The NOLS Saybrook Master's in Leadership is a 12-month lockstep cohort program completed in three consecutive semesters (including a summer semester) to earn 32 credits to graduate.
The Master's in Leadership is a holistic and transformative educational process. Students gain professional knowledge and skills through a combination of online learning methods and the immersion experience of wilderness expeditions and associated conferences. The program explores leadership through a variety of contexts, applying a range of theories and practical skills through a systemic and developmental sequence. This modular approach begins with leadership of self and other, expands to leadership at the group level, broadening to the organizational level, and completes at the community level of engagement. This developmental approach touches on many fields of study including systems thinking, coaching, conflict management, cultural intelligence, group dynamics, change leadership, ethics, sustainability, organizational behavior, social change theory, and virtual/distributed leadership.
Central to the Master's in Leadership is developing skills to increase students’ tolerance for uncertainty and adversity, an educational outcome that is best learned in wilderness expeditions. In addition to this emergent aspect of leadership, students also analyze, problem solve, engage stakeholders, and effectively intervene in social systems for the greater good. Students become change-agent leaders through a unique variety of teaching methods that include immersive wilderness expeditions and conferences, research essays, case study analyses, journal reflection activities, peer-to-peer dialogues, Capstone projects, and mentoring. This program also fosters knowledge and skill development through a peer learning network so students continuously engage with peers and instructors, both virtually and face-to-face, to critically explore leadership concepts, practices, and issues. As a result, students can advance their professional careers into leadership positions in business, nonprofit, educational, or government organizations.