Effective Friday July 2nd through September 3rd, The College will close on Fridays at 12 PM Eastern Time. Our hours of operation will be Monday – Thursday 8 AM to 6 PM EST and Friday 8 AM to 12 PM EST.



Master of Science in Management with a Specialization in Leadership

About MSM

The Master of Science in Management (MSM) is an accredited master’s degree program. The mission of the MSM degree program is to provide state-of-the-art advanced leadership education, knowledge, and skills to its students. This degree program combines core leadership topics with the knowledge executives need to progress to the next level in thought leadership and influence within their organization. The major emphasis in the program is using leadership concepts to ethically lead an organization, drive managerial processes and systems, and leadership development.

Who should consider an MSM?

If you are a mid- to senior-level executive seeking relevant leadership skills and strategies to take your organization to the next level, the MSM may be the right program for you. With a dynamic curriculum and an online learning environment promoting problem-solving techniques through peer and instructor interaction, you will gain valuable insight and maximum return on your time and resources invested.

The MSM is fast-paced, compelling, and challenging. This rewarding, 15-month cohort-based program provides executives with essential and advanced leadership skills in such areas as managing group behavior and conflict, strengthening strategic influence, driving organizational and crisis leadership plans, ethics, and business law.


An MSM degree helps you advance yourself and your career. This master degree gives you hands-on skills in analytics, conflict resolution, ethics, and leadership strategies. With a business degree in hand, MSM students are prepared for careers in business administration, program management, and other leadership positions. 

Attending a college of business like The American College of Financial Services is the best way to gain the confidence knowledge provides. The MSM degree is perfect for augmenting your existing work experience as well. Many working professionals pursue this master degree to fill the gaps in their education. An added benefit of the MSM designation is that it takes only 15 months to complete, whereas an MBA program can take much longer. 

MSM students will gain the skills and experience to take their careers to the next level. The MSM designation can assist in obtaining more advanced leadership positions, as well as securing an increased salary.


Practical Education for Advanced Markets

  • Highest level of accreditation available
  • Flexible to fit your work schedule
  • Two brief residencies and live online classes
  • Outstanding faculty and curriculum
  • The best way to take your career to the next level

Program Delivery
Due to due COVID-19, our two, five-day in-person residencies will now be held online over five-week periods. There will be a one-week break between the end of the first residency and the next course.  

Getting Started
To begin the MSM, you first must be formally admitted to the program. Applicants are selected on the basis of academic and professional criteria. To be admitted into the program, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and submit official transcripts from each college or university attended by the end of your first course.  Submit your MSM application today.

10 Required Courses

Leading the Organization

GS 900 Communications and Leadership
Residency Course. Provides a comprehensive approach to communicating at work from the perspective of the executive, enabling the leadership student to understand and correct the poor communication processes and systems in many organizations. Students focus on mitigating conflict through constructive communication, projecting the appropriate perception of power, customizing communication to maximize clarity of understanding, swiftly dealing with crisis communications and generally communicating effectively, whether in a conversation, within a group, by e-mail, or to an audience. Students will also be exposed to an assortment of leadership styles and techniques encountered in typical working environments that mandate an assortment of styles to ensure effectiveness as a leader.

GS 930 Classic and Contemporary Leadership Studies
Differentiates management skills from leadership skills. It reviews the essential research of the last 100+ years as it describes the traits, style and functions of a leader, as well as situational aspects, team leadership and transformational leadership. The twin aspects of humility and will, which are essential to move from good leadership to great leadership, are discussed. Contemporary issues of leadership as they relate to changes in society are also discussed.

GS 960 Leading Strategy Development
Strategic management is concerned with determining the future direction of an organization and implementing the decisions aimed at achieving the organization’s long-term and short-term objectives. The strategic management process consists of major interrelated sub-processes, including the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis approach. The process enables a leader to formulate and implement strategies that accomplish the mission and vision of the organization.

GS 990 Organizational Change/Capstone
Residency course. The intent of this course is to acquaint students with the complexity of change. Change is a constant process in the modern organization as the level of competition continues to intensify. Change involves the appreciation and understanding of organizational culture, conflict resolution, meticulous communications techniques, and advanced leadership skills (including innovative intelligence and critical thinking). This intensive course will address each of the topics listed above by reviewing some exceptional readings and reinforcing the concepts learned through a series of interactive exercises and activities. Upon completion of this course, students will be better prepared to lead change within their organizations as well as respond to the resistance that generally accompanies change initiatives.

Driving Managerial Processes and Systems

GS 910 Leadership Development Experience
Residency course. A year-long course designed to provide students with skills useful to their current work as it prepares them for greater leadership challenges in the future. It begins in Residency I and ends in Residency II. The leadership methods taught in this project are the best practices employed by top executives in many successful companies to facilitate change and improve performance. Methods will vary for individual projects; specific methods will be recommended to fit students’ work settings.

GS 940 Dynamic Organizational Leadership
Understanding organizational behavior as a necessary requirement for whole systems in developing organizations is the central content of this course. The course connects the drives of human behavior to group behavior in dealing with learning, stress and conflict and the subsequent impact on an organization’s culture and strategy as they continue to change. Also, it demonstrates the importance of power, influence and politics on human behavior and why it is critical to develop the skills to delegate, motivate, appraise performance and still be flexible and creative. The relationships between individual performance and the environment of the organization are analyzed in depth.

GS 950 Law, Compliance, Benefits, & Social Responsibility
Shows the relationships between law, compliance processes, employee compensation and benefits packages, social responsibility and the success of an organization. Building on the behaviors explored in GS 940, it elaborates on the importance of human resources expertise regarding job analysis, recruitment, selection, compensation, measurement of performance and diversity in leading a successful organization. The course demonstrates the importance of the organization’s compliance with government requirements of fairness at work, and it includes a discussion of contemporary human resource management and leadership principles and practices.

Leader Development

GS 920 Personal and Interpersonal Leadership Skills
Residency Course. This course enhances the leader’s skill sets by providing the theory and applications of personal, interpersonal and group and organizational skills. The personal skills emphasize leader self-awareness; the interpersonal skills place emphasis on the one-on-one interaction; and the group and organizational interpersonal skills place the emphasis on teams. An array of articles is used to illustrate major skills that are discussed in the text. The latter part of this course asks the student to conduct several self-assessments based on the idea that one must understand one’s self before understanding those who are led.

GS 970 Decision-Making Leadership Skills
Examines the individual and collective factors that affect the decisions managers make in their everyday routine at work. The approach is descriptive and prescriptive as it focuses on how managers actually make decisions, as well as how they ought to make them to optimize fulfillment of organizational and personal goals. There are two main sections of the course: the first deals with individual-level processes that influence decisions; the second considers the collective forces that affect managers’ and leaders’ decisions.

GS 980 Ethics in Leadership
Residency course. Covers four areas: ethical awareness, ethical analysis/ethical decision making, current ethical issues in the financial services industry and ethical management in an organization. This class provides the skills required to make reasoned responses to ethical dilemmas, deal with daily and long-term ethical challenges and build an ethical culture in an organization. The course explores the emotional influence on behavior and decisions, and it explains how to learn from success and failure. In this highly participative course, the leadership candidate is expected to complete both the reading material and written assignments before arriving on campus.

How does the MSM differ from the MBA?
The major objective of the MBA is to enhance one's proficiency in each of business's functional areas, such as accounting, finance, marketing, etc. The MSM assumes that the student already has high proficiency in each of these functional areas and focuses on leadership and team development. More specifically, the focus of the MBA is management, while the focus of the MSM is leadership.

How much time does the average student spend weekly working on the program?
The student should plan on spending about 10 hours per week to complete all of the program requirements.

What is the grading scale, and how are students evaluated?
The grading scale is A, B, C, and F. A= 90-100; B= 80-89; C= 70-79; F is less than 70. Students are evaluated by both exams (short answer essay) and class participation.

What happens if a student must miss a class?

  • The residency classes are taught face-to-face for the initial week. Class attendance is mandatory. At the end of the program, there is a one-week mandatory residency program.
  • All online classes are archived, and the student has access to all archived classes.

Does the program make use of teams and/or cohort groups?
The program makes significant use of teams. During the first on-campus residency program, students are assigned to teams. The students will stay in the same team throughout the entire program. The major criterion used to assign members to teams is making sure that individuals within the team come from as different backgrounds as possible.

What day and time are online classes taught?
Online classes are taught from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday evenings. In rare cases where more time is needed for class, the instructor may ask that the class meet on Wednesday evenings.

Would you provide more details about the Residencies I and II?

  • The five-day Residency I is taught at the beginning of the program. About four to six weeks before the student comes to campus, the student receives materials to prepare for the residency. Included in the residency are two major courses: Ethics in Leadership and Personal and Interpersonal Leadership Skills. Also, during this residency the student is introduced to the year-long leadership development experience.
  • The four-day Residency II is taught at the end of the program. As in Residency I the student is provided materials about four to six weeks before coming to campus. During Residency II the student completes two courses: Communications and Leadership and Organizational Change/Capstone. In addition, during this residency each student will make a presentation of the year-long leadership development experience.

Can you explain the transfer of credit policy into the program?
Students who have attended MBA or other graduate-level programs from accredited universities/colleges receive a two-course transfer of credit. However, the student must attend and participate in all of the online classes even though he/she has received a transfer of credit for the course. The student does have an option of taking the final exam. Students who receive a transfer of credit do receive reduced tuition.

How do I know if my company reimburses for tuition?
Each student needs to talk with his/her human resources or employee benefits department to determine company reimbursement policies.

What are the tuition payment options?
There are two tuition payment options: pay by the course ($33,000/10 courses) or pay in full upon acceptance into the program.

Do I receive CE and Recertification credits for the MSM?
States do not allow CE credits for any management and/or leadership courses.

Where do I go for more information and/or to apply for the MSM?
For more information, please call our Graduate Leadership Education department at 610-526-1588.


Students admitted to the graduate program have seven years from the date of admission to complete degree requirements. Acceptance of courses completed prior to admission will be determined by the Graduate School Dean. Upon completion of degree requirements, you are eligible to participate in our biennial commencement exercises.

The Office of the Registrar determines and certifies that you have completed all degree requirements. Once certified, you are considered to have graduated with all the rights, privileges, and obligations pertaining thereto. Degrees are awarded on the first day of the second month following the month earned. For example, if a student completed the final course in April, they could commence using the degree June 1.

Statement of Academic Integrity
Academic integrity is essential to any educational institution because the main purpose of such institutions is the discovery and transmission of knowledge and the pursuit of truth. Integrity requires that individuals represent themselves as they are, without pretense or exaggeration. In the case of presenting one's work to be evaluated, it is important that the work of others not be presented as one's own. In academic exercises, as in business enterprises, honesty and straightforwardness are essential. To co-opt the work of another and represent it as one's own is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a violation of the academic integrity policy of this institution and a contravention of professional and personal ethics. For those in the business of evaluating the worth of someone's academic work, plagiarism deliberately creates a misrepresentation of the nature and quality of a student's work. Just as a true professional must at times put aside personal gain for the sake of doing what is right, a student must reject acting dishonestly or without integrity, and present only that work as his or her own which indeed is his or her work. Anything less is a form of cheating and misrepresentation and is intolerable in an academic community. Acts of cheating or misrepresentation constitute serious violations of academic ethics and can result in the student's failing a course and/or possible dismissal from the program. If a student needs clarification regarding this policy, he or she should seek counsel from his or her course professor or the Academic Dean.

See the Student Resources and Policies page for comprehensive details on academic policies, refund policies, learning policies, and more.

To enroll in the MSM program, fill out our digital application. Our admissions advisors will contact you if you are accepted to the program.

Program Faculty

Joann Adeogun

Program Director, Masters of Science in Management & Leadership

George G. Joseph and Richard A. Liddy Chair in Practice Leadership

Irwin Graduate School

Daralee Barbera

Adjunct Professor of Organizational Change & Leadership

Marguerite Barta

Adjunct Professor of Organization & Management

Russ Carfagno

Adjunct Professor of Organizational Leadership

Professor Sophia Duffy, Associate Dean
Sophia Duffy

Assistant Vice President and Director of Regulatory Compliance

Assistant Professor of Business Planning

Jarrett L. Davis Distinguished Professorship and Chair in Finance and Accounting Planning Technology

Jose Perez

Adjunct Professor of Organizational Leadership & Human Resource Development

Dr. Jim Peterson, Adjunct Professor of Ethics at The American College
Jim Petersen

Adjunct Professor of Ethics

David Rendall

Adjunct Professor of Management

Keynote Speaker and Author

Debra Touhey

Adjunct Professor of Finance

Natasha M. Webster

Adjunct Professor of Organizational Leadership