Master of Arts in Leadership Practice

Our Master of Arts in Leadership Practice (MALP) is designed for early to mid-career working professionals who want to continue to develop their ability to exercise leadership in any situation. This program is intended to support you whether your intention is to move into upper-level management or to make a more significant impact in your current role driving progress on the complex challenges that matter most in your organization.

Offered through Marian’s Leadership Academy, the program uses a cohort model to provide students with the opportunity to create meaningful, generative relationships with colleagues from different fields and backgrounds. Students should plan to earn five to six credit hours per semester over the course of this two-year program culminating in 30 total credit hours earned. Depending on the class, they are held on select Saturdays, weekday evenings, and virtually.

Why Pursue a Degree in Leadership?

Organizations rarely struggle with technical problems given the availability of experts to solve problems that have known solutions. Where organizations have the most difficulty is in addressing adaptive challenges where people have conflicting values, beliefs, and attitudes. This program works to develop your capacity and skill set to be more effective in exercising leadership from any position—mobilizing others to make progress on an organization’s most difficult issues.

  Technical Problem Adaptive Challenge
The problem Is clear (agreed) Requires learning
The solution Is clear (measurable) Requires learning
Whose work Experts/authority Stakeholders/everyone
Nature of work Efficiency (asap) Experimental/risk, long term
Obstacles Time, money, resource Hearts, minds, loyalties, values
Expectation/Goal Fix the problem Make progress

The program is designed to help you build emotional and psychological capacity for the burden of leadership, expand and enhance leadership your leadership tool kit, prepare you to employ research to diagnose organizational needs, and investigate the range and effectiveness of possible interventions.

As Marian University actively seeks to grow leadership capacity, the experiential nature of the M.A. in Leadership Practice will prepare students to impact not only the social systems of their own organization but the community at large.

What Will You Study?

There is more to organizational leadership than simply meeting technical goals and objectives. The program emphasizes the Adaptive Leadership framework as its foundation, which provides a leadership focus that recognizes organizations as social systems, differentiates between technical problems and adaptive challenges, and expressly accounts for the nuance and power of authority and group dynamics.

Course Credits
TLL 610 Systems Thinking 2
TLL 616 Adaptive Leadership 2
TLL 618 Transformational Leadership 2
LDR 628 Business Law and Ethics 3
LDR 638 Strategy and Execution 3
TLL 640 Research Methods 2
TLL 643 Program Evaluation 3
TLL 647 Conflict Management 3
LDR 648 Introduction to Design Thinking 3
TLL 649 Resource Allocation 3
TLL 697 Capstone 1 – taken twice
LDR 698 Final Project and Presentation 2

Program Learning Outcomes

This program has six overarching goals for candidates, such that at the completion of this program the graduate will be able to:

  • Understand: Diagnose the complex social systems of an organization.
  • Engage others: Align and mobilize others within an organization.
  • Manage self: Build the emotional and psychological strength required to exercise leadership.
  • Intervene skillfully: Act with purpose and agency within groups, teams, and organizations.
  • Execute: Manage the technical aspects of an organization’s operations.
  • Evaluate: Measure the effectiveness of interventions using research and data.

Career Paths

Graduates of the MALP program will be prepared to mobilize others, lead change, and manage organizational systems. Many programs offer managerial training to assist organizations in managing their technical problems. This program is rare in that it is specifically geared to help individuals develop the capacity to exercise leadership in the face of adaptive challenges.

Opportunities for individuals with leadership skills are abundant. Information technology and healthcare are two areas not only with strong growth in Indianapolis (Brookings Institute, 2017; US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019) but that have also identified leadership shortages. But the M.A. in Leadership Practice isn’t an industry-specific program. Cohorts are made up of professionals from different fields and the leadership skills developed are applicable to any organization in any discipline.

When Do Classes Start?

Semester Application Deadline File Completion Deadline Semester Start Date
Fall 2024 July 15, 2024 August 1, 2024 August 19, 2024
Fall 2025 July 15, 2025 August 1, 2025 August 18, 2025

Admission Criteria 

To be eligible for admission to this program, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a graduate GPA of at least 3.00 and complete a face-to-face interview.

How to Apply

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  • Submit official transcripts from every college and/or university that you've attended. (Official transcripts are sent directly to Marian University from the schools, either delivered in a sealed envelope or electronically directly from the school. Official transcripts may be printed on special paper. They are also embossed with the school's official seal. If you have opened the transcript's sealed envelope, it is NOT official and we cannot accept it.)
  • Submit a professional resume or CV.
  • Provide us with one letter of recommendation from professional references.
  • Please visit the Business Office Tuition Rates page. 
Contact Us

Marian University
3200 Cold Spring Road
Indianapolis, IN 46222-1997
(317) 955-6000


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Notice of Nondiscrimination
Marian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age or disabilities in the selection of administrative personnel, faculty and staff, and students.
*Placement rates are gathered from data collected from graduates within six months of graduation.

Students may make a complaint to the Indiana Commission of Higher Education.

Marian University is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana.

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