Degrees Offered

Master in Leadership, Plan B only

Program Descriptions

Master's Degree Program

The Graduate School of Management offers a professional degree program leading to the master in leadership (M.L.), where students may choose either a general plan or one of the following specializations.

Health Care Administration

The health care administration specialization seeks to prepare working professionals to meet the leadership challenges of today’s health care system. As managed care and the integration of health care delivery continue to evolve, new skills and knowledge are needed to keep pace with current health care demands. The program provides a foundation in finance, economics, policy, leadership, systems, and outcome planning and evaluation, specifically related to the changing health care system. Through the many elective offerings (informatics, case management, marketing, program development, administrative practicum, conflict resolution, long-term care and more), students may explore a wide range of special interests.

Sports Leadership

The sports leadership specialization seeks to provide training and an understanding of the depth and unique character of the sports industry. With a heavy emphasis on the application of leadership principles and practices to the business of athletics, the specialization objective is to increase the competency of sports leadership professionals.

Marquette University also offers a stand-alone certificate program in sports leadership. (See the Program section of Sports Leadership for description and details.)

Prerequisites for Admission

Applicants to leadership studies must hold a baccalaureate degree, or its academic equivalent, from an accredited college or university. The undergraduate background must be appropriate to the chosen course of study. Generally, applicants should have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.000 (on a scale of 4.000) in their undergraduate course work. Minimally two years of work experience is preferred.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit, directly to the Graduate School of Management:

  1. A completed application form and fee online at the GSM website.
  2. Official transcripts from all current and previous colleges/universities except Marquette.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.
  4. A statement of purpose.
  5. Official test scores from the GRE or GMAT.
    1. Applicants may request a waiver of the GMAT/GRE requirement if they have earned an overall grade point average of 3.250 or higher from an AACSB accredited school or Department of Education approved regional accrediting body.
  6. (For international applicants only) a TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.

Additional application requirements may be required for particular specializations. Students should contact the program adviser for details.

Master in Leadership

Specializations: A specialization is not required in the master in leadership program, and earning a specialization does not alter, in any way, the degree awarded. For those interested, specializations are available in health care administration and in sports leadership. A student must earn a grade of B or above in each of the prescribed courses within each specialization, and all courses applied toward a specialization must be taken at Marquette University. The specialization is 15 specified credits beyond the core curriculum as listed below. The specialization must be completed within the structure of the degree and is noted on the student's official university transcript. Specializations are not available post-graduation.  A general program requiring no specialization, is available.

Students must complete a total of thirty (30) credit hours of course work for the master in leadership: 24 credit hours of core course work plus 6 additional credits. Students are placed in the general, no specialization, program unless the health care administration or the sports leadership specialization is chosen. Nine additional credits are then required for a specialization; which increases the degree to thirty-nine (39) credit hours.

Students must complete the program within six years. Students are expected to earn a grade of B or above in all courses and must maintain at least a 3.000 cumulative grade point average to earn the degree of master in leadership.

Marquette University also offers a stand-alone certificate in Leadership.

Leadership required courses

Leadership Core Courses (24 credits)
BUAD 6000Accounting and Finance for the Non-Financial Manager3
BUAD 6005Economic Foundations for Marketing Decisions3
MBA 6140Leading People and Change1.5
MBA 6150Leading Innovation and Creativity1.5
MBA 6160Leadership Coaching and Development1.5
LEDR 6101Strategic Communication3
LEDR 6115Character Driven Leadership3
LEDR 6125Negotiations3
LEDR 6997Leadership Capstone1.5
3 credits from:3
Leadership, Motivation and Organizational Change
Change Leadership
6 credits of Elective course work6
Total Credit Hours30

Electives or optional specialization course options

Students must complete the 24 core curriculum credit hours, plus select 6 credits from the electives below, other approved GSM courses, or from other graduate level courses offered by other graduate programs on campus. All courses selected from outside the Graduate School of Management are subject to GSM approval and availability/approval of the department offering the course. Students can customize the program to their personal and professional goals.

Elective course options (may not double count those used for core requirements)
LEDR 6051Contemporary Leadership: Theory, Research and Application3
LEDR 6110Leadership, Motivation and Organizational Change3
LEDR 6130Leadership Lab1.5
LEDR 6215Change Leadership3
LEDR 6931Topics in Leadership Studies1-3
LEDR 6995Independent Study in Leadership Studies1-3
HURE 6170Ethical Issues, Regulatory Environment and Human Resource Management3
HURE 6530Talent Acquisition and Management3
HURE 6535Diversity in Organizations3
MANA 6115Change Leadership in Self and Organizations3
MANA 6140International Management3
MARK 6175Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship3
MARK 6200Marketing for Management Decision Making (MARK 6200 is a prerequisite for additional MARK courses)3
NPSE 6521Social Entrepreneurship: Leadership and Management Issues for the Third Sector3
NPSE 6931Topics in Non-Profit Sector1-3
PUBS 6205Urban Policy and Public Service Administration3
PUBS 6210Ethics in Public Service3
SPLE 6300Social-Historical Foundations of Sports3
SPLE 6500Sports Finance3
SPLE 6600Sports Facility Management3
SPLE 6931Topics in Athletic Leadership3
Topic: Fundraising and Social Innovation
Topic: Special Events
BUAD 6101Skills: Conducting Performance Appraisals1
BUAD 6102Skills: Balanced Scorecard1
BUAD 6104Skills: Business Writing1
BUAD 6105Skills: Coaching for Performance Improvement1
BUAD 6106Skills: Cross-Cultural Meetings - Business Interactions1
BUAD 6107Skills: Facilitating Meetings1
BUAD 6108Skills: GIS Business ArcView Software1
BUAD 6110Skills: Organizational Assessment1
BUAD 6111Skills: Powerful Presentations1
BUAD 6112Skills: SAS1
BUAD 6113Skills: SPSS1
BUAD 6114Skills: Team Building1
BUAD 6116Skills: Organizational Consulting - Roles and Responsibilities1
BUAD 6117Skills: Conducting an Ethical Audit1

Health Care Administration specialization

This specialization requires 15 credits, 6 of which are elective credits within the degree. Students choose the 6 elective credits from those listed below, and in addition, complete the remaining 9 credits. All credits must be completed prior to completion of ML degree. A grade of B or higher is required in all courses applied to a specialization.

HEAL 6820Health Care Program Development3
HEAL 6840The Environment of Health Care Delivery2-3
HEAL 6841Health Care Finance3
HEAL 6848Health Care Policy3
HURE 6530Talent Acquisition and Management3
BUAD 6101-61170-1

Sports Leadership specialization 

This specialization requires 15 credits, 6 of which are elective credits within the degree.  Students choose the 6 elective credits from those listed below, and in addition, complete the remaining 9 credits. All credits must be completed prior to completion of ML degree. A grade of B or higher is required in all courses applied to a specialization. A maximum of 6 credits may double count between the specialization and certificate.

SPLE 6001Introduction to Sports Leadership3
SPLE 6100Ethics in Sports Leadership3
SPLE 6200Sports Communication3
SPLE 6400Sport Management 3
3 credits of sports leadership (SPLE) electives3

Leadership Studies Courses

LEDR 6051. Contemporary Leadership: Theory, Research and Application. 3 cr. hrs.

In-depth study of the transformational and transactional leadership models and a review of emerging thought on authentic leadership. Learning activities include an in-depth review of the literature on transformational and transactional leadership theory; discussion and presentation of either a qualitative or quantitative study in contemporary leadership. Prereq: MBA 6140 or MBA 6160 and admitted to the graduate BUAD, CCOM, HURE, LEDR, PUBS program; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6101. Strategic Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Learn how to lead organizational thought and action through development of persuasive arguments based on critical analysis of credible evidence and communicating the same in a compelling way. Engage in multiple projects developed around analyzing cases and publicly available communications to develop and deliver communication strategies for different audiences. Students develop their own communication style as part of their personal leadership. Prereq: Admitted to graduate BUAD, CCOM, HURE, LEDR, PUBS and MBA 6140 or MBA 6160; or consent of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6110. Leadership, Motivation and Organizational Change. 3 cr. hrs.

Designed to: 1) examine and evaluate existing leadership theories, 2) survey topical issues and new developments in the leadership area, and 3) develop students' leadership skills and abilities. Uses motivation and leadership concepts to analyze, diagnose and make decisions about various organizational situations. Primary focus on case analysis. Also uses lectures and discussions to provide perspective on assigned reading. Prereq: Admitted to graduate LEDR, CCOM and MBA 6140 or MBA 6160; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6115. Character Driven Leadership. 3 cr. hrs.

Emphasizes developing competencies for ethical, values-driven leadership. Presents models of leadership that build ethical cultures and character-driven organizations. Focuses on values-based decision making and delivering related organizational performance. Also addresses diversity of thought and the global/international context of leadership. Learning outcomes include: 1) Ability to apply ethically-based tools and models to leadership challenges, decision-making and culture-building; 2) A deepened self-awareness of how one’s personal values fit within a character-based leadership approach; and 3) Ability to identify and apply key concepts related to thought diversity and global business practice as part of an ethically-based leadership model. Prereq: Admitted to graduate BUAD, CCOM, HURE, LEDR, PUBS and MBA 6140 or MBA 6160; or consent of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6125. Negotiations. 3 cr. hrs.

Provides a comprehensive investigation of the process and dynamics surrounding a diverse variety of negotiations and conflict resolution efforts. Examines both academic models of negotiations and actual events, historical and contemporary, in detail. Emphasizes strategies and tactics for achieving objectives, limiting losses and maintaining positive relations in light of radically changing social and business climates. Presents methods for becoming an effective negotiator through both analytical frameworks and experiential opportunities. Cost benefit assessment of negotiations are developed in the actual costing of an agreement and the impact of failing to achieve an agreement and having to resort to alternative options. Prereq: Admitted to graduate LEDR, CCOM; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6130. Leadership Lab. 1.5 cr. hr.

Leadership success and career advancement requires self-directed action and continuous learning. Provides a framework for students to enact their leader development goals and pursue related “challenge” topics while receiving regular coaching and feedback from the instructor and peers. The experience supports leader growth and skill transfer by providing opportunities to dialogue about the complexities that come with practicing leadership in a real (and imperfect) work environment. Format is tailored to the interests of participants, with a subset of the assigned readings based upon student topic requests. More broadly, this experience provides a model for creating a community of advisers to serve as a support team for leadership growth over the long term. Includes: 1) one-on-one coaching meetings with the instructor; 2) structured group discussion and analysis of student goal progress and leadership challenges, and 3) targeted application of assigned readings, concepts and cases. Designed to build upon the foundational leadership theory and self-assessment work completed in MBA 6160. Emphasizes personalized integration and coaching around the leadership development plan. Prereq: Admitted to graduate BUAD, CCOM, or LEDR; MBA 6160; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6215. Change Leadership. 3 cr. hrs.

Provides the skills necessary to successfully lead organizational change. Topics include: models of the change process, development of change management plans, identifying and overcoming resistance to change, and leveraging strategy, culture, leadership and other organizational processes to lead organizational change efforts. Emphasizes developing the leadership competencies necessary to create and sustain positive organizational change. Prereq: Admitted to graduate LEDR, CCOM; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6931. Topics in Leadership Studies. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Examination of topics related to contemporary issues in leadership studies. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, CCOM, HURE, LEDR, PUBS program; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir. Course prerequisites may vary depending on topic.

LEDR 6995. Independent Study in Leadership Studies. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Provides opportunities to investigate and study areas of interest through readings, research, field experience, projects, and/or other educational activities under the direction of a faculty adviser. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, HURE, LEDR, PUBS program; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 6997. Leadership Capstone. 1.5 cr. hr.

Uses structured guidance to lead students in assimilating and reflecting upon their learning and experiences from the leadership program. Students finalize and deliberate upon a leadership portfolio that reflects their personal leadership style and competencies. As part of this contemplation, students consider how they will bring these to their current and future organizations. Final product includes a portfolio and presentation that reflects the personalized learning outcomes of the student. Prereq: Admitted to graduate LEDR; completed 18 credits of degree requirements; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

LEDR 9974. Graduate Fellowship: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, HURE, LEDR, PUBS program; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

Sports Leadership Courses

SPLE 6001. Introduction to Sports Leadership. 3 cr. hrs.

Overview of the diverse leadership opportunities within the sports industry. Readings and student papers focus on current athletic issues and challenges from a leadership and managerial perspective. Includes an individual leadership assessment. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR or SPLE program; or con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6100. Ethics in Sports Leadership. 3 cr. hrs.

Various dimensions of athletic ethics will be explored including: sports in peacebuilding; sport as social innovator; along with various ethical issues in sport and sport management. These issues will include such topics as: competition and fair play; leadership; social aspects of sport; as well as other subjects. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR or SPLE program; or con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6200. Sports Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of the various ways in which individuals and organizations communicate through sports inclusive of print, electronic and on-line media as well as advertising, PR and special events. Special emphasis is placed on how leaders focus on their target audiences; primarily the fan or end user and the efforts, inclusive of market research, employed to attract and keep audiences engaged. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR or SPLE program; or con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6300. Social-Historical Foundations of Sports. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the historical and sociological foundations of athletics in the U.S. Important areas of emphasis include: historical development of athletics, sport as a cultural product, social relations, organizational structures and contemporary issues. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR or SPLE program; or con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6400. Sport Management. 3 cr. hrs.

An overview range of topics related to the business of sport are explored such as: organizational structure; operational finances; facility management; security; use of data analytics; entrepreneurship; and others. Incorporates case studies, current sport management literature and an experiential component. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR or SPLE program; or con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6500. Sports Finance. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the various techniques that can be utilized when financing a sports program regardless of the level of competition or type of program. Using active class discussion, research, mini-projects and the text, students determine how to budget for and continue to finance various sports enterprises. Prereq: Admitted to graduate BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6600. Sports Facility Management. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the critical components of sport facility management including but not limited to; facility planning and construction, system design and operation, marketing, budgeting, maintenance, risk and event management. Primarily aimed at individuals aspiring to or working in the sport management field since there is no game without a facility in which to play. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, ECON, LEDR or SPLE program; or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6700. NCAA: Exploring Current Issues. 3 cr. hrs.

Team-learning approach dependent upon each student contributing to the overall examination of the NCAA and the issues it faces. Students conduct individualized study and research based on directed assignments and present their work. Examines the NCAA’s history, structure, criticisms, accomplishments and challenges within the context of current issues. Prereq: Admitted to BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR or SPLE: or cons. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6931. Topics in Athletic Leadership. 3 cr. hrs.

Examination of topics related to contemporary issues in athletic leadership. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate BUAD, ECON, HURE, LEDR or SPLE program; or con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6964. Practicum in Sports Leadership. 3-6 cr. hrs.

Supervised experiences in sports leadership. Each student must negotiate an appropriate practicum plan and location with the graduate sports leadership faculty and the sports leadership practicum coordinator. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate SPLE program; and con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.

SPLE 6995. Independent Study in Sports Leadership. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Provides opportunities to investigate and study areas of interest through readings, research, field experience, projects, and/or other educational activities under the direction of a faculty adviser. Prereq: Admitted to the graduate SPLE program; or con. of M.B.A. prog. dir.