• Master

Program Details

As job markets continue to change, one thing remains constant: businesses need strong leaders—individuals who inspire employees, create common cause, and develop a sense of cohesion and unity.

Many people mistakenly believe leadership is an inherent trait—either you’re born with it or you’re not. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A Master of Arts in Leadership degree from University of Jamestown Accelerated equips you with the skills needed to:

  • Manage others more effectively.
  • Drive organizational change.
  • Use strategic planning to implement long-term plans.
  • Improve your decision-making skills.

This program is 100% online, so you pursue your education on your time. With no set class times, you can navigate around existing work and family commitments, making the program convenient and easier to complete. Housed in the Unruh School of Character in Leadership, you’ll pursue coursework that blends leadership theory with practice.

Unruh School of Character in Leadership Mission

As an academic community dedicated to pursuing knowledge in an atmosphere of Christian love, the University of Jamestown recognizes the need for leaders of integrity and courage. The Unruh School of Character in Leadership prepares students by developing the knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills which will enable them to live and lead with character and integrity.

Application Requirements

Applicants are NOT required to submit GRE or GMAT test scores to be accepted into the program. Applicants must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an approved institution
  • A college GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • We do not require GRE or GMAT test scores

Apply now in 5 easy steps:

  1. Complete an application
  2. Submit a brief personal essay
  3. Provide two recommendations
  4. Fill out a Student Records Release Form
  5. Mail official transcript(s) to: OnlineAdmissions@uj.edu
    College of Graduate and Professional Studies Admissions
    4840 23rd Avenue South
    Suite 208
    Fargo, ND 58104

MAL vs. MBA: What’s the difference?

Think processes vs people. An MBA focuses primarily on procedures and systems, with students learning how to improve efficiency within an organization. Alternatively, an MAL focuses on the human side of executive and management roles. You’ll learn how to bring out the best in people and guide them in living out the organization’s mission.

Both degrees are valuable. But if you’re looking to develop the skills and perspective that will help businesses, non-profits, and healthcare organizations navigate a complicated world, our MAL program is worth exploring.

Leadership involves knowing oneself. In other words, to lead others effectively, you need a strong foundation of self-awareness. So, that’s where master’s in leadership programs begin.

Many students find that it’s possible to pick up the “hard skills” related to business administration a bit at a time throughout their careers. That is not the case when it comes to developing the deep self-awareness that it takes to adapt how they guide others in an ever-changing world. That kind of growth requires a more concentrated and intentional experience like participating as a student in a graduate studies program.

You’re perfectly suited for a master’s in leadership program if you aren’t content just to ask, “What skills do I need to acquire in order to move up in my organization?” but rather, “How do I become the kind of person who can truly lead other people?”

Dr. Mary Jo Lewis, one of the professors in University of Jamestown Accelerated’s MAL program, noted that a leadership degree is suited for professionals who want to lead in a way that keeps people front and center.

A master’s in leadership program cultivates true self-awareness, which is critical in developing your emotional intelligence and your skills of decision-making and discernment.

The kind of skills involved in leadership can be difficult to list on a resume, Dr. Lewis says, but they’re the kind of skills that all of us—especially employers—“know it when we see it,” and we see the effects when they’re missing. Employers look for and value those skills and abilities in candidates for administrative and executive roles.

Administration-focused master’s degrees are more narrowly focused than leadership-focused master’s degrees, since they emphasize a set of “hard” skills related to defined systems, processes, and roles within a business corporation or large organization. Course topics in an MBA program often include finance, accounting, marketing, data science, information technology (IT), and supply chain management.

Leadership-focused master’s degrees are broadly focused, since they emphasize the human side of serving as a manager, administrator, or executive within an organization. A leadership degree gives extra attention to cultivating skills that are acted out rather than just “known.” It’s one thing to know how to read a balance sheet; it’s another to identify a point of conflict within an organization and be able to confidently create a win-win solution.

Many times the kind of decision-making required of a leader involves showing empathy and considering the ethics of choosing different courses of action. A graduate degree in leadership gives you experience and a base of knowledge in those areas.

What’s more, the backgrounds of your fellow students tend to be more diverse within a master’s in leadership program. While MBA programs tend to attract students from business corporations and MHA programs tend to attract students from healthcare corporations, master’s in leadership programs draw students from a variety of backgrounds. Students improve their creative problem-solving abilities by learning to look at situations from other viewpoints—for example, a professional working in healthcare can look at a problem from the perspective of how it might be handled in a manufacturing environment. A business leader can consider how a nonprofit executive would address a situation. In this way, a master’s in leadership serves as preparation for success in any industry, whereas an MBA is more narrowly focused on specific career goals.

Like an MBA, a master’s in leadership is an advanced degree that demonstrates to employers that you’ve met expectations in an accredited graduate school environment and integrated graduate-level material into your own base of knowledge and sense of identity as a professional. You’ve truly engaged with the material and with your professors and classmates, and you have a degree at the end to prove it.

Many corporations and large organizations require a master’s degree to be eligible to move into managerial and executive positions. That requirement is satisfied equally by either an administration-focused degree like an MBA or a leadership-focused degree like an MAL.

One difference, though, is that in practice an MBA is often a terminal degree, the highest degree that a person attains. It’s not uncommon for students who earn a master’s in leadership, on the other hand, to continue their studies and go on to earn either a second master’s degree in complementary subject area or to earn a doctorate. It’s also not uncommon for a professional who already has a terminal degree in a more specialized area to earn a master’s in leadership in order to acquire the skills to move into an administrative role. This is a common path, for example, for doctors who move from practicing medicine into healthcare administration.

When you participate in either graduate program—whether it’s for an MBA or a leadership degree—you’ll practice and hone your critical thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills.

Personalize Your Degree

After completing core courses, students will take additional courses specific to one of four tracks. These tracks shape your expertise to your specific industry. For more information, View Full Course Catalog.

Course Title (credits)
LDRS 506 Strategy, Innovation, and Imagination (3)
LDRS 601 Advanced Strategic and Human Resource Management (3)
LDRS 602 International Business (3)
Course Title (credits)
LDRS 509 21st Century Healthcare Systems and Policy (3)
LDRS 621 Leading in Interprofessional Healthcare Teams (3)
LDRS 622 Change and Innovation in Healthcare (3)
Course Title (credits)
LDRS 508 Strategy of Non-Profit Organizations (3)
LDRS 612 Justice and Forgiveness (3)
LDRS 611 Grant Writing (3)
Course Title (credits)
LDRS 510 Current Trends in Sports Leadership (3)
LDRS 631 Sports Fundraising and Financial Concepts (3)
LDRS 632 Sports Marketing, Promotion and Communication (3)

Tuition and Cost

  • 36 graduate credit hours at $450 per credit
2 years Fall Spring Summer
Tuition $2,700
6 credits ($450/cr)
6 credits ($450/cr)
6 credits ($450/cr)
Fees $30 $30 $30
Room and Board* $6,000 $6,000 $5,625
Books & Supplies* $500 $500 $500
Transportation* $750 $750 $750
Miscellaneous* $750 $750 $750
Subtotal $10,730 $10,730 $10,730
*estimated costs based on student surveys

Why UJ Accelerated?

  • Since the MAL program was established, nearly 200 students have graduated.
  • The degree has helped guide executives in myriad industries including banking, technology, healthcare, sports, and the non-profit sector.
  • Housed in the Unruh School of Character in Leadership, you’ll pursue coursework that blends leadership theory with practice.

Placement Rate

Students from the MAL class of 2020 were all employed or engaged in continuing education following graduation.


Median Increase

Graduate-degree holders earn more per year than undergraduate-degree holders.


Tuition Discount

Employees of businesses that partner with University of Jamestown Accelerated receive a 10% discount on tuition. Click the link above to see if your employer is a partner.

What to Expect

A graduate degree in leadership develops your self-awareness as a leader, which then serves as the foundation for developing your ability to effectively lead people.

Character-Based Education

Leaders with strong ethical and moral discernment are necessary in today’s business environment. UJ’s leadership program is different from others because it transcends traditional business leadership. It is based on the servant leadership of Jesus, focusing centrally on the continued development of self, others, and teams for the good of organizations, communities, and the world. Our program helps develop character in leadership by identifying values, engaging in principled action, and honoring everyone’s unique gifts and qualities.

Career Preparation

You will learn how to manage organizational change, use strategic thinking to participate in long-term business planning, and rely on strong business ethics to give you confidence making decisions in real-world situations.

Cohort Model

You’ll develop supportive personal relationships with your classmates over the course of your degree program. Classmates tend to come from a variety of work environments and backgrounds, leading to more creative problem solving and transferrable skills.

Applicable Final Project

As a final project, students are required to conduct research that can help an organization they are affiliated with. That means your education can have an immediate impact on your workplace, and as a result, your career.

Flexible Learning

Our program was made with working professional in mind. As a convenient, online program, there are no set class times so you to learn on your terms. At the same time, you will have the opportunity to connect virtually with faculty and classmates to develop your skill set while promoting regular communication and networking.

Jimmie Voices

“An exceptionally well-rounded executive leadership program with flexibility for someone who is balancing multiple schedules between work, community service and family life.”
Sandi Piatz
Graduated: 2018 Advantage Payment Services, Fargo, ND


Required Core Courses

Course Title Credits

LDRS 500

Foundations of Leadership


LDRS 512

Organizational Systems and Change Management


LDRS 513

Ethical Discernment for Leaders


LDRS 504

Leadership Communication, Conflict Resolution and Negotiation


LDRS 515

Leading in a Global Context


LDRS 633

Followership: Coaching & Mentoring


LDRS 511

Initiating Critical Inquiry


LDRS 641

Proposals for Change


Total Semester Credits Required: 36

After the completion of their core courses, students will choose between four tracks: Business Leadership, Non-Profit Leadership, Healthcare Leadership, and Sports Leadership. Students will then take three additional courses specific to their track.

The leadership practicum (LDRS 699) or capstone course is an opportunity for students to show that they have achieved the learning goals of the masters in leadership program. This course is a comprehensive project that gives students an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills learned in the various courses of the program.

University of Jamestown is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Program Bulletin: For detailed information, ranging from academic calendars and accreditation information to policies and course descriptions.

View Academic Catalog

Meet your faculty

Our leadership faculty, who have real-world expertise in the field, are committed to helping you succeed both in and out of the classroom.
Brenda Kaspari

Brenda Kaspari

  • Program Director: Master of Arts in Leadership
  • Assistant Professor
  • Director of Online Undergraduate Programs

At UJ Accelerated, we’re all about making your education affordable.

We believe every student, regardless of their financial situation, should have access to a UJ Accelerated education. In fact, 50% of our graduate students receive financial aid.