Apr 20, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Organizational Leadership (M.S.)

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Purdue University
Master of Science (M.S.) or Graduate-Level Certificate in Organizational Leadership
Department of Organizational Leadership  
College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science

Neff Hall 288 ~ 260-481-6496

Gordon Schmidt, Chair 
Kimberly O’Connor, Graduate Program Director

Graduate study in Organizational Leadership provides a theoretical foundation to connect key concepts in leadership and human resources research with best practice.  The master’s and graduate certificate programs offer in-depth learning and career-oriented study with comprehensive and professionally relevant course work.

The M.S. in Organizational Leadership offers students a foundation in the key principles of organizational leadership through core courses and the opportunity to choose a concentration, in either leadership or human resource management, that will provide in-depth knowledge and skills. OL programs focus on understanding and working with people within organizations and the practical application of leadership concepts and theories. Graduates of the program will be prepared for leadership or human resources roles in a wide variety of settings including industrial, medical, service, and other profit and nonprofit organizations.  The Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership is based on the core of the Organizational Leadership master’s degree program.  The courses combine theory and practice to yield a combination that is immediately applicable to the work place and builds a foundation for more specialized study for those interested in advanced work.


The OL graduate committee considers several factors to be important for academic success at the graduate level and uses a balanced perspective in evaluating candidates based on those factors. Candidates for OL graduate study are required to have earned an undergraduate degree from an appropriately accredited institution, preferably with a B or better average. In addition, candidates are expected to show leadership potential through strong interpersonal, analytical, and communication skills as well as high standard of equitable and ethical behavior.

The admission process will require:

  • Completion of an application including an essay that demonstrates writing skills, ability to articulate a leadership perspective and clarity of career objectives;
  • Official transcripts of all previous college and university work;
  • A recent resume; and
  • Two recent letters of recommendation that reflect on professional and/or academic skills.  If applicants are within five years of completing academic work, at least one of the letters should be from a former faculty member.

Applicants with undergraduate GPA’s below 3.0 (4.0 scale) must present recent scores from either the GRE or the GMAT. Applicants for whom English is not a native language must present evidence of their proficiency in English by presenting appropriate TOFEL scores or equivalent results on a similar instrument (for example, the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency).

Degree Requirements

The M.S. in OL is a 33-credit-hour program composed of 18 credit hours of core and applied research requirements, and 15 credit hours in either the leadership or the human resources concentrations.  The graduate certificate in organizational leadership is a 15-credit hour program, with 9 required and 6 elective credits.  Up to 12-credit hours earned in the certificate program may be transferred to the OL master’s program, but students enrolled in the master’s degree program are not eligible for admission to the certificate program.

Core Requirements (18 credits)

All students complete the core courses to build a foundation in the key principles of organizational leadership. In these courses, students will learn how to assess and enhance organizational climates and cultures. In addition, they will use human resource practices, budgeting, and cost control methods to promote unit effectiveness.

Research Courses

All students will complete two research courses: a research skills course to increase knowledge and understanding of research principles and a capstone applied research project course.  (Prerequisites  may be required for some of these courses.)

Select one research capstone:

 Research in OL may be taken for 3-6 credit hours. The OL Capstone is 3 credit hours.

Human Resources Option (15 credits)

The human resources option prepares students to understand the theory as well as the practice of HR. This option ties specific skills in HR practice to a broad-based perspective that will prepare graduates for the challenges of a changing workplace.

Two electives approved by advisor  Cr. 6.

Leadership Option (15 credits)

Organizations need leaders at all levels as they face a global marketplace and a more diverse and rapidly changing society. This program prepares individuals with the theory, skills, and action-oriented perspective required of them as they live and work in a changing society.

Two electives approved by advisor  Cr. 6.

Student Responsibility

You are responsible for satisfying the graduation requirements specified for your selected program.  Thus, it is essential that you develop a thorough understanding of the required courses, academic policies and procedures governing your academic career.  All requests for exceptions to specific requirements must be made in writing and may be granted only by written approval from the Graduate Director.

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