Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
30 credit hours

The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership applied master’s degree is available fully online, can be completed in as few as 1 ½ years, and includes a capstone experience rather than a written thesis. 

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.

30 credits of coursework are designed to allow students to distinguish themselves in the job market, be the change they wish to see in the world through leadership, and prepare professionals for a range of positions in:

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

BVU coursework features three leading factors that distinguish this degree from others:

  • Systems thinking determines how decisions impact entire organizations. Become a more effective leader with an integrative thinking approach to decision making.
  • Ethical Leadership creates logical leaders with ethical mindsets by focusing less on traditional views of leadership and more on the nature of inquiry.
  • Leading change is the sociology of leadership entwined in social movements. Bring passion to leadership, turn the tide of nonsense, and look at roles as influence-makers.



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

Tuition & Fees

2016-17 Tuition:
$507 per credit hour
2017-18 Tuition:
$517 per credit hour

How to Apply

Admissions Requirements

  • 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 recommendation from academic personnel equipped to speak to the candidate’s preparation for graduate study.
  • Submit an essay concerning applicant’s personal and professional directions related to leadership.
  • 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.

Application Process

  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.

Financial Aid


Loans are made to students at low interest rates and must be repaid, but generally payments are not due until the student has completed his or her education or ceases at least half-time enrollment.


After all financial assistance is applied to the student account, students will be expected to pay the balance prior to the first class meeting. Students may pay:

  • by mailing a check covering the tuition for the course (be sure to indicate the course number and title) to:
    Business Office 
    Buena Vista University 
    610 W. Fourth St.
    Storm Lake, IA 50588
  • by phoning the Business Office at 800.383.2821, ext. 2041 to make payments by credit card.
  • in person at the Business Office. Cash, checks and the following credit cards are accepted: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.

Contact Us

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

Phone: 712.749.2162

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).