• Master

Strong and strategic leadership is necessary in today’s business environment. That’s why University of Jamestown offers a master’s in leadership online degree program that gives emerging leaders the skills and perspective to help businesses, non-profits, and healthcare organizations navigate a complicated world.

  • Online delivery designed to meet the needs of working professionals
  • Cohort model where you form supportive, personal relationships with other classmates
  • 3 start options per year: January, May or August
  • Receive individual attention and advising
  • Interact with engaging faculty
  • Apply the skills you have acquired to your affiliated organization during a final project

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. 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.


You shouldn’t have to pause your life to advance your career. With no pre-testing requirements, you can get started right away with 24/7 access to our online classrooms, you can complete your coursework when it’s most convenient for you.

This degree program’s 100% online format makes it a great way to continue your professional studies. As you learn from effective leaders, not only will you position yourself for the next step in your career advancement — you will also gain knowledge, insight, and interpersonal skills that you can apply and begin to practice immediately in all types of situations.

How to Apply


You can choose to take specialized courses in Business, Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Non-Profit, or Sports Leadership. After completing core courses, students will take additional courses specific to one of five tracks: business, healthcare, law enforcement, non-profit or sports leadership.


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 560 Community Engagement in 21st Century Policing (3)
LDRS 561 Response to Mental Health/Officer Wellness (3)
LDRS 562 Critical Leadership Issues in Policing (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)

View Full Course Catalog – Once there, click College of Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog and type “Master of Arts in Leadership” in the catalog search bar.

Master's in Leadership vs MBA

Earning a master’s degree can be an important step in your career path. When you want to move into a role where your responsibilities include guiding organizational strategy and managing people, you have two main options for the focus of that degree: leadership or administration.

Common master’s degrees with a leadership focus include:

  • MAL (master of arts in leadership)
  • MS in Leadership (master of science in leadership)

Common master’s degrees with an administration focus include:

  • MBA (master of business administration)
  • MHA (master of healthcare administration)

In short, an MBA focuses on processes and systems, while a master’s in leadership focuses on people. In an MBA program, you will learn how to improve efficiency within an organization. In a master’s in leadership program, you will learn how to bring out the best in people and guide them in living out the organization’s mission.

Administration degrees like an MBA are often called management degrees, and an easy way to think of the difference between that kind of degree and one in leadership is this:

We manage processes, but we lead people.

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’s Master of Arts in Leadership 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.

Tuition and Cost

  • 36 graduate credit hours at $438 per credit
2 years Fall Spring Summer
Tuition $2,700
6 credits ($438/cr)
6 credits ($438/cr)
6 credits ($438/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
2 years Fall Spring Summer
Tuition $2,628
6 credits ($438/cr)
6 credits ($438/cr)
6 credits ($438/cr)
Fees $30 $30 $30
Room and Board* $6,000 $6,000 $5,625
Books & Supplies* $400 $400 $400
Transportation* $500 $500 $469
Miscellaneous* $500 $500 $469
Subtotal $10,058 $10,058 $9,621
*estimated costs based on student surveys

Want to make a difference....

  • this Masters can!


Employees of businesses that partner with UJ receive a 10% discount on tuition for the Master of Arts in Leadership program.

  • American Crystal Sugar
  • Anne Carlsen Center
  • Bank of North Dakota
  • Bell Bank
  • Bethany Retirement Living
  • Butler Machine Company
  • Family Wellness
  • Fargo Park District
  • First Care Health Center in Park River
  • First Community Credit Union
  • Gate City Bank
  • Hospice of the Red River Valley
  • Integreon
  • Jamestown Regional Medical Center
  • Jeremiah Program
  • Make A Wish ND
  • ND State Hospital
  • NISC
  • Prairie Staffing
  • Preference Employment Solutions
  • North Dakota Women’s Business Center
  • Sanford Health
  • South Central Human Services
  • United Tribes Technical College

Jimmie Voices

Sandi Piatz
“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

Leadership Core Courses


Course Title Credits

LDRS 500

Foundations of Leadership


LDRS 502

Organizational Theory


LDRS 501



LDRS 504

Communication, Conflict Resolution and Negotiations


LDRS 505



LDRS 503

Leadership Ethics


LDRS 507

Public Policy


LDRS 610

Servant/Transformational Leadership


LDRS 699

Leadership Practicum


*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.

*After completing core courses, students will take additional courses specific to one of five tracks: business, healthcare, law enforcement, non-profit or sports leadership.

View Full Course Catalog – Once there, click College of Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog and type “Master of Arts in Leadership” in the catalog search bar.

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

Leadership Faculty

Committed to helping you succeed — both in and out of the classroom.

Brenda Kaspari

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