Top Online Master’s Programs in Organizational Leadership

Updated March 30, 2022 | Reese Lopez, BCR Staff Writers

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Businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits need strong leadership. A master's degree in organizational leadership trains students to lead organizations of all sizes. Many graduates pursue organizational leadership careers. However, the degree prepares students for many roles, including consulting and education administration.

Master's in organizational leadership programs require at least a bachelor's degree. Applicants may also need business experience.

Our guide lists the top online master's programs in organizational leadership. Read on to learn about costs, common classes, and potential careers for graduates.

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Questions About Organizational Leadership

What can you do with an organizational leadership degree?

A master's degree in organizational leadership prepares graduates for leadership and management roles. Degree-holders may work in business or higher education administration. They may also manage nonprofits.

What do you study in organizational leadership?

Learners explore organizational management and leadership strategies. Classes typically cover business ethics and leadership theories. Other courses may cover organizational development.

Do organizational leadership jobs pay well?

Yes. With education and professional experience, graduates can become sales managers. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $132,290, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Why Get a Degree in Organizational Leadership?

Online master's programs in organizational leadership build advanced business communication and leadership skills. Students learn how to lead businesses and help organizations adapt to changing conditions. Many programs run fully or partially online. An online format helps working students balance school and a career.

Graduates often pursue organizational leadership careers. These careers include significant management responsibilities, and graduates can earn above-average salaries. For example, postsecondary education administrators earn an annual median salary of $97,500. This figure more than doubles the annual median salary of $41,950 for all occupations.

How Much Does an Organizational Leadership Degree Cost?

A master's degree costs an average of $66,340, according to EducationData.org. However, costs vary by school, program length, and whether a school is public or private. Most master's programs take 2-3 years to complete.

Many schools offer hybrid or online master's programs in educational leadership. These formats can help students save on common expenses like relocation and transportation. Many programs run fully online, so learners can earn their degree without visiting campus.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online students still pay many of the same administrative fees as campus learners. They often also pay special technology fees. These charges cover online learning expenses and tech support resources.

Online students should also budget for textbooks and supplies. Many programs use a hybrid format that combines online courses with in-person campus sessions. Enrollees should plan for travel and lodging expenses for these sessions.

How Much Do Organizational Leadership Majors Make?

Online master's programs in organizational leadership graduates can pursue top management careers. Degree-holders may work as human resources managers, sales managers, or public relations managers. These professionals often earn six-figure salaries.

The BLS reports that master's degree-holders in all fields earn a median weekly average of $1,545. Bachelor's degree-holders earn $1,305 per week. Pursuing further education, such as a doctorate, may help candidates earn even more.

Courses in a Master's in Organizational Leadership Program

A master's degree in organizational leadership builds advanced management perspectives. Some programs offer concentrations that relate to different professional fields. Options may include higher education administration or nonprofit management.

See below for three common classes in online master's programs in organizational leadership. Not all schools offer these specific classes. Keep in mind that course titles and descriptions vary among programs.

  • Organizational Behavior and Theory

    Strong leadership requires a solid understanding of organizational dynamics. This class explores major theories of organizational systems and behavior. Learners study organizational leadership strategies. Part of the class focuses on broad issues of organizational structure and culture. Enrollees also study employees' interpersonal dynamics.
  • Business Ethics

    Many programs include at least one course focusing on business leadership and decision-making ethics. Students examine the varied perspectives that can affect ethical business practices, such as social justice and environmentalism. The class may also highlight ethical communication and ethical leadership in a global context.
  • Capstone

    Many organizational leadership programs include a capstone at the end of the program. This project links academic learning to professional practice. Students may identify and address a relevant organizational leadership issue. The capstone lets degree-seekers reflect on their overall learning and their professional future.

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Career and Salary Outlook for Organizational Leadership

Organizational leadership graduates can pursue advanced careers with businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies. Many graduates work in management roles in the private sector. With professional experience, graduates can move into top management positions.

This list highlights three common careers for organizational leadership students. Click the chart's embedded links to learn more about each job.

  • Human Resources Managers

    These professionals oversee an organization's administrative functions. They direct staffing, hiring, and employee benefits. They also connect a company's management to its employees and match workers with appropriate jobs. They manage workplace issues such as discrimination or employee conflict.
  • Sales Managers

    These managers direct sales for businesses. They may oversee sales teams or an organization's broader sales strategies. Sales managers often set sales goals, prepare budgets, and analyze sales growth. They may also hire and train other sales employees and develop new sales approaches.
  • Industrial Production Managers

    These professionals direct daily operations at factories and other manufacturing plants. They commonly determine production schedules and ensure that production occurs within budget. Production managers may hire and train workers. They may also analyze production data to improve efficiency and streamline production practices.
CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Human Resources Managers$121,2209%
Sales Managers$132,2907%
Industrial Production Managers$108,7905%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Online Master's Programs in Organizational Leadership

#1 – California Baptist University

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Points: 6 California Baptist University’s online master’s degree in organizational leadership program is designed with the needs of working students in mind. This program is offered both completely online and in a hybrid format using the most up-to-date distance learning technology, and courses are primarily asynchronous. This flexibility does not come at the cost of quality. Students are taught the fundamentals of leadership and business, as well as skills such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. Many online master’s degree organizational leadership students can finish this program in just over a year, though plenty of time is allowed for students who prefer a more relaxed pace. Cost Per Credit Hour: $547
#2 – Fort Hays University

Master of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership

Points: 5 Fort Hays State University offers two online master’s degree in organizational leadership options: a BS and a BA in Organizational Leadership. These two programs are essentially the same in core content, with the main difference being that the BS keeps a tighter focus on the subject matter, and the BA allows students more freedom to explore other disciplines. Both online master’s degree organizational leadership programs are interdisciplinary enough to apply to a wide range of careers. A heavy emphasis is placed on skills such as interpersonal relations, team building, and problem-solving. These skills are reinforced by the class structure and curriculum. Cost Per Credit Hour: $207
#3 – Waldorf University

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Points: 5 Waldorf University offers a completely online master’s degree in organizational leadership with five different concentrations. Available concentrations include Healthcare Management, Global Leadership, and Diversity and Inclusion. A non-concentration option is also available to students who prefer a more generalized education. All tracks include a strong foundation in organization and leadership basics, as well as professional electives. This program is ideal for working students who need the flexibility of an online program but don’t want to give up quality or customization options. Cost Per Credit Hour: $285
#4 – Colorado State University Global Campus

Master of Science in Organizational Leadership

Points: 5 Colorado State University Global Campus’s online bachelors degree in organizational leadership is designed to equip busy and far away students with the skills and knowledge they need to be effective leaders. Students study topics such as workplace psychology, conflict resolution, and project management in a flexible, accessible format. This program also allows students to customize their education through almost 20 specialization options, including Emergency Management, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Criminology. master’s degree organizational leadership students can apply this degree to a wide variety positions across many different industries. Cost Per Credit Hour: $350
#5 – Buena Vista University

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Points: 5 Buena Vista University’s online master’s degree in organizational leadership program includes two concentrations: Business and Human Services. The Business track includes courses such as Consumer Behavior, Business Marketing, and Industrial Psychology. Courses offered in the Human Services track include Social Welfare and Policy, Aging in American Society, and Psychology of Gender. Both tracks include courses in social responsibility, communication, and management. Students who graduate from this online master’s organizational leadership program are equipped with the well-rounded, interdisciplinary education necessary to be successful in a wide range of settings. Cost Per Credit Hour: $413

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