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Northern Vermont University will join with Castleton University and Vermont Technical College to become Vermont State University on July 1, 2023.

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Master of Arts in Leadership Studies

Grow your career and become a leader in your workplace with this 100% online degree.

Northern Vermont University’s new online master of arts in leadership studies—geared toward rising, mid-career, in-transition, or senior professionals in education, business, policy making, public affairs, human and social services, healthcare, the arts, civic affairs, and other sectors—provides the strategies, knowledge, and inspiration to shape the movements of the future.

Program Highlights

•    The M.A. in leadership studies online degree program can be completed in one year through full-time enrollment (two concurrent courses), and two years with part-time enrollment (one course per semester).
•    Five-credit courses give you fewer courses to complete, fewer transitions, fewer (yet more captivating) assignments, and fewer readings, so you can absorb them more fully.
•    100% online, in an asynchronous format, so you can work at your own weekly schedule.
•    Semesters are fourteen to fifteen weeks in the spring and fall and ten to twelve weeks in the summer. This allows sufficient time for deep learning, careful study, and meaningful interactions with peers and instructors.
•    Courses use multimedia content, experiential projects, open education resources, peer study sessions, critical perspectives, creative expression, adult learning theory, and other engaging instructional strategies.
•    Courses can be completed in any sequence.
•    Enroll with any bachelor degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 2.75 or higher; GRE not required; international applicants see specific requirements.

About the M.A. in Leadership Studies

The M.A. in leadership studies degree program provides an original stance to the study of leadership. Each five-credit course blends a humanistic, interdisciplinary core with classic and contemporary leadership theory. The program expands the boundaries of conventional approaches to leadership studies by augmenting customary content with aesthetic sensibilities, design and system thinking, diversity studies, social ethics, complexity and future studies, and scholar-practitioner methods of inquiry.

Participants in the master of arts in leadership studies program will gain a better understanding of the operation and potential of their professional endeavors by:

  • Employing their personal strengths to create purposeful leadership goals
  • Enacting strategies to generate inclusive leadership relationships
  • Designing and guiding meaningful and productive projects for specific organizational environments
  • Advocating for innovation through analysis of the social and cultural forces shaping specific contexts
  • Facilitating collective actions toward sustainable ends
  • Applying their learning in original projects in real-work settings

Required Core Courses

LDR 6005 – Foundations of Leadership Studies: Social, Historical, Critical and Future Perspectives of Knowledge for the Practice of Leadership (5 cr): This course guides participants through an examination of ideas and debates about leadership over time, across societies, and among scholars, practitioners, and social thinkers.
LDR 6015 – Models of Leadership: Finding the Creative Self (5 cr): Participants use life story methods to examine personal episodes that reveal enduring strengths of their leadership identity.
LDR 6025 – Partnerships in Diversity (5 cr): The course addresses strategies that participants can use to highlight, meld, and inspire diverse perspectives as a means of generating partnerships for collaborative work groups
LDR 6035 – Design Thinking for the Learning Organization (5 cr): With systems theory as a basis, participants learn to use design thinking to craft effective models for guiding problem-solving initiatives in the professional realm.
LDR 6045 – Ethical Leadership for Civil Society, Civic Engagement, and Corporate Responsibility (5 cr): Through case study and narrative analysis, participants learn to examine professional dilemmas across the civil, civic, and corporate realms. Attention is drawn to considerations for ethical decision-making in areas such as institutional politics, legal boundaries, and cross-cultural beliefs.
LDR 6950Scholar-Practitioner Inquiry (5 cr): Participants study the work of scholar-practitioners in the field of leadership studies, and plan, design, and implement a small-scale pilot project on a topic relevant to their situation


A woman with curly hair, smiling, looking at the camera, with trees and a brick building in background.

The knowledge and relationships I’ve gained from classes, professors, peers, friends and others I’ve met through the program will help me to continually grow…

– Anna Wadlington

Apply Today.

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