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Explore our MS in Leadership Self Designed specialization

In the Self-Designed specialization, students can customize their studies by choosing nine credits from any of the MS in Leadership specialization courses.

Program Savings

Receive your first course at no cost or a 10% tuition reduction for the life of the program if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 2, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now


Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 39 total semester credits
    • Core courses (27 sem. cr.)
    • Integrative capstone (3 sem. cr.)
    • Specialization courses (9 sem. cr.)

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.


Course Code Title Credits


MMSL 6000

Dynamic Leadership

Being an effective leader is essential in business and demands that an individual has a strong set of competencies including the ability to understand one's self, motivate others, understand organizational culture, and manage ambiguity. In this course, students begin their personal and professional transformation by closely examining their current strengths and weaknesses, values, decision-making processes, and approaches to dealing with difficult problems. Students also explore leadership in turbulent times by examining how effective leaders think as well as how various management styles impact situations and relationships within an organization.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6105

Finding Your Inner Leader

Being an effective authentic and trustworthy leader requires considerable self-awareness based on commitment to candid self-reflection and the wisdom to recognize how they can best serve others through creating shared vision for a better future. In this course, students examine their values, experiences, skills, capabilities, preferences, and knowledge in context of their leadership aspirations. Students will examine factors that affect their ability to influence and inspire others and create plans to strengthen these leadership skills. Students will learn strategies to navigate in turbulent, changing environments that often pose difficult choices and discover how leaders rise to meet challenges and opportunities.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6110

Building Organizational Culture: Leaders as Architects

Organizational leaders act as partners in shaping, and are shaped by, the organizational cultures they seek to influence. Students in this course learn to recognize the elements that make up an organization's culture as well as ways to harness these for positive change and organizational success. They explore perspectives on how to make conceptual sense of the cultural landscape of organizations and examine the implications for leading and building effective communities at various levels of application. Students assess and discuss a variety of topics, such as tools of self-development, the reciprocal nature of leadership, and cultural components.  

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6115

Communication for Leaders and Managers

The ability to communicate with others influences success in both professional and personal settings. As communities and places of work become increasingly diverse, the intersections of interpersonal and intercultural communication also increase, and communicators need to be aware that the cultural diversity of their audiences should affect the way they convey information. Students in this course examine interpersonal and intercultural intersections and study the influence of cultural diversity on interpersonal communication. By examining theory, students develop an approach to practice and hone individual strategies for communicating successfully in diverse interpersonal situations. Topics include interpersonal communication theory, intercultural communication theory, individual communication competence, nonverbal channels, person perception, conflict resolution, and listening and communication barriers.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6125

Initiating and Managing Change

Today's business environment is constantly evolving to accommodate changes in economy, leadership, new regulations, and internal reduction and growth. Organizations require leaders who know how to work through barriers to effect positive and efficient organizational change. Students in this course learn about situations that constitute and require such change. They engage in a variety of assignments through which they explore effective strategies for initiating change and anchoring change into corporate culture to achieve organizational goals as well as for managing unplanned or unwelcome change. Students explore a variety of approaches and methods to transition individuals and organizations within evolving environments. They distinguish between reactive responses and proactive responses to change and examine the implications of culture, inertia, and uncertainty. Additionally, students explore the importance of understanding motivation and effective communication in mitigating negative reactions to change and facilitating the change process itself.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6010

Managing People and Promoting Collaboration

Contemporary business environments are increasingly competitive, global, fast paced, and knowledge intensive. In these environments, effective use of human capital is vital to an enterprise's success and survival. In this course, students will explore practical issues related to developing individuals and managing collaboration and will examine the skills and strategies necessary to address them effectively. Students will examine ethical and legal implications of managing a diverse workforce including issues that arise from cross-cultural differences and virtual work settings. The importance of communication as a tool to manage internal and external relationships is emphasized as it relates to the effectiveness of managing people to achieve organizational goals.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6175

Managing, Mediating, and Resolving Conflict

Managers and leaders must be skilled in conflict management including the capability to mediate or resolve conflict at the interpersonal through organizational levels. Students in this course explore the challenges of managing people in times of perceived conflict and dispute, and they work toward developing skills to identify different types of conflict situations.  Students will gain the knowledge of methods and tools to prevent, manage, and break inherent conflict. Students also consider the implications of emotion and the multifaceted array of conflict-management styles—factors for which professionals must account. They engage in hands-on, practical exercises in general contingency thinking and action approaches and communication styles designed to help them resolve conflicts and move toward win-win outcomes.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6660

Personal Leadership: Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring requires an understanding and integration of many theories, including leadership, interaction, and communication, that support the development of effective leaders. Students in this course understand and apply skills of effective mentoring, such as active listening, learning, empowering, and enabling change. Students engage in practical exercises, such as using feedback to create interactive dialogue and asking questions to acquire a deeper understanding of mentoring and coaching processes. In consideration of modern and virtual environments, students explore the challenges of mentoring or coaching individuals in a virtual or team setting.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6560

Managing Business Partner Relationships

Human resource departments are increasingly becoming networked organizations. Students in this course build the skills needed to evaluate build-or-buy alternatives for meeting human resource needs, negotiate contracts with service providers, develop service-level agreements, and track progress of ongoing contracts. Students examine how the human resource professional can leverage systems to integrate vendor-supplied services such as training, consulting, recruiting, assessment, coaching, and information systems.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6905

Capstone: A Case for Leaders as Change Agents

Leaders face all sorts of complex issues and opportunities to effect positive change that require well-thought-through solutions. To be effective, leaders must be able to analyze facts, assumptions, and theories and prioritize potential solutions. Students in this course apply their leadership skills and knowledge and build upon those to critically analyze a challenging leadership situation and create a vision for bringing about a better condition. Students integrate themes from the program as well as their own authentic leadership preferences and experiences to develop a leadership case study that will enable them to showcase their ability to put their transformational leadership capabilities into action.

(3 sem. cr.)


Choose three courses from the following:

MMSL 6510

Building Organizational Capacity Through Succession Planning

Organizations need to identify strategic talent today for their future success. In this course, students explore the processes that define an organization's future human resource needs, identify the gaps between today's resource requirements and future needs of the organization, and develop strategies to meet these needs. Through interactive discussion and practical exercises, students learn how to develop internal talent profiles, define career management tracks, conduct internal recruiting, develop comprehensive succession planning strategies, and use information technology to support these activities.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6520

Building Human Capital Through Training and Development

Training and development provide an organization's workforce the tools it needs to contribute to success. Students explore the processes of conducting a needs assessment and developing a training proposal that builds the business case for a training intervention for both individuals and groups, creating the basis for an annual training and development plan. Integrating adult and workplace learning theory into the development of training solutions, students learn how to design, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of a training solution.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6605

Performance and Management

Performance management is a set of practices and processes that creates career opportunities to attract appropriate resources, establishes an environment that nurtures individual productivity and development, and smoothly transitions individuals to their next position or organization. Students in this course are provided with the opportunity to address these three key sets of processes. They practice writing job descriptions, selecting the right employees, developing skill-based performance standards, effecting relevant onboarding programs, and implementing educational and training programs intended to drive the success of employees and the organization as a whole. They explore how to maximize employee productivity through structured feedback, coaching, reflective performance development conversations, effective compensation models, employee recognition programs, and career development paths. Students also examine ways to improve performance management systems by integrating feedback from the exit interviews of valued employees.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6620

Fostering a Culture of Innovation

In today's complex and uncertain environment, innovation is important to achieving business success. In this course, students examine how to be effective creative leaders who can readily apply imagination to resolve complex problems. Additionally, students explore methods to establish a work environment conducive to creative thinking. Students will gain a set of proven methods, skills, and strategies that enable innovative breakthroughs to occur in a much more deliberate and predictable manner.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6635

Harnessing the Power of Data and Information

Effectively using data and information can make the difference in whether the best decisions are made or problems are solved correctly. There are multiple approaches to practical managerial problem solving that are rooted in the systematic collection, analysis, and display of relevant data and information. In this course, students examine the importance of data, beginning with the process of transforming data into information, and then focusing on the best methods for presenting that information in support of sound and ethical decision making. Students evaluate common misinterpretations or errors in working with data and determine how to detect data and information presented in a deceptive manner. Students explore current paradigms in data-based decision making and problem solving. They learn how they can use these analytical-thinking practices to improve their general managerial decision-making skills.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6645

Improving Business Performance

One of the most critical challenges in maintaining and improving organizational performance is identifying core strengths and weaknesses within the organization and across the more general value creation landscape. The focus of this course is on the challenges and opportunities for managers to create value and to increase organizational performance through the effective deployment of systems thinking and change management skills. Students in the course explore systems thinking as a process whereby problems are viewed as individual components within a larger system and explore how various operational and systems thinking frameworks can be utilized to optimize organizational performance in both industrial and service settings.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6655

Marketing Communications, Storytelling, and Persuasion

Whether one is addressing a customer, an audience, or a jury, the aim is to use the tools of persuasion to influence individuals to take action. Especially in social media, it is critically important to establish an appropriate tone, voice, and personality. Tying these strategies to the overall brand positioning is even more important. It has been found that storytelling is one of the most effective tools of persuasion. Rather than simply stating the facts, the story puts facts into a meaningful context, so that the consumer can understand and empathize with the characters in the story and, therefore, identify with the brand's social media personality. In this course, students explore the elements of the story and the approaches used to develop content. Understanding the impact of individual channels on a strategy for integrated marketing communications and positioning allows the marketer to allocate budgets more effectively and efficiently.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6665

Creative Strategy and Execution: From Brief to Presentation

Students in this course leverage a wide range of knowledge and skills to conceive and execute a global communications campaign that uses traditional and digital media. Grounded in concepts of integrated marketing communication, students have the opportunity to develop and review a creative or innovative brief. Students generate solutions for that brief across the phases of the creative process, present and defend solutions, and evaluate solutions using metrics. Topics include the creative process, integrated marketing communication, selecting appropriate channels, pitching and selling ideas, and evaluation metrics.

(3 sem. cr.)
MMSL 6670

Budgeting and Resource Allocation

A key function of management is the ability to interpret financial data to make effective decisions. It often involves careful planning and forecasting that takes into account many factors, such as expenses, investments, and often, unforeseen financial obligations. Students examine the role of various accounting tools, budgeting, and resource allocation along with related processes within the organizational context and how those can be used effectively. They examine processes related to managing budgets and strategies to read and communicate effectively the often complex financial information related to organizational performance and then use these tools to make sound decisions. Students also explore and discuss the implications of resource availability as well as methods to plan for and prioritize the use of resources, while considering ethical issues related to sustainability and resource scarcity.

(3 sem. cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition 39 total semester credit hours $905 per semester hour $35,295
Technology Fee Per semester $210 $1,470

TOTAL $36,765

Transfer up to 15 credits $14,205

Total with Maximum Transfer Credits† $22,560

The tuition reflects the minimum credits to completion. Program completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.

Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time


Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

Program Savings

Receive your first course at no cost or a 10% tuition reduction for the life of the program if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 2, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admissions Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.



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