Whether you’ve been working for years or are fresh out of your bachelor’s degree program, those interested in becoming a leader should strongly consider applying to a master’s in leadership online.
The various specific degree program types mentioned in this article include the following:
- Online Master of Organizational Leadership
- Online MS in Organizational Leadership
- Online MA in Organizational Leadership
- Online MS in Management with concentrations like Organizational Leadership, Organizational Leadership and Change, Executive Coaching
- Online MS in Organizational Development
- Online MA in Leadership and Management
- Online MS in Leadership and Management
- Online MBA with concentrations like Leadership, Strategic Leadership and Management in Global Business, Nonprofit Leadership, Corporate Innovation, Executive, Virtuous Leadership
- Online MPS with concentrations like Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Organizational Leadership, Psychology of Leadership, Organization Development and Change
- Online MSA with an Organizational Leadership concentration
- Online Master of Management and Leadership
- Online MS in Organizational Leadership and Management
- Online MS in Leadership
- Online MA in Leadership
- Online MS in Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership
- Online MS in Management, Strategy and Leadership
- Online MA in Communication Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership
- Online MS in Operations Management
- Online MS in Organizational Change Leadership
- Online MS in Administration with a Leadership concentration
- Online MS in Technology with a concentration in Organizational Leadership
- Online MS in Strategic Management
- Online MA in Leadership, Public Policy & Social Issues
- Online Master’s in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership
- Online MS in Organizational Performance
- Online MS in Leadership and Coaching
- Online MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
- Online Master of Applied Leadership and Management
The more society progresses, the higher our needs become for well-educated leaders who are capable of inspiring their employees to evolve with this forward momentum. Regardless of what field you’re in or trying to enter, a master’s degree program in organizational leadership will allow you to climb the ranks and become the leader you wish to be.
While an MBA program might offer a broad foundation for all things business, master’s programs in organizational leadership are often shorter, more accessible and focus mainly on the principles of leadership. They can then be utilized in virtually any career field–not just business.
If you’re already a working professional, today’s continuously improving world of online education offers you hundreds of options for earning a degree while working part- or full-time. Most of the degree programs here list are asynchronous. This means you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time or day. They allow you to take as few as one course at a time, and most of them will allow you to work at the degree for five or more years, in case life throws in any interruptions. Only a few of them require any kind of face-to-face interactions, but they all offer the exact same diploma you would receive as an on-campus student. Many of these degree programs even offer the chance for you to tailor your class assignments to the job you already have.
These are graduate school programs so you need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in order to apply. The MBA programs may want you to have a business-related bachelor’s degree, but most of the leadership programs don’t discriminate. Like most master’s degree programs, some of those listed below expect you to have at least two years of related work experience, but there are plenty listed that will accept you regardless of your work history.
Hopefully, if a position of leadership is your goal, one or more of the programs we’ve researched and ranked below will be the right fit for you!
To keep things simple and straightforward in our search and evaluation of master’s in leadership online programs, we focused on the schools’ cost and return on investment, academic quality, online support system and unique features that stand out in the crowd.
We began our research process with a general search and by consulting other reputable college ranking sites (like U.S. News, The Princeton Review, College Choice and more) to gather around 200 of the best online colleges and universities offering a graduate degree program in organizational leadership or related studies. These include the various degree titles listed above. We also made it a point to seek out such programs that have yet to be featured on a “Top Organizational Leadership Degree Programs” ranking.
From there, we utilized the Rating and Ranking Methodology below to whittle the list down to the 50 most inexpensive Master’s in Organizational Leadership degree programs. To find the cheapest colleges, we compared each school’s Net Price, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database. NCES describes this cost as being for “Full-time beginning undergraduate students who paid the in-state or in-district tuition rate and were awarded grant or scholarship aid from federal, state or local governments, or the institution (2016-17).” We then ranked that list using the point system below so that we could highlight those that are the most affordable while offering flexibility, quality, and accessibility.
All enrollment figures are gathered directly from each school, unless otherwise noted. Retention rates are as reported by NCES.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition (as reported by the NCES)
- Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
- Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
- Net Price Below $18,000: 2 points
- Net Price Below $20,000: 1 point
Academic Quality of the Program
- Student-Faculty Ratio: <10:1 (3 points), <15:1 (2 points) and <20:1 (1 point) *student-faculty ratios are as reported by NCES, unless otherwise stated
- ROI (as reported by Payscale’s most recent “2018 College ROI Report”): Among the top 50 schools (3 points), top 100 schools (2 points) and top 150 schools (1 point)
- Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Each
- Format Flexibility (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Each
- Online Student Support Network—1 Point Per Item
- 1 point per University-wide and program-specific accreditors
- 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
50. Bethune-Cookman University
Daytona Beach, FL
MS in Organizational Leadership Online
Grad Student Enrollment: 153
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1 (according to B-CU)
Formerly Bethune-Cookman College, Bethune-Cookman University is an HBCU that achieved university status in 2007. Currently on a SACSCOC 2018-19 Probation, B-CU enrolls 3,773 total students with a 67 percent retention rate. Governed by a board of trustees, B-CU is affiliated with The United Methodist Church. Its Global Online College is the first college or university in Florida to have its 11 online degrees nationally certified by the United States Distance Learning Association.
The four-semester MSOL online offers a rigorous curriculum with extensive study of leadership strategies. In this 39-credit program, you’ll use “action research” to address real-world problems in a cohort format. It’s interdisciplinary and designed for working adults. These online courses are only available during the fall and spring semesters. You can choose between thesis or non-thesis tracks. Applicants are expected to submit a GRE score in addition to having a 2.75 cumulative undergraduate GPA.
Net Price: $17,313 ($750 per credit)
49. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, CO
Online MS in Management – Organizational Leadership and Change
Grad Student Enrollment: over 3,000 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 28:1
Colorado Technical University is a for-profit college with two campuses and over 90 percent of its students earning their degrees completely through online courses. Accredited by the Higher Learning Comission (HLC), CTU is governed by a board of trustees. It enrolls over 25,500 (NCES) total students with a 44 percent retention rate classes. It offers courses on a 5.5-week schedule online or 11-week schedule on-campus. CTU is unique in that it employs a personalized learning system called intellipath™, which uses an “adaptive learning technology” to tailor your course materials according to what you already know and what you’re ready to learn. With this, you can complete your master’s in leadership online up to 30 percent faster with prior learning credits.
Colorado Tech’s master’s in organizational leadership and change is a 48-credit, fully-online MS in management. For this program, classes begin every eight weeks. Twenty of the required credit hours are devoted to the concentration in organizational leadership and change. It includes courses like:
- IT Management
- Strategic Management in Dynamic Environments
- Leadership and Organizational Power
Additionally at CTU, you can choose from an online MBA with a concentration in global leadership, which is programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Net Price: $15,888 ($585 per credit hour)
48. Calvary University
Kansas City, MO
Online MS in Organizational Development
Grad Student Enrollment: 71
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Calvary University is a private, nonprofit Christian university offering seminary, on-campus and online degree programs. Located 30 minutes from downtown Kansas City, Calvary enrolls 346 total students (2018-19) with a retention rate of 74 percent. It also has an Innovation Center in Colorado. Calvary is accredited by the HLC and the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Additionally, Calvary has reciprocal articulation agreements with four other colleges, allowing students to seek degrees that it doesn’t offer. Its Online Campus utilizes the Canvas class management system, but the online classes are created via video recordings of campus classes.
Its MS in organizational development online is one of the offerings from the Graduate School. This 36-credit-hour program is designed for both pastors and professionals to develop skills for “improving an organization’s effectiveness according to a biblical worldview.” Available on-campus in the evenings or in a modular online format, Calvary’s master’s degrees appeal to working adult students. However, admission to the master’s in leadership online does require an undergraduate degree from a Bible college. Culminating in a practicum, the curriculum includes courses like:
- Group Development & Facilitation
- Managerial Economics
- Biblical Leadership
Net Price: $13,671 ($437 per credit, but military and full-time ministry workers only pay $225 per credit)
47. Concordia University, St. Paul
Saint Paul, MN
Online MA in Leadership and Management
Grad Student Enrollment: around 2,000 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Founded in 1893, Concordia University, St. Paul is a private Christian university that’s affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It enrolls 4,792 total students with a 65 percent retention rate. Concordia’s campus is located less than 10 minutes from downtown of both of the Twin Cities. Governed by a board of regents, it’s accredited by the HLC and has an ROI ranking of 438 from Payscale. Concordia Online offers career-focused degree programs and includes informational online student resources, like guides and infographics.
CSP’s MA in leadership and management requires 36 credit hours and can be completed fully-online, on-campus or as a combination of the two. The online courses run seven weeks at a time and include subjects like Project and Quality Management and Strategic Organizational Research. Its curriculum is designed to teach you how to balance intersocial relationships and business skills. The GMAT/GRE aren’t required for admission to any of Concordia’s graduate programs, and the school will cover the cost of your transcripts. Plus, the application is free.
As another available option, you may be interested in choosing the online MA in criminal justice leadership.
Net Price: $19,714 ($475 per credit)
46. California Miramar University
San Diego, CA
Online MBA in Strategic Leadership and Management in Global Business
Grad Student Enrollment: around 120 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
California Miramar University is a for-profit college that’s nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Enrolling 207 students in 2018, CMU has an 85 percent student retention rate. Its strategic leadership master’s degree program had an 88 percent retention rate. CMU’s distance programs come with student support services like research assistance. It’s also a member of the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program.
The online MBA at CMU requires 39 total credit hours and culminates with a business strategy capstone course. Any necessary business prerequisites are available in an accelerated format in case your undergraduate degree doesn’t have a business background. Otherwise, online classes are every eight weeks. Students who choose the hybrid format only attend class once per week. The Strategic Leadership and Management in Global Business concentration area includes courses like:
- Organizational Innovation and Change
- Entrepreneurial Business in the Digital and Virtual Environment
- and Coaching, Mentoring and Team Dynamics
Net Price: $9,910 ($585 per credit hour)
45. Grand View University
Des Moines, IA
Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 212 (NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1 (according to Grand View)
Founded in 1896, Grand View University is a private college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Accredited by the HLC, Grand View is a Yellow Ribbon participant. The university is described as “Leadership Inspired.” Enrolling 2,000 total students, GVU has a 67 percent retention rate. Launched in Fall 2017, GV Online now offers 19 fully online degree programs with student services like online math and writing labs.
Among its four graduate school majors, Grand View offers an online MS in organizational leadership. Its 30 required credits are completable within 21 months for most students. The online courses, which start every eight weeks, are structured for working professionals. This curriculum is versatile when it comes to career fields in which it’s applicable. It includes unique aspects like the mentoring/coaching course and an optional three-day on-campus intensive. Applicants are expected to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a two-year minimum of work experience. However, GRE/GMAT scores are not required for this master’s in leadership online.
Net Price: $18,442 ($402 per credit, plus a $25 online course fee)
44. University of Maryland
College Park, MD
Online MPS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Grad Student Enrollment: 10,438
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Founded in 1856, the University of Maryland is a flagship public research university and the largest university in the state and DC Metropolitan area. Enrolling more than 41,000 students with a 96 percent retention rate, UMD has ROI rankings on Payscale of 81 (in-state students) and 136 (out-of-staters). It’s accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), UMD’s students come from all 50 states and 118 different countries. Online master’s degrees are available through the Office of Extended Studies, which places a focus on professional graduate programs.
UMD’s online master of professional studies in industrial/organizational psychology is one of the more unique programs on this list. The curriculum offers a broad foundation of organizational topics, like research and statistical methods in business, as well as methods of motivating, selecting and developing employees. The main gist of the 30-credit program is “the study of people in formal organizations.” This program is offered through the Department of Psychology in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. It can be completed in as few as 15 months. However, it does require some evening, face-to-face classes. Courses include Selection and Classification Issues In Organizations and Managing Strategic Organizational Change.
Net Price: $17,241 ($731 per credit)
43. University of South Dakota
Online MSA – Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 2,476
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Founded in 1862, the University of South Dakota is a public research institution. It’s the state’s flagship and oldest university. In addition to its beautiful 274-acre main campus, USD has three off-campus centers in the state and online programs. Enrolling more than 10,000 total students, USD has a 72 percent retention rate and ROI rankings via Payscale of 897 and 948. Institutionally accredited by the HLC, USD Online includes 40+ programs and online resources like a writing center and career assistance.
USD Onlines MS in Administration is a cross-disciplinary program that offers organizational leadership as one of its seven specialization areas. Designed for working adults, this program mostly benefits mid-career professionals in a variety of settings, public and private. Requiring a total of 36 credit hours (12 for the OL specialization), the curriculum includes courses like Facilitation & Conflict Management and Leading Organizational Change. Admissions looks for an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a minimum of three years of professional experience.
Net Price: $16,647 ($465.80 per credit hour)
42. Campbellsville University
Online Master of Management and Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 1,300 (2017)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Founded as a Baptist institution in 1906, Campbellsville University is a private Christian college with off-campus centers/instructional sites online, across Kentucky and in California, in addition to its main campus. It enrolls over 5,000 total students with a 66 percent retention rate. It’s accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Governed by a board of trustees, Campbellsville offers career and program-specific online resources for its distance students.
The master of management and leadership requires 30 credit hours of eight-week courses, and can take around two years to complete. The curriculum is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. It offers a Christian values context and a capstone course, where you’ll complete a portfolio and guided project. GRE/GMAT scores are only required if your undergraduate GPA is below a 3.0. This master’s in leadership online accepts up to 12 transfer credits. Courses include Managing Diversity and Organizational Theory.
Net Price: $16,523 ($479 per credit)
41. Trine University (Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses)
Fort Wayne, IN
MS in Leadership Online
Grad Student Enrollment: around 550 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1 (according to Trine)
Formerly known as Tri-State University, Trine University is a private, nonprofit university that was founded in 1884. Its 450-acre main campus is located in Angola, IN, but it also has online and regional campuses in Indiana and Michigan. Enrolling 5,184 total students with a 50 percent retention rate, Trine offers an average class size of 19 students. It’s governed by a board of trustees and accredited by the HLC. Payscale ranked it 553rd for its ROI. Through TrineOnline, new classes begin every eight weeks, and its academic tutors are available any time of day or night.
TrineOnline students also benefit from free Microsoft Office software and life-long access to its online career services. The online MS in leadership requires 31 credit hours and is designed for working professionals. The curriculum is entirely online and completable in as little as one year. It’s free to apply to Trine, and it will accept up to 90 eligible transfer credits. Courses include:
- Legal Issues in Organizational Leadership
- Group Dynamics within Organizations
- Organizational Systems in a Global Context
Net Price: $16,645 ($354 per credit for the MSL)
40. Lehman College (CUNY)
Online MS in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 2,152
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Founded in 1931, Lehman College is a senior independent college in the CUNY system with a 37-acre campus in New York. It enrolls more than 14,130 students and has an 83 percent retention rate. Lehman has ROI rankings of 791 and 914 by Payscale. It’s accredited by the MSCHE. Out of its 40+ master’s degree programs, three are available through online learning. Lehman Online offers student support like advising and online tutoring in writing and select other courses, through both their tutors and a service called NetTutor.
Coming in Fall 2019, Lehman’s online master of science in organizational leadership will offer a 30-credit curriculum. It will include courses like Holistic Leadership and Leveraging Human Capital. It is 100 percent online and completable in just 12 months. Its courses emphasize interpersonal skills and are based on the School of Education’s Lehman Urban Transformative Education conceptual framework. Plus, they are available in all four semesters:
GRE/GMAT scores are not required for admission, but admissions does favor applicants who are already working and have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Not only does Lehman have the cheapest net price on this list, but its incredibly low per-credit cost also makes it the most affordable college in this ranking.
Net Price: $2,939 ($227.50 per credit for NYS residents and $415 for non-residents)
39. Columbia Southern University
Orange Beach, AL
Online MS in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 5,768 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 65:1
Columbia Southern University is a private, family-owned for-profit college that has been offering online degree programs for over 25 years. A subsidiary of Columbia Southern Education Group, CSU is an accredited member of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Enrolling 20,818 (NCES) total students, CSU has a 50 percent student retention rate. Upon enrolling, every student receives a Comprehensive Degree Report (CDR) from academic advisors. You’ll also benefit from online student services like the Success Center (tutoring), career services and more. Finally, as part of the university’s “Ways to Save,” CSU offers free textbooks to its students, as well as eTextbook courses and textbook-free courses (also Knight tuition discount if you got your bachelor’s degree at CSU).
CSU’s online MS in organizational leadership requires 36 total credits, but accepts up to 18 transfer credits. This program’s curriculum includes six elective credits, and it focuses on:
- current and emerging leadership theories
- best practices and skills
- knowledge of global events and diverse cultures
- tools used to enable organizational innovation, creativity and change in complex work environments.
Each online course term lasts about eight weeks with 11 start dates. Otherwise, CSU offers a LifePace Learning program, which enables you to progress through a single course in as little as four weeks or up to 18 weeks–whichever fits best for your life. LifePace also allows you to continue your enrollment through all 365 days of the year. If you’re leaning more toward project management instead of organizational leadership, CSU offers an online MBA program in project management.
Net Price: $11,061 ($315 per credit)
38. Piedmont International University
Online MA in Leadership and Online MBA with a Concentration in Nonprofit Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 198 (Spring 2018)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 10:1 (according to Piedmont’s website)
Piedmont International University is a private Christian college that enrolled 716 students in Spring 2018 and has a 63 percent student retention rate. Offering Bible-centered higher education, Piedmont awarded over $1.6 million in financial aid to 96 percent of its students during 2017-18. PIU is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) and the Association of Christian Schools International. Piedmont offers online courses in seven-week formats and six enrollment dates annually. Here, online students benefit from class sizes of 15 or fewer, and three different online learning formats.
The 36-credit-hour online master of arts degree in leadership at PIU prepares you for multi-dimensional applications and can be completed in two years. This online master’s program includes research activities and a leadership capstone course, in addition to 12 hours of elective courses. Piedmont’s online MBA program is also just 36 credit hours, and it offers a nine-hour concentration option in non-profit leadership. While the MBA requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for admission, the MAL only requires a 2.5. However, the MAL does require a research portfolio, project or thesis for graduation.
Net Price: $12,054 ($375 per credit hour)
37. Peirce College
Online MS in Organizational Leadership & Management
Grad Student Enrollment: around 90 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Founded in 1865 to serve Civil War veterans, Peirce College is a private nonprofit university geared toward helping working professionals earn degrees. It enrolls around 1,500 (NCES) total students with a 100 percent student retention rate. Accredited by the MSCHE, Peirce has been offering online degree programs since 2000. The graduate program per-credit tuition rate is much higher than that of its undergraduate degree programs. However, Peirce offers incentives like a $500+ tuition discount and free textbooks for students who start classes on a particular date. Additionally, Peirce offers a bachelor’s to master’s program in organizational leadership and management that saves you almost $10,000.
Peirce’s 36-credit online master of science in organizational leadership and management is designed to prepare you for careers in:
- organizational change
- and leadership.
You have the choice to study online, on the Philadelphia campus or a combination of both. Thanks to the program Peirce Fit, you have the option to switch back and forth from online to in-person sessions throughout each course. Fully-online students can complete this program within two years by taking just one seven-week course at a time. Otherwise, it’s completable in just 18 months of full-time study. This psychology-related program has a career focus, accepts up to six eligible transfer credits and offers three annual start dates. The minimum GPA required for admission is 2.75. Admissions will have an answer for you within two weeks after you’ve submitted all of the required documents.
Net Price: $8,932 ($772 per master’s program credit hour)
36. Newman University
Online MBA in Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 607
Student-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Founded in 1933 by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Newman University is a private Catholic college with a main campus in Wichita and multiple outreach sites throughout Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma. Accredited by the HLC, Newman enrolls a total of 3,378 students (2018) with an 80 percent retention rate and a 692 ROI ranking. Newman offers helpful student services like free tutoring and assistance through its Project Care.
Newman’s MBA program is available exclusively online through its School of Business. It’s completable in as few as 12 months. The class schedules are flexible, designed for working adults with start dates every eight weeks. The curriculum requires 36 total credit hours and includes case-study instructional methods. The MBA’s concentration in leadership is comprised of four, three-credit courses, like Leadership Theory and The Emotionally Intelligent Executive. For admission, Newman looks for a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA, but the GMAT is not required; nor is work experience. If you’re interested in the nonprofit route of organizational leadership, Newman also offers a joint Master of Social Work/MBA program.
Net Price: $14,663 ($639 per credit hour)
35. Johnson University
Online MBA with a Concentration in Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 227 (108 online in 2018)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1 (online and at the Tennessee campus)
Founded in 1893, Johnson University is a private Christian college system consisting of campuses in Tennessee and Florida, as well as online offerings and “ExtendEd” sites across the country. With accreditation from the SACSCOC, Johnson is governed by a board of trustees. It enrolls around 1,300 total students with a 79 percent retention rate, and it has been offering distance learning for over a century. Johnson Online offers seven- to eight-week online classes and student support services like career counseling and online academic coaching.
Johnson’s 36-credit-hour MBA online has a concentration in leadership, as well as other options in management and nonprofit management. This curriculum is designed for “advanced preparation for leadership roles in business settings” from a Christian perspective. Culminating in a capstone project, this program offers two start dates in each of the three terms, and you have up to seven years to complete it. Finally, you can take your organizational leadership studies further with Johnson’s Advanced Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies or its online doctorate in leadership studies with a concentration option in organizational leadership.
Net Price: $15,639 ($575 per credit hour)
34. University of Idaho
Online MS in Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 2,273
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1 (according to U of I)
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s public, land-grant research university with a residential main campus, as well as:
- educational centers
- a research extension center
- extension offices across 42 counties in the state
Enrolling 11,841 total students with an 82 percent retention rate, U of I is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Payscale ranked its ROI at 306 and 459. It has an annual research fund of $109.5 million.
Out of the 90 graduate programs available at U of I, the Division of Distance and Extended Education (DEE) offers 25 graduate degree programs online. The MS in adult, organizational learning and leadership is designed to prepare you as a leader for a wide range of fields, from higher education to business and government agencies or nonprofits. The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 30 semester hours, and then the thesis option requires an additional three credits. The program will accept up to 12 approved transfer credits. You’ll take courses like Organizational Leadership and Career Development in Organizations.
Additionally, you have the opportunity to combine this program with a professional certificate in human resource development. A doctorate with an AOLL specialization and a graduate certificate in organizational dynamics are available as well.
Net Price: $14,997 ($520 per credit for in-state; $1,499 per credit for non-Idaho residents)
33. Grace Christian University
Online MA in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 25 (current enrollment in the online MAOL)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Grace Christian University is a Christian college affiliated with the Grace Gospel Fellowship, offering Bible-centered degree programs. Grace receives accreditation from both the HLC and the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Located in West Michigan, Grace enrolls almost 900 total students with a 61 percent retention rate. Grace’s online offerings include student resources like:
- an Online Writing Lab and free writing skills workshops
- free Microsoft Office
- Grace ACE academic assistance
- a Chapel podcast
- career resources and more
Grace’s 30-credit-hour master of arts in organizational leadership is a newer program, utilizing leadership models and theories, as well as practical application in its curriculum. It’s designed with a focus on the human side of leadership, drawing from fields like sociology and philosophy. Don’t have a bachelor’s yet? This program can be completed as a combined, five-year bachelor’s/master’s degree that can help you save over $5,000. Finally, Grace’s application is free and graduate school applicants are only required to have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5.
Net Price: $13,904 ($420 per credit hour or $250 for military members)
32. Cameron University
MS in Organizational Leadership Online
Grad Student Enrollment: 393
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Named after a Baptist minister, Cameron University is a state-funded college that started class on Statehood Day in 1909. Here, 4,355 students were enrolled during Spring 2017 with a 65 percent retention rate. You’ll rarely find a class size of more than 40 students. The HLC accredits the university, and its MBA program is accredited by the ACBSP. The Cameron University Guarantee offers free additional education to anyone whose employers deem that educational standards have not been met. Through Distance Learning, students at Cameron can take classes asynchronously through online, a hybrid format or Interactive Television (ITV), which are interactive, live broadcasted courses.
Cameron offers the second cheapest online master’s program in organizational leadership on this list! This 33-credit (minimum) MSOL positions graduates for jobs within the military, the government and corporate ventures. The curriculum culminates in a capstone experience with thesis or non-thesis options, but those who choose the non-thesis route must pass a written comprehensive exam by the Department of Business.
Cameron’s online business degree program admissions are a bit tighter, requiring a minimum undergrad GPA of 3.0, a minimum GMAT of 500 or a high enough test score/GPA combination. Online students at Cameron can also benefit from an online writing center, advising every semester before class registration and several scholarships from the Business Department.
Net Price: $8,410 ($275-345 per master’s program credit hour)
31. Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
Online MS in Management, Strategy and Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 11,023
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Founded in 1855, Michigan State University is a large public research university that is the first land-grant school. It’s governed by a board of trustees and accredited by the HLC and the AACSB. Located on a 5,200-acre main campus, Michigan Extension reaches into the state’s 83 counties and offers 140 online, blended and off-campus programs. It enrolls more than 50,000 students with a 91 percent retention rate. It ranks 223rd and 413th by Payscale for its ROI.
MSU’s Broad College of Business is AACSB-accredited and one of the nation’s largest business schools. It offers a new 30-credit MS in management, strategy and leadership. With an accelerated time frame, all 15 online courses in this program run as sequential five-week modules, so you can complete it in fewer than two years. To apply, you should have a minimum of three year’s experience working as a full-time manager. MSU would also like to see a minimum 3.0 GPA or GMAT scores if yours is lower.
Net Price: $16,684 ($1,090 per credit)
30. Amridge University
Online MS in Leadership and Management
Grad Student Enrollment: 353 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
At Amridge University, distance learning is the primary form of instruction. This isn’t the first time we’ve ranked it among our best online colleges and most affordable schools. Founded in 1967, Amridge is a private, nonprofit university that has taught via online education since 1993. It has a Christian heritage and is accredited by the SACSCOC. With a 67 percent retention rate, Amridge enrolls 675 total students. It’s the cheapest college (lowest net price) on our list. Amridge is not just military friendly–it also offers discounted tuition rates to law enforcement and first responders.
Online students at Amridge can choose from eight, 10 and 14-week course schedules with part- or full-time enrollment. Here, you could also take advantage of the Laptop Program, which gets you a Lenovo 100e, HP Chromebook or Microsoft-branded computer, a one-year warranty and free Office 365 software all for just $375. The online MS in leadership and management is 40 semester hours (25 of which need to come from Amridge), and you only need to maintain above a 2.0 GPA if you plan for further study. The curriculum includes courses like Theories of Motivational Leadership and Spiritual Leadership within the Organization.
In addition to the online master of science, Amridge offers an online MBA, a PhD program in organizational leadership and an MS in ministerial leadership, which is among our top affordable online master’s programs in theology.
Net Price: $6,849 ($650-750 per semester hour, plus fees; over 90% of students qualify for Federal Financial Aid)
29. Charleston Southern University
Online MA in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 472
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1 (according to Charleston Southern)
Affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Charleston Southern University is a private university enrolling 3,650 total students with a 66 percent retention rate. It’s accredited by the SACSCOC and governed by a board of trustees. Charleston Southern Online offers online resources, one-on-one advising and online career services, like mock interviews and job searches.
The MA-OL online degree program is designed to prepare you for leadership roles in business, nonprofits or government. In this 33-credit-hour curriculum, every online course is infused with leadership development competencies. Some course examples include:
- Power and Influence
- Executive Communications
- Leadership Dynamics and Decisions
Net Price: $17,858 ($625 per credit hour)
28. Granite State College
Online MS in Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 437
Student-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Granite State College is a member college of the University System of New Hampshire. It’s focused on providing an affordable college education to working adults through evening, weekend and online courses. Granite enrolls a total of 3,152 students with 13 percent being military members or veterans. Its graduate school student retention rate is 88 percent. Regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), GSC also partners with the Community College of the Airforce (CCAF).
GSC’s MS in leadership online degree program offers a deep perspective of organizational management while enhancing your leadership skills. It’s available fully online, but you have the opportunity to also take blended or hybrid courses. This 30-credit master’s in leadership online curriculum includes courses like:
- Cultivating Your Leadership Capabilities
- Maximizing Your Organization’s Potential
- Change Management and Communication
Additionally, GSC will accept up to 90 transfer credits, including course credit for prior knowledge. Plus, its online students benefit from GSC’s Career Planning System, as well as other resources and six-week courses with continuous enrollment.
Net Price: $12,905 ($538-$575 per credit)
27. Southern Wesleyan University
MS in Management & Leadership Online and MBA with a Concentration in Leadership Online
Grad Student Enrollment: 325 online
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1 (according to SWU)
Founded in 1906, Southern Wesleyan University is a private, nonprofit Christian college affiliated with The Wesleyan Church. Located on 350 acres in scenic upstate South Carolina, SWU is institutionally accredited by the SACSCOC. It enrolls 1,551 total students with a 77 percent retention rate, and offers four graduate degree programs. Its faith-integrated online degree programs come with student support services like personal academic success coaches and program-embedded online tutors.
Through the Benson School of Business at SWU, you can choose from two leadership-focused online master’s programs: the master’s in management and leadership or the MBA in leadership. The 30-credit-hour MSML is designed to prepare you as a leader in a variety of organizations with a curriculum focused on leading teams and managing change and innovation. It offers four concentration areas that you must choose one from:
- healthcare administration
- project and quality management
- human resources
The 36-credit-hour MBA in leadership online focuses more on quantitative business skills. Its average completion rate is 18 to 24 months. Its leadership concentration will prepare you for executive and strategic leadership positions. Both fully-online degree programs are centered on servant leadership based on Christian principle, and neither the GRE nor the GMAT are required to apply. There are seven-week online classes, and the 15-minute application only costs $25.
Net Price: $16,008 ($565 per credit)
26. University of Saint Francis
Fort Wayne, IN
Master of Organizational Leadership Online
Grad Student Enrollment: 416 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Founded in 1890, the University of Saint Francis is a private, nonprofit college in Indiana that promotes Catholic and Franciscan values. It enrolls more than 2,300 total students with a 74 percent retention rate (according to USF). USF is accredited by the HLC. It has a 935 ROI ranking with Payscale, and most of its online degrees can be completed within 12 months. It’s free to apply to USF, which offers six start dates per year.
Online students at USF benefit from the support of personal Success Coaches, as well as mentors and SmarThinking tutoring. Its online master of organizational leadership is also available. By taking two eight-week courses per semester, you can complete this MOL in one year. Its curriculum is strategy-driven and promotes change management. The core is comprised of 24 credits, with classes like Leading the Strategic Plan Process, but you can also choose from one of the following concentrations:
- For-Profit Organization
- Healthcare Services
- Higher Education
- Nonprofit Organization
Finally, you can transfer up to 15 credits to this program.
Net Price: $18,204 ($525 per credit)
25. Lindenwood University
Saint Charles, MO
Online MA in Leadership and Online MBA with a Leadership Emphasis
Grad Student Enrollment: 2,891
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1 (according to Lindenwood)
Founded in 1827, Lindenwood University is a private liberal arts university that enrolls around 10,000 total students with a 73 percent retention rate. Accredited by the HLC, Lindenwood is rooted in Judeo-Christian values and has an ROI ranking of 1,072. It has two major campuses in Missouri and Illinois, as well as multiple locations throughout those states. Its online courses are available in eight- and 16-week formats. Distance students benefit from support like SmartThinking tutoring and a writing center.
Lindenwood’s ACBSP-accredited Robert W. Plaster School of Business & Entrepreneurship offers both an online MA in leadership and an online MBA with a leadership emphasis. The 36-credit-hour master of arts program is available in traditional, blended and online formats. Its emphasis in leadership includes courses like Contemporary Issues in Leadership and Operations Management. It requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better for admission. You may have to take some foundational courses if your bachelor’s degree isn’t in business.
Additionally, the MBA in leadership can require anywhere from 39 to 54 total credit hours, plus 12 credits for the emphasis. This curriculum offers a broader range of education, but the emphasis includes courses like Leadership Theory and Organizational Change and Development. These online classes are available in five, eight-week terms throughout the year.
Net Price: $17,305 ($495 per credit hour)
24. Medaille College
Online MA in Organizational Leadership and Online MBA with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 659
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1 (according to Medaille)
Medaille College is a private four-year college with campuses in Buffalo, Rochester and online. Accredited by the MSCHE, Medaille has a strong focus on career training through practical learning. Enrolling over 2,000 total students in 2016, Medaille has a 61 percent student retention rate. Medaille Online offers FLEX programs, where you can design your own schedule with courses that fit your interests. Additionally, online students benefit from services like Smarthinking, an online tutoring service and career services like online interview practice.
Accredited by the IACBE, the MA in organizational leadership at Medaille requires 30 credits with seven-week courses. You can begin it during any semester, and you can complete it in as little as one year. Otherwise, Medaille’s online MBA program offers a concentration in organizational leadership. Also IACBE-accredited, the MBA requires 30-42 credits and has a “Fast Forward” track that is completable in just one year. The Department of Business, Management & Leadership offers both of these programs, in which you can enroll part- or full-time with hybrid opportunities at the Rochester or Buffalo campuses. To apply, the only ‘stipulation’ these programs have is that you include your resume.
Net Price: $11,980 ($895 per credit for the MBA and MAOL with a 5 percent discount per credit for active-duty military)
23. Belhaven University
Online MS in Leadership and Online MBA with Leadership Concentration
Grad Student Enrollment: over 1,200
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1 (according to Belhaven)
Founded in 1883, Belhaven University (formerly Belhaven College) is a private Christian university with a residential campus located in the capital of Mississippi. Enrolling 4,500 total students with a 63 percent retention rate, Belhaven offers additional physical locations in Tennessee, Texas, Florida and Georgia. It’s accredited by the SACSCOC and the IACBE. Belhaven Online offers more than 30 areas of study taught from a Christian worldview perspective. Every online student has a student services representative.
The online master of science in leadership program at Belhaven requires 36 credit hours, and it caters to adult professionals. With online courses in eight-week terms, this curriculum includes project team activities and concentration options in human resources or ministry. You can transfer up to six credit hours, and you only need a 2.5 undergraduate GPA for admission.
As another route, you can earn a graduate certificate in leadership or enter the MBA program online with a concentration in leadership. This 42-credit-hour curriculum offers a focused study of situations you may face in a leadership role. The MBA requires an undergrad GPA of 2.8 for admission, and you must have completed college algebra or a higher mathematics course. All options are available in full-, part-time and hybrid formats.
Net Price: $17,783 ($550 per credit or $375 for active-duty military and $440 for veterans and spouses)
22. Trident University
Online MS in Leadership and Online MBA with a Concentration in Strategic Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 3,922 (2016)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Established in 1998, Trident University is a for-profit, private online university based in California. It’s regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and is approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Governed by a board of trustees, Trident offers an online-specific “Robust Learning Model” (RLM) and EdActive™ Learning approach, which is case-based as opposed to standard testing methods. Additionally, Trident offers military-friendly degree programs that make it easier to turn your unique professional experience into transfer credits. It enrolls almost 10,800 total students and has a 23 percent student retention rate.
Both of Trident’s online master’s in leadership degree programs are offered through its Glenn R. Jones College of Business. Its MS in leadership online is designed to train you “in all facets of organizational leadership.” This curriculum requires 36 semester credit hours and offers monthly courses. Otherwise, you can earn an MBA online, concentrated in strategic leadership, which can be completed as an added-on 16-credit certificate. This curriculum can range from 44 to 50 semester hours. Finally, entrance exams like the GMAT and GRE are not required for either program, and you only need an undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Plus, they do not require any expenses toward books, supplies or course materials.
Net Price: $13,417 ($325-$540 per credit, depending on whether you’re active duty military, a veteran or a civilian)
21. The University of Alabama
MA in Communication Studies, specialization in Organizational Leadership (Online) and MS in Operations Management (Online)
Grad Student Enrollment: 4,916
Student-Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Founded in 1831, The University of Alabama is public research university and the state’s flagship college with a 1,200-acre main campus. Enrolling 38,392 total students with an 87 percent retention rate, it has Payscale ROI rankings of 484 and 734. Classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a doctoral university with Very High Research Activity, UA is accredited by SACSCOC. Through Bama By Distance, you can take blended or online courses with the help of student services like a writing center and course-based tutoring.
UA offers a unique organizational leadership degree program: the online MA in communication studies with a specialization in organizational leadership. This fully online curriculum prepares you with communication-backed leadership skills applicable in any workplace. Twelve out of the 30 required credit hours are dedicated to the OL specialization, and the program has no advanced math requirements. At the end of the program, you can choose between the professional (capstone portfolio) or academic (comprehensive exam) options.
As another option, the 30-credit-hour online MS in operations managements is AACSB-accredited and completely online. This curriculum focuses more on the operational aspects of a business, compared to the human focus of most organizational leadership programs. Additionally, you can choose between a track in operations management or decision analytics. For both programs, applications are accepted year-round, and they’re looking for an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (3.3 for the MSOM). They also require GRE or GMAT scores. Finally, both programs can be completed within two years by taking only two classes each semester.
Net Price: $19,993 ($394 per credit hour)
20. University of Delaware
Online MBA with an Area of Emphasis in Strategic Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 4,164
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Established in 1743, The University of Delaware is a public research university and the largest college in the state. It’s a state-assisted land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university, offering degree programs online and at locations across the state. It enrolls 24,120 total students with a 91 percent retention rate and ROI rankings of 141 and 228. Governed by a board of trustees, UD is accredited by the MSCHE. UD Online offers numerous virtual career sources and unique accessibility, such as on-demand video lectures via your phone.
UD Online’s MBA program is AACSB-accredited and completable in as few as 16 months. Available through the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, this program can be 100 percent online or in a blended format. With just the strategic leadership concentration, the curriculum is 44 credits, but you can combine two or more concentrations. The courses are seven weeks long, including subjects like Positive Leadership Theory and Practice and Managing the Global Enterprise. You don’t need an undergraduate background in business to apply, and the GMAT score requirement can be waived for some applicants.
Net Price: $16,286 ($900 per credit hour)
19. Post University
Online MBA in Corporate Innovation or Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 696 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Founded in 1890, Post University is a private, for-profit university that offers career-focused degree programs online and on its traditional New England campus. Governed by a board of trustees, Post enrolls 8,540 total students (NCES) with a 39 percent student retention rate. Regionally accredited by the NECHE, Post University Online offers six, eight-week accelerated terms each year for its online degree programs, which are the same as those on campus. Students at a distance can benefit from the Learning Center, which offers online-friendly resources, like:
- Internet-based educational programs
- computer-assisted instruction
- online tutoring from Tutor.com
- a writing center
- educational instruction via CD-ROM and video programs
The online MBA at Post is ACBSP-accredited is available completely online, on-campus or as a combination of the two. Available through the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business, this MBA program requires 36 credits and the choice of a concentration, like leadership or corporate innovation. In the leadership concentration, you’ll take classes like Innovating Leadership and Management and a culminating capstone project. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below a 3.0 must receive permission from the Dean to be accepted. The MBA program expects applicants to have three years of work experience.
Net Price: $18,220 ($730 per credit hour)
18. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Online MS in Organizational Change Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: around 1,000
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Founded in 1866, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is a public college within the UW System. Accredited by the HLC, UWP also holds membership with organizations like the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership (WWHEL). UW-Platteville operates three physical campuses in addition to many online degree programs. It enrolls over 8,600 total students. Retention for its online graduate school students is 86 percent, and it ranks at 177 and 215 on Payscale’s ROI database.
UWP’s distance education does not require any entrance exams, and you can earn credits for your life and work experiences. A maximum of 12 credits may be transferred toward the master of science in organizational change leadership degree program at UWP online. This program requires 30-39 credits, and you can choose from one of four optional areas of emphasis:
- Human Resources
- Safety Risk Control
- Project Management
While the program is completable in as little as two years, about 95 percent of UWP’s online students are enrolled part-time. You have up to seven years to earn the degree. Courses run on 16-week sessions (10 weeks in the summer). This program requires an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 for admission.
Net Price: $14,363 ($665 per credit, including some fees)
17. University of the Virgin Islands
Charlotte Amalie, VI
Online MA in Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 236 (Spring 2018)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
The University of the Virgin Islands is a public, nonprofit HBCU (Historically Black College and University) with students coming from throughout the Caribbean, America’s mainland and around the world. Accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the ACBSP, UVI has a 67 percent student retention rate. Located in one of the most popular vacation spots, UVI enrolls about 2,500 total students across two campuses and online. Here, you can take advantage of its Free-Tuition Funding program.Career counseling and job search assistance is available for all UVI students.
UVI’s online offerings are new, but you can benefit from university extras like the Global Institute for Leadership and Management Development and Institute for Leadership & Organizational Effectiveness. Finally, it also offers online writing assistance and online tutoring, as well as a personal Student-Life Coach for every online student. The master of the arts online in leadership is completable in just 24 months or less, depending on how many classes you take each semester. UVI’s online course start dates are monthly, and each course is about eight weeks. Plus, as of 2018, UVI’s online students have the option to earn hybrid credit hours through a “mini-residency” of three nights and four days on the island of St. Thomas. This 36-credit-hour curriculum with teach you concepts like:
- emotional intelligence
- strategic communication
- how to lead change
Net Price: $10,920 ($386-$735 per credit hour, plus no additional fees for online students)
16. Northern Arizona University
Online Master of Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 3,995
Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Governed by the Arizona Board of Regents, Northern Arizona University is a public research university with a 683-acre main campus in Flagstaff and “community campuses” across the state. Founded in 1899, NAU is accredited by the HLC and enrolls 31,073 total students with a 76 percent retention rate. NAU Online offers a large variety of programs, as well as two different types of learning:
- Traditional Online Learning, which blends flexibility with semester-based scheduled progress. For this option, you pay traditional per-credit tuition, but online courses are still asynchronous.
- Competency-Based, Personalized Learning, which lets you work at your own pace by choosing your start date and setting your own schedule, saving you time and money. For this option, you pay a six-month, flat subscription rate.
The MOL at NAU is comprised of 30 credits: 15 core credits and 15 credits of your choice of emphasis. Designed for mid-career professionals, this program’s curriculum ends with a culminating capstone experience. You have up to six years to complete it. It’s available 100 percent online, or you may choose a hybrid option at the North Valley campus or Pima Community College. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a resume demonstrating three years of professional work experience are required for admission. The current available Emphasis options are:
- Leadership in Criminal Justice Administration
- Organizational Leadership
- Project Management
Additionally, you can complement this degree with graduate certificates like Executive Police Leadership or Public Management.
Net Price: $14,901 ($575 per credit hour or $3,000 for a 6-month subscription of competency-based learning)
15. The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina
Online Master’s in Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 1,000
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
The Military College of South Carolina, also known as just The Citadel, is a state-supported college and one of America’s six senior military colleges. Founded in 1842, one in three graduates of The Citadel earns commission into the U.S. Armed Forces. With over 3,300 total students and an 85 percent retention rate, this college has Payscale ROI rankings of 180 and 301 for in- and out-of-state students, respectively. Its graduate school (CGC) is a civilian evening and online program, offering education tailored around students’ professions and adult lifestyles. It’s regionally accredited by the SACSCOC, and it offers rolling enrollment.
Among the CGC’s fully-online master’s degree programs is the 36-credit-hour master of science in leadership. This curriculum offers a holistic approach through interdisciplinary courses that will prepare you for leadership roles in a variety of career fields. You’ll study research methods and human behavior in addition to leadership courses and a final capstone project. Otherwise, you can earn a 15-credit-hour graduate certificate in leadership online (or military leadership), which can be completed in conjunction with another master’s program, like the online MBA (AACSB-accredited) or MS in project management. This program does require minimum test scores for the GRE (verbal and quantitative combination of 290) or MAT (396), but it includes educational perks like the required leadership seminar online.
Net Price: $17,017 ($695 per credit hour)
14. University of Mary
Online MBA with Virtuous Leadership or Executive concentrations and Online MS in Business with the same concentration options
Grad Student Enrollment: 1,159 (Fall 2017)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
The University of Mary is a private Catholic college with a Benedictine affiliation, offering professionally-focused degree programs. It enrolls more than 3,800 students with a 75 percent retention rate and Payscale ROI ranking of 904. It has online programs, as well as physical locations in North Dakota, Arizona, Montana, Minnesota, Kansas, Rome and Peru. Accredited by the HLC, Mary offers distance learning through online classes that run five to 15 weeks.
Among its online master’s degree programs, Mary offers the following:
- MBA with an Executive concentration: Completable in as few as 20 months, this online MBA is IACBE-accredited. This curriculum requires 14 courses outside of the concentration and ends with a research-based capstone project. The executive concentration requires three courses geared toward business leadership skills.
- MBA with a Virtuous Leadership concentration: The virtuous leadership concentration has more of a Christian-centered curriculum than the others. Offered in partnership with the Havard Virtuous Leadership Institute (HVLI), it does require you to attend a four-day leadership immersion seminar, but Mary has several accessible locations across the U.S. It requires four courses, and the entire MBA program can be completed in 18 months.
- MS in Business with an Executive concentration: The concentration is the same as above, but the MS in business requires 33 credits and is completable within 15 months.
Net Price: $16,929 ($550 per credit)
13. Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
Online MS in Administration – Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 5,273
Student-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Established in 1892, Central Michigan University is a public research university and one of the largest in the state. CMU is regionally accredited by the HLC and enrolls more than 24,000 total students with a 77 percent retention rate. In addition to its 871-acre main campus, CMU operates 30+ satellite locations across Michigan, 13 other states and in Canada. Annually, it awards $309 million in scholarships and financial aid. CMU Global offers online and hybrid degree programs, as well as a number of helpful student services like:
- Writing Center Online
- Math Assistance Center
- Library Research and Instruction Services
- Career Development Center
- Financial Wellness Collaborative
- Online Learning Resource Center
- Presentation Skills Center
- the Online Student Ally program, which provides you with an experienced, successful online student who’ll offer helpful personal assistance and advice for any online learning challenges you may face
Delivered through Blackboard, CMU’s online courses are available in 8, 12 and 16-week formats. CMU’s College of Graduate Studies offers a 36-credit-hour master of science in administration with a concentration in leadership. It’s an interdisciplinary degree that can be utilized in a variety of fields and includes 12-15 credit hours of electives. This program’s curriculum covers subjects like:
- group dynamics
- organizational change
- conflict management
- cultural diversity
To apply, you’re expected to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7, and it’s open enrollment. Students in the program are also encouraged to complete a 300-hour internship experience. For those of you without a bachelor’s degree, CMU Global also offers a BS-Integrated Leadership Studies to MSA Accelerated Program.
Net Price: $14,675 ($637 per credit)
12. Fort Hays State University
Online MPS with an Organizational Leadership Concentration and Online MBA with a Leadership Studies Concentration
Grad Student Enrollment: around 2,600 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Governed by the Kansas Board of Regents, Fort Hays State University is the third-largest of the six state universities. FHSU is accredited by the HLC and offers 200 fully-online degree programs in addition to its on-campus offerings. FHSU was founded in 1902 and is now home to a 200-acre campus and a nearly 4,000 acre university farm. It enrolls over 15,000 (NCES) total students with a 71 percent retention rate and a 95 percent job placement rate. Through FHSU’s Virtual College, students can benefit from any of the following services:
- free online tutoring and writing center through Smarthinking.com
- career services and career exploration (provided for life)
- technical support and software purchasing
- seats on the Virtual Student Senate (if you’re interested in running)
- faculty-led study abroad trips
- with the right GPA, the FHSU Honor Society
FHSU offers a multidisciplinary online master of professional studies (MPS) that can be concentrated in organizational leadership. This 30-credit-hour curriculum offers room for electives in addition to the concentration. It culminates in either an internship or research project. You’ll take classes like Organizational Intervention Strategies and Leadership in Teams and Collaborative Environments. To be admitted to this program, you must have a 3.0 GPA on the last 60 hours of your accredited undergraduate degree. You can take eight- or 16-week courses during most of the semester, as well as three-week courses during the winter intersession.
As for the MBA program at FHSU, its online classes are designed for working professionals. The 34 required credit hours include a nine-credit-hour concentration in leadership studies, which consists of the same three required courses of the MPSOL. The minimum required GPA is a 2.5. Those without backgrounds in business can take an additional 12 credit hours of foundational courses. FHSU also offers the third-cheapest tuition on this list because of its low per-credit cost.
Net Price: $12,196 ($287.75 per credit)
11. Indiana University
Online MS in Technology with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership and Online MS in Strategic Management
Grad Student Enrollment: 9,946
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Founded in 1820, Indiana University Bloomington is a public research university, as well as both the flagship and largest college of the eight-campus IU System. It’s accredited by the HLC and enrolls 42,937 total students with a 91 percent student retention rate. Almost 140 different countries are represented in the student population. UI’s ROI ranking is 306 for in-state students and 604 for out-of-state students. Offering more than 125 fully-online degree programs, IU has become Indiana’s online education powerhouse with units and faculty from all IU campuses sharing resources and expertise. Online students benefit from the following at IU:
- career services
- success coaching
- math and writing support
- online proctoring
- assistance with financial services and admissions
The online master’s programs in organizational leadership at IU are unique: these are an MS in technology with an organizational leadership concentration and an MS in strategic management. The former is completable within three to five semesters via full- or part-time enrollment, but you have up to five years to finish. Offered through IUPUI’s Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, this master of science in technology prepares you for leadership roles in a contemporary workplace. While the nine-credit core is in technology, the organizational leadership concentration is 15 credits, and you may choose nine credits of electives with the option of a “directed project.”
The 30-credit MS in strategic management online is a bit pricier at $1,330 per credit regardless of residency, but it offers a dual degree option that allows you to add an MBA. A majority of the curriculum is strategic management courses, like Organizational Designs for Strategic Advantage, and then you get to choose six credit hours of electives.
Net Price: $12,488 ($404.25 per credit for in-state; $1,224 per credit for out-of-state)
10. Union Institute & University
MS in Organizational Leadership Online and MA in Leadership, Public Policy & Social Issues Online
Grad Student Enrollment: 130 (Spring 2017)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Union Institute & University is a private, nonprofit research university, specializing in adult/nontraditional higher education. Union is regionally accredited by the HLC and governed by a board of trustees. It enrolled 937 total students in Spring 2017 with a 75 percent retention rate. In addition to online learning, Union is comprised of four academic center locations for hybrid learning in Ohio, Florida and California. For online learners, Union offers support services like a writing center and online tutoring for any subject.
Union’s online MS in organizational leadership includes individual faculty coaching sessions and course projects adaptable to your personal interests and profession. Requiring 36 semester hours, this curriculum is cohort-based and divided into three modules, focused on:
- and analytics
Completable in as few as 12 months, this MSOL offers three start dates per year. Additionally, Union now offers a graduate certificate in leadership, or you may be interested in the MA in Leadership, Public Policy & Social Issues. This 36-credit online master of arts emphasizes ethical leadership and social responsibility, enhancing your understanding of conflict within any type of institution. This program will take at least 16 months to complete and is a bit heavier on the research side of academia.
Net Price: $17,297 ($600 per credit hour)
9. Colorado State University Global
Master’s in Organizational Leadership Online
Grad Student Enrollment: almost 4,000 (according to CSU’s 2017-18 Factbook)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 31:1
CSU Global is the online university of the CSU System. It offers a variety of flexible personalized learning paths for both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. It’s the first independent, 100 percent online state university in America, enrolling almost 19,000 total students with an 87 percent master’s student retention rate. Regionally accredited by the HLC, CSU Global offers a Tuition Guarantee, which guarantees that your tuition rate won’t increase over time. Its online courses have monthly start times, and its student support services include:
- career counseling
- financial planning
- a Writing Center
- a mobile app and more
CSU Global offers an MS in organizational leadership, which you can complete via the Practitioner Track or Research Track. Both options are comprised of eight three-credit courses and an optional internship. The practitioner students focus more on qualitative and quantitative analysis and decision making. The research students focus more on a theoretical understanding of leadership as it applies to the critical evaluation of research and theory. Otherwise, you can choose from the MSOL Executive Express Path, or a dual degree option that combines the MSOL with an MS in management.
Net Price: $9,000 ($500 per credit hour)
8. Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
Online MA in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 2,601 (Fall 2017)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Founded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1906, Western Kentucky University is a public college with four campuses across the state and a plethora of online classes. Located on a hilltop campus 65 miles north of Nashville, WKU enrolls over 20,000 total students with a 70 percent retention rate and an average class size of 24. It’s ROI ranking is over 800, but it’s accredited by the SACSCOC and AACSB International (for its business programs).
WKU Online offers 90 online degree and certificate programs that follow a term-based calendar or non-semester-based calendar through its On Demand course option. Here, you’re able to complete each course in as few as seven weeks, or you can take as long as nine months. To cater to its distance learners, WKU offers a host of online resources through its Student Resource Portal, like:
- an online student orientation
- online course test drive for prospective students
- online math lab
- career services
- writing assistance
- presentation coaching and more
The online master of arts in organizational leadership prepares you for a management role in a variety of professions. The 30-credit curriculum is practical and applied, with opportunities for real-world experiences. In addition to the 15 required course credits, you may choose 15 credits of electives or a graduate certificate program, tailoring the program to your interests. You can transfer in up to 12 credit hours, and neither the GRE or GMAT are required for admission.
Net Price: $11,817 ($707 per credit hour; tuition varies based on course type and part- or full-time enrollment)
7. Wilmington University
New Castle, DE
Online MS in Management with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership and Online MBA with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 8,156 (2017-18)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1 (According to WilmU)
Wilmington University is a private research university with a non-residential main campus in New Castle and other locations in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Offering career-focused degree programs online and in-person, WilmU enrolls over 20,000 students with a 66 percent retention rate. Serving both high school graduates and nontraditional adult students, WilmU’s courses are available in 15-week, 7-week and weekend modular formats with classes starting every eight weeks. Accredited by the MSCHE, WilmU’s College of Business is accredited by the IACBE.
Online Learning at WilmU offers a variety of student support services, like live-streamed workshops and Online Student Navigators for personalized guidance. A number of online master’s degree programs at this university come with an organizational leadership concentration option, including an MS in homeland security and the MS in administration of justice. Mainly, we’ll focus on the MS in management online with a concentration in organizational leadership. Even without the concentration, this MSM centers on leadership and management, requiring a total of 36 credits. It’s completable within just one year and culminates in an independent project.
Yet another organizational leadership route at WilmU, the online MBA offers the same concentration. It also requires 36 total credits and can be finished in one year. This curriculum puts an emphasis on executive skills development. It’s designed so you can complete it at your own pace. Both of these programs are available in a hybrid format, and neither require the GMAT. Plus, the application fee is just $35.
Net Price: $14,955 ($477 per credit hour; $300 for active-duty military)
6. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
University Park, PA
Online Master’s in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership, Online MBA with a Concentration in Strategic Leadership, Online MPS in Psychology of Leadership and Online MPS in Organization Development and Change
Grad Student Enrollment: 6,112 (Fall 2018)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Penn State World Campus, or Penn State Online, was launched in 1998 and enrolls more than 14,000 online learners. Offering the same level of education as its brick and mortar PSU locations, PSWC is home to more than 150 degree programs. Accredited by the MSCHE, PSWC has a 54 percent student retention rate and Payscale ROI rankings of 184 and 267. According to a survey by The Wall Street Journal, PSU graduates have been dubbed as being “most able to succeed once hired.” Its online programs have career-focused curriculums and supportive student services like online tutorials and career counseling resources.
PSU’s wide variety of online master’s programs include multiple degrees related to organizational leadership:
- Master’s in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership: This 30-credit program is designed to prepare you as an executive leader. Its curriculum is AACSB-accredited and includes opportunities to conduct organizational analyses using real-world case studies. You can customize this program by choosing an area of emphasis in Business Sustainability Strategy, Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or Negotiation and Influence. PSU expects applicants to already have managerial experience and basic knowledge of organizational change.
- MBA with a Strategic Leadership concentration: This 48-credit program is also AACSB-accredited and includes many team-based projects. The curriculum exposes you to the foundations of modern management. You can customize it with a nine-credit concentration in strategic leadership. It does include a five-day residency at the University Park campus. Beginning in Spring 2020 students entering the program can take advantage of a Global Immersion Experience. Students in the MBA typically have a GMAT score around 577, and admissions looks for at least five years of post-undergraduate work experience.
- MPS in Psychology of Leadership: This 33-credit master of professional studies online is designed to provide working professionals with advanced skills in the cultural and social aspects of leadership. Developed in collaboration with the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, this curriculum is based on well-supported psychological research and theory. Applicants are expected to have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a two-year minimum of full-time work experience. Courses include Dysfunctional Leadership and Leadership for Creativity and Innovation.
- MPS in Organization Development and Change: This online MPS requires 33 credits and provides you with the skills necessary to lead change in organizations, including corporations, nonprofits and government agencies. The curriculum includes nine required courses, one elective and one field-based organization development project. This program also requires a minimum of two years of related full-time work. You’ll take courses like Facilitating Groups and Teams and Leadership Competencies for Professionals.
Net Price: $18,194 ($1,185 per credit for the MSMEL and MBA and $886 per credit for both MPS programs)
5. Bellevue University
Online MS in Organizational Performance, Online MS in Leadership and Coaching, Online MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Online MS in Management with an Executive Coaching Concentration
Grad Student Enrollment: around 3,000 (according to NCES)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 40:1
Bellevue University is a private, nonprofit college with a focus on offering career-relevant adult education in accessible formats, like online classes. Accredited by the HLC, Bellevue has a 46-acre main campus and additional campus locations in four states. It enrolls about 9,000 total students with a 74 percent student retention rate and student ages ranging from 18 to 65+.
Bellevue offers one of the widest varieties of online master’s degree programs related to organizational leadership on this list. Its online classes have a maximum of 24 students in each and a career-focused cohort format. There are also supportive resources like online tutoring and writing help. Among its extensive list of online degrees are the following programs:
- MS in Organizational Performance: Bellevue’s main master’s degree in organizational leadership online, this 36-credit cohort-style online master’s program prepares you for management positions. In addition to the six key industry topics that the curriculum explores, you can choose from any of the six additional professional business certifications in subjects like project management (PMP) and Six Sigma.
- MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology: This online degree program in I-O psychology requires 36 credits and emphasizes the “practitioner model” through real-world organizational projects and networking opportunities. The curriculum combines the scientific study of human behavior in the workplace with organizational decision making, problem solving and strategy.
- MS in Management: This online master’s in management is designed to train you to be an organizational leader with sharp people management skills. This 36-credit program’s learning approach is “rich with mentoring.” It offers five concentration options, including project management and executive coaching.
Net Price: $11,359 ($575 per credit hour)
4. Arizona State University
Online Master of Applied Leadership and Management
Grad Student Enrollment: more than 9,600 online graduate students
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Arizona State University is an innovative public research university and one of the largest colleges in America by enrollment (it graduates more than 20,000 students annually). Operating five campuses throughout metropolitan Phoenix in addition to online programs, ASU enrolled more than 100,000 students in 2017 (about 30,000 online). It has an 87 percent student retention rate and ROI rankings of 242 and 368 for in- and out-of-state students, respectively. Accredited by the HLC, ASU’s faculty includes almost 200 Fulbright American Scholars, as well as MacArthur Fellows and Nobel laureates.
ASU Online offers common and unique student support services, like:
- its online library
- online tutoring
- study abroad
- career services, including virtual career fairs
- Venture Devils: year-round Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+I) resources and support
- The Pitch: a messaging app that connects students to coaches, their classes, advisors and faculty
- Sun Devils Connect: an online student community, hosted by the Online Success Center
- an annual survey used to improve its offerings
Offered through the Thunderbird School of Global Management, its online Master of Applied Leadership & Management (MALM) is designed to give you globalized leadership skills and preparation for high-growth and emerging markets. The 30 required credits can be completed fully online or in a hybrid format. There’s an optional in-person capstone experience, which is also referred to as a “business and strategic plan bootcamp experience.” For admission, ASU “prefers” applicants have at least two years of work experience.
Additionally, ASU offers an online Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management for those interested in entering the nonprofit sector. Its 33-credit-hour curriculum covers subjects like fundraising and fiscal management. Both programs offer 7.5-week classes, and they require a 3.0 GPA from the last 60 credit hours of your undergraduate degree program.
Finally, if you’re interested in a more specific leadership degree program, you can apply to the Master of Arts in Public Safety Leadership & Administration (PSLA) or Master of Sustainability Leadership.
Net Price: $12,947 ($3,137 and $1,973 for the MNLM per three-credit course, but this includes all fees, like technology and financial aid trust, for the semester)
3. Regent University
Virginia Beach, VA
MA in Organizational Leadership Online and MBA Online with Concentrations in Global Business Leadership & Communication or Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 4,631
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1 (according to Regent)
Regent University is a private Christian college that enrolls 11,000 total students with a 78 percent retention rate and a 549 ROI ranking by Payscale. It has a main 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach and is governed by a board of trustees. Accredited by the SACSCOC, Regent’s degree programs offer a faith-based context. Regent’s online learning includes over 135 areas of study with flexible eight- and 15-week courses. Its online student support services include virtual networking, online tutoring and more.
The online MA in organizational leadership at Regent requires 33 total credit hours and is available in a fast-track option, which is completable within 12 months. This MAOL curriculum includes core courses like Small Business Data Mining & Management. It offers the following concentration options:
- Global Business Leadership & Communication
- Healthcare Management
- Human Resource Management
- Interdisciplinary Studies
- Leadership Coaching & Mentoring
- Not-for-Profit Management
- Organizational Development Consulting
- Servant Leadership
- Small Business Technology Management
- Social Entrepreneurship
Another option is Regent’s ACBSP-accredited online MBA program, which has concentrations in leadership and global business leadership & communication. This customizable, 42-credit-hour curriculum includes data-driven approaches and concentration courses like Managing People and Multinational Organizations.
The admission committee for both of these programs looks for applicants with related work experience, but the school doesn’t list any specific parameters. Both programs have eight start dates per year and offer part-time and hybrid course options. Finally, Regent has other related online degree programs, like:
- the MA in business and design management
- the online doctorate in organizational leadership
- graduate certificate programs in leadership.
Net Price: $17,820 ($675 per credit)
2. Purdue University Global
Davenport, IA (one of multiple regional locations)
Online MS in Management and Leadership
Grad Student Enrollment: 7,227
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1 (according to PUG’s website)
Previously known as Kaplan University, Purdue University Global is a newer part of the Purdue University System, offering 180 online programs tailored for working adults. With university-wide accreditation from the HLC, Purdue Global’s business programs are also accredited by the ACBSP (including the MSML). For those interested in hybrid learning opportunities, Purdue Global operates 13 regional satellite locations across the country. While many of even the best online colleges charge more for international students, Purdue Global offers a 25 percent tuition discount for international students. It enrolls around 29,000 total students, and its main campus has ROI rankings of 91 and 144.
Purdue Global’s online master of science in management and leadership requires a total of 56 credits. This program’s online courses run six weeks at a time, and you can choose from one of six concentration options:
- health care management
- human resources
- information technology
- organizational design and development
- project management
This curriculum, which is monitored and updated by an advisory board, culminates in a self-designed capstone research project that combines theories with real-world application. It has almost-monthly start dates, and it’s completable within less than two years while taking just one to two courses per term. If you’re looking for a different type of organizational leadership degree, you can also apply to the online MS in psychology, which has a concentration option in industrial/organizational psychology.
Finally, Purdue Global has a few unique services to benefit its current and prospective students. Before paying any tuition, you may experience three weeks of an online program to make sure it’s the right fit for you. For graduate school admission, you only need a 2.5 cumulative undergraduate GPA. Once admitted, you’ll have access to a host of student services and resources, like Purdue’s official competency report, a continuously updated personal report that operates similarly to a resume. Other unique offerings include:
- math, writing and science tutoring
- extensive career services, including online mock interviews and virtual career fairs
- interactive live seminars
- workshops and self-paced tutorials
Net Price: $14,686 ($485 per credit; $320 for active-duty military; plus, tuition discounts for other types of students)
1. The University of Texas at Dallas
Online MS in Leadership and Organizational Development, Professional Online MBA with a Concentration in Leadership in Organizations, and Online Global Leadership MBA
Grad Student Enrollment: 4,825 at the Jindal School of Management Fall 2017 (8,885 total)
Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
The University of Texas at Dallas is a public research university within the UT System, classified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education as an “R1” doctoral-granting university of the highest research activity. Enrolling just under 29,000 total students, UT Dallas is accredited by the SACSCOC and AACSB. It has an 88 percent student retention rate, as well as an ROI ranking of 123-184. Additionally, UTD offers a guaranteed tuition plan, which locks your tuition through the duration of your program (valid for 12 consecutive semesters).
In the Naveen Jindal School of Management, you have a few online master’s in leadership degree options to choose from, like the fully online Executive MS in Leadership and Organizational Development. This 36-credit-hour curriculum focuses on the description and explanation of how people behave in organizations. It’s two years in length (six semesters) with fall, spring and summer start dates. It also requires applicants to have five years of work experience. It does not require a GMAT/GRE or a minimum GPA. Online students can benefit from free, regularly scheduled Expert Forums in a variety of related subjects, as well as the following concentration certificate options:
- Executive and Professional Coaching
- Organizational Consulting
- Negotiation and Mediation
- Strategic Human Resources
A second online-only master’s degree at UTD is the Online Global Leadership MBA (GLEMBA), which offers eight-week classes. Completable within 21 months, the curriculum can include an international management concentration and a second concentration of your choice. GMAT and GRE scores are not required, but admissions expects applicants to have three years of work experience.
Finally, UTD’s 53-credit hour Professional Online MBA includes 23 elective credit hours, which can be filled with up to two of the 15 available concentration options, including Leadership in Organizations or Healthcare Leadership and Management. The leadership concentration includes the study of the psychological, sociological and organizational behavior disciplines. The program can last from 16 to 72 months, and local online students can select an on-campus version of any class they choose. While work experience is not required to apply, UT Dallas’ MBA students have an average of five to 10 years of work experience. Finally, online students are also able to take advantage of:
- numerous double MS/MBA degree options
- bachelor’s degree/GMAT/GRE waivers
- virtual professional development and program information sessions throughout each year
- career management services
Net Price: $10,036 ($900 per credit hour for the MSLOD; $1,000 per credit hour for the GLEMBA; and the POMBA is on a sliding scale, meaning that the more credits you enroll in, the cheaper each credit becomes)
More on Getting a Master’s in Organizational Leadership
Defining the Degree: Master’s in Organizational Leadership
At the beginning of this article, we listed the variety of degree programs offered by our ranked schools, which fit under the umbrella of graduate degree programs in organizational leadership. There are a lot! That’s because of how interdisciplinary this degree program can be. It can span across most career fields. You can choose from a straight-up Master of Organizational Leadership, or a:
- master of arts
- master of science
- master of business administration
- master of management
- master of psychology
- master of professional studies and more
There are only three “colleges” on this list. The rest are comprehensive universities, some of which offer doctoral programs in organizational leadership.
These degree programs can range anywhere from 30 credits (or less if you have eligible transfer credits) to 54+ credits, depending on the degree type you choose and whether you take on additional concentrations or certificates. Programs on this list can end with a final comprehensive exam, a thesis, a capstone project or an immersion experience/internship.
Regardless of the route you take, these programs have a hard focus on the leadership component of management in any type of organization. Even more, this academic field is mainly concerned with positively affecting the people within an organization to optimize efficiency, improve workplace happiness and progress goal achievement. All of this is in support of overall growth and progressive change in the organization.
Most Frequently Searched Graduate Programs in Organizational Leadership
- Schulich School of Business, York University: Known as Canada’s No. 1 business school, Schulich offers a Master’s Certificate in Organization Development and Change at its campus.
- Gonzaga University: Gonzaga’s master’s in organizational leadership is online, offering four concentration options in subjects like change leadership and global leadership.
- Brandman University: Brandman’s MA in organizational leadership is available at 21 different campus locations, and it accepts military experience as credit toward the degree.
- University of Oxford: Oxford’s Saïd Business School offers a Diploma in Organisational Leadership, which is completable in one year of part-time enrollment.
- Florida Institute of Technology: Florida Tech’s online MA in organizational leadership will prepare you to “manage multidisciplinary teams and navigate global business challenges.”
FAQ Concerning Organizational Leadership Graduate Degree Programs
1. What is Organizational Leadership?
Organizational leadership is one area within business administration focused primarily on the human relations and professional development side of running an organization. This field is broad, but it most often covers the areas of organizational psychology and behavioral science, as well as elements of:
- business analytics
It values team dynamics more than individualism, in addition to establishing positive interpersonal connections in the workplace.
You’ll see it in corporate settings, government agencies, the private sector and nonprofit organizations. Effective operations and maximizing efficiency is the goal, as well as motivating employees to a higher level of performance. The role of an organizational leader can be broad or focused to just one aspect of the organization.
The curriculum of an online master’s degree program in organizational leadership, similar to its role, can be as far-reaching as global leadership or organizational change. But others can be more focused on a particular specialization, like HR, nonprofit management or healthcare administration.
2. What can I expect going into an online master’s program in organizational leadership?
These programs range from requiring 30 credits to over 50 credits, depending on the route you take. Some of the schools listed above actually offer online MBA programs, but they include concentrations in organizational leadership or something similar. The MBA programs are usually more extensive and can take longer to complete, but many of these degree programs can be completed in as few as 12 months.
Some, like the MBA’s, have a solid business foundation of core courses with elective or concentration courses in organizational leadership. Others focus entirely on leadership with little-to-no business-specific context.
At least one program listed above requires some face-to-face time, but most of them do not require you to physically attend any classes outside of the online learning. Some (in my opinion, the better ones) might require you to complete an internship or hands-on requirement close to where you live, or even with whatever employer you currently work for.
When it comes time to finish your degree, most of these programs require a “capstone” course or project, while others offer a thesis track or the option of a final examination.
3. What do I need to gain admission to an online master’s degree program in organizational leadership?
For every one of the schools listed above, you should have already earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Although, some of the schools offer a five-year bachelor’s to master’s program, which can save you time and money.
Many of the programs want to see that you earned a 3.0 GPA or higher as an undergrad, but some will accept a 2.5. Typically, if your GPA is lower than average, submitting good GRE or GMAT test scores will supplement a lower GPA. Otherwise, a majority of the programs listed above do not require you to submit test scores. The MBA programs are more likely to require testing.
Finally, a minimum of two or three years of related work experience is a requirement for a number of these schools. Some of them will accept you right as soon as you earn your undergraduate degree, but others want you to be able to apply real-world experience to what you’ll be learning. It’s also nice to be able to learn from your classmates’ work experiences.
Most admissions processes are not as white and black as you may think. Even if you don’t think you’ve met all of the requirements, submit the application with everything you do have (especially if the application is free) because you never know what part of your particular background may catch the admissions staff’s eye.
4. How long does it take to earn an online master’s in organizational leadership?
Many of the above programs will allow you to enroll part-time, taking as few as just one class per semester. Otherwise, most of them will allow you to pack in as many classes per term as you can handle, so it can take anywhere from one to three or more years to finish your degree. Depending on the school’s transfer credit policy, you may be able to earn credits for life or work experience, or even test out of having to take certain classes, saving you both time and money.
The best online colleges are also incredibly understanding of the sometimes chaotic lives most working adults lead, so they usually allow up to seven years for you to finish working through the program at your own pace.
5. How much does a master’s in organizational leadership online degree program cost?
Even though these online universities allow you to earn a degree from anywhere in the world, many of them will still charge you more if you are not a resident in the state where the school is located. We’ve noticed more and more, though, that schools are offering one per-credit rate for their online programs.
Still, graduate school is always more expensive undergraduate school. So it’s important to look at the per-credit costs, rather than the listed Net Price from NCES. Plus, most schools tack on extra distance learning and technology fees, as well as a fee at the time of graduation.
The programs on this list range from $227.50 to $1,973 per graduate credit. As an active-duty military member, veteran, military spouse or (sometimes) undergraduate student of the same school, you will receive tuition discounts.
6. What can I do with a master’s in organizational leadership?
Foremost, you can hold a position of leadership within pretty much any type of organization with this type of degree. Because many of these programs avoid focusing on one type of career, this degree will not anchor you to any one sector. You’ll be able to pursue a variety of business positions, including:
- human resources
- development and more.
Outside of business, you’ll be capable of seeking jobs within
- the government
- public relations
- policy and more.
7. What’s the difference between online master’s programs in Organizational Leadership and Project Management?
Both programs are different in some ways and similar in others. Both programs focus on team dynamics and the human side of operations in an organization. However, organizational leadership is more appropriate if you want to work in an organization that runs on individuals. Whereas, project managers are more necessary within organizations that require team projects to get something done, such as an engineering firm. For organizational leadership roles, management and people skills matter more, but project management roles require more tactical/technical skills.
8. How is a Master’s in Organizational Leadership (MOL) different from an online MBA program?
Our ranking of college and universities includes both online MBA programs concentrated in organizational leadership and online MS and MA degree programs in organizational leadership. If you don’t already know, an MBA is a master of business administration. So, while not all of these OL programs have a business-related core, the MBA programs do. Most of the core courses within an MBA are comprised of a wide variety of foundational business classes, covering subjects like finance, analytics, marketing and more.
On the other hand, you may look through the course requirements of many of the above ranked MOL programs without finding a single business-specific course. Instead, they place all of their focus on the foundations of being a leader, which can carry across most all career fields.
Usually, MBA programs online require more credits and can take longer to complete than a master of organizational leadership or and online MA or MS program. They are also known to be the more rigorous of business degree programs. However, a number of the above schools that offer both types of degrees, do so with similar credit requirements and times to completion.
Available Concentrations within Organizational Leadership Grad Programs
- Global Leadership
- Healthcare Administration
- Nonprofit Management
- For-Profit Organization
- Human Resource Management
- Organizational Development
- Strategic Leadership
- Organizational Psychology
- Higher Education
- Leadership Coaching & Mentoring
- Servant Leadership
- Small Business Technology Management
- Social Entrepreneurship
Master’s in Organizational Leadership Career Questions
Q: What can I do with an online master’s degree in organizational leadership?
The beauty of getting a degree in organizational leadership, rather than an MBA, is the fact that it’s useful far beyond the realm of business. An online master’s degree in organizational leadership can be used in public or private organizations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, healthcare and more. Below are some careers you could get after completing one of the listed programs:
- Education Administrator, School Principal or Postsecondary Education Administrator
- Training and Development Manager
- Career Counselor
- Talent Manager
- Marketing Manager
- Instructional Coordinator
- Healthcare Manager or Strategist
- Strategy Consultant or Strategic Planner of Innovation
- Small Business Owner or Business Entrepreneur
- Business/Organization Development Manager
- Project Manager
- Account Executive
- Marketing Manager
- Business/Management Analysts or Consultant
- Customer Service Manager
- Human Resources Manager
- Administrative Service Manager
- Sales Manager
- Top Executive, VP, CEO, CFO or CIO
- International Team Manager
- International Relations
- Corporate Recruiter
- Law Enforcement
- Military Officer
- Nonprofit Director
- Departmental Director
- Special Events Coordinator
- Social & Community Service Manager
Q: What are some professional organizations in Organizational Leadership that I might benefit from joining?
Again, because of the expanse of opportunities opened up by this specific degree, a number of professional organizations are available for graduates to join. Some examples are:
Q: What is the career outlook for those with a master’s degree in organizational leadership?
Very good! Depending on your personal focus when it comes to applying this degree, your outlook may differ. Still, whether you’re a top executive, training and development manager, sales manager or a social and community service manager, your job growth outlook is average or above average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jobs within just “business management” are projected to grow eight percent between 2016 and 2026. Administrative service managers are seeing a 10 percent growth. Social and community service managers are projected to have an 18 percent growth. And then medical and health services managers are seeing a whopping 20 percent growth!
Q: What can I expect to make after earning a master’s degree in organizational leadership?
According to the BLS, the 2018 median pay for some occupations related to this degree are as follows:
- Administrative Services Managers: $96,180
- Human Resources Managers: $113,300
- Medical and Health Services Managers: $99,730
- Postsecondary Education Administrators: $94,340
- Sales Managers: $124,220
- Social and Community Service Managers: $65,320
- Top Executives: $104,980
- Training and Development Managers: $111,340
Related Rankings and Sources