Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL)

Program Description

Since 1986, St. Catherine's Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program has helped transform working professionals into leaders who thrive amid the challenges, changes and opportunities of today’s world and workplace. As the first multidisciplinary master's level leadership program in the country, the MAOL program at St. Kate's has built a stellar reputation by responding to the changing needs of our students, the places they work, and the world in which they live. 

With consistent updates to our curriculum and approach, the MAOL Program is designed to address the need for skilled and ethical leadership in today's workplace and beyond.  A cutting-edge curriculum develops students' acumen and competencies, strengthening their leadership and confidence, and preparing them to enact bold and wise strategies across contexts and roles.  

Mission Statement and Outcomes

The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) Program reflects the essence of St. Kate's mission — empowering women and men to realize their potential and become bold, ethical, wise, and impactful leaders.  An engaging and relevant curriculum prepares students to lead in a complex and uncertain context toward a more just, inclusive, and sustainable future.

The MAOL Program strengthens students’ abilities to think critically and strategically; advance social justice; act with confidence; communicate, engage, and influence; lead change; and manage effect. This is done through the completion of MAOL coursework, and engagement in learning and connecting activities within and outside of the classroom.  Students have an opportunity to specialize their learning through the final leadership capstone project, which can take the form of a traditional thesis, an action research project, or a practicum.

MAOL Students will become effective, ethical, enduring (sustainable) leaders with intercultural awareness who skillfully:

Think Critically and Strategically:  Graduates from St. Kate’s MAOL program practice the intellectual discipline to actively and deeply analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information to inform ethical and constructive action.

Advance Social Justice: Graduates from St Kate’s MAOL program understand the larger context of society and justice and approach problem-solving and leadership in ways that increase equity, diversity, and inclusion locally and beyond.

Act with Confidence:  St. Kate’s MAOL program transforms students with the self-knowledge, self-efficacy, and poise to take wise, bold action.

Communicate, Engage, and Influence:  St. Kate’s MAOL program prepares leaders to communicate, collaborate, and practice inclusion to engage and inspire others to act with purpose.

Lead Change:  St Kate’s MAOL graduates will have the relationship, communication, facilitation, data analysis, and decision-making skills to effectively design and implement operation and strategic change.

Manage Effectively:  St Kate’s MAOL program graduates leaders who have mastered the skills to conduct operations ethically and proactively. 

Degree and Certificate Requirements

The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership degree is conferred upon candidates who have met the following requirements:

  • Completion of 35-36 credits and required courses as outlined in the Program of Study for the students' catalog year;
  • Attainment of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

Graduate Certificates in Organizational Leadership are conferred upon candidates who have met the following requirements:

  • Completion of required credits and courses as outlined in the Program of Study for the students' catalog year;
  • Attainment of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Class Attendance

Attendance and full participation in online synchronous class sessions is essential to student learning and the class development as a whole. Students are expected to attend each class session in its entirety.  Every effort should be made to ensure that students' only obligation during class-time is to participate in class with minimal distractions from their environment. While occasional disruptions and distractions are an expected part of online learning, students who are consistently managing other obligations and disruptions during class-time should make arrangements to resolve conflicts in their schedule.  A range of services are available on campus to assist in this problem-solving process, and can be identified through a meeting with the student's academic advisor.

Absence from class has a direct impact on student learning and the class environment. Students should notify their instructor immediately when they become aware of an upcoming absence in order to discuss make-up work and access to missed content. First and last day attendance is required.

Students who know before registration that they will need to miss one session of a course should notify the instructor before registering in order to assess and discuss the impact of the absence on the student and their classmates. Students should not register for a class if they know they will miss two or more sessions. Students may not pass a course if two class sessions are missed, and students cannot pass a class if three or more class sessions are missed. 

Years to Complete the Program

The MAOL program must be completed within seven years. This includes leaves of absence and withdrawal. Students who are not able to complete the program within the seven-year window should meet with their academic advisor to discuss options and a potential extension of the seven year window.

Transfers, Special Classes and Exemptions

A total of twelve credits of transfer and special classes can be applied toward the MAOL degree. The following summary indicates the maximum number of credits that can be applied to the MAOL degree from various options:

  • Up to twelve transfer credits for coursework that aligns with existing courses in the Program of Study; transfer courses must have been taken within the previous seven years before enrolling in the MAOL program.
  • Up to three credits complete through Independent Study.
  • Up to six credits completed through Directed Study. 
  • Up to nine credits for Peace Corps service through the Coverdell Fellows program.  

Credits earned in the completion of a Foundations, Custom, or Specialty Certificate can be applied to a full degree in all instances where they align with the degree requirements.

Before taking a specific course elsewhere, students are advised to check with the MAOL program director about its applicability to the MAOL program.

Academic Advising

Incoming degree and certificate students are assigned an academic advisor from the MAOL faculty. Students should meet with their assigned advisor within the first six months of enrolling in the program, and after they reach the midway point of their academic program, to outline their degree or certificate pathway to completion.  Students are encouraged to contact their advisor via email any time they have questions about which courses to take and how to complete their degree or certificate in a manner that aligns with their scheduling needs and commitments.

Note that each student will also be assigned a capstone advisor for their final capstone project (thesis, action research or practicum) based upon the topic and/or method of the project.  The capstone advisor may or may not be the same person as the student's academic advisor.

Technology Requirements

The MAOL Program is primarily an online program with synchronous class sessions and asynchronous online course responsibilities.  Students need to have and maintain a working computer  with a minimum of: Windows 10 or MAC OS X10.15; a Dual Core of 2.4 GHz;, 10GB  storage on the Hard Drive; 4GB of RAM/Memory; a working Webcam; and no-echo headphones/earbuds with a microphone. Students must also have Admin rights on their computer in order to install necessary software and control settings to participate in class and complete homework. Students are responsible to have consistent access to a reliable broadband internet connection with a minimum download speed of 15 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 4 Mbps. Public, shared, or workplace internet access is not recommended as these may impose access limitations that interfere with class participation and homework completion, and/or compromise security and reliability.  Last, computers require Microsoft Office 2019 (free for current students), Google Chrome, Adobe Reader, and VLC Media Reader in order for students to fully participate in their coursework.

Students should check their St. Kate's email and classroom platform (Brightspace D2L or Canvas) at least four days per week.  Many students find it convenient and helpful to create settings within their email and classroom platform that alert the student of new messages, due dates for assignments, and other course announcements. Each course will include a set of Netiquette agreements to support an engaging online classroom setting that is conducive to all students' participation and learning.

Registering for Courses in other St. Catherine University Graduate Programs

Some courses in other St. Catherine University graduate programs are open to MAOL students, provided the Program Directors of both programs approve the registration. Students should discuss their course choices with their advisor to ensure they will apply to their Program of Study.

Progression Policy

Students are expected to make appropriate academic progress leading to the successful completion of the degree or certificate. To remain in good academic standing, students must:

  • Maintain a cumulative B (3.0) average
  • Meet specific course requirements with a minimum grade of C (2.0)
  • Adhere to the MAOL program’s criteria for professional/ethical behavior, integrity, honesty, personal responsibility and respect for others

Conditions for Academic Probation or Dismissal

Students will be placed on probation for one term by the MAOL program for any of the following reasons (these apply to degree and certificate students.):

  • Earning a GPA below 3.0
  • Earning more than one grade of C or lower (student may be asked to withdraw from the program)
  • Failing to adhere to the MAOL program’s criteria for professional/ethical behavior, integrity, personal responsibility and respect for others
  • Violating the University’s policy on academic integrity
  • Violating the University’s policy on student conduct

Terms of probation and requirements for removal from probation will be documented in written form with copies provided to you and the MAOL program.

Removal from Probation

Students must meet the specified written requirements to be removed from probation. At the end of one probationary term, students may be removed from probation, placed on continued probation, or be dismissed.

Conditions for Program Dismissal

Program dismissal will result as a consequence of the following:

  • Not meeting the requirements of probation at the end of the probationary term
  • Violations of the MAOL program’s criteria for professional/ethical behavior, integrity, personal responsibility, and respect for others depending on the severity of the issue
  • Failing to complete course requirements within the designated time frame

Students may appeal program dismissal by following the Student Complaint Process.

Readmission to the MAOL Program

If a student is dismissed from the graduate program, he or she may apply to be considered for readmission after the timeframe specified in the dismissal letter, usually one year. To initiate consideration for readmission, the student must submit a letter to the MAOL Program Director documenting how s/he has met the requirements for readmission, and explaining why  and how s/he will be successful if readmitted.

If readmitted, the student is automatically placed on probation with the terms of probation provided in writing. Readmitted students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 within the first term or be terminated from the program with no option for readmission.

Program for St. Catherine Undergraduate Seniors Taking MAOL Courses

Qualified students enrolled at St. Catherine University have the opportunity to take up to 9 credits in the MAOL program while completing their undergraduate degree. These graduate credits count as electives toward the bachelor’s degree, or (with approval) as course replacements within the student’s major in the undergraduate program. Additionally, the credits apply toward the graduate degree if the student is admitted into the MAOL program after completing the bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate students must meet the following conditions to be eligible for the program:

  • Current enrollment in a St. Catherine University bachelor’s degree program
  • Completion of at least 90 semester credits by the first day of the graduate class
  • Completion of at least 16 credits in residence in the St. Catherine University bachelor’s program
  • An institutional cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • In need of elective credits (or approved course replacement within the major) to complete their bachelor’s degree requirements
  • Approval from the Academic Advising Office

Interested students must meet with Academic Advising to confirm eligibility and to obtain guidance in completing the following application requirements for MAOL consideration:

  • Personal statement indicating professional background and personal goals (one page)
  • Current résumé demonstrating two or more years of professional work experience
  • One recommendation completed by a St. Kate’s faculty member, attesting to the student’s readiness for graduate academic rigor

Students who are eligible for the Program will submit the above required documents to their academic advisor, who will forward the material (along with a copy of the student’s current St. Catherine University transcript) to the MAOL Program Director for review. Please note that eligibility for the program (based on the above criteria) does not guarantee approval to enroll in an MAOL course. Ithe Program Director approves the request for graduate-level enrollment, the director and student will discuss course options for the upcoming semester(s). The student then works with their academic advisor to register for the graduate course(s) during the upcoming registration period.

Both the Academic Advising Office and the MAOL program reserve the right to limit the number of undergraduate students in graduate courses. Students who receive approval for graduate enrollment will be registered for specific graduate courses on a first-come, first-served basis. Undergraduate students must complete all of the course work and meet the same academic expectations required of the graduate students in their MAOL classes.

Acceptance to the Program and enrollment in a graduate-level course does not guarantee admission into the full MAOL degree program (or other St. Catherine University graduate programs) if the student applies for graduate admission in the future.

St. Catherine University’s online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) is for future-focused professionals who are passionate about driving transformational change in their organizations, communities, and society. Students gain confidence and skills to create inclusive and effective organizations, achieve operational objectives, enhance employee well-being, and make a positive impact in the world. The curriculum is based in practical application, so students can immediately apply their knowledge to their current organization and start their path towards career advancement right away. The MAOL Program reflects the essence of St. Kate’s mission — empowering women and men to realize their potential and become bold, ethical, and impactful leaders.  


ORLD 6200Foundations of Leadership and Ethics3
ORLD 6300Strategic Communication3
ORLD 6402Organizational Strategies: Accounting and Finance2
ORLD 6502Organizational Strategies - People and Culture2
ORLD 7000Personal and Team Leadership to Drive Results3
ORLD 7700Organizations: Social and Political Structures3
ORLD 7500Leading Organizational Change3
ORLD 8XXXOrganizational Strategies: Operations and Management2
ORLD 8400Difference and Conflict Competence3
ORLD 8XXXAdvanced Leadership Principles and Practices3
Select one from:3
ORLD 7100
Cultural Context of Leadership: Study Abroad
ORLD 6900, 7800, 8500
Leading Edge Colloquium I, II and III
Select one from:2
Action Research Design and Proposal
Thesis Design and Proposal
Practicum Design
Select one from:2-3
Leadership Action Research Project
Leadership Thesis
ORLD 8982 or 8983 Leadership Practicum (2 or 3 credits)
ORLD 8800Leadership Seminar1
Total Credits35-36