Organizational Leadership, M.A.

Program Overview

You've felt a desire for something more, to become the leader you've been called to be.

You’re ready to take the next step in your career, to assume a greater level of leadership and control over your future. The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) will equip you to lead others with genuine confidence and balance. This program is designed for working professionals with two delivery options to provide the flexibility you need to earn your degree while continuing to work in your current role. You can enroll in the 100% online format available from anywhere, or the in-person format that meets one night per week at our Mission Valley campus in San Diego.

This program will equip you to fulfill your calling, with courses such as Leading in Diverse Communities, Managing Conflict and Change, Organizational Systems and Behavior, and more.

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Samantha Steele

Student Profile

PLNU student Samantha Steele talks about her experience in the online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program.

Watch Video:
MAOL Samantha Steele Profile

Shared Journey

Work through the entire transformative program with the same cohort of fellow professionals, developing real relationships with your accomplished peers.

Individual Mentorship

Benefit from an exceptional level of personal mentorship from an interdisciplinary program faculty — helping you really do it, not just know it.

Servant Leadership

Our graduates learn to live as leaders who others genuinely want to follow. Develop the posture and skills of servant leadership to maximize your organizational effectiveness.

Becoming a leader requires a set of unique skills; the ability to understand and manage people, time, and relationships requires strength, confidence, and creativity. 

PLNU’s MAOL is a direct response to the need organizations express for individuals who know how to strategically lead in today’s complex and changing social and economic environment.

In this program, you will examine the art and skill of strategic decision-making and problem-solving within the political and cultural context of an organization. 

Whether you choose the 100% online option or the classroom experience, you will work in a cohort group as well as smaller collaborative learning teams that will provide you the opportunity to develop a professional and personal network of people who share your goals. You will also use technology to test team building and communication skills, a dynamic that mirrors what you will experience outside the classroom in meetings, conferences, and project management.


The M.A. in Organizational Leadership is an approved program under PLNU’s WASC Regional Accreditation. Though this is not an ACBSP approved program, for those interested in that type of program, PLNU offers an MBA through its Fermanian School of Business.

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Course List

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Application Information

Are you ready to take the next step and apply?

We’re here to make the entire process a simple one. We’ll walk you through the application process, answer your questions, and get you one step closer to earning your degree.

Priority Application Date(s):

  • Spring 2019 (Online) – December 11, 2018
  • Fall 2019 (Hybrid)

All applications submitted after these dates will be reviewed based on availability of space.

Start Application

The Selection Process

The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values, and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into our educational experience. We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a graduate program. Your GPA is an important piece of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of 3.0, you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as our exceptions policy.* Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission-under-exceptions process.

To be admitted into PLNU's MAOL program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript.

If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

*Exceptions Policy: If you have a GPA below 3.0 in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admissions.
  2. Submit official transcripts with proof of earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:
    gradprocessing@pointloma.edu
     
  3. Provide a personal statement on why you wish to participate in the MAOL program in which you address the following:
    • Describe your current philosophy of leadership.
    • Explain your relevant academic and professional experience.
    • Describe your future career or life goals.
  4. Submit professional resume.

Start Application

Admission into a distance education program offered by Point Loma Nazarene University is granted at the time of initial acceptance into the program and is dependent on authorized program availability in the state where the student is physically located at the time of admission. If a student moves to another state after admission to the program, continuation within the program will depend on whether Point Loma Nazarene University is authorized to offer distance education courses in that state and/or whether Point Loma Nazarene University meets the professional licensure requirements for a specific program in that state. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the institution of a change in his or her physical presence.

State Authorization

State authorization is a formal determination by a state that PLNU is approved to conduct activities regulated by that state. PLNU is not required to obtain state authorization in every state, and the university has opted at this time not to seek authorization in some states. Additionally, PLNU meets the criteria for exemption from authorization in certain states.

At this time, PLNU does not have authorization in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, which means residents of these states cannot enroll in any PLNU online program or course. For more information refer to our disclosures page.

Authorizations in specific states may change periodically. PLNU recommends individuals contact PLNU admissions at (800) 733-7770 for the latest information.

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Career Opportunities

PLNU's MAOL program develops leaders who are well prepared to serve in today’s dynamic organizations. Students will gain knowledge and skills that are necessary to lead by transforming their organization through the development of people and processes, and implementing strategic initiatives to maintain a competitive advantage.

You will be prepared for careers in business, industry, government, and the nonprofit sector, as well as graduate level study in fields related to business. These careers include:

  • Operations Managers
  • Sales Managers
  • Financial Managers
  • Merchandising Managers
  • Management Analysts
  • Corporate Planners
  • Human Resources Managers
  • Small Business Operations
  • Pastors and Church Leaders

Professionals working in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, churches, community-based institutions, and businesses will further enhance their leadership competencies through this interdisciplinary degree designed to apply leadership principles to real-world situations. Learners in this program will examine the art and skill of strategic decision-making and problem-solving within the political and cultural context of an organization. Working in an online cohort group as well as smaller collaborative learning teams will provide learners the opportunity to use technology to test team-building and communication skills, a dynamic that mirrors today's real-world meetings, conferences, and project management. 

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Barbara Klett

Staff Spotlight

Barbara Klett, PLNU instructional designer, talks about how she builds an online course with intention and heart.

Watch Video:
MAOL, Barbara Klett, Spotlight
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to be admitted into this program?

To be admitted into PLNU's Organizational Leadership, M.A. program you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript that indicates the completion of an undergraduate degree. You must also have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. If you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement, please contact your enrollment counselor regarding the exceptions process.

Can I work while completing the program?

Absolutely. The MAOL provides two delivery options to ensure you have the flexibility to earn your degree while working in your current role. Choose the 100% online option and study from anywhere, or enroll in the in-person format that meets one night per week at our Mission Valley Regional Center in San Diego.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for a number of scholarships through Student Financial Services. This program qualifies for state and federal financial aid options. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The expected completion time is 15 months.

How many days a week do classes meet?

Classes meet one night a week. This night will be the same night for the duration of your program.

How large will the classes be?

Class sizes are estimated to be 15 to 20 people.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Yes! As an international student, you can apply as a senior in university or any time after you obtain your bachelor’s degree. If you earned your baccalaureate degree outside of the United States, all documents must be translated into English and evaluated by members of National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). You must also submit official proof of English proficiency (TOEFL). Please contact Graduate Financial Aid and Student Support Services for more information.

PLNU is a Christian university, but I am not a Christian. Would I feel out of place in this program?

We welcome and encourage people of all backgrounds as students in our programs. Issues that relate to faith may be discussed in some classes, and engaging in discussion with individuals with alternative points of view will be encouraged as learning opportunities. Students will work within a learning community that is supportive academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

What are the professional and personal benefits of an MAOL degree?

Graduate degrees that emphasize leadership and management skills are in high demand in our ever-changing job market. According to the Education Advisory Board report, “From 2010 to 2013, the number of job postings for employees with a master’s of management skills increased 61.8 [percent] nationally.”

PLNU’s MAOL is built on a model of selfless leadership, an approach that will help you be the most successful type of leader — one who is respected, trusted, and genuine.

In short, this program will prepare you to be a strategic, effective, and agile leader and manager in your organization.

How does the MAOL compare to a business degree or an MBA?

While many of the outcomes of a business degree are similar to those of the MAOL, MBA programs focus more on analytic skills in accounting, economics, and finance. While the MAOL also includes skills like these in our coursework, the emphasis and strength of the MAOL are in skills like leadership, management, and organizational fluency.

Also worth noting, a Graduate Management Admission Council 2012 survey reported that “graduates of non-MBA master’s in business programs were about twice as likely to continue in existing jobs after graduation than MBA graduates." Contacts at profiled institutions confirm this trend, noting many program graduates seek promotions with their current employers rather than a change in career path.

What is a hybrid program?

Hybrid programs consists of face-to-face evening courses and an online component that allows for a flexible class schedule so you can continue to work full- or part-time. This is designed to minimize the amount of time the student has to spend in a physical classroom.

If I choose the hybrid option, will my class night ever change?

No. You will always have class on the same night of the week throughout the duration of the program.

What types of people are enrolled in this program?

We have CEOs, nonprofit leaders, individuals working in higher education, ministry leaders, small business owners, human resources representatives, and more. This program really is applicable for any organization because all organizations need great leaders!