Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership

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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.


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.


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.

Course Descriptions

GLE500 – Personal Leadership Development
There are many different concepts concerning leadership. This introductory 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.

GLE550 – Leadership Strategy and Change

This course is an investigation of the analytical process that enables leaders to make effective and efficient (strategic) organizational decisions for sustainable impact, with emphasis on the manner in which leaders can persuade members to bring about successful 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

GLE600 History and Theory of Organizational Leadership

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.

GLE605 Leadership Ethics

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.

GLE610 Global 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.

GLE615 Organizational Behavior and Analysis

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.

GLE620 Interpersonal Management

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.

GLE625 Project Management (Practical Leadership)

Effective project management knowledge, skills and values are critical to leading successfully in corporate project environments and to accomplish organizational objectives. 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 intended for students as well as for working professionals. 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. While professional certification is optional for participants in the course, the course is intentionally structured to encourage certification through the Project Management Institute. For students, the course will prepare them to take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) examination. For working professionals with requisite project management experience, the course will prepare them to apply for and take the Project Management Professional (PMP) examination.

GLE630 Research in Leadership

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.

GLE645 Capstone 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.

GLE 646 Capstone Thesis Continuation I

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.

GLE 647 Capstone Thesis Continuation II

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.

GLE 650 Capstone Project

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.

GLE 651 Capstone Project Continuation

Faculty Advisor Meeting Times: Arranged between student and faculty member.
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.

Capstone (Thesis or Project)

As a program requirement, students will be required to submit a thesis or an action research project to demonstrate their mastery of the field they have studied. Specific guidelines and requirements can be found in the Capstone Manual available at the program office or online. In short, the thesis is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to research deeply (quantitatively and/or qualitatively) a field-specific topic and then to write an approximately 60- to 80-page synthesis of their findings that evinces an appropriately advanced level of scholarship.

On the other hand, the action research project is an opportunity for students to engage in applied research of a topic of their choice related to their field that employs quantitative and/or qualitative analysis. In contrast to the thesis, the project requires a shorter written paper of about 25 pages, but will also include a project submitted along with the paper: e.g. a policy manual, business plan, staff handbook, etc. In both cases, the student will work under the close supervision and support of a faculty advisor and will be further aided by a committee.


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:

Application form
Application fee ($75) – see below One essay articulating the following:

  1. Statement of intention
  2. Concrete professional/personal goals relating to choice of program

(professional growth plan)

  1. Professional resumé
  2.  Official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions One Graduate Admission Reference form from employer or professor addressing potential for success in the graduate program.

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.


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 $650 per credit hour.
  • Technology fee: $200 per semester
  • Graduate Program Fee: $200 per semester