Master of Strategic Leadership

Learn How to Lead with Purpose and Advance Your Career in Just 12 Months.

Focus on:

Strategic Thinking and Organizational Strategy

Master of Science in Strategic Leadership

The Master of Science in Leadership (MSSL) program equips graduate students with the essential skills needed to prepare them for current or future leadership roles in a broad range of management practices. With a focus on strategic thinking and organizational strategy, this program provides the knowledge students need to lead dynamic organizations to solve complex problems. Students will also gain the knowledge and skills necessary for team building and process efficiency. This 100% online program is unique in that students have a choice of an accelerated option, taking two courses per term, to complete their degree in less than 12 months.

Lead with Purpose, Lead with Strategy.

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Program Features & Highlights:


 Take classes from anywhere! Balance work, home and school with this 100% online, accelerated 8-week term program. 


 Complete your degree at your pace with a full-time or part-time schedule. Featuring multiple start times per year, begin when you are ready. 


 NC Wesleyan’s graduate tuition rates are extremely competitive compared to other graduate schools in the U.S. 


 Our faculty has real-world professional experience to ensure you are challenged and supported through practical coursework. 

Master of Strategic Leadership Program Overview


  • An accredited undergraduate degree in subject or related field
  • Resume with two references
    (Must be able to provide reference letters upon request)
  • Complete a statement of purpose (personal essay)
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA 2.5
    Note: Graduate school applicants with a cumulative GPA below 2.5 may still be considered based upon other factors submitted in the application.
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Fall Semester: June 1

Spring Semester: November 1

Summer Session: March 1

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Graduate students in the MSSL program will learn how to lead dynamic organizations through solving complex problems and develop their people and processes long-term. 

  • Demonstrate knowledge of innovation and how innovation creates strategic and economic advantages 
  • Diagnose barriers to creativity and innovation in real-world organizations and identify potential routes to improving creative performance 
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a crisis response 
  • Analyze an organization’s public communications regarding a crisis 
  • Create a crisis management plan using best principles and practices 
  • An understanding of the fundamentals of strategy and strategic planning in public and nonprofit organizations 
  • A working competence in the analytical, process, writing, presentation and reflective skills required for effective practice in the core tasks associated with strategic planning and management 

The Master of Strategic Leadership (MSSL) program at North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) includes core leadership courses and a broad focus on all aspects of leadership and applies to a number of positions in business, industry, education, and non-profits. A heavy focus on strategy as a method to improve organizational effectiveness. The MSSL program is comprised of 30 graduate-level credit hours.

The MSSL program will require students to complete a research project that integrates the technical and scientific knowledge they have gained throughout the program.

NCWU Master of Strategic Leadership (30 hours)

Course Courses Title


Organizational Behavior & Leadership


Strategic Management


Leading Through Collaboration & Change


Culture & Diversity Leadership


Leaders as Change Agents


Leadership Consulting


Strategic Planning


Crisis Leadership


Innovative Leadership


Leadership Capstone (Applied Project)


Total credit hours:


Graduates of NCWU’s MSSL with a focus on strategic thinking and organizational strategy can apply this skillset to a range of career fields including senior positions in for-profit and nonprofit organizations, public administration, human resources, consulting, and federal or state contracting to name a few.

Career Options:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Director of Operations
  • Project Manager
  • Entrepreneur

Why should a student pursue this program? What makes it unique?

NCWU’s MSSL program focuses on leadership concepts with additional emphasis on strategic thinking and organizational strategy.

Upon completing your strategic leadership degree program, you will be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to work effectively in all leadership positions.

What are the job prospects with this degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018). there are a projected 807,000 new management occupation jobs being added to the US economy between 2022 and 2026.

Management can be defined in many terms but leadership has a defining role in all management positions. A strategic leadership degree helps prepare individuals to lead dynamic organizations through complex problems while providing the knowledge and skills necessary to develop the people and the processes long-term.

Does a student’s undergraduate degree have to be related to this field? Are there pre-requisites for this program?

Because management leadership positions bring together individuals with diverse educational backgrounds, there is no pre-requisite undergraduate degree to apply for this program. However, a strong interest in, or background/education in business or a related field is encouraged.

What undergraduate GPA do I need to apply to this program?

Students must have earned a baccalaureate degree, or it’s equivalent, from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, with a minimum of a 2.5 overall GPA (on a 4.0 scale).

Does this program require a graduate record examination (GRE) for admission?

The GRE is not required for admission to this program.

Are the courses for this program synchronous or asynchronous?

Courses are 100% online. The majority of coursework will be asynchronous, however, most courses in this program will require some synchronous meetings in order to foster peer discussion, feedback, and review with the faculty instructor.

Are there any on-campus requirements such as on-campus meetings, orientation, etc.?

All courses and program-related content (such as orientation) are conducted online, so there is no requirement to attend any program content on campus.

Is there an opportunity for hands-on experience during this program?

Yes, there will be opportunities to apply relevant classroom theory to real-world problems during the course of this program. Students will also be able to apply what they are learning to their current position immediately while enhancing their resume with experiences and knowledge for career growth.

What's the biggest difference between a MBA and MSSL?

The learning outcomes in this MSSL program differ from the Masters in Business Administration in that the M.B.A. is primarily a traditional business track program for CEO’s or those who need a background in accounting, finance, economics and marketing.

The Master of Strategic Leadership (MSSL) generally focuses on all aspects of leadership and applies to a number of positions in business, industry, education, and non-profits. A heavy focus on strategy as a method to improve organizational effectiveness.

Can I pursue an MBA and MSSL at the same time?

Student’s CAN NOT complete both the MBA and MSSL as 6 courses overlap, therefore it is required that a decision is made as to which degree they would prefer to pursue. Students can switch between the programs one time only.

Students CAN NOT come back to earn the MSSL after earning the MBA and vice versa. However, if a student attains an MSCJ or MPH with NCWU and wants to then pursue either the MBA or MSSL, they can.

Does this program require a graduate thesis?

The MSSL program will require students to complete a research project that integrates the technical and scientific knowledge they have gained throughout the program.

How long will it take to complete the MSSL program?

Students complete the program over the course of Fall, Spring, and Summer I, for a total of about 10 months.

Faculty & Staff

Email any of our advisors with any questions you have about completing this program.