Maxwell Rollins

Maxwell Rollins

Tenured Professor of Business, Director of Graduate Programs
Jones Hall

The Master of Arts in organizational leadership at Charleston Southern University accepts applications year-round for fall, spring or summer admission.

We are here to help you through your journey by fostering your dedication to studies and academic success. Students will be provided with an engaging learning environment and the tools necessary for fostering relationships with peers, faculty, staff and employers.

Young managers listening to their colleague at briefing in a small conference room.

Admissions Process

Step 1: Review Application Requirements

The following requirements must be met to be eligible to apply for the program:

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts from every university/college ever attended
  • Two signed letters of recommendation
  • Academic Statement (300 – 500 word essay explaining why you chose to attend CSU and your academic and professional goals)
  • Resume
  • Official Test Scores if requested*

*A GMAT score report is not required at the time of admission, and will only be requested for the Graduate Committee to determine whether the applicant has the potential to successfully complete the program. 

A student seeking the MA in organizational leadership degree from Charleston Southern University who has not submitted all of the required documentation and materials for Regular Admission may be accepted on the provision that he or she submit the missing required materials as determined by the Enrollment Services Office prior to preregistration for the next term. The minimum requirements for Provisional Admission are (1) the completed graduate application, (2) the application fee and (3) evidence of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Enrollment cannot exceed 9 credit hours of MA-level courses during the provisional period.

Students admitted under Provisional Admission will not be eligible for financial aid.

Nondegree Admission is granted to students who do not intend to apply for regular admission. Such students must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution and have at least a 2.50 undergraduate GPA or permission of the Director. A student may take a maximum of nine graduate hours in the program under the nondegree admission status. Financial aid is not available to nondegree students.

Academically qualified students from foreign countries are encouraged to apply for admission to Charleston Southern University. Applicants must be sufficiently proficient in English to be able to study entirely in the English language. The following must be sent to the Enrollment Services Office in addition to the admission materials for the graduate program:

  1. Official Bank Statement
  2. Official Course by Course Evaluation (See admissions application packet for approved agencies)
  3. Official TOEFL (Students from countries where English is not the primary language will be required to submit a minimum TOEFL score of 550; computer-based score of 213 or Internet-based score of 79).
  4. International Student Eligibility Form

Due to Immigration and Naturalization Service requirements and the necessity of having transcripts evaluated, the deadline for admission applications from International students is one calendar month prior to registration day (according to the CSU Academic Calendar) of the academic term of entry.

Applications received after the deadline may be considered for a future entry term if the applicant desires. Students are required to have their academic transcript(s) evaluated by an outside agency prior to admissions acceptance. All fees for these services are paid by the student directly to the party or agency providing them. You may call the Office of Enrollment Services for more information.

When an applicant has been accepted by the university, a Certificate of Eligibility for the nonimmigrant (F-1) student, known as Form I-20 A-B, will be mailed along with an acceptance letter. Students entering Charleston Southern University must assume full financial responsibility for tuition and charges incurred. In the event a student is being sponsored by an individual or company, an Affidavit of Support and supporting financial documents must be submitted by the sponsor on behalf of the student. After issuance of Form I-20 A-B and prior to the drop/add deadline of the respective term, an advance cash deposit is required to be on file within the business office in the amount of the total cost of the term, including any necessary insurance premium. Otherwise Charleston Southern University reserves the right to deny the student attendance for that term.

With prior approval, a maximum of six semester hours of transfer credit may be accepted from a graduate business program at a regionally accredited institution, toward the fulfillment of requirements for the MA in organizational leadership degree at Charleston Southern University. Approval of the Director of the Program or the Dean of the Nielsen College of Business must be obtained during the application process, and the decision whether or not to award credit at that time is final. Students may not attempt to transfer previously taken courses at a later date. Credit will not be given for courses taken more than six (6) calendar years prior to the awarding of the degree at Charleston Southern University. Transfer credit cannot be revalidated if the time limit expires. Only courses with grades in the B or A range will be considered for transfer. Pass/Fail courses may not be transferred into the program. Credit will not be given for courses taken to obtain another master’s degree.

Students currently enrolled in any of the programs at CSU must have prior written approval to take courses from another institution for transfer credit. This approval form must carry the signatures of the director of the program or the dean of the Nielsen College of Business and the registrar. Courses accepted in transfer are recorded as credit only: grades are recorded on a transfer evaluation form, but no grade points or grade point averages are computed. The grade point average used for administering policy and for graduation is computed on academic credit earned at CSU. The primary purpose of the transfer credits policy is to grant incoming students credit for work previously completed. Students are expected to take the appropriate courses offered by Charleston Southern University once they enter the program. Students may be granted the opportunity to take courses offered by other institutions only under special circumstances.

No single criterion will be decisive. Each item will be considered in relation to the applicant’s total qualifications. Although Charleston Southern University has preferred levels for such criteria as applicants’ undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores, each application is evaluated on an individual basis.

Step 2: Apply

Submit your online application. An admission decision at Charleston Southern University is based on a balanced appraisal of the applicant’s overall scholastic and professional record, aptitude for graduate study and character. All students, regardless of admission status, must submit a graduate application for the MA in organizational leadership program with a nonrefundable admissions application fee to the Graduate Center. Exceptions to this policy require the permissions of the director of graduate studies, dean of the Nielsen College of Business and the vice president for academic affairs.

Charleston Southern’s MA in organizational leadership has a rolling admissions policy. While many applicants may plan to begin their program in the fall semester, applicants may be admitted to begin their coursework in any term. Deadlines for admission are flexible, but for full consideration, applicants are encouraged to ensure that all materials required for the application are received at least two weeks prior to the first day of the semester they intend to begin. If an applicant has particularly strong credentials, it is possible that the application may be processed more quickly, and for that reason, applications will be accepted until classes begins. International student applicants are subject to separate deadlines. Please see the section about international applicants.

Step 3: Interview

After a preliminary review of the application, the admissions committee may request an evaluative admission interview for some candidates. This interview with the program director and/or other members of the admissions committee may be conducted either in person or by telephone and is by invitation only.

Step 4: Acceptance Requirements

Applicants are notified as soon as the admissions committee has made their decision. If the student does not attend within two major terms (major terms are fall and spring) of their acceptance, then their acceptance will expire, and if they decide to attend later, they will need to reapply, regardless of prior acceptance.

Each student admitted to the program is assigned an academic advisor. Prior to registration, the advisor will discuss with students the upcoming course offerings and determine the program of study. Graduate students are eligible to complete online registration once this advising conference is completed. The conference may be in person or via the internet or telephone to facilitate advising for students who are not in the Charleston area. Graduate students are provided with a course checklist and are responsible for degree progress checks with their advisor.

Selection Process

The ideal student will recognize business and management as a life calling and will show a commitment to the qualities of personal character development which are relevant to business success and ethical behavior. Application materials are also reviewed thoroughly for evidence of writing and communication skills, and of such values as initiative, maturity, commitment, leadership, teamwork, innovation and creativity. Involvement and leadership in professional, community and collegiate activities may thus be considered by the admissions committee and would strengthen the application. In order to maintain as rich a learning environment as possible, Charleston Southern University also seeks to enroll students from a variety of economic, occupational, racial, social, religious and geographic backgrounds.

Primary Factors of Selection

The admissions committee also may consider responsible academic performance and excellence in testing as evidence of the applicant’s ability to do well in graduate study. There is no single GPA requirement that will guarantee admission. The GPA range of admitted students is very broad. To be viable candidates, applicants who did not perform well in their undergraduate academic career would typically be expected to show ability and motivation through such measures as GMAT scores and/or professional success in the business world. All applicants are encouraged to submit as persuasive an application package as possible. Some of the primary factors that will draw the attention of CSU’s admissions committee are:

Strong professional work experience, as reflected in a resume, CV or other documentation.

While no specific GPA is required for admission, students who bring GPAs above 3.0 overall, or in their major, from colleges with rigorous academic programs have shown that they can marshal the necessary skills for high academic performance. However, students whose professional experience or other evidence shows that they have matured since their undergraduate record will typically be accepted with lower GPA levels. Grades earned in graduate-level coursework completed at regionally accredited American colleges or universities or equivalent programs in other countries may also be considered.

This essay on the application form describes the applicant’s interest in attending CSU’s MA in organizational leadership program, his/her plans for the future, and how the degree from CSU will help him/her achieve those goals. It will be evaluated both with respect to motivations and mastery of communication skills.

Graduate School Entry Examination Scores, such as the GMAT. Optional, but highly recommended for those whose other credentials may not otherwise be strong enough to warrant acceptance into the program. GMAT scores are preferred, but GRE or other scores may also be considered. Applicants who want CSU to consider these scores must arrange for the testing institution to provide an official score report to CSU’s Admissions. Proof of successful completion of a post baccalaureate professional certificate program such as the CPA, CFA, etc., may also be submitted in lieu of, or in addition to, test scores.

Applicants should ask two individuals who are familiar with their character, work performance, academic ability and leadership potential to provide confidential recommendation letters directly to Enrollment Services. Recommenders are encouraged to use the standard CSU recommendation form, but personal letters are also accepted. Applicants are encouraged to request recommendations from: (1) current or past supervisors, 2) current or past professors, 3) academic or business professionals, 4) pastors or religious leaders; or any combination thereof. At least one letter should come from an individual familiar with the applicant’s professional work record. At least one of the recommendations should come from an individual who can attest to the applicant’s character and ethical standards. All recommendations should come from objective sources. Applicants should generally avoid using family members or persons who they currently supervise for recommendation letters.

Applicants will be contacted by email or phone if an interview is suggested. The interview is optional but is highly recommended for students invited to participate. The interview will evaluate an applicant’s level of maturity, interpersonal skills, career focus and motivation.