Organizational Leadership - MS

Program Code: MSOL
Master of Science

Availability: online

The Organizational Leadership program challenges students to synthesize contemporary scholarship with insight from Mercyhurst University’s serviceoriented, ethically-based heritage. Enlightened leaders with the capacity to learn and grow through reflection meet the mission of our university to work for positive change in our local as well as the global community. Ronald Heifetz (1994) maintains that a leader’s work in diverse situations is to “influence the community to face its problems.” Beyond communities lies the global world where national boundaries are not observed. The Master of Science in Organizational Leadership degree is designed to meet the leadership development needs in our community and beyond, in both profit and nonprofit organizations, including government, social service, manufacturing, education, and business. The program views leadership as a process and as such emphasizes practical application.

The Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership is a 30 credit program and is designed to provide a theoretical and practical framework for professionals who currently hold leadership positions or are aspiring to leadership roles in organizations. The program is integrated by five themes or threads that are woven throughout all courses. These threads are the Mercyhurst mission: service, whole person development, leadership knowledge and practice, written and oral communication skills, and ethics.

Additionally, a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership is offered. Credits earned in the Graduate Certificate program may be applied toward a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.

Mission Statement
The Organizational Leadership graduate program inspires and equips people to become exemplary leaders and scholars who exercise leadership in service to others.

Admission Requirements
Admission decisions are based on the “whole person” concept. Elements of this approach include quality of undergraduate work as evidenced by transcripts, a personal statement, and, when required, a personal interview.

Students who seek admission to graduate education at Mercyhurst must meet the following admissions requirements and submit the following items:

  • A completed application form, which can be found online at
  • A bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited collegeor university with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
  • All official transcripts from accredited higher education institutions. (All documents and credentials submitted must be translated into English. Mercyhurst recommends that international students contact World Education Services at, the foremost organization specializing in transcript and credential evaluation, to provide such translations.)
  • One letter of recommendation from supervisor or faculty who have a professional or academic relationship with applicant and who can attest to his/her ability to succeed in a graduate level program including academic, scholarship and leadership potential.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • A personal statement outlining in narrative form the candidate’s career path and aspirations, professional interests, reason for choosing program, goals, strengths as an applicant, and skills applicant hopes to develop while in this program.
  • A professional or academic writing sample may be requested after initial review of application materials.
  • A personal interview may be requested after reviewing an applicant’s file.
  • International students from countries where English is not a native language must submit an official score report from the TOEFL or IELTS examination. At the discretion of the Chairperson of the Organizational Leadership graduate program, acceptance may be granted to applicants who have not fulfilled all the admission requirements provided they agree to the conditions of the acceptance prescribed by the Chairperson.
Program Student Learning Outcomes:
  1. Distinguish contemporary leadership theories and models, articulate a personal leadership philosophy, and apply appropriate models to an organizational setting.
  2. Consistently demonstrate exemplary written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills for effective organizational communication.
  3. Assess the characteristics of self, others, groups, and organizations as an integral part of the process of leadership including applying ethical and professional standards to the organizational setting.
  4. Engage in independent research by applying critical thinking and inquiry skills in data gathering, synthesis, problem solving, and decision making
Program Requirements:

The graduate program in Organizational Leadership operates on a semester calendar. Fall and Spring semesters are each 16 weeks long. Summer session courses are often offered.On campus courses meet one evening per week. Many courses are available online. Students may begin the program in the fall, summer, or spring semesters. Students can register for part-time or full-time study. To obtain a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, the student must complete 30 graduate hours of study as follows:

Seven core courses including OL 677, Leadership Capstone (21 credits) and three elective courses (9 credits)


Core Requirements (Offered Every Year)

Elective Courses (Complete 3)

Elective (Approved by Department Director)

4+1 in Organizational Leadership
Mercyhurst University offers a 4+1 program in which undergraduate students can obtain both a Bachelor’s degree in any major and a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership within five (5) years of study. Students enrolled in the 4+1 program can begin earning 12 graduate credits during their junior year and senior years. The fifth year of the program is full-time and begins the summer after graduation. The 4+1 graduate courses cannot be used towards the undergraduate 121 credit minimum. Students in the MSOL program will complete remaining graduate courses between summer, fall, and spring semesters to earn a total of 30 graduate credits. Students interested in the 4+1 program must apply through the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education.