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New Offerings:
Enhanced Opportunities for NCU Students

Written by Judy Tierney

With 27 new specializations and three new degree programs, Northcentral University makes it even more possible to “Imagine Yourself at a Higher Degree.” The recent introductions of the Master of Science – Organizational Leadership (MSOL) and the PhD – Organizational Leadership (PhD-OL) within the School of Business and Technology Management (SBTM) and the Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) in the School of Marriage and Family Sciences, have opened up enhanced opportunities for students interested in these emerging areas of study. And like all NCU degree programs (with the exception of some Marriage and Family Therapy internships and practicums), the offerings are 100 percent online with no residency requirements.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), entry level jobs requiring a master’s degree or a doctoral or professional degree are projected to increase by 18.4 percent and 16 percent respectively by 2022. “Our new programs and specializations reflect the demands of the new work environment our students are experiencing. These were developed by NCU with the insights of our professors, all of whom hold PhDs, and have expertise in these areas,” says Dr. Ted Mikell, NCU’s Director of Curriculum Development. “The students who come to us are professionals in specialized fields and know exactly what they need and want to excel in the workplace.”

An alternative to the more traditional Master of Business Administration, the MSOL places stronger emphasis on the human side of the organization and helps students develop leadership and change management skills. NCU’s program has been specifically shaped to explore organizational development, strategic planning, and process improvement from a leader’s perspective.

Dr. Mikell describes the program as a rigorous, holistically designed, self-motivated learning experience that prepares students for effective leadership in the fast-evolving global marketplace. “The MSOL was developed to communicate the skills necessary to think critically, create vision based on ethical values, anticipate the future, take calculated risks, and produce change within an organization.”

“The students who come to us are professionals in specialized fields and know exactly what they need and want to excel in the workplace.”

Dr. Ted Mikell

While an MSOL degree can enhance job performance and promote skills within many disciplines, it can also lead to entirely new areas of opportunity in administrative and managerial roles across various industries. The BLS projects that management-level occupations will continue to grow by approximately 7.2 percent in the next decade. Jobs in organizational management, human resources, public relations, higher education, and training and development are just a few options for graduates of this program, and NCU students can narrow their focus by choosing to specialize in Criminal Justice, Health Care Administration, Human Resources Management, Nonprofit Management, Project Management or Public Administration.

Meanwhile, based on student and faculty feedback, as well as evaluations of competitive programs, NCU has revamped and modernized its MBA to bring more energy to the program. The revised program provides a more global view with integrated core courses and now offers specializations in Building Creativity, Change and Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Performance Improvement, and Strategic Management. Moreover, truly dedicated students can earn their degree in just 12 months through the University’s Accelerated MSOL or Accelerated MBA tracks.

Overall, the MBA remains the most popular online business degree, but demand is rising for non-MBA management degrees. Although they differ in content and focus, NCU’s MBA and MSOL both prepare students for executive positions. If a student seeks a broader examination of business functions, then an MBA is the right choice. Conversely, if a student desires an in-depth focus on business leadership theory and development, an MSOL would be the right degree to pursue.

While the MSOL offers an intense examination of the current state of leadership within a given profession, the PhD-OL degree program takes students deeper in their understanding of organizational dynamics and explores leadership from a strategic perspective. “The PhD-OL will challenge and equip students to create or lead an organization whose hallmarks are ethical values, anticipation of future events, calculated risk-taking, and lead taking," says Dr. Mikell.

Advanced opportunities and salaries in business, education, organizational development, and other fields may be available to graduates with a PhD-OL. Career options include business administration, consulting, labor relations, diversity management, or non-profit administration.

In the School of Marriage and Family Sciences, the new DMFT doctoral program is designed to provide master’s-level clinicians with skills in program development, program evaluation, grant writing, clinical practice, clinical supervision, and applied research. With an emphasis on couples and families rather than individuals, these clinicians work with their clients to help resolve domestic problems. According to the BLS, employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow 29 percent through 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

“Ours is currently the only DMFT without a residency requirement, so it provides an accessible opportunity to earn a U.S. regionally accredited degree wherever a candidate might reside,” adds Dr. James Billings, NCU’s Dean, School of Marriage and Family Sciences. “Despite that unparalleled flexibility, this quality program is led by our highly credentialed professors, more than 95 percent of whom maintain an MFT license and remain clinically active.”

NCU’s additional specializations further demonstrate a commitment to giving students a premier educational experience and to pave exciting paths to what they have imagined for themselves. They are spread across three schools and include: