Develop the capacity to lead yourself and others with an understanding of complex global systems. Impact the wellbeing of communities and the planet, as you lead teams and organizations effectively.
Filter to view upcoming intakes
In the 21st century, leaders are facing new situations that are characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. And top companies identify capacities in leadership that are now critical.
The Master of Arts in Global Leadership can help you develop your skills to tackle complex issues through collaboration, empathy, adaptability, community engagement and systems thinking.
You'll develop the capacity to lead yourself and others through an understanding of complex global systems. You'll be positioned for a market that requires global leadership capacity in a broad range of sectors.
Customize your learning with courses taught by experts in areas, such as gender, conflict resolution, strategic planning, artificial intelligence, governance, community development, geopolitics, international politics, and global civil society.
Study on your schedule for 13 or 24 months
Choose from four flexible delivery options. And study with a group of global thinkers on campus or from anywhere in the world.
Gain international experience
Enhance your international experience with an elective cultural leadership field trip. And choose to complete your degree either with an applied research project, an internship in Canada or abroad, or an international study abroad at one of our partner universities.
You can build to here
You can complete the five-month Graduate Certificate in Global Leadership or nine-month Graduate Diploma in Global Leadership. You can choose to apply these program credits to the Master of Arts in Global Leadership.
Once you have completed this program, you'll be able to apply practical tools and strategies to address current issues, challenges and opportunities related to global leadership. Your work will impact the wellbeing of communities and the planet.
In addition, you'll be able to do the following:
- use tools you learn to improve your career versatility, resiliency and adaptability
- apply sought after soft skills needed in the age of artificial intelligence
- work with cross-cultural awareness in increasingly culturally-diverse environments
- work effectively across teams
- understand systems thinking and approaches important for 21st century complex challenges
- lead change with knowledge of global socio-political and economic systems drivers
The Master of Arts in Global Leadership is a 36-credit program offered over 13 or 24 months.
You can choose to complete this program through a blend of online courses and on-campus residencies, or on campus with some electives choices available online.
There are four delivery options:
- blended 24-month program
- blended intensive 13-month program
- on-campus 24-month program
- on-campus intensive 13-month program
Blended 24-month program
This option is ideal if you wish to continue working full-time or attend to other responsibilities and live in your home community.
For this option you'll learn through a combination of online courses and two residencies on campus:
- You'll take one course at a time for 10 weeks.
- You'll have a two-week residency on campus during each year of the program.
Each course will require about 12 to 18 hours of effort per week, depending on your past academic experience.
Blended intensive 13-month program
The 13-month intensive program is ideal if you want to immerse yourself in your studies. It’s a blended learning program and includes online courses and two residencies on campus:
- You'll complete your degree primarily with online courses.
- You'll take part in two residencies scheduled one after the other. For the residencies you will be joining first and second-year students from two different learning groups, or cohorts.
You'll take double the course load of the 24-month program and complete your degree in a shorter amount of time. Your coursework will require about 24 to 36 hours of effort per week.
On-campus 24-month program
Consider this option if you wish to take most of your courses in person on the Royal Roads University campus for the duration of your studies. You may choose this option if you're an international student looking for a learning experience in Canada. You can also choose this option if you're a student in Canada and prefer studying in person with your classmates and instructors.
With this program option you'll benefit from the following:
- a classroom learning environment
- one elective course completed online and three elective courses completed on campus
- opportunities to participate in optional events and activities on campus
- community engagement through individual and team-based projects
- an optional internship with a local, regional or international employer or organization
You can continue to work while you complete this option.
On-campus intensive 13-month program
The 13-month intensive on-campus program is ideal, if you have a strong academic background and are not currently working full-time.
This on-campus program includes the following:
- both online and on-campus courses
- two residencies on campus
- three out of four electives completed on campus
For the residencies you'll be joining first and second-year students from two different learning groups.
Your coursework will require about 24 to 36 hours of effort per week.
Online courses consist of assigned readings, synchronous or asynchronous lectures, interactive discussions, and individual and team assignments.
You’re expected to meet deadlines and contribute meaningfully to your class. Your contributions are a big part of everyone’s learning.
Blended programs include online courses and on-campus residencies. This blended program has a two-week residency during each year of the program.
Residencies are intensive and immersive. Many students say this time together is the highlight of their program.
During your residency, you can expect to:
- attend classes full time (e.g., Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- complete homework and individual and team assignments outside of class hours
- take part in extracurricular activities
International field trip
You may take part in an optional international field trip to experience cross-cultural dimensions of global leadership.
For the field trip, you'll need to pay the course fee and a field trip fee, in addition to costs for airfare, meals, insurance and personal expenses.
You can choose from the following options to complete this program:
- applied research project
- international study abroad
Through your capstone project or internship, you'll apply your learning to a current issue in your organization or a global community. Through the international study abroad, you can deepen your knowledge and awareness of intercultural capacities in context.
Introduction to Academic Integrity
Personal and Theoretical Foundations to Global Leadership
Personal Capacities for Working in Complex Global Systems
Blended, On Campus
Leadership Action Through Authentic Collaboration, Inquiry, and Dialogue
Navigating Geo-Political Dynamics of Global Communities
On Campus, Online
Community Development in a Global Context
On Campus, Online
Strategic Analysis, Decision Making and Evaluation
Managing Difficult Relationships Within and Across Community Dynamics
On Campus, Online
International Cultural Leadership Field Trip
Blended, Directed, Field, Lab or Major Project
Evaluation in a Global Context
- Option 1: Capstone Project (GBLD640)
- Option 2: Internship (GBLDIP & GBLD641) - option for 24 month program only
- Option 3: International Study Abroad
Directed, Field, Lab or Major Project
Internship in Global Leadership
Directed, Field, Lab or Major Project
- Four year (or comparable) undergraduate degree from a recognized post-secondary institution, with a minimum GPA of B (3.00/4.33).
- A minimum of three years of general leadership* experience.
- Demonstrate significant cross-cultural experience gained through travel or work.
- Applicants who meet the degree requirement but who been away from academic writing for more than 10 years will normally be required to take the “Academic Writing and Critical Thinking” course offered through Professional & Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University, and must obtain a minimum B+ (77%), prior to commencing the program.
Applicants who do not meet the standard admission requirements will be considered for flexible admission and assessed as follows:
- At least 10 years of professional experience, with three years of leadership* experience.
- Demonstrate significant cross-cultural experience gained through travel or work.
- Applicants who are assessed under flexible admission, including those who meet the degree requirement, but not the GPA, will normally be required to take the Academic Writing and Critical Thinking course offered through Professional Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University, and must obtain a minimum B+ (77%), prior to commencing the program.
*Leadership experience could include one or more of the following:
- Formal organizational leadership roles in which you directly supervise staff or complete performance-oriented work with individuals, groups, or teams.
- Leadership roles in volunteer organizations.
- Roles in which you consult, negotiate with, or manage diverse interest groups through relationship, in a complex environment.
- Roles in which you lead others toward shared goals and outcomes.
- Roles in which you influence, organize, and coordinate groups of people.
- Overcoming a challenging life experience (for self or others), which involved navigating complex systems and resulted in positive community change beyond the individual.
Please ensure that you demonstrate your leadership experience in your detailed resume, and clearly indicate how your years of experience meet the standard or flexible admission requirements.
English language proficiency
If English is not your primary language, please review our English language requirements
- Graduate level English writing/composition skills are required for success in the program. If you are considering upgrading your writing skills, we recommend the Academic Writing and Critical Thinking course offered through Professional & Continuing Studies.
- Provide evidence in your personal statement and resume of where you may have needed to adapt in different human situations and work in multi-cultural contexts, illustrating an understanding values, perspectives, and methods.
All applications to this program require submission of the following information and supporting documents before your file can be assessed for admission:
In order to apply online, you will be required to create a log-in account using your email address. You will be required to list all credit courses and/or programs you have completed or are currently enrolled in. A non-refundable application fee will be required. If your application fees are being paid by a third party, review sponsored student information. Once submitted, you may check the status of your application at any time.
Missed your application deadline? While we can’t make any guarantees, we may be able to accommodate late applications if there's still space and enough time to process. If you're interested in an intake that is now closed to applications, apply for the next available intake and email Admissions with your preferred start date. Make sure you’re prepared to submit your program's required documents right away. We can't make an admissions decision without them.
Applicants are responsible for arranging for the submission of official transcripts from ALL post-secondary (higher education) institutions currently or previously attended, for all credit courses and/or programs. Transcripts are not required for non-credit programs or courses, though some programs may require proof of professional certifications or designations. Transcripts are considered official only if submitted directly by the Registrar or other recognized authority of the providing institution in the institution’s original, sealed envelope. If the envelope has been opened, the transcripts are no longer official and new (official) transcripts will be required to complete your application.
All international transcripts or credentials are subject to an international transcript and/or credential evaluation.
Your personal statement should consist of a two-page letter indicating your motivation for seeking entrance to the program.
Your statement should comment upon your personal and career goals. You might consider describing passions for personal, community, or global change. Tell us how you see the program and its courses helping you learn the tools and create the capacities you need to achieve your goals.
Please offer in detail the strengths you feel you can bring to the program, and in particular those experiences related to global leadership and diversity (e.g., intercultural, gender, community, economic, social, political, and/or other intersectionalities). These can be through work, research, advocacy, activism, or volunteer engagements, as well leading through individual challenges or initiatives. Please describe the insights and learnings that you have gained from these experiences. Please consider the contexts and number of months or years you were engaged in such capacities.
Guiding questions for the personal statement (please respond to all):
- Why do you wish to enroll in the Global Leadership program?
- How is this program relevant to your career or future goals?
- What global, international, intercultural or diversity-related experiences have you had that support your current leadership capacities and inspire goals for further education or work?
- What academic courses and/or training have you done that relate to development of global leadership?
- What other strengths or experiences do you bring to the program that you think might be relevant?
There are three options for your writing sample:
- You may include a recent (within the last two years) writing sample from your professional or academic work that includes citations and a list of references.
- If you do not have a recent writing sample on file, you may write an original, maximum 500-word academic essay addressing the question: “What is my leadership philosophy?” Your writing should be clearly organized, should take a position substantiated with evidence from academic books and/or peer-reviewed articles, and use examples from your relevant life experience. The paper should be formatted using APA 7 style, which is the preferred referencing style in the School of Leadership Studies. (Note that a sample APA essay is also available through Owl Purdue.
- In lieu of a writing sample, applicants may register in the Academic Writing and Critical Thinking course offered through Professional & Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University. Your course may be in progress at the time of application. However, course completion with a minimum “B+” (77%) is required as a condition for entry to the Leadership program. Please select a course offering that ends a minimum of five weeks prior to your desired program start date.
Please note: Applicants must submit a Writing Sample OR proof of enrolment in RRU Continuing Studies’ Academic Writing and Critical Thinking course as a part of their application package. Applicants who have previously completed RRU Continuing Studies’ Academic Writing and Critical Thinking course with a “B+” (77%) or above should submit their final grade confirmation letter.
A detailed or structured résumé is one that provides a comprehensive professional profile of applicants, targeted towards their intended program of study. We are interested in knowing where applicants have worked, for how long, and what they were responsible for in the positions held. Provide as much information as possible, with special attention to demonstrating three years of leadership experience (and a minimum of 10 years of professional experience for flexible admission) as described on the admission requirements page. Personal strengths and experiences included in your Personal Statement should also be explicitly captured under applicable categories in your resume. Your detailed resume should include the following:
- Education: List all post-secondary education, degrees, diplomas, and certificates you have achieved.
- Work experience: Please include name of organization, position, length of service (month and year), and a brief description of duties.
- Voluntary/unpaid work experience: List and describe any voluntary/unpaid post-secondary employment and/or community service experience. Please include the name of the organization, length of service, and a brief description of duties, and, in particular, any leadership responsibilities. List positions you have held in this service.
- Professional memberships/affiliations: List memberships and positions you hold/have held in professional associations, service clubs, community/volunteer sector.
- Other relevant information: Provide any other information which you believe is relevant to your application and will be of assistance to the review committee in assessing what you could contribute to the learning community.
Your two letters of reference should consist of the following:
- Professional reference: This letter should be completed by someone from your current professional network (within the past five years) who can attest to your commitment, knowledge, skills, and ability to complete a demanding academic program. References from direct supervisors are preferred wherever possible.
- Personal reference: This letter should be from someone who has known you for several years outside of the context of work. Please ask the writer to indicate the length of time and context in which they have known you, and provide examples that demonstrate the following attributes about you: honesty, integrity, responsibility, adaptability, concern and respect for others, sense of self-esteem, and confidence.
- Applicants declaring permanent resident or Convention Refugee status in Canada must submit a copy of their Permanent Resident Card (PR card) along with their application.
- Transcript evaluation fee or credential evaluation report, if submitting international transcripts.
- An official English language proficiency score report or other evidence of proficiency if English is not your primary language.
- Other information or documents as may be requested to determine your eligibility.
For information on how and where to send your supporting documents, please refer to the document submission guidelines.
Financial aid and awards
RBC Community Integrated Learning Grants
Funding for students completing a required career learning and development (CLD) work term in the community of at least 420 hours with an organization that cannot provide wages or compensation.
Up to $8,500
ACT WEST Community Foundation Fund
The ACT WEST Community Foundation helps support single mothers build better lives for themselves and their children.
up to 4 years tuition
Admiral John Charles and Mary Charles Scholarship
Awarded annually to a second year School of Humanitarian Studies student who is currently serving or retired military.
Active students (In-course)
The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) works to improve the lives of blind, deafblind and partially sighted Canadians...
From $1,500 to $2,500
Allan Cahoon Global Advancement and Diversity Award
Assist students in underrepresented populations who wish to promote diversity.
Active students (In-course)
Allan Cahoon Scholarship
This scholarship aims to encourage academic excellence, supporting students who excel both academically and through their leadership.
Active students (In-course)
Andrea Fallan Memorial Bursary
Provides financial assistance to a second year BCom student for exceptional leadership, community involvement, and dedication to promote a cohesive team environment.
Active students (In-course)
Asper Foundation Communications Award
Awarded to students in communications-related degree working in, or seeking to work in the communications industry.
Active students (In-course)
Meet our students
Get to know graduates of the Royal Roads Master of Arts in Global Leadership program.
Read about their background, motivations and accomplishments, and find out how their education helped them achieve their goals.
My love has always been for the land, and as a farmer, I was blessed to participate in agriculture at home in Canada and internationally. As farmers, we feed the world, and what we do is important. Sharing this story through the written word, speaking, and engaging young entrepreneurs through mentorship remains my passion.
While I did not have a specific goal in joining the MA in Global Leadership program, I did have a dream and completing my MA was part of that vision, which was to accomplish this for myself and to continue with life-long learning.
Without a doubt, I cherish and deeply respect the relationships I developed. I feel privileged to be in the company of my fellow cohort, instructors and research participants - all of whom are inspiring and igniting change in their communities and their world. I am humbled by my transformation and reach, which left me looking at life with a deeper appreciation and acceptance.
However, I did not fully appreciate the journey until it had time to resonate and age along with me. There are many times when I now reach back, not only to those lived experiences but to my leadership studies - pulling forward these gems of knowledge. Leadership thrives in curiosity, compassion and courage, and I'm enjoying my journey with a renewed purpose and confidence in my professional and business life.
Before joining Royal Roads and the MA in Global Leadership program, I worked in talent development and engagement in the beauty industry. I was really looking forward to learning the practical tools and strategies to tackle current global leadership challenges and opportunities. I wanted to learn skills and techniques that I can apply in real-world situations to make a positive impact on communities and the planet. I was also excited about improving my understanding of systems thinking and approaches, which are crucial for addressing complex challenges in the modern era.
Throughout the learning journey, I had the opportunity to engage in discussions with fellow cohort members and learn from experts in diverse fields such as gender, conflict resolution, strategic planning, artificial intelligence, governance, community development, geopolitics, international politics, and global civil society. This collaboration exposed me to diverse perspectives, challenging my thinking and expanding my worldview, which has been invaluable to me.
One aspect of the program that I truly cherish is the personal growth I experienced. Through self-reflection and development, I improved my leadership skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities, as well as increased my adaptability and resilience in a rapidly changing global landscape. The program empowered me to lead differently, taking a holistic view and identifying root causes to design effective solutions. It also developed my agility and flexibility in navigating ambiguity, uncertainty, and volatility as a leader.
Overall, the program has had a profound impact on me, both personally and professionally. It has expanded my understanding of global systems and their interconnections, enabling me to make a positive impact in my work and beyond.
Prior to joining RRU, I worked as an international development and trade administration professional for nearly twenty years, developing and managing programs for various U.S. Government agencies. I implemented initiatives to enhance international partnerships/collaborations, accreditation/empowerment, and access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses. Later, I transitioned to the private sector as a Head of Special Projects for a sustainability consulting company, leading the design and implementation of capacity development programs for clients in both the public and private sectors.
I was drawn to join the MA in Global Leadership program driven by my belief that businesses are interconnected with the environment and that leading in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world requires a different mindset and worldview. The program's focus on personal leadership, community engagement, systems thinking, and leading with humanity aligns with my belief that culturally appropriate and experiential learning/training can transform individuals and foster sustainable practices.
Throughout my learning journey, I appreciated the program's emphasis on personal transformation, rejecting self-limiting beliefs imposed by past conditioning. I worked as a Teaching Assistant in the program, and I was able to put my learning into practice immediately. I now embrace the philosophy that transformation is not a gradual change but a willingness to challenge fixed assumptions, beliefs, and biases. I firmly believe that transforming mental models is critical to the future of humanity and the planet.
Today, I lead differently by seeing all human engagements as opportunities to lead, challenging my assumptions, and developing an inclusive perspective to embrace differences. I also view the capstone project as an exciting opportunity to collaborate with community stakeholders, promote transformation, and enhance my personal growth.
For 21 years, I worked for the RCMP in Finance and Operations. I also volunteered for several non-profit Indigenous organizations and continue to serve as an executive board member for the Indigenous Congress of Alberta Association. My focus of interest is on Indigenous language revitalization, specifically Dëne Sųłiné yati, my maternal ancestral language. Working within non-profits enhanced my desire to address vital issues around the language, culture, health and well-being of all Indigenous peoples as a pathway of reconciliation and intergenerational healing.
My desire to join the Master of Arts in Global Leadership program was initiated by my late aunt Sandra Faye Lockhart, a global leader whose inspiration and encouragement pushed me forward to succeed and rely on the teachings that were held in my heart; on this educational journey. My personal path of reconnection to my Indigeneity was embedded in a global and collective perspective of Indigenous peoples. The program framework of understanding complex global systems and supporting the development of global leadership with empathy, versatility, and adaptability and global system’s thinking approach supported my pathway to support community lead Dëne Sųłiné yati initiatives within Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation.
I am incredibly grateful for my learning journey. I am thankful for the gently guided steps in the learning process, cohort, academic supervisor and faculty. I deeply cherish the work that came from my Capstone Research Project, on Dëne Sųłiné language revitalization, as is supporting strategies for the language to continue to be proudly shared around the fire, with land foods, tea, with our elders, families, children and grandchildren; in honour of the ancestors and all those who speak and were taught. This learning journey moved this vision into motion. I am forever grateful for the teachings I gained in my MA journey, which have enabled hope, inspiration and direction and as a current Royal Roads University Doctor of Social Sciences student, this journey proudly continues.
I lead today with cross-cultural awareness, with an ability to adapt to culturally diverse environments and navigate through complexities and challenges, with self-awareness, humility, patience and inclusivity while being grounded and respecting collaborations and partnerships through effective communication, trust and compassion. While continuing to honour and respects Indigenous leadership teachings, our elders, the knowledge keepers, culture, land, language, tradition and ancestral teachings.
Marsi cho. (Thank you).
I have been working in government for the past 20 years as a member of Canada's foreign service. In my initial role as a Management & Consular Officer, I assisted Canadian citizens abroad during their worst moments and managed embassy administration in Ottawa, Cuba, the UAE, and Venezuela. Later, I transitioned into trade promotion, helping Canadian businesses export goods and services internationally.
By joining the Master of Arts in Global Leadership program, I hoped to gain inspiration to reach beyond what I had been able to accomplish so far in my career. After two decades of challenging, fascinating work, I wanted to explore what more I could do in service of my country, and I needed some new ideas to get there. The hybrid model was perfect as it allowed me to continue working while studying, with the added benefit of in-person connections, which I valued greatly. And I needed a model that I could handle with the 15-hour time difference.
One of the things I am most grateful for about my learning journey was the opportunity to attend a residency in January 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic made international travel more challenging. I will never forget the aha moments of those enriching courses, as we dug our hands into systems thinking, servant leadership and so much more. Additionally, the connections I made with the faculty, staff, and my cohort were invaluable. I feel so fortunate to have joined a group of diverse, brave, committed, and generous individuals. I learned so much from them.
Since completing the program, I deliberately take more risks and strive to create safe spaces for others to do the same. Now, I lead from a place of empathy and servitude, and I bring more of my authentic self to my role, which has made me more effective and fulfilled. As an ambassador dealing with complex and diverse problems daily, the skills I gained from the program helped me see systems, recognize connections, and identify patterns to try to effect sustainable change. I am committed to continuous learning and encourage those around me to follow their own journeys as well.
Previously, I worked with non-profit organizations to increase organizational effectiveness, drive broader social, and systems change. I was responsible for spreading awareness of the organizations’ causes, building partnerships and ensuring the voices of the community members reached the relevant stakeholders.
I decided to apply to the Master of Arts in Global Leadership program once I became increasingly involved with local and international organizations. I found myself dealing with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and I felt I needed to develop my global leadership capabilities, intercultural competencies and global mindset to effectively navigate an increasingly diverse business world.
In the program, the practical sessions led by specialists in the field, the one-on-one and group training, presentations, exercises and the capstone project provided me with access to a wealth of knowledge. I was able to identify my leadership strengths and gaps. As a result, my ability to lead in multicultural settings was greatly enhanced.
Today, I lead differently in several ways. I am aware of the diverse ways in which people perceive and respond to various situations. This knowledge has been invaluable in my current role with the Government of Ontario, where I effectively communicate with individuals of different ages, backgrounds, traditions, and cultures. By bridging these gaps, I ensure that the organization's objectives are understood, despite the complexities of the systems in place. I have become more self-aware of my biases and actively strive to prevent them from influencing my decision-making process. I have also become more open-minded. I now embrace differing opinions, consider how my colleagues and clients perceive me, and I am less averse to engaging in difficult conversations. As a result, I have become an authentic leader who can inspire colleagues to collaborate toward achieving success and I am open to taking on more challenging roles as they arise.