, and more innovative leader.

All listed courses are 3-credit courses

MSLD 203:  Organizational Politics and Influence

MSLD 205:  Global Leadership

MSLD 207:  Inspiring and Involving Others

MSLD 208:  Leading Change

MSLD 209:  Innovation and Future Thinking

Talent Development Concentration

Talent development professionals must help others reach their full potential.

Available on campus only.  If you select this concentration, you will combine critical leadership courses and four courses specifically related to the field of Talent Development. You will gain skills in learning technologies, instructional design, facilitation, and performance consulting.

All listed courses are 3-credit courses

MSLD 211:  Organizational Learning

MSLD 212:  Learning and Technology

MSLD 213:  Performance Consulting

MSLD 214:  Designing, Developing, and Facilitating Learning


The capstone is a 3-credit hour experience completed near the end of the MSLD program.

MSLD 210:  Capstone Experience

Completed near the end of the MSLD program, this course acts as a capstone project to the student’s graduate school experience.  Students may select among two options: (a) an original (basic or applied) research project or (b) an approved project directly related to leadership development. Prerequisite: 24 hours of MSLD courses. 

Students have the option of participating in an international experience as part of their capstone experience.  See International Opportunities for details regarding this trip.  


Student Opportunities

The Leadership Development curriculum offers opportunities for students outside the graduate program.  An undergraduate concentration as well as a dual program option with Pharmacy are outlined.  The Leadership Development Program also offers an international experience for students and alumni.  

PharmD Students

PharmD students can complete a dual PharmD and MSLD degree by adding only eight graduate courses! 

You will work with professionals from various industries (for-profit, not-for-profit, higher education, and health) and gain valuable leadership competencies.  Pharmacy students interested in teaching may, with the MSLD advisor's approval, substitute some of the leadership requirements for Talent/Training and Development courses such as Performance Consulting and Designing, Developing, and Facilitating Learning.  Visit the PharmD/MSLD website for details.

Undergraduate Concentration

The Talent Development Concentration provides skills that translate to any career field.  

The School of Education offers a Talent Development concentration for undergraduate students.  All majors are welcome.  Visit the Talent Development website for details.

International Experience

The MSLD program offers an annual international experience to students and alumni.  

The inaugural trip visited Morocco.  Any MSLD student can participate in the trip, with there being an additional option to make this part of of a student's capstone experience.

This trip is designed to add a global perspective to the MSLD experience, as well as continue to grow the MSLD community by networking current students with alumni.

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Course Descriptions

Course descriptions for all courses offered in the MSLD program.  

MSLD 201: Understanding Self and Others

In this course, you will discuss your preferred leadership and team style and carve a vision for your future growth and development. The course heavily focuses on the importance of personality in human and work relationships. You will learn about the Five-Factor Model, a serious personality model preferred by personality researchers. We will have in-depth discussions on the model and its applications to strengthening leadership competencies, building relationships, building strong teams, and developing others. Students complete a Big Five personality assessment and a 360-competency review. They also practice coaching others using the Big Five model and work on application case studies. At the end of the course, students receive a Certification for the Narrative Big Five, a valid and reliable Big Five personality assessment.

MSLD 202: Leadership in Organizations

This course serves as a foundational investigation of personal and organizational leadership with an emphasis on developing leadership talent. The following foundational topics in leadership are included: Overview of key leadership theories; differences between management and leadership; followership, influence, and power; and research-based practices on leadership development.

MSLD 203: Organizational Politics and Influence

Today's organizations are challenging, complex systems where success depends on the ability to navigate the political and communication environment.  Organizational leaders must effectively work with others to accomplish individual and organizational goals. This class will examine tools and techniques for identifying and effectively interacting with organizational and political challenges and realities. A variety of communication challenges, strategies, and techniques will be examined. Topics include conflict resolution styles and models, negotiation, organizational politics, influencing processes, and the language of leadership.

MSLD 204: Ethics and Leadership

The study of ethics is the study of moral philosophy and the ways in which moral dilemmas are evaluated and, ultimately, resolved.  Throughout this course we will focus on exploring the perennial question, "What is right?"   Through processes of shared inquiry, we will explore the theoretical foundations for making ethical choices and examine implications for contemporary workplace, environmental, and sociopolitical challenges.  In particular, we will emphasize the nature of moral and ethical leadership, review and critique our professional Code of Ethics, and discuss best practices for developing moral leaders.

MSLD 205: Global Leadership

This course explores the complexity of leadership in organizations within a cross-cultural and global environment. Topics include definitions and dimensions of culture, cultural awareness and development models, intercultural communications challenges, connections between national and organizational cultures, and diversity in the workplace.

MSLD 206: Analyzing and Communicating with Data

This course prepares students to become critical consumers of research reports in the fields of leadership and organizational learning. Students learn fundamental concepts on research design and implementation including an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methods, a discussion on the design of research assessments, and a preliminary review of basic statistical analyses. Discussions on validity, reliability, and various types of research bias help students separate solid from sloppy research. Ethical and legal considerations are also addressed.

MSLD 207: Inspiring and Involving Others

This course helps students strengthen their ability to foster an engaging and meaningful environment for their followers. Topics include emotional intelligence, employee engagement, psychological safety and meaningfulness, availability of resources, person-environment and person-work fit, career development / growth, group dynamics, trust, collaboration, and building synergistic and collaborative teams.

MSLD 208: Leading Change

Leaders must not only deal with change effectively but also help their followers thrive in a constantly changing environment. This course will focus on the challenges and opportunities of organizational change. Topics include systems thinking, adaptive leadership, organizational diagnosis, and effective change leadership interventions.

MSLD 209: Innovation and Future Thinking

This course helps students hone their ability to recognize future trends, consider possibilities, and generate innovative solutions.  Additionally, students learn how to foster a culture of innovation, one that tolerates risk, rewards experimentation, and accepts failure as a catalyst for growth.

MSLD 211: Organizational Learning

This course introduces students to key concepts in the field of organizational learning, emphasizing its strategic nature within the organization. Topics include leading the learning function; organizational learning and andragogy theories; the ADDIE model (analysis, development, design, implementation, and evaluation) of training and development, and non-traditional learning interventions through coaching, mentoring, and cross-training. Special emphasis will be placed on the first and last components of ADDIE: Needs Analysis and Evaluation.

MSLD 212: Learning and Technology

This course introduces critical assessment, collaboration, and learning technologies.  Since technology changes constantly, students will also learn how to continuously identify and gain proficiency in new tools.  Ethical and legal considerations related to the use of technology in the workplace are also addressed. 

MSLD 213: Performance Consulting

This course helps students explore the field of human performance improvement.  Students will gain critical skills in applied organizational research, learning to identify performance improvement gaps and to propose appropriate interventions.  Topics include data collection methods, the HPI model, data analysis, and best practices in internal and external consulting.

MSLD 214: Designing, Developing, & Facilitating Learning

This course provides an overview of how to design, develop, and facilitate effective learning experiences for adult learners.  Design and development topics include writing instructional objectives, selecting appropriate training methods, and designing and developing instructional games and simulations. Facilitation topics include the rationale for selecting various facilitation methods and approaches for engaging learners.

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