Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership

Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership

The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership program develops effective Christian leaders for vital roles in businesses, churches, and other organizations through a theologically-informed, theoretically- grounded, and practically-applied curriculum. The degree is offered online with some face-to-face opportunities for learning, networking, and hands-on experience.

All of Jakes Divinity School students will have face-to-face residency opportunities twice a year. The first is during the International Leadership Summit each spring of a given degree program. Students will arrive on site of the summit the Sunday evening prior and remain for a week until the end of the summit. The second residency will likely take place in Dallas, TX, at Jakes Divinity School in the fall of each year.

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Curriculum

North Central University’s commitment to Christ and the Church is consistent with the mission at Jakes Divinity School. This graduate program emphasizes “the preparation of people to fulfill Biblical models of leadership in the Church.” We strive to be recognized for preparing “exemplary Pentecostal leaders and ministers” who can positively influence “growth in the lives of Christians and non-Christians.”  As a result, we expect that our students will be “[l]eaders serving and empowering others in the church and throughout the world.”
The purpose of the Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership is to develop leaders for organizations, churches, the community, and the world. Continued leadership development is a vital aspect for these institutions. Christian leaders must possess an ethically and morally responsible vision, an understanding of social contexts, sensitivity to complex personal and organizational problems, the ability to find strategic solutions, cultural competence to address the needs of diverse settings, the ability to motivate people to work toward shared goals and objectives, and a commitment to fulfill all these responsibilities in a manner consistent with Christian values and mission. The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership at North Central University provides a model and a means to study, develop, and apply these leadership essentials.
The program utilizes a cross-disciplinary approach that will build communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Students will not only gain an understanding of strategic leadership but will apply leadership theories, principles, and skills in a collaborative environment. Graduates will apply acquired knowledge and skills in the workplace and in other professional development settings.

Objectives

A graduate from the Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership program will be able to:

  • Identify the principles of spiritual leadership.
  • Outline the methods and nature of strategic planning.
  • Describe the history and development of organizational theory from a Christian perspective.
  • Practice Christian leadership ethics.
  • Demonstrate the cross-cultural competencies essential for successful leadership.
  • Employ interpersonal expertise in team-building, motivation, listening, and assertiveness skills.
  • Utilize an understanding of organizational behavior to collaboratively improve institutional effectiveness.
  • Apply essential project management skills in professional settings.
  • Illustrate the research capabilities needed to make informed decisions.
  • Practice on-going leadership development.

Credit Hours

The program operates on North Central University (NCU)’s semester system and offers academic credit in terms of the semester credit hour. Each semester hour of graduate course credit requires a total of approximately 45 hours of work.
Students taking face-to-face, semester-long courses can expect to spend about 9 hours per week on average for a total of 135 hours for a three-credit course.
All online courses are taught in an eight-week format, with two sessions offered per semester. Students electing to take all or part of their coursework via online can expect to spend 16-17 hours on average per week on course work.

Program Length

The university requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits for the Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership. These credits will consist of the nine, three-credit classes, which are listed below under Course Descriptions section below, and the completion of a three-credit capstone project or a thesis.

Course Load

A student must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credit hours per regular semester to be considered a full-time graduate student. A student enrolled in less than 6 credits is classified as part-time. Permission from the director or a designee will be required if a student seeks to enroll for more than 9 credit hours in a semester. Usually that student will need to have earned a 3.2 GPA or higher in previous coursework.

Specialized MASL tracks available

These tracks are brand new as of fall 2020!  Students are not required to choose a track, but they may certainly choose one.  These tracks will increase the cost of tuition by 6 credits and increase degree completion time by one semester.

Worship Arts Leadership

The Strategic Leadership: Worship Arts Leadership Degree track is 36 credits and is designed to be finished in 12 courses.  The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Worship Leadership track will prepare current and future leaders and musicians to communicate effectively the role of worship in the believer’s life by receiving biblically, theologically, historically, and contextually-grounded training.

Church Leadership

The Strategic Leadership: Church Leadership Degree track is 36 credits and is designed to be finished in 12 courses.  The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Church Leadership track develops effective Christian leaders for dynamic roles in church and parachurch organizations through a theologically-informed, theoretically-grounded, and practically-applied curriculum.

Business Administration Leadership

The Strategic Leadership: Business Administration Leadership track is 36 credits and is designed to be finished in 12 courses. The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Business Administration Leadership program develops effective Christian leaders for dynamic roles in business and nonprofit organizations through a Christ-centered, theoretically-grounded, and practically-applied curriculum. 

MA Strategic Leadership
Traditional Track and Leadership Core Course Descriptions


This course explores the principles of personal and spiritual leadership that are revealed in the Bible and exemplified in the lives of Jesus Christ and subsequent spiritual leaders. In light of biblical leadership principles, this course will address the importance and process of establishing a personal leadership philosophy. Students will review selected writings from both sacred and secular authors, thus giving students a broad perspective of leadership, with primary emphasis placed on spiritual models.

This course will equip learners with knowledge, skills and values by explaining core project management concepts and techniques. During the course, project management knowledge is enhanced through project management skill development that uses case study examples to demonstrate how project management best practices are applied within the context of the real world. The course is designed to present the essential skills students need to make effective contributions and to have an immediate impact on the accomplishment of projects in which they are involved. It prepares students with marketable and transferable proficiencies and sends them into the workforce ready to apply project management knowledge and skills. The course will prepare students and working professionals to take either the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) examination or the Project Management Professional (PMP) examination.

This course is an investigation of the analytical process that enables leaders to make effective and efficient (strategic) organizational decisions. This course will emphasize how leaders, interpreting and utilizing the results of analysis, can persuade stakeholder and achieve successful and sustainable organizational change. It is a study of the methods and nature of strategic planning, including: the internal and external environments and opportunities leaders face in strategic planning; the leader’s task in responding to the variables within these environments; and the impact of these variables on strategic choices. Topics include how to assess critical variables impacting organizations, key factors in the change process, and communicating essential observations and recommendations.

This course examines the history and development of organizational theory, organizational design, and current practice regarding organizational structures and the dynamics of individual and collective behavior within organizations. A synthesis and integration of major traditions in organizational theory will help the student evaluate the impact of environment on organizational structure, culture, and leadership. Emphasis on the role of leadership and cultural values are considered from a Christian worldview. Emphasis will be placed on grounding theoretical concepts in personal and practical applications so students can better understand the chaotic and constantly changing world of organizations.

This course looks at ethics from the point of view of biblical truth and from a biblical and historical perspective. Students explore the theology of ethics and leadership and consider how our biblical roots have been impacted by Modernism and Post-Modern thought. Students get a chance to see how cultural norms and the Western culture’s view of ethics progressively change the definition of ethics. These viewpoints are then considered within a personal philosophy framework of leadership.

This course is an investigation into cross-cultural competencies as essential components for meaningful human relationships and on a professional level for success as a leader. Leaders need to understand how to cope with the differing ideologies of our pluralistic, modern world. This course examines biblically-grounded principles and models that will enable the student to understand the extent and realities of cultural diversity, helping the student to be an effective leader in a multi-cultural context. This interdisciplinary study deals with the leadership implications and strategies of the religious, ideological, and cultural diversity that are evident in both local and global contexts.

This course investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and organizational structure and culture have on behavior within organizations, and how this knowledge can be applied toward improving an organization’s effectiveness. The course also examines role behavior, group dynamics, team development, motivation, conflict, job stress and satisfaction, and decision-making, and the relationship between the organization and the leader.

This course develops a foundation in the theory and practice of interpersonal dynamics. The development of successful leadership requires an understanding of group dynamics and multiple dimensions of interpersonal relationships as they affect individuals, groups, and the organizational whole. This course provides opportunities to participate in and analyze group behavior, understand the evolution of the group’s life cycle, and become aware of the influence of non-verbal communication on members of a group in order to enhance an organization’s accomplishment of its mission. This course will address various models of interpersonal behavior to managerial and organizational issues, while enhancing interpersonal competence, especially team-building, motivation, listening, and assertiveness skills.

This course is designed to provide students with the research skills needed to make better decisions. This includes research design, literature searching, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. It provides students with the skills they need to complete their capstone project or thesis.

The master’s thesis is designed to provide a student with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to identify a topic related to Strategic Leadership, research it in depth, and produce a synthesis of their learning, all at an advanced level of scholarship. It is for both those who are strategic leaders of various organizations as well as those who are seeking to gain a greater understanding of how strategic leadership is impacted by research.

Course description: This zero-credit course enrolls a student in their second semester to complete their MA capstone thesis. Students will work with their capstone advisors to continue progress and complete final steps related to their capstone thesis. Students may only take this class one time. If a student needs one additional semester, they will enroll in GLE 647 Capstone Thesis Continuation II. There is no cost
to enroll in this continuation course. A grade of “NG”, or no grade, will be assigned.

Course description: This zero-credit course provides a student one additional semester to complete their MA capstone thesis. Students will work with their capstone advisors to complete final steps related to their capstone thesis. Students may only take this class one time. A $100 fee will be assessed. A grade of “NG”, or no grade, will be assigned.

This course is one of two final capstone options available for the Strategic Leadership program. This course gives an opportunity for students to do an applied study and research project of their choice related to the field of strategic leadership that is practical for their situation. It will include a literature review plus an action research component which uses quantitative and/or qualitative research.

Course description: This zero-credit course provides a student one additional semester to complete their MA capstone project. Students will work with their capstone advisors to complete final steps related to their capstone project. Students may only take this class one time. A $100 fee will be assessed. A grade of “NG”, or no grade, will be assigned.

MA Strategic Leadership
Church Leadership Track (36 credits)

The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Church Leadership track, powered by North Central University, develops effective Christian leaders for dynamic roles in church and parachurch organizations through a theologically-informed, theoretically-grounded, and practically-applied curriculum.
Through this program, students will gain communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, and will apply leadership theories, principles, and ecclesial leadership skills in a collaborative environment.
Christian leaders must possess an ethically and morally responsible vision, sensitivity to multifaceted personal and organizational problems, the capability to identify and implement strategic solutions, cultural competence in addressing the needs of diverse settings, the aptitude to motivate others toward shared goals and objectives, and to fulfill these responsibilities with Christian values and mission. The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Church Leadership at North Central University helps you study, develop, and apply these leadership essentials.

Leadership Core
1. GLE 500 Personal Leadership Development
2. GLE 501 Intro to Research (0 credits)
3. GLE 550 Leadership Strategies and Change
4. GLE 600 History & Theory of Organizational Leadership
5. GLE 605 Leadership Ethics
6. GLE 610 Global Leadership
7. GLE 615 Organizational Behavior and Analysis
8. GLE 620 Interpersonal Management
9. GLE 630 Research in Leadership

Track-Specific Courses
10. GCL 550 Church Administration and Finance for Dynamic Growth
11. GCL 543 Contemporary Pastoral Techniques
12. GBT 625 Renewal History and Theology
13. GLE 645/650 Church Leadership Thesis/Project
All courses are three credits.

MA Strategic Leadership
Church Leadership Track Course Descriptions


This course emphasizes the importance of leading ministries as intricate organizations that require practical business applications, including leadership, management, finance, law, human resources and organizational development. The course will highlight key areas within church administration in the context of real organizational scenarios. In doing so, the course will inquire whether ministry impact increases when internal operations function at a level of excellence, integrity and with business application. (Offered Spring)

This class is an advanced study of current techniques as they relate to personal, administrative, counseling and formal responsibilities of the lead pastor. Guest lecturers, field trips and practical ministry experiences will be used to examine effective leadership and pastoral ministry principles and practices. Prerequisite: PMIN 378 Pastoral Theology (Offered Fall)

Pentecostals and Charismatics are sometimes placed under the joint title of ‘Renewalist.’ This course will explore the history and theology of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements from the late 19th century through the 21st century. Special attention will be given to Renewalist hermeneutics. (Offered Summer)

MA Strategic Leadership
Worship Arts Leadership Track (36 credits)

The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Worship Leadership track at North Central University will prepare current and future leaders and musicians to communicate effectively the role of worship in the believer’s life by receiving biblically, theologically, historically, and contextually-grounded training. Through this program, you will gain communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, and will apply leadership theories, principles, and worship leadership skills in a collaborative environment.

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Leadership Core
1. GLE 500 Personal Leadership Development
2. GLE 501 Intro to Research (0 credits)
3. GLE 550 Leadership Strategies and Change
4. GLE 600 History & Theory of Organizational Leadership
5. GLE 605 Leadership Ethics
6. GLE 615 Organizational Behavior and Analysis
7. GLE 620 Interpersonal Management
8. GLE 630 Research in Leadership

Track-Specific Courses
8. Professional Development (choose three, 2 credits each):

    • GWL 620 Voice 
    • GWL 621 Rhythm Instruments 
    • GWL 622 Orchestral Instruments 
    • GWL 623 Music Theory 
    • GWL 624 Arranging 
    • GWL 625 Worship Leading 
    • GWL 626 Live Audio Production 
    • GWL 627 Music Production Software o GWL 628 Songwriting 
    • GWL 629 Conducting 
    • GWL 630 Special Topics 

9. GWL 550 Examining Roles in Worship Leadership
10. GWL 600 Biblical Theology of Worship
11. GWL 605 Multicultural Worship
12. GLE 645/650 Worship Leadership Thesis/Project
All classes are three credits and offered online unless noted.

MA Strategic Leadership
Worship Arts Leadership Track Course Descriptions


This course is study of the many and varied roles and relationships within worship leadership. Special emphasis is placed on the relationship between the worship leader and the pastor. Also considered are the relationships between the worship leader and other staff members, singers/instrumentalists, and the congregation. 
At the heart of successful worship leadership is the preparation and presentation of worship. This course seeks to help the worship leader accomplish these tasks on a regular basis by raising awareness of skills in various roles and relationships important to the position. (Offered Spring) 

This course emphasizes a biblical and historical examination of Christian worship. It moves toward a robust theology of Christian worship by exploring topics such as: God’s story, Trinitarian worship, the four-fold biblical/historical structure of worship, and the Christian calendar. (Offered Fall)

This course explores the future of Christian worship in the United States through the lens of Revelation 7:9, where every nation, tribe, people, and language are represented. With God’s love for diversity in mind, the course will examine the topics of contextualization, liturgical inculturation, diversity in worship, and how to flourish in a multicultural context. 
This course is designed to establish biblical principles for worship that are eternal and universal, while recognizing the great diversity within the increasingly multicultural contexts across the country (and around the world). The purpose is to provide for critical contextualization and pastoral care in diverse expressions of Christian worship. (Offered Spring)

This course allows the student to explore and choose from a large variety of practical skills needed in the life of the worship leader. Each of these one credit offerings are taught one to one, offering each student a unique opportunity to choose areas where they would like to be mentored. These areas include: voice, piano/keyboard, drums, bass, guitar, conducting, songwriting, music production, lighting, worship leading, and specialized topics agreed upon by the student and their advisor. (offered every semester) 

MA Strategic Leadership
Business Administration Leadership Track (36 credits)

The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Business Administration Leadership program develops effective Christian leaders for dynamic roles in business and nonprofit organizations through a Christ-centered, theoretically-grounded, and practically-applied curriculum. The MA in Strategic Leadership: Business Leadership track provides practical training in business leadership for individuals desiring to increase their business acumen and skills in foundational areas of organizational administration and operations.

This track provides a core in leadership strategy and integrates competencies in cultural awareness and sensitivity, understanding organizational behavior, and creating an ethical vision, while increasing a firm comprehension and application of project management, innovation, business law, finance and business operations. Through this program, you will gain communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, and will apply leadership theories, principles, and business leadership skills in a collaborative environment.

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Leadership Core
1. GLE 500 Personal Leadership Development
2. GLE 501 Intro to Research (0 credits)
3. GLE 525 Project Management
4. GLE 550 Leadership Strategies and Change
5. GLE 600 History & Theory of Organizational Leadership
6. GLE 605 Leadership Ethics
7. GLE 610 Global Leadership
8. GLE 615 Organizational Behavior and Analysis
9. GLE 630 Research in Leadership

Track-Specific Courses
Select any 9 credits

  • GBA 515 Financial Statement Analysis 
  • GBA 525 Sales and Marketing 
  • GBA 535 Innovation Integration 
  • GBA 540 Nonprofit Administration 
  • GBA 574 Operations Management 
  • GBA 602 Business Law 
  • GLE 620 Interpersonal Management 
  • GLE 645/650 Business Leadership Thesis/Project

All classes are three credits and offered online unless noted.

MA Strategic Leadership
Business Administration Leadership Track Course Descriptions


 This course has two areas of focus, first is fundraising, and the second is evaluation. The course examines excellent, ethical fundraising trends, strategies and techniques. In addition, topics include uses of technology, successful leadership, organization and team-building, donor recruitment, retention and stewardship, accountability and budgeting, strategic planning, and the role of the development professional and volunteer, among others. 
A major goal of this course is to help students become more proficient in recognizing, evaluating, and encouraging the kinds of benefits or outcomes intended by our society’s variety of nonprofit and public programs. We will examine what needs and opportunities are addressed by four major types of programs: those serving individuals, those serving communities, those serving networks or systems, and those serving other organizations. (Offered Fall) 

From balance sheet to income statement, from asset valuation to free cash flow projection; financial reporting is performed to provide insights on every financially related activity of an organization. This course will provide you with tools to analyze and exploit information in corporate financial statements. The course will teach you how to use financial statement information for firm valuation and other economic decisions. The course will also help you understand and analyze the issues that managers face as they design and implement financial reporting strategies, increasing your ability to assess accounting quality, and detect and undo earnings management. (Offered Summer)

The course will examine the elements of effective selling as a key component of the organization’s total marketing effort and will focus on brand/organization positioning to create value for customers and stakeholders. The course revolves around the central themes of creating, communicating, and selling value to customers. Students will learn how to define an organization’s positioning and value proposition as well as methods and strategies to sell using value and trust. The course will discuss how marketing and sales as an extension of an organization’s overall goals. 
Course topics and modules will include developing brand/organization positioning, the challenger sales process, the relationship between sales and marketing, customer relationship management, and selling and negotiating techniques. Students will apply class topics through an interactive project worked on throughout the course. The course is primarily an interactive discussion including regular sales simulations, cases, and interactive active learning activities. At the end of the course, students will leave with knowledge of how to define, communicate, and sell the value of their brand/organization. (Offered Fall) 

The management concepts of manufacturing and service operations are examined, focusing upon the tactical tools of operations management systems. Topics to be covered include production, supply chain management, quality control, inventory, use of technology and the management of workforce and facilities in operations. (Offered Spring) 

This course addresses the formulation, interpretation, and application of law to business. It incorporates the study of ethical issues that arise in contemporary business settings, including professional conduct and corporate social responsibility. Major areas of legal regulation to which businesses are subject, including tort liability, contract law, partnership and corporate law, employment and labor law, and financial regulation. Emphasis on active, experiential application of legal reasoning and analysis and on the global and comparative dimensions of legal and ethical issues. (Offered Spring) 

This course focuses on applied innovation, how systematic innovation occurs and how innovation can be infused into every aspect of an organization. Examples are used from a wide range of industries and organizations to demonstrate how to build systemic creativity, innovative individuals, teams, and organizations. Additionally, through study and experiential learning, students work toward self-mastery of creative techniques, tools and strategies. (Offered Summer)

Admissions

Entrance Requirements

Students wishing to take courses and/or matriculate into the graduate program must meet the following criteria:

  1. They must demonstrate a willingness to subscribe to the ideals and patterns of life and conduct of Jakes Divinity School and the North Central University community, as outlined in the “Christian Community Life Standards” and adopted by NCU’s Board of Regents.
  2. They will have a bachelor’s degree earned from a regionally accredited university with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. Applicants holding degrees from nationally, professionally, or specialized accredited institutions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and may need to fulfill additional requirements as assigned by the program director or a designee. International students must have their transcripts evaluated by an evaluation service approved by the university and submitted directly to the admissions office. Students who are in the final semester of their program may be accepted with approval from the program director or designee.

Regular Entrance Requirements

For regular graduate admissions the completed application packet will include:
For regular graduate admissions the completed application packet will include:

  1. Admissions Application
  2. Essay of Intent
  3. Character Reference
  4. Professional Resume
  5. Official Transcripts — undergraduate and graduate

If cumulative GPA is less than 3.0, at least one of the following as an indicator of academic ability:

  • Academic essay
  • GRE or GMAT scores at or above the 50th percentile, which conform to the standards of validity of each testing service (Scores are usually valid for 5 years from the testing date.) Students admitted under this status may expect to take a reduced course load, meet with their adviser at least twice a semester, and be required to engage the services of the Student Success Center. These conditions terminate upon successfully completing the first semester.

Transfer Credit

As a general rule, the graduate program allows a maximum of six-credit hours of graduate work relative to the program to be transferred in as part of a student’s degree requirements. All such requests be determined by registrar’s office in close consultation with the program director or a designee.

Transfer Credit Evaluation Process

In addition to the regular admissions requirements, transfer students applying to Jakes Divinity School should submit official transcripts of graduate-level work for North Central University’s review.
A transcript evaluator located in the Registrar’s Office, in conjunction with the School of Graduate Studies, will evaluate transcripts and communicate the results to accepted students within 14 business days. Questions regarding transcript evaluation should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at 612.343.4409. Upon completion of courses, official transcripts should be sent to:
North Central University
Attn: Registrar’s Office (Jakes Divinity School Cohort)
910 Elliot Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404

International Transfer Credit Evaluation

Students who wish to transfer credit from international institutions must have their transcripts of graduate-level work evaluated on a course-by-course basis by an evaluation service approved by the university. In addition to the transcript evaluation, students must send an official copy of the international transcript, along with a certified English translation, if the original transcript is not in English, to the Registrar’s office at NCU.

Course Transfer Guidelines

The policies and procedures for transferring credits are as follows: Only grades of “B-” or better are transferable. The course description must be equivalent to an NCU course. The course(s) must be required for the major of interest to count towards HG (hours earned for graduation). Importantly, courses are evaluated individually.
An official evaluation is done after the Registrar’s Office receiving an official transcript. Faxed transcripts or unofficial transcripts can be evaluated, but the evaluation is unofficial until official transcripts are received. Courses cannot be transferred without grades (unless a “P” for “Pass” equals a B- or above); however, the grades do not transfer and, therefore, do not affect the student’s GPA at North Central University.

Tuition and Fees

  • Tuition $650 per credit hour.
  • Technology fee: $200 per semester
  • Graduate Program Fee: $200 per semesterEstimated tuition costs based on 2020-2021 tuition rates.
Powered by North Central University

The degree is offered online with some face-to-face opportunities for learning, networking, and hands-on experience. All of Jakes Divinity School students will have face-to-face residency opportunities twice a year. The first is during the International Leadership Summit each spring of a given degree program. Students will arrive on site of the summit the Sunday evening prior and remain for a week until the end of the summit. The second residency will likely take place in Dallas, TX, at Jakes Divinity School in the fall of each year.

PLEASE NOTE: We are currently accepting students from all 50 states in all programs powered by North Central University

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Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership FAQs

The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership degree program at Jakes Divinity School is powered by North Central University. The purpose of the Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership program is to develop leaders for organizations, churches, the community, and the world. Continued leadership development is a vital aspect for these institutions. Christian leaders must possess an ethically and morally responsible vision, an understanding of social contexts, sensitivity to complex personal and organizational problems, the ability to find strategic solutions, cultural competence to address the needs of diverse settings, the ability to motivate people to work toward shared goals and objectives, and a commitment to fulfill all these responsibilities in a manner consistent with Christian values and mission.

Graduates Become:

  • Training and Development Managers
  • Program Coordinators / Administrators
  • Human Resources Generalists
  • Directors of Operations
  • Executive Assistants

The admissions application fee is currently waived.

  • $650 per credit hour
  • Technology and Program Fee: $400 per semester

This degree is offered in an online hybrid format with opportunities for face-to-face residencies twice a year and live video conferencing.

Each of our online courses are 8 weeks in length. After each course, there is a 1-week break before the next course begins.  You will repeat that pattern for the duration of the program, with the exception of holiday breaks.
Students are also encouraged to participate in two residencies per year – the International Leadership Summit and the JDS Symposium.

The program has a minimum requirement of 30 graduate credit hours.  These credits will consist of nine, three-credit classes and the completion of a three-credit capstone project or a thesis. The program is designed for you to finish in only 10 courses, which equates to about 2.5 years.  This allows you to start and finish quickly and efficiently.

Yes. Please refer to the financial registration deadline and academic registration dates made available through your JDS Enrollment and Student Services Coordinator.

Yes. Students are not required to choose a track but may choose one based upon preference.  These tracks will increase the cost of tuition by 6 credits and increase degree completion time by one semester. The concentration options are: Worship Arts; Church Leadership; and Business Administration Leadership.


Worship Arts
The Strategic Leadership: Worship Arts Leadership degree track is 36 credits and is designed to be finished in 12 courses.  This track will prepare current and future leaders and musicians to communicate effectively the role of worship in the believer’s life by receiving biblically, theologically, historically, and contextually-grounded training.
Church Leadership
The Strategic Leadership: Church Leadership degree track is 36 credits and is designed to be finished in 12 courses.  This track develops effective Christian leaders for dynamic roles in church and parachurch organizations through a theologically-informed, theoretically-grounded, and practically-applied curriculum.
Business Administration Leadership
The Strategic Leadership Degree: Business Administration Leadership degree is 36 credits and is designed to be finished in 12 courses. The Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership: Business Administration Leadership program develops effective Christian leaders for dynamic roles in business and nonprofit organizations through a Christ-centered, theoretically-grounded, and practically-applied curriculum.

As a minimum requirement, you must have already obtained an undergraduate degree before pursuing a graduate degree.

JDS/NCU will consider credit hours from other accredited institutions for transfer. Official transcripts must be sent to NCU and evaluated for credit transfers.

A student must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester to be considered a full-time graduate student.

A student who is enrolled in less than 6 credit hours is classified as part-time.

Permission from the director or a designee will be required if a student seeks to enroll in more than 9 credit hours in a semester. Usually that student will need to have earned a 3.2 GPA or higher in previous coursework.

Yes. Please refer to the financial registration deadline and academic registration dates made available through your JDS Enrollment and Student Services Coordinator.

Yes. You have the option of applying for federal loans. You may apply for up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans.

Complete a FAFSA application and use School Code: 002369 North Central University
North Central University (NCU)
910 Elliot Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404
School Code:  002369
Click here to complete a Spanish FAFSA application.

  • Monthly Payment Plan through NCU + $40 Enrollment fee/semester.
  • Pay in Full
  • Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Yes. However, there is no federal financial aid or institutional scholarships available for international students at this time. Contact your Enrollment and Student Services Coordinator for details on the admissions process for international students.

  • Official high school and college transcripts
    • All official transcripts should be submitted as follows:
      • Physical transcripts can be sent to the address below and must be in a sealed envelope from the school remitting the transcript to be accepted:
        North Central University
        Attn: NCU Admissions
        910 Elliot Ave.
        Minneapolis, MN 55404
      • Electronic transcripts can be sent to: admissions@northcentral.edu  (must be sent from a third-party Safe Sender, such as eScrip or Parchment to be accepted).
  • Resume
    • Please provide a detailed resume and email it to nthompson@jakesdivinity.org with the subject “JDS Applicant Resume – (Your first and last name here)”.
  • Essay Intent
    • In an essay format, describe your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in Strategic Leadership at NCU and how it will benefit you in the future. Email your personal statement to nthompson@jakesdivinity.org.
    • Essay must be a minimum of 1 page in length and be typed on a MSWord document.
  • Character Reference
    • (This form should be completed by an employer, mentor, professor, or a present leader or professional in your life.)  This is the reference form that must be completed.

If you have any questions, you may contact Nyesha Thompson at 469-315-1198 or nthompson@jakesdivinity.org.

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