Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership

Looking to complete your undergraduate degree and kick start your career.

Discontinued Program

The following programs have stopped accepting applications for admission as of December 20, 2017. These programs will be discontinued after enrolled students have completed the degree, transferred to another program or withdrawn from the program and the School of Education. Please contact the Public Safety Leadership Division for more information.

Division of Public Safety Leadership Program Office                                                                    
Phone: 410-516-9900

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Organizational Leadership, an undergraduate degree completion program that can be completed in just over two-years, provides students with a quality education and myriad opportunities to develop professionally and personally.

Throughout the program, students interact with local and national renowned leaders in public safety, education, government, nonprofit organizations, and business and industry.

Designed for public safety and public sector professionals who have completed or are nearing completion of an Associate in Arts degree or its equivalent (60 transferable credits), students must complete 60 upper-level (junior and senior year) undergraduate credits. The 60-credit undergraduate program offers a leadership-based interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizing the practical application of the ideas and skills gained in class.

Graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Organizational Leadership may be eligible to obtain a 30-credit Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (with a six-credit waiver) into the 36-credit program (either the online or face-to-face option).

Program Benefits

  • Earn a degree without interrupting your current employment.
  • Learn from nationally recognized faculty and guest lecturers who are public safety experts
  • Network with a variety of professionals from the region and beyond
  • Take advantage of extensive student support and advising for the full-time working professional

Transfer of Undergraduate Credits

A maximum of 60 credits may be transferred into the program, including credits by examination. Prospective students should request a preliminary transfer evaluation prior to submitting an application. Note: Applicants with fewer than 60 credits should contact the program for a transcript evaluation and program plan.

700.315 Logic for Leaders
Logic is the branch of philosophy that studies the methods and principles of correct reasoning and argumentation, and the language involved in such reasoning. Reasoning and appeals to reason do or ought to underscore every leadership effort, every academic discipline, and common human discourse. Bad reasoning is at the root of many human mistakes and failures, including failures of leadership. Good reasoning is a preventative and a remedy for such mistakes and failures. Thus, mastery of logic should be near the top of the list of every aspiring leader, scholar, and contributor to the public conversation. To that end, this course focuses on the parts and types of arguments, good vs. bad arguments, rules for making such distinctions, and methods for making such distinctions. (NB: With its emphasis on formal logic, this course fulfills an undergraduate math/quantitative science requirement.)
700.351 Introduction to the Change Process
Rapid, continuous change is a constant element in modern organizational life. Change is both welcomed and feared. It is needed, anticipated, and shunned. Getting people to move in a new direction is one of a leader’s most important missions and greatest stressors. Relying on their organizational experiences, students gauge the value and practical application of various schools of thought on managing change. Through projects and case studies, they apply basic analytical and facilitation tools – scanning, planning, organizational design and structure, marketing – to the change process. Students develop a personal approach to managing change in their careers and current assignments.
700.421 Information Resources in the Social Sciences
Knowing how to access information – the best available information – is essential to student success. Members of the faculty expect students to apply academic excellence to exploring, selecting, analyzing, and applying sources of information. Through a series of practical exercises and experiences, students learn to conduct independent searches for social science information. They develop systematic approaches to identification and retrieval of data, research, opinion, and more. Students apply criteria to judging the quality of the information they find. They learn, too, how to incorporate quality information into papers, articles, and presentations they prepare for their courses and workplace.
700.304 Values and Ethics
Leaders have pondered ethical problems since before the days of Ancient Greece. Today, people continue to reflect on challenges to personal and organizational integrity, moral decision-making, and standardizing behavior through a common set of rules. Students discuss parameters set by great leaders and philosophers of the past and challenge many long-standing beliefs that govern modern thinking about ethics and integrity. They explore situations that, while appearing relatively simple, led to the professional demise of leaders and public disrespect for organizations. They draw on their own beliefs and experiences to debate how and why certain decisions are made. Students explore contemporary issues such as abortion, gun control, and political influence.
700.303 Communication Skills for Leaders
Professionals are judged, in great part, by their written, verbal, presentation, and consultation skills. Using case studies and scenarios, students apply various tools to communicating, influencing, and persuading internal, external, and political audiences. They apply communication theory and practice to routine and crisis situations. Communication skills are practiced and critiqued in matters related to administration, operations, labor relations, interagency relations, and marketing. Students differentiate factual writing from opinion writing. They practice visual, verbal, and written presentation skills and how to use them to persuade, change, and challenge.
700.309 Team Building and Leadership
Team building varies among organizations and units within organizations. The need for a team may be short-term or permanent. Regardless of the circumstance, the ability to develop and nurture productive, outcome-oriented teams is a primary responsibility of all leaders. Causing people to realize and achieve their potential as individuals and members of a team may seem, at times, like an all-consuming task. Students draw on their own experience and current workgroup to assess the stages of team development, solve problems that emerge within their team, gain consensus, motivate the group, and evaluate and convey success. Through readings, cases, and team projects, students identify and foster the positive capabilities of individuals, to benefit the entire team.
700.317 Research Evaluation: From Theory to Application
Failure to understand, conduct, and apply research weakens organizations and fosters an environment in which progress is stifled. Vendor-driven, consultant-driven, and academic-driven research are weak substitutes for agency-driven research. Students review research in several disciplines and appraise the sources of data and other information for reliability. They apply research methods to gaining new and better understanding of their community, organization, and work unit. They employ specific research methods, such as surveys, focus groups, and quantitative analysis to aid in developing ideas, solving problems, and critically evaluating programs.
700.311 Social Problems in Contemporary Society
The number and complexity of social issues facing leaders in government, business, education, the religious community, and the nonprofit organizations abound. Among them are people’s distrust of government and long-standing institutions, use and abuse of technology, the new service industry, changes in class structure, the decline of suburbia, and a controlled media. Through case studies, readings, videos, audio books, and debate, students reflect on how past leaders have addressed these and other issues. They consider their own “sphere of influence” and ability to affect change in matters of importance to their immediate work group, organization, and community.
700.354 Managing Diversity
The diversity of today’s workforce creates rich opportunities and real dilemmas for supervisors and executives. Avoiding sweeping generalities, political rhetoric, and traditional hype and breaking diversity issues into their finest components allows leaders to identify and achieve viable solutions. Through lecture, discussion, research, and debate, students explore issues, contributions, failures, and successes related to diversity within America’s communities and organizations. They delve into behaviors, such as stereotyping, prejudice, and fear mongering that block organizational and individual progress, change, and effectiveness. Practical strategies, including organizational action plans, task forces, regional and national recruiting, and diversity education programs are assessed. Students draw on their personal and organizational experiences in examining innovative approaches to conflict management.
700.352 Quality Management
The “quality movement” changed the way government, business, and nonprofit organizations accomplish their mission. There are important lessons to be learned from the successes, failures, national and international experiments, and best practices that have emerged from efforts to achieve “total quality.” Students dissect enduring theories and principles such as Deming’s theory of profound knowledge and Juran’s approach to continuous quality improvement. With examples drawn from the public and private sectors, they discuss and debate organizational renewal and the steps required to improve and sustain organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
700.302 Theories of Personality
Knowing how people mature, draw conclusions, and motivate themselves can be invaluable to leaders. In recent years, contemporary personality psychology has advanced the practical tools available to assist in managing groups, solving problems, and achieving goals. Students interpret individual and group action in certain situations by focusing on four conceptual frameworks: (1) motivation (goals, intentions, defense mechanisms); (2) cognition (self-concept, beliefs, values, attitudes, opinions); (3) traits and temperament (biological predispositions, introversion, extraversion, energy level, character); and (4) social context (culture, class, gender, ethnicity). Case studies and examples from students’ organizations are used throughout the course.
700.470 Community Development
Residents in urban, suburban, and rural areas are assuming greater control over the destiny of their neighborhood. The nature of suburbia is changing. The boundaries between jurisdictions in metropolitan regions are disappearing. Amid these changes, the core mission of American public safety remains the same – to serve people and, ultimately, sustain the viability of neighborhoods and communities. Through discussion, guest speakers, and exposure to a variety of neighborhood situations, students view community development as a discipline. They analyze the physical, social, and human capital in neighborhoods and how they influence progress, stability, and deterioration. Students draw on concepts such as planning, capacity building, mobilization, advocacy, and financial leveraging to solve neighborhood and community concerns. They focus on the role and responsibility of leaders to guide their organizations and units to affect positive change in neighborhoods.
700.341 Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
Effective problem solving requires more than off-the-shelf approaches and “how to” processes. People look to their leaders to think and act creatively when faced with complex problems and critical issues. Creative thinking – like analytical, strategic, and other types of thought – can be learned and nurtured. Through discussion, class projects, and exercises, students identify and overcome obstacles to creative thinking, cultivate their own creative thought process, and learn how to encourage creative thinking in others.
700.310 Management of Information Systems
Information systems have changed the way government, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses conduct their activities. Through case studies, lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, students explore the rapidly changing world of information systems. Focus will be on systems, networking, value and cost, the Internet, information security, the law, and the future.
700.502 Developmental Psychology
Knowing how people develop, from conception to death, aids in understanding how they respond to those around them, their environment, and other significant influences. Students consider the “life span” approach to the study of human development as they delve into milestones of maturation in childhood, adolescence, midlife, and old age; gender and psychosexual issues; and the impact of human trauma, loss, and victimization. Popular media, long-held beliefs, major theories, and scientific research play a role in student discussion and debate on the importance of role models, relationships, morals, goals, culture, and psychological hardiness.
700.301 The Economics of Social Issues
Local, national, and international economic factors have always influenced the course of business, government, and the nonprofit community. Understanding these factors can aid leaders in forecasting, budgeting, innovating, and managing more effectively. Students critique economic articles and case studies, conduct cost and benefit analyses, and relate concepts such as market analysis, scarcity, supply and demand, and fiscal fluctuation to their daily functions and organization. Through readings, class discussion, and exercises, students explore international monetary and market systems and their effect on goods, trade, employment, and community development.
700.530 Special Topics in Leadership
With little or no notice, major and minor events can change the course of action for a leader. Whether the tragedy of September 11, an unanticipated work slowdown, a heinous crime, or a reduction in an overtime budget, leaders must respond with rapid, logical, sound solutions. Some events, such as the protests and riots of the late 1960s, the application of digital and microwave technology, and dramatic increases in federal funding, can change a profession – as occurred with American public safety. Others have short-term affects, if managed well. Students probe a myriad of events that shaped and continue to shape the nation’s communities. Through readings, discussion, and group activities, they scrutinize how leaders reacted to significant events and issues. Students respond to current events that emerge during the tenure of the course.
700.505 Applied Ethics, the Constitution, and Leadership
Organizations and communities expect their leaders to act justly and develop, promote, and follow the rules by which all the members are expected to operate. In the United States, the most important and influential model for setting forth such parameters is the Constitution, the nation’s supreme law. How it is interpreted and applied influences issues such as privacy, intrusion, hiring, whistle blowing, trade, education, and environmental safety. Students study the Constitution, as written and intended, and use this knowledge to dissect its many judicial, legislative, and political interpretations. Students consider morality, philosophy, national crises, and more, as they discuss and debate how the Constitution has been used to better society and as a tool to foster self-serving interests.
700.312 Management: Power and Influence
Power and influence are important means to accomplishing a defined end, whether it is a product or service. When power and influence are applied properly, positive outcomes result. When they are abused, organizations and people are confined and success is restrained. Students scrutinize various sources of power and the social, economic, and cultural conditions that create them. They call upon their own experiences to discuss individual, group, and organizational power. Students investigate historic events in which people of great power quickly became powerless and those of modest influence grew to become world leaders. Through readings, class discussion, and group projects, they probe their own “sphere of influence” and how it may be tapped to achieve desired goals.
700.313 Comparative Studies in History and Politics
Public safety leaders are faced with particularly challenging issues today. Many of these issues are rooted in history written during the decade of the 1960s. Students will gain a greater understanding of and new insights into many contemporary issues by studying the past within a context rich in political science, justice, and professionalism concepts. Having a thorough understanding of the 1960s and its issues will enhance leadership abilities to better guide organizations through continuing struggles with racial equality, women’s rights, war, counterculture, rebellion, loss of innocence, mistrust of authority, cultural change, misuse of government authority, and student activism. Students successfully completing this course will be able to immediately apply learned knowledge and skills in their current positions. Improved analytical and creativity skills gained through the course will assist them with future performance in higher leadership positions.
What is the BS in Organizational Leadership?

The Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership is designed for public safety and public sector professionals who have completed or are nearing completion of an Associate in Arts degree or its equivalent (60 transferable credits). This 60-credit program offers a business-based interdisciplinary curriculum that enables students to develop professionally and personally. The program cultivates personal and professional growth, focuses on styles of leadership, and helps leaders succeed in a dynamic, ever-changing culture.

Graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Organizational Leadership may be eligible to obtain a 30-credit Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (with a six-credit waiver) into the 36-credit program (either the online or face-to-face option).

Who is eligible for the program?
An applicant must be currently serving in a federal, state, or local public safety or public sector agency or organization, intelligence agency, or military branch or has received an exception from PSL’s Director.

How and when do I apply?
New undergraduate cohorts begin each August. We accept applications on a rolling admissions basis, but students should allow time for receipt of transcripts and supporting documentation, application review and processing. This means you may apply anytime by going to our online application.

How do I know if I have the appropriate transfer credits?
All applicants are encouraged to meet with our academic adviser prior to applying. The adviser will evaluate your academic portfolio and create a personalized program plan. To schedule an appointment with an adviser please call (410) 516-9864.

What is the makeup and format of the class?
The average class ranges from 16 to 24 students. The students form a cohort, in which they move through the program as a group, taking the same classes in the same sequence. The cohort format builds lasting relationships among students and faculty, and allows in depth and ongoing discussion on classroom topics and projects. The cohort approach is at the heart of our strategy to create collaborative relationships among the public safety organizations.

Who serves on the faculty?
Faculty in the Johns Hopkins University, Division of Public Safety Leadership consists of subject matter experts, practitioners, and researchers from business, government, military, law, academia, and the nonprofit sector. Members of the faculty of the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership are leaders in their field.

A cadre of world-renown lecturers enhances the learning program. This group of senior executives and experts bring added dimensions to the classroom. Students in the JHU program regularly hear from and interact with the actual decision makers in the profession.

Contact Us

To speak with a program adviser or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 410-516-9900.

Cohort Start Dates

  • Online MS Organizational Leadership
    January 22, 2018
  • MS Intelligence Analysis
    January 20, 2018