Leadership Studies M.A.

Department Website: https://www.vanguard.edu/academics/academic-programs/graduate/leadership-studies


The Master of Arts in Leadership Studies equips students for transformational leadership in their organizations, churches, and non-profits within the global community. Learn how to integrate best practices of real-world leadership with theology, culture, ethics, and spirituality.

Engage with faculty and students in a collaborative learning environment that provides an ideal experience for developing critical thinking skills and participating in a long-standing Vanguard community network.

Admission Requirements for the M.A.L.S.

A student seeking the M.A. Degree in Leadership Studies must meet the following admission requirements:

  1. Completion of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

Exceptions: Applicants from an institution accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, or from other institutions not accredited by a regional association, will be considered on an individual basis.  If accepted, provisional standing will be applied.  After completion of 12 units earning a grade of "B" or better in each course, the student may request transferring to regular standing.

Students in the senior year of their Bachelor’s degree can still apply. If admitted, provisional standing is granted while finishing their Bachelor’s degree.

  1. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (on a four-point scale) in all Bachelor’s work.

Exception: If the GPA is below 3.0, the student's application may still be considered at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.  If accepted, provisional status will be granted, requiring students to complete the first 12 units of graduate level courses with grades of "B" or above before receiving further consideration for regular standing in the GPR.

Transfer Credit

M.A.L.S. students may transfer a maximum of 6 units of coursework from an accredited graduate program when the coursework directly applies to their program design. Requests for transfer credit are to be submitted to the Registrar no later than the deadline for advancement to candidacy. Final decisions regarding transfer credit rests with the Registrar upon receipt of the recommendation of the Director. No courses with a grade lower than “B” (3.0) will be transferred toward the M.A. degree. No transfer credit can be granted for coursework used for a degree awarded by another institution. A minimum of 30 units at VU is required of all students in the M.A. degree program. All core courses must be taken at VU.

Graduation Requirements

Overview: To complete a graduate degree program, students will need to successfully complete the specified coursework, choose and complete an exit option, and  apply for graduation. The graduation requirements for these steps are as follows:

Coursework and Academic Standing

Successfully complete the core and elective courses for an approved program. “Successful completion” means achieving a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for the M.A. degree, or a grade point average of 2.67 for the M.A.T. degree. Also, no more than two course grades of C+ or C can count toward the M.A. degree, and no more than two course grades of C or C- can count toward the M.A.T. degree. Lastly, the student must have regular standing (rather than provisional), with all academic deficiencies resolved.

Choose Exit Option

M.A.L.S students will take CLSG-750 Capstone Project

Students may choose to do action research, directed reading or a specialized project.

Application for Graduation

Students must file an application for graduation with the GPT Office by no later than the beginning of the semester in which the degree will be granted, even if the student does not participate in the commencement ceremony. The Application for Graduation form is available in the GPT Office and the Registrar’s Office. The degree is conferred on the last day of the semester in which the student has completed all degree program requirements as described above, and has satisfied the following requirements:

  1. File all the necessary forms in accordance with the timetable provided by the GPT Office.
  2. Successfully complete all degree requirements within the “maximum time” limits of eight (8) years.
  3. If transferring any graduate coursework, submit official, original transcripts accompanied by proper certification from all transfer institutions.
  4. Settle all financial obligations to the University.

The Academic Program of the M.A.L.S.

The curriculum is composed of 11 required Leadership courses and one capstone course for a program total of 36 units. 

  1. Apply leadership theory, a theological and ethical framework, and critical thinking skills in order to creatively impact their organizations and environments,
  2. Apply the intercultural and communication skills necessary to lead in partnership with people of other cultures and contexts,
  3. Apply tools of moral reasoning and decision making to ethical dilemmas in specific contexts of leadership, life, and ministry, and
  4. Formulate and present a theological a framework of spirituality in relation to character development and the soul care of leadership.
  5. Contextualize leadership in any of the following elective concentrations: Christian Spirituality, Hispanic Leadership, or Women and Justice.

The required courses develop a theological and theoretical framework for understanding leadership, mission and culture, and ethics in order to reflect theologically on what it means to be in authentic community and to examine the impact of mission in the community. The research course provides practical opportunity for students to learn how to conduct inquiry through a variety of methods that will be used in coursework and in the final exit option.

Program Core Requirements
CLSG-632Team Development & Conflict Management3
CLSG-638Leadership/Global Issues3
CLSG-642Soul Care of Others3
CLSG-646Leadership/Character Developmt3
CLSG-710Mission/Culture in Theo Persp3
CLSG-715Church/Contemporary Moral Issues3
CLSG-720Theology/Theory of Leadership3
RELG-788Resrch Meth: Leadership Studies3
Concentration Requirements9
Select one of the following concentrations:
Christian Spirituality
History of Spirituality
Spiritual Formation
Spiritual Direction
Hispanic Leadership
Hispanic Pentecostal Ch History/in US
Hisp Ch Leadership/Contemporary Context
Indentity/Culture/Social/Hispanic Comm
Women and Justice
Theo/Ethical Response/Woman-Justice
A Biblical Theology/Women and Leadership
A Biblical Response/Human Trafficking
Exit Option3
Capstone Project
Total Units36

Concentration Descriptions for the Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies

Christian Spirituality

Spirituality contributes to organizational health and effectiveness according to recent studies. A spirituality arising from the Christian faith both informs individual transformation and creates communities that model human flourishing in the context of sacrificial service. Building on selected courses in the core curriculum, this concentration examines the meaning and historical development of Christian spirituality, and the contemporary role of spiritual direction.

Hispanic Leadership

Strategic Leadership in a Hispanic church context requires critically engaging the complexities of Hispanic culture, theology, and multi-generational realities.  Today’s Hispanic churches are facing the challenge to make space for multi-generational identities and develop the leadership skills to embrace predominantly Hispanic communities that are increasingly becoming more bilingual, multicultural and influential.  This concentration focuses on equipping pastors and emerging leaders for positional as well as non-positional leadership in Hispanic ministry settings.

Women and Justice

Women in leadership produce more durable peace agreements, healthier families, and stronger economic communities according to the literature. This concentration prepares leaders to bring redemptive resolutions to current challenges in community life, particularly concerning women and justice issues within the family, church and society. Coursework invites biblical and theological reflection, practical application, and consideration of current cultural and global realities for women, including violence, human trafficking, and marginalization.