Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Master's Degree Program - 30 Credit Hours

Starts in August, May and January.


This program provides the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively lead people in an ever-changing work environment and can be completed in as few as 1 1/2 years. The coursework is designed to prepare professionals for a range of leadership positions and is available fully online.

Program Description:

BVU’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program is an applied degree and consists of 30 semester hours culminating in the student’s choice of capstone experience in either a research effort or executive leadership. In addition to the stand alone Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, undergraduate students enrolled at BVU, both in Storm Lake and the degree completion programs offered at 16 sites across Iowa and online, may enroll in a “bachelor’s plus one” option that will lead to completion of this master’s degree in just one year after completion of their chosen bachelor’s degree. The program’s coursework is designed to allow students to distinguish themselves in the job market through an integrative approach to decision making, ethical leadership and by leading change.

Employment opportunities include:

  • Senior management
  • Various business leadership roles
  • Non-profit administration
  • Boards of directors
  • Community leadership
  • Online

M.A. Organizational Leadership

  • GRAD 500 Essentials of Graduate Study
  • ORGL 504 History and Theory of Leadership Studies
  • ORGL 506 Managing Team Leadership
  • ORGL 508 Leading Across Boundaries
  • ORGL 510 Leading with a Systems Thinking Mindset
  • ORGL 514 Decision Making for Leadership Development
  • ORGL 520 Maximizing Ethical Leadership
  • ORGL 522 Leadership in Social Context
  • ORGL 540 Leading Organizational Change
  • ORGL 550 Consulting Capstone in Leadership OR ORGL 550 Executive Leadership Internship

The organizational leadership master's degree is also available as part of a unique program where students seeking a bachelor’s degree may choose to enroll in a "bachelor’s plus one" option. Enrolling in the program will lead to earning the master's degree within one year of completing undergraduate coursework, saving students time and money.

Admissions criteria for the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program
  • Hold a Baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher learning.
  • Have a 2.75 undergraduate grade point average. Students with less than a 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average may apply for admission consideration. To do so all the same materials below are required plus documentation of analytical writing ability (minimum of two samples or a portfolio of writing) or an admission’s interview with one or more members of the Organizational Leadership Program Council.
  • Submit official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning previously attended.
  • Complete a graduate application form.
  • Submit two letters of recommendations from individuals who can speak to your academic readiness (e.g. supervisors, faculty member, academic adviser, etc.).
  • Have access to minimum technology requirements.
  • Be accepted. Students will be notified in writing of the decision by the Organizational Leadership Program Director.

BVU Plus One Program Admissions Requirements

Prospective students who are within 30 hours of completing a Baccalaureate degree at Buena Vista University may seek early admission which allows students to apply up to 6 credits earned while still an undergraduate to the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership degree. If accepted, the two courses are applied toward the degree completion requirements for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. See course descriptions for courses eligible to be taken as an undergraduate. The student must possess a 3.0 GPA in his/her undergraduate major coursework to be granted permission to take the graduate level courses while yet an undergraduate. Such early admission is provisional. See Provisional Admission Status.

Admissions process for the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program
  1. Submission of the online application form, including the 400 word essay found in the form. 
  2. Provide two letters of recommendation from those who can evaluate your work. 
  3. Official paper transcripts, from any institution attended as well as any graduate transcripts, sent directly to:

    Graduate Programs
    Buena Vista University
    610 W. 4th Street
    Storm Lake, IA 50588

  4. Please contact the Graduate office at 712.749.2162 or with any questions.

Tuition & Fees

BVU offers a quality, affordable education, and our financial specialists are here to help as you navigate the costs of your educational investment so you can move forward with your career.

Financial Aid

BVU's Institution code: 001847

Don't miss the opportunity for financial aid. Fill out the FAFSA at and use BVU's institution code.

The G.I. Bill & Yellow Ribbon Program

All Buena Vista University programs are approved for the G.I. Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program.

Technology Requirements for Online Courses

  • Operating System: Windows Vista, 7 or 8. Or Macintosh OS X with RAM at or above OS recommendations
  • Processor: A PC with a Pentium IV or newer, or a Macintosh with a G3 or newer
  • Internet Connection: DSL or cable modem (high speed internet) Dial-up will not be sufficient.
  • Browser: Internet Explorer 7+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari, Chrome.
  • Software: A current installation of Java ( Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are required, (Microsoft Office XP, 2003, 2007, 2010 on Windows or Microsoft Office 2001, 2004, 2008, or 2011 for the Macintosh). Newer versions are recommended (Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 on Windows or Microsoft Office 2008, or 2011 for the Macintosh).


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