Master of Arts in Creative Leadership | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Master of Arts in Creative Leadership

Learning and Leading
Transformational Change


This masters program is designed for working professionals who want to bring about equitable and sustainable change within organizations, businesses, social enterprises, or government agencies. This curriculum prepares individuals at any stage of their career for a future where leadership is networked, collective, relational, and transformative. With a focus on forward-looking organizational practices, the program develops empathic leaders who collaborate across differences and build solidarity around a shared purpose.

Why a master’s in leadership from an art and design college? Creativity is ranked as one of the top skills needed in organizations of any size. This distinctive curriculum combines methods and practices of artists and designers with care for the environment, regenerative economic models, structures in which authority is distributed, and environments where people feel both agency and a sense of belonging.

The MA in Creative Leadership is a fifteen-month, asynchronous, online program with two week-long residencies in Minneapolis. The small cohort size and format provides flexibility within a strong peer network. Faculty are seasoned professionals who are practicing what they teach in the classroom.

Student in a zoom meeting


As a master's student in Creative Leadership, you will:

  • Apply the structures, principles, and practices of non-hierarchical, decentralized, and agile networks, organizations, and teams.
  • Incorporate practices of artists and designers into processes of collaboration across differences, undertaking transformational change, and imagining and making new worlds.
  • Apply (eco)systems understanding to analyze interdependencies between environmental, social, and economic forces; design regenerative organizations or other systems.
  • Exercise relational leadership, conversational receptiveness, and cultural competence in interpersonal interactions; effectively foster an inclusive, caring workplace.
  • Use storytelling, coaching, facilitation, and listening skills to connect with others, catalyze change, and promote community building and social healing.
  • Advance values-led change in self/career, organization/team, or system/community; identify areas of strength and growth in one’s leadership practice to develop a personal plan and praxis.
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Class Highlights

This 30-credit Master of Arts program emphasizes project work, engaged discussions, and collaboration with fellow students. Required classes include:

  • Theory and Practice of Creative Leadership
  • The Culturally Competent Leader and the Inclusive Workplace
  • Design Thinking and Approaches to Address Complex Social Challenges
  • Managing Remote and Non-hierarchical Networks, Organizations, and Teams
  • Leading for Environmental Sustainability

After MCAD

There are many paths to explore with a Master's in Creative Leadership. Potential careers include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Director
  • Non-profit Executive Director
  • B-Corp Leader
  • Start-up CEO
  • Community-Based Organization (Co)-Leader
  • Organizational Change Facilitator or Manager
  • Cultural or Social Entrepreneur
  • Association or Network Organize

"This program is transformational; it teaches leadership and personal skills needed to meet the present and simultaneously plan for the future. Because of the small size, faculty are an engaging resource inside and outside the classroom." —Ben Newman '23, Alumni and Executive Director of Baltimore Chamber Orchestra