Best Online Master’s in Organizational Management Programs of 2021

Learn how an online master's in organizational management can pave the way for a high-paying management career.

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by Liz Simmons

Published on December 7, 2021 · Updated on April 26, 2022

Edited by Rebecca Long
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A master's in organizational management is a specialized business degree that focuses on organizational change, strategic leadership, and management skills. Organizational management professionals help organizations achieve goals, become more efficient, and increase their profitability.

Graduates can qualify for high-paying management and administrative positions. Some of these roles include training and development manager, industrial production manager, top executive, and postsecondary education administrator. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that management occupations will grow 9%, or about as fast as average, between 2020 and 2030.

PayScale reports graduates with a master of business administration (MBA) in organizational management earned an average annual salary of $83,000 as of November 2021. However, wages can vary depending on occupation, industry, level of experience, and location.

Many top online schools offer master's in organizational management programs. Keep reading to learn what to expect from this degree program and what you can do after graduation.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Organizational Management Program?

Organizational management programs prepare students to pursue management careers as training and development managers, top executives, human resource managers, and more.

Schools offer in-person, hybrid, and online master's programs in organizational management. Full-time learners usually take 12-24 months to complete a 30- to 36-credit online degree in organizational management. Part-time students typically take longer to graduate.

Organizational management master's programs attract students with excellent interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills. A typical curriculum explores organizational change and innovation, conflict resolution, ethics in leadership, and diversity and inclusion in organizations.

Some online master's in organizational management programs offer concentrations that let learners adapt their program of study to focus on specific career goals. Potential concentrations include strategic leadership, organizational communication, and applied leadership.

Graduate programs in organizational management may confer MA, MS, or MBA degrees. Regardless, these programs typically feature similar curricula. However, programs that offer MA or MS degrees usually focus more on theory, whereas MBA programs may cover general business skills.

MA and MS students sometimes complete a research thesis project. MBA programs typically require a capstone, internship, or practicum in lieu of a thesis. Graduates usually qualify for the same types of jobs, although some business-focused industries may prefer an MBA over an MA or MS.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Organizational Management Program?

Strategic Human Resource Management

This core class explores the role of human resource managers in hiring, recruiting, and training. Students learn to follow human resource-related state and federal rules and regulations.

Organizational Leadership Capstone

Taken during the last semester of a master's in organizational management program, the organizational leadership capstone allows students to apply their classroom knowledge to a final project based on a real-world problem.

The Dynamics of Teamwork

This class focuses on strategies that managers can use to encourage teamwork in the workplace. Topics may include socially conscious teamwork and potential obstacles.

Leading Organizational Change

Students in this course explore organizational change and leadership theories. Topics may include change agents, implementation, and changes that impact organizations. The class also looks at ways to deal with resistance to change.

Strategic Communication

This course covers effective communication in business settings. Learners explore conflict management techniques, oral and written communication, group presentations, and individual interactions.

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What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Organizational Management Program?

Admission requirements for an online master's in organizational management vary by school, but typically mirror the criteria for in-person programs.

Prospective students need a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission. Most schools accept applicants from diverse academic backgrounds. However, those with non-business undergraduate degrees may need to complete business prerequisites.

In addition to the requirements below, online master's in organizational management programs may ask applicants to participate in an admission interview.

Application

Online master's in organizational management programs require a completed application. Undergraduate applicants can often take advantage of popular college application systems like the Common App that make it possible to apply to multiple programs at once. However, most graduate programs require students to apply directly to each school.

Test Scores

Many universities specify the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) as an admission requirement for graduate school. Programs often do not specify minimum test scores, but rather use them to make admission decisions in consideration with the student's other application materials.

Letters of Recommendation

Master's in organizational management applicants may need 1-3 letters of recommendation. Students usually ask for letters from undergraduate professors who know them well and can speak to their academic strengths. Business schools also may accept letters from an applicant's manager or supervisor.

Resume and Work Experience

Applicants often must submit a resume and cover letter documenting their work experience and explaining their interest in the school. Some of the most competitive master's in organizational management programs may require relevant professional experience, but most do not.

Essays

Some master's in organizational management programs require an application essay. Grad school essays allow schools to get to know prospective students better and decide who is a good fit for the program. Read the essay prompt carefully so that you know what to focus on in your writing.

Official Transcripts

Applicants typically submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Most master's in organizational management programs accept some transfer credit earned at an accredited institution. Many schools only accept a small amount of transfer credit toward graduate degrees. Contact your prospective program to find out about its transfer policies.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Organizational Management Degree?

Career Outlook

Earning a master's in organizational management gives students the skills to pursue careers in the growing management field. The BLS projects a 9% job growth rate for management occupations between 2020 and 2030.

PayScale reports that graduates with an MS in organizational management earned an average annual salary of $78,000 as of October 2021. Organizational management professionals can earn significantly more than this depending on occupation, industry, location, and level of experience.

Graduates with a master's in organizational management can go into diverse fields like education, manufacturing, computers and information technology, and management. Other potential industries include healthcare, government, and retail.

See where an online master's in organizational management degree can take you. Learn more about organizational management careers.

Career Paths

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers oversee training and educational development programs for employees of an organization. Typical duties include developing training budgets, creating training programs, assessing training needs, and analyzing training programs.

Training and development managers need at least a bachelor's, but some employers require a master's degree.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $115,640


Human Resources Managers

Human resources (HR) managers recruit, hire, and interview prospective employees for an organization. They oversee the administrative aspects of an organization. Common tasks include planning employee benefit programs, advising managers on human resources issues, and managing support staff.

HR managers need at least a bachelor's degree, but some positions require a master's.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $121,220


Top Executives

Top executives help their organizations strategize and carry out goals. Types of top executives include chief executive officers, general and operations managers, and school superintendents. Typical duties vary by the size of the organization, but may include negotiating contracts, analyzing performance indicators, and carrying out day-to-day management activities.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $107,680


Postsecondary Education Administrators

Postsecondary education administrators direct academics, student services, and faculty research at universities. Job duties vary by school size and department. Postsecondary education administrators work in admissions, registrar's offices, and student affairs.

A bachelor's is sufficient for some positions, but college administrators usually need a master's degree.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $97,500


Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee day-to-day work at manufacturing plants. They hire workers, keep production on budget and on schedule, enforce safety procedures, and write reports. They need leadership, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

Industrial production managers need at least a bachelor's degree, but some employers require a master's degree.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $108,790


Organizational Management Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Business Careers Organizational Management Careers Business Management Careers

Continuing Education

Graduates of organizational management master's programs can keep up with industry trends and changes by continuing their education. Some people pursue a Ph.D. or other doctoral degrees in organizational management or organizational leadership.

Another way to continue learning about the field is to pursue a professional certification relevant to your industry and occupation. For example, a human resources manager can earn certifications from professional groups like Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Organizational Management Program?

Cost

Costs for an organizational management degree vary depending on program format (online or in person), school type (public or private), and residency class (in state or out of state). Make sure to consider the true cost of a program by factoring in tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.

Program Format

Organizational management students can choose a program format that best fits their needs and personal preferences. Depending on the school, learners can choose from part-time, full-time, and accelerated options. Distance students should consider if they prefer synchronous or asynchronous coursework.

Location

Location is another important factor to consider when choosing a school. Do you prefer an online or on-campus program? Even students who enroll in an online master's in organizational management should consider location. Some online degrees include some on-campus requirements or offer in-person resources.

Accreditation

Post-secondary schools demonstrate they offer a high-quality education by becoming accredited by an independent accrediting agency. Attending a regionally accredited college makes it easier to get financial aid and transfer credit to other schools.

Some master's in organizational management programs hold special accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Student Support

Master's in organizational management programs typically offer student support that can enhance the academic experience. Look for schools that offer mentorship services, internship programs, and IT support. Some distance education programs offer special services specifically for online learners.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Organizational Management Programs

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Best Online Master's in Organizational Management Programs

  1. Pepperdine University
    Location

    Malibu, CA

    Pepperdine's master's in organizational leadership and learning focuses on team management in all types of organizations. The program curriculum also stresses organizational design, leadership, and management skills. Students end the program with a capstone project in the form of a research paper, training program, or product design.

    Applicants should hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students with a GPA below 3.0 may complete an exception request form to be considered for admission. Applicants do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $1,365
    • Program Length: 20 months
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 32 credits
    • Format: Online, Hybrid
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  2. Gonzaga University
    Location

    Spokane, WA

    Gonzaga offers an online master's in organizational leadership that builds skills in conflict resolution, negotiation, leading change, and motivating groups. The program features optional concentrations in change leadership, global leadership, servant leadership, and strategic and organizational communication.

    All students must attend a three-day campus residency session near the beginning of the program. The program offers five start dates per year. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 must submit a statement explaining their GPA.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $1,000
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 30 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online, Hybrid
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  3. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $16227

    MSU's online master's in organizational management, strategy, and leadership helps students develop the skills to grow organizations of all types. The degree explores various styles of leadership, including participative, supportive, and transactional. MSU uses condensed five-week course modules that enable students to graduate in less than two years.

    Program applicants should hold a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Candidates should also possess relevant professional experience. MSU may request GMAT scores for applicants with a GPA below 3.0.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $1,090
    • Program Length: 20 months
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 30 credits
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  4. Milwaukee School of Engineering
    Location

    Milwaukee, WI

    The Milwaukee School of Engineering offers an MBA with a specialization in organizational leadership. MSOE primarily trains engineers and other technical professionals for management careers. Typical courses include operations and systems management, economics analysis decision-making, and business strategy.

    Applicants should hold a minimum 2.8 undergraduate GPA. Applicants with a GPA below 2.8 may need to submit GMAT scores. MSOE also recommends graduate applicants hold at least three years of professional work experience.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $891
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 45 credits
    • Format: Online / Hybrid
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  5. Crown College
    Location

    Saint Bonifacius, MN

    Crown's master's in organizational leadership explores organizational management from a Christian perspective. The program highlights topics including strategic planning, organizational development, and organizational communication. Candidates can add optional concentrations such as church development, executive leadership, and higher education.

    The program does not maintain specific GPA or standardized test requirements for applicants. However, all candidates must submit a statement of faith and an essay on their spiritual life.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $575
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  6. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Students in Regis' online master's in organizational leadership program gain the skills to help businesses respond to change. The program includes courses in transformative leadership and corporate social responsibility.

    Regis considers all parts of a candidate's application, also taking personal experiences and accomplishments into account. The school does not maintain specific GPA requirements or require test scores such as the GRE or GMAT. As part of the application process, candidates may need to complete a faculty interview.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $920
    • Program Length: 1-2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 30 credits
    • Format: Online, Hybrid
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  7. Baker University
    Location

    Baldwin City, KS

    Baker's master's in organizational leadership prepares students to assume management positions in businesses and other organizations. The degree highlights critical thinking, business ethics, organizational diversity, and social responsibility. The program ends with a leadership seminar in which students design a leadership project related to their professional goals.

    Baker does not maintain specific GPA requirements for the organizational management program. Applicants do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $637
    • Program Length: 18-22 months
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  8. Norwich University
    Location

    Northfield, VT

    The Norwich master's in leadership trains students in organizational management. The program offers concentrations in human resources, public sector leadership, and change management. While most program content occurs online, students must attend a one-week culminating residency held on the Norwich campus in Northfield, Vermont.

    Applicants must hold a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. Norwich does not require standardized tests like the GRE or GMAT. The program offers rolling admissions, with several application dates available throughout the year.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $719
    • Program Length: 18 months
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Format: Online, Hybrid
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  9. Saint Louis University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Emphasizing self-aware, reflective leadership, SLU's online master's in leadership and organizational development trains students to improve organizational dynamics. The program includes courses in team leadership, organizational change, and talent management. SLU enables master's candidates to complete professional certificates as part of the organizational management curriculum.

    SLU recommends a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply, though the program does not maintain a strict GPA requirement. Applicants should ideally hold at least two years of work experience. This may include either full-time or part-time employment, co-op experiences, and internships.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $1,220
    • Program Length: 2.5 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 33 credits
    • Format: Online, Hybrid
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  10. Lewis University
    Location

    Romeoville, IL

    Lewis' master's in organizational leadership highlights the human side of leadership. Candidates gain the skills to lead organizational change, motivate team members, and manage conflict. The program offers concentration options in higher education, organizational management, professional and executive coaching, and training and development.

    Applicants should hold a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Candidates with a GPA below 3.0 may be admitted on a provisional basis. Lewis does not require standardized tests such as the GRE or GMAT.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $710
    • Program Length: 18-24 months
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Format: Online, Hybrid
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Organizational Management Programs

Is a master's in organizational management worth it?

Earning a master's in organizational management can pay off, but only you can decide if you should go to graduate school. Completing a master's degree requires a major investment of time, money, and hard work.

The BLS reports that management occupations earned a median annual wage of $109,760 as of May 2020. This significantly exceeds the overall median annual salary of $41,950. Of all major occupational groups, management positions are among the highest earning.

Consider how much a degree costs and weigh that with your potential earnings after graduation. Earning a graduate degree also offers intangible benefits like a sense of personal accomplishment and the chance to develop meaningful relationships.

What can I do with a master's in organizational management?

A master's in organizational management can prepare graduates to apply for diverse management and administrative positions. The types of jobs organizational management professionals can qualify for depends on their academic and professional backgrounds.

Graduates may become industrial production managers, human resources managers, or training and development managers. Others may pursue paths as medical and health services managers, sales managers, and top executives.

Organizational management master's degree-holders can also continue their education. Many schools offer doctoral programs in organizational management or related fields.

Are organizational management graduates in demand?

Organizational management graduates are in demand in many industries. Nearly any organization can benefit from a skilled organizational management professional.

The BLS projects a 9% growth rate (about as fast as average) for management occupations between 2020 and 2030. The demand for organizational management graduates may vary depending on what specific career you pursue.

For example, the BLS projects faster than average job growth for computer and information systems managers between 2020 and 2030, but slower than average growth for industrial production managers during the same period.

How much money can I make with a master's in organizational management?

Organizational management graduates can qualify for many different types of jobs across industries. Because of this, the typical salary for a graduate with a master's in organizational management varies significantly by occupation. Other factors that can impact earnings include level of experience, location, and industry.

That said, many potential careers for organizational management professionals pay higher than average salaries. According to the BLS, the median annual salary across occupations was $41,950 as of May 2020. Professionals with management occupations earned a median annual salary of $109,760 during the same period, making it the best-paid of all major occupational groups.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in organizational management?

The highest-paying jobs with a master's in organizational management include computer and information systems managers who earned a median annual salary of $151,150 in May 2020, according to the BLS. Architectural and engineering managers earned a median yearly wage of $149,530, and advertising, promotions, and marketing managers made $141,490 per year.

Other lucrative careers for graduates with an organizational management master's degree include sales managers, who earned a median annual salary of $132,290 in May 2020, according to the BLS. Financial managers made $134,180, and human resources managers earned $121,220.

Some of these positions may require additional education, certifications, or professional experience.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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