When you study Leadership at RWU, you aren’t just investing in your communication, negotiation and accountability skills. Our Leadership students go on to create high-performance organizations that use creativity, innovation, and improvisation to adapt to the new challenges of our globalized, technological 21st century world. The dynamic leadership techniques and methods you learn through this program can help any organization succeed.


Hybrid (Providence)

Synchronous online


Evenings meeting every other week

Credits Required


Time Commitment

2.5 to 4 years




$160/semester (part-time)

Ways to Save

15% discount for first responders, active duty military, and veterans

Apply By

January 1 for Spring

May 1 for Summer

August 1 for Fall


The Master of Science in Leadership is a 36-credit hour program designed for individuals who seek to acquire or update dynamic leadership skills that can create high performance organizations. The program is designed to prepare students to address the challenges that organizations are likely to face in the globalized, technological world of the 21st Century. Students will apply new paradigms, techniques and methods to promote creativity, innovation, improvisation and adaptation. Leadership skills acquired from the curriculum include communication, negotiation, the leadership process, accountability, inclusive excellence leadership, and strategic leadership. The Master of Science in Leadership program seeks to create the following competencies:

  • A clear understanding of the political, social, economic, and cultural environments in which a leader must operate
  • An awareness of personal leadership strengths and weaknesses and strategies to improve deficits
  • Strategic planning using resource allocation, sound research, data analysis and innovation
  • Insight into international perspectives through the use of case studies of non-U.S. developed and developing countries
  • The ability to make leadership decisions which are ethical, efficient, and informed by research, evaluation, and diagnoses of situations
  • Effective leadership of diverse groups through the accurate use of supportive organizational mechanisms and the ability to identify and address forces that detract from effective diversity leadership
  • The ability to apply leadership skills and behaviors to build the human, social, intellectual, and financial capital for the sustainability of their organizations
  • The skills to lead groups and organizations in the design and implementation of new paradigms, effectively utilizing leadership to enhance the reputation of organizations in domestic and global contexts

Courses within the curriculum cover the leadership process, communication skills, diversity management, research, budgeting, organizational performance and conflict resolution. The 12-course sequence provides students with leadership principles as a foundation and adds skill areas important for leading complex organizations in global and community contexts. Students pursue critical thinking and analysis skills to add to the leadership principles. The students will complete the Leadership program with leadership analysis projects requiring self-assessment and research skills.


The Graduate Certificate in Leadership is designed for students interested in exploring graduate study in leadership through a shorter course of study. Students earn the certificate after completion of five graduate courses in Leadership. Courses completed as part of the certificate program can be applied directly toward the master's degree if students wish to continue in the program. 

Applying to the Graduate Certificate Program in Leadership

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in order to be eligible for Graduate Certificate Admission. Admission requirements including the following items:
  1. Online application
  2. Official transcripts for all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework
  3. Letter of intent
Admission into the graduate certificate program will not be granted to those without a complete application including verification of an earned bachelor’s degree. Roger Williams University reserves the right to refuse admission and/or to require undergraduate bridge or prerequisite courses.

Application Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Master of Science in Leadership program, applicants must hold an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. To apply, submit the following:

  1. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  2. A personal statement (two double-spaced pages maximum) describing your interest in leadership, career goals, and anticipated contributions to the Master of Science in Leadership program at Roger Williams University
  3. Two letters of recommendation attesting to your potential to succeed in graduate school
  4. A current resume
  5. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL or IELTS results
  6. Completed application form accompanied by the $50 application fee

It is recommended that students present at least a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA in order to be considered for admission to the M.S. Leadership program. Students with relevant work experience who do not meet minimum GPA standards may be considered.

Please note: The GRE is not required for admission.

Preferred Application Deadline

August 1 for Fall, January 1 for Spring, May 1 for Summer
If you are applying after these dates, we may still be able to accommodate your application. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admission at gradadmit@rwu.edu or 401-254-6200 for more information. 

Additional requirements for international applicants.

All documents to be mailed should be sent directly to:

Office of Graduate Admission
1 Old Ferry Rd.
Bristol, RI 02809

For more information, or if you have questions about the application process please contact us at any time.

The RWU M.S. Leadership program is a co-sponsor of the Annual Public Service and Leadership Conference in conjunction with the Master of Public Administration program and RIASPA, the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration

View photos from the 11th Annual Public Service and Leadership Conference held at RWU on May 4, 2022.  

Course Schedules

Fall 2023 MPA and Leadership Course Schedule

Search current course offerings

Headshot of Kelly Nevins

Leadership in Action for Women's Rights

Kelly Nevins, RWU Class of 2015

Kelly Nevins '15 uses her leadership skills to work toward gender equity through systemic change in Rhode Island.

Read full story

Some Employers of our M.S. Leadership Graduates

  • Brown University
  • Citizens Bank
  • College Crusade of Rhode Island
  • Hopkinton (MA) Police
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • United Way of Rhode Island
  • U.S. Navy
  • Women's Fund of Rhode Island

Tuition Discounts for First Responders, Active Duty Military, and Veterans

If you are a first responder (police/fire/EMS), active duty U.S. service member, or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, you qualify for a 15 percent tuition discount on graduate programs in the School of Justices Studies.