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Online master’s in organizational leadership programs give students the skills and knowledge needed to lead teams and move to the top of their business or organization. Professionals do not even need a degree from an elite institution, as only about 10% of S&P 500 CEOs graduated from an Ivy League school.

This guide offers information and insights on the nation’s top master’s in organizational leadership degrees, including admission requirements, salary and career growth data, and common courses within these programs. Learn more about the best programs, which meet the needs of ambitious business, nonprofit, and public sector professionals.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Organizational Leadership Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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Rank School Location
1 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
2 Averett University Danville, VA
3 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
4 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
5 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN
6 Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, IL
7 Trine University Fort Wayne, IN
8 Baker University Baldwin City, KS
9 University of Northwestern-St Paul Saint Paul, MN
10 Regis University Denver, CO
How We Rank Schools

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Organizational Leadership Programs

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Rank School Location Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA Graduation Rate: 83%

Based in Southern California, Pepperdine University offers students the chance to complete a master's in organizational leadership and learning. The program caters to students entering careers in both the public and private sectors. With courses in critical thinking, data analytics, and visualization, students develop a modern foundation in organizational leadership.

Participants complete the 32-credit program by taking synchronous and asynchronous online classes. The program also features one in-person weekend session in Los Angeles each term, although learners have the flexibility to participate in this session online. Students may also opt to attend an initial welcome immersion during the first term. Students interested in a terminal degree can apply up to nine credits from this master's program to a program in Pepperdine's doctoral school of education.

Pepperdine is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Learning
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1320 per credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 20 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous with in-person options

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 or higher preferred
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

Averett University

Danville, VA Graduation Rate: 83%

Danville, Virginia-based Averett University offers adults the opportunity to complete a master of business administration leadership concentration entirely online. The university was founded in 1859 and has since evolved to help working adults gain the education they need for career advancement. Students take no more than two courses at a time during each eight-week block.

Learners cover important marketing and accounting information and receive training in leadership-specific subjects, such as effective decision-making and leading in a global economy. Students also complete a capstone project at the end of the program.

Averett University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Business Administration - Leadership Concentration
School Status: Private
Tuition: $655 per credit
Credit Requirements: 40 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 or higher preferred
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

3

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA Graduation Rate: 86%

Located in Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga University offers an online master's in organizational leadership. Students can choose one of four concentrations: change leadership, global leadership, servant leadership, or strategic and organizational communication.

Students take online courses such as foundations of leadership and organizational behavior and theory. The school also requires students to participate in a three-day on-campus immersion course, but all other classes are delivered online. Students must earn 30 credits to complete this degree.

Gonzaga is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $980 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2-2.5 years
Format: Online with one in-person immersion
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 or higher preferred
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis, MO Graduation Rate: 77%

Based in Missouri, SLU offers professionals the chance to complete a master of arts in leadership and organizational development. Students strengthen their leadership skills through courses and project-based learning, preparing to utilize organizational development theory in a variety of settings.

The program caters to professionals with several years of work experience. Thirty-three credits of coursework help participants develop the ethical, evidence-based frameworks needed to succeed in leadership roles. Students can also pursue graduate certificates to complement their degree. The program features courses such as organizational dynamics, leading a healthy organization, and future-focused leadership.

SLU is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $790 per credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2.5-3 years
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 or higher preferred
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

5

Crown College

Saint Bonifacius, MN Graduation Rate: 52%

Located in Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota, Crown College offers an online master's in organizational leadership program that is delivered from a Christian perspective. This private college provides a path for students to explore what leadership means through the lens of their faith.

Students take courses in strategic planning, as well as organizational communication and research. Electives include a wide variety of subjects, including faith-based courses and community development. Learners complete a total of 36 credits, including 18 in their emphasis area, choosing from specializations like higher education, biblical studies, and social science research. Students take one or two courses per eight-week session.

Crown College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $555 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1 year
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

6

Lincoln Christian University

Lincoln, IL Graduation Rate: 71%

Illinois-based LCU offers an online master's in organizational leadership. Students in this program prepare to apply a faith-based approach to ethical leadership.

Learners complete this 30-credit degree by taking one course at a time over 21 months. Classes cover a variety of topic areas, including authentic leadership in organizational contexts, strategic organizational leadership, and legal and ethical issues in organizational leadership. The program ends with a capstone project in which students demonstrate the sum of their knowledge and skills.

LCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and nationally accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $466 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 21 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

7

Trine University

Fort Wayne, IN Graduation Rate: 63%

With a brick and mortar location in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Trine University oversees the Lou Holtz master of science in organizational leadership program. Students can complete this ethics-based degree program online without buying any books, thanks to open educational resources, databases, and other zero-cost resources.

Students explore leadership foundations through the 30-credit program, taking courses such as leadership ethics, conflict resolution for leaders, and leadership philosophy. The program includes a standalone course on research methods, as well as a capstone project at the end of the program. Classes are delivered in eight-week blocks.

Trine University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is also recognized by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Lou Holtz Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $575 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1 year
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

8

Baker University

Baldwin City, KS Graduation Rate: 59%

Based in Baldwin City, Kansas, Baker University offers an online master's in organizational leadership. The program focuses on ethical business practices, conflict resolution, and negotiation approaches, preparing students to become socially responsible thinkers and effective communicators. The 36-credit curriculum includes management and leadership courses, such as leadership perspective, leadership and organizational behavior, and leadership fundamentals. The program culminates with a leadership seminar course, in which students design a project that aligns with their future career interests.Baker University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This organizational leadership program holds specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $618 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18-22 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

9

University of Northwestern-St Paul

Saint Paul, MN Graduation Rate: 63%

Minnesota-based UNW offers students an online master of science in organizational leadership program that takes a Christ-centered approach. Students can take all of their courses online or engage in a blended learning experience by taking some in-person classes once a week.

The 36-credit program includes classes like leading in the knowledge economy, leadership ethics, and human resource leadership. Graduates are prepared to fill leadership roles in a variety of organizations, including churches, nonprofits, and community service organizations. Students complete the program on a flexible timeline, and the program boasts a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

UNW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $499 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18-22 months
Format: Online or blended
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

10

Regis University

Denver, CO Graduation Rate: 69%

Located in Denver, Colorado, Regis University offers students anonline master's in organizational leadership. Distance learners follow the same curriculum as their on-campus peers, so students receive a quality education no matter the delivery format.

Required courses include business intelligence and analytics, leading change and innovation, and organizational culture and design. Students also complete a strategic corporate social responsibility capstone course. Courses follow an eight-week format, and the program uses a scholar-practitioner model, where faculty do more than teach — they also belong to private and public sector organizations, putting their knowledge into practice.

Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $920 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

11

Norwich University

Northfield, VT Graduation Rate: 62%

Located in Northfield, Vermont, Norwich University is a private military school. It offers students an online master of science in leadership with a concentration in organizational leadership. Students take six 11-week courses, enrolling in just one class at a time. They also complete a one-week in-person capstone experience at the end of the program.

Courses include core requirements, such as leadership fundamentals. Students in the organizational leadership concentration complete three specific courses: leading change in organizations, strategic organizational behavior, and developing a learning institution. Norwich covers the cost of accommodations and meals during the final residency week. To graduate, students must demonstrate a portfolio of knowledge through a final presentation. The program accepts students on a rolling basis.

Norwich is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Leadership - Organizational Leadership Concentration
School Status: Private
Tuition: $719 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 18 months
Format: Online with a one-week residency
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

12

Lipscomb University

Nashville, TN Graduation Rate: 65%

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Lipscomb offers students an online master of arts in organizational leadership. This program targets busy professionals who want to expand their leadership skills, engage in a flexible curriculum, and form direct connections with faculty and mentors.

While completing this 33-credit program, students learn about organizational development and problem-solving techniques. Courses emphasize experiential learning, and faculty respond quickly to student inquiries.

Lipscomb is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its business school holds specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $899 per credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 18 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

13

Lewis University

Romeoville, IL Graduation Rate: 64%

Based in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis University's master's in organizational leadership program focuses on the human side of leadership. It offers students a path to professional growth and development entirely online.

Students choose one of four career-focused concentrations, including higher education (student services), professional and executive coaching, training and development, and organizational management. With experienced faculty and career customization, Lewis gives students a unique path to complete their degree. Graduates can go on to pursue roles in consulting, management, and senior administration.

Lewis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $710 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

14

Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego, CA Graduation Rate: 77%

Located in San Diego, California, PLNU offers students a master's in organizational leadership in both fully online and hybrid formats. Students can choose the option that best suits their needs, completing their degree and without sacrificing quality or access to faculty.

Distance students can access mentorship opportunities from diverse faculty members. Courses cover topics like assessing leadership skills, human resource issues, and organizational communication. Students also learn what it means to lead diverse communities and apply knowledge by developing a comprehensive learning portfolio.

PLNU — a Christian liberal arts institution — is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $540 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 15 months
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

15

Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, IL Graduation Rate: 61%

Based in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet provides students with the opportunity to earn an online master's in organizational leadership. Participants can also add an optional global immersion class, taking a 10-day trip abroad. Organizational leadership students at this Christian university learn what it means to lead with humanity in a technologically advanced world.

Classes last eight weeks, and students take courses such as applied leadership and professional communication. Learners can further customize their degree track by pursuing a certificate concentration, such as intercultural competence or nonprofit management.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Organizational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $690 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

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

Some programs offer concentrations like global business, human resources management, healthcare management, nonprofit management, leadership coaching, and social entrepreneurship.

Students who succeed in a master’s in organizational leadership program usually exhibit characteristics that make them good leaders, including clear communication and organization. These traits translate well to the most common career paths students take after graduating.

Learners must be self-driven and work well both independently and as part of a team. They tend to operate with honesty and integrity while inspiring others to perform at their best.

Most master’s in organizational leadership programs require 30-36 credits and take 2-3 years to complete, although students can pursue accelerated options. In addition to coursework, students may take part in an internship, during which they observe executives, managers, and directors within businesses and organizations.

Some programs offer concentrations like global business, human resources management, healthcare management, nonprofit management, leadership coaching, and social entrepreneurship. Students can choose an organizational leadership track that helps them pursue their specific career goals.

In most cases, learners can complete an online master’s in organizational leadership degree while working full time by taking classes online or in the evenings. Some programs offer credit for students’ work experience, especially if they already serve in a management role.

Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Organizational Leadership Programs

Most master’s in organizational leadership programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and submit official transcripts. Students may also need to provide GMAT or GRE scores, along with a resume, personal statement, and recommendation letters. Some programs require incoming students to complete prerequisite courses in subjects like business administration, statistics, and marketing.

Admission requirements vary by program, so make sure to research each school to find more information about its specific processes.

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

Online master's in organizational leadership programs often cover the same core concepts. While the exact title and approach of courses may differ depending on the degree, most students learn about leadership theory, organizational behavior, human resources management, and marketing. Read on for more information about coursework in these programs.

Organizational Leadership

This course covers traditional and modern leadership theories, applying them to a variety of situations and challenges in the private and public sectors. Students analyze the behaviors of executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and employees through the lens of these leadership models. They also review case studies and take part in exercises that simulate real-world situations.

Organizational Sustainability

Students explore the many ways businesses and organizations foster their long-term viability given the economic, environmental, and social challenges and opportunities that surround them. The course looks at how different types of organizations address social problems, influence social change, and maintain operational sustainability.

Strategic Human Resource Management

Students learn about HR functions within organizations, as well as the state and federal laws and regulations that affect HR managers’ work. The course examines processes related to recruiting, hiring, training, and developing the best employees to fulfill an organization’s goals. Students also explore the biggest challenges facing HR departments.

Digital Media and Marketing

This course analyzes the important role digital media, including social media, plays in an organization's marketing strategy. Students examine how marketing professionals create strategies that incorporate digital media and use consumer data to make key decisions and promote goods and services online.

Diversity and Conflict in the Workplace

Students learn about how organizations can foster greater diversity while managing common conflicts that arise in the workplace. Learners study the various perspectives people from different backgrounds bring to an organization, including how those perspectives can lead to creative innovation. This course suits students who plan on working in human resources.

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

An online master’s in organizational leadership gives professionals a key advantage as they seek leadership and management positions in both the public and private sectors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management professionals earn a median annual salary of $105,660.

Businesses and organizations always need talented and knowledgeable people to fill these roles, making a master’s degree a sound investment for aspiring leaders.

See where a master's in organizational leadership can take you. Learn more about business management careers here.

Business Executive

An online master’s in organizational leadership prepares professionals to move toward roles like chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer. These executives set growth and performance goals and lead teams to meet or exceed those goals. Many industries need talented and driven business executives.

Human Resources Manager

HR managers ensure businesses and organizations make the most of their human capital. They hire, train, and evaluate employees while linking an organization’s upper management to the workforce. HR managers also work with executives to engage in strategic planning to ensure organizations efficiently leverage employees’ talents.

Management Consultant

Many master’s in organizational leadership degree-holders serve as consultants, bringing an outside perspective to businesses and organizations as they improve their processes and engage in strategic planning. Management consultants examine a company’s existing structures by collecting and analyzing data. They then report their findings and recommendations to management.

Training and Development Manager

These professionals oversee training and development programs for both new and current employees. They create and implement training programs, regularly assess their effectiveness, and select materials and content that align with the organization’s mission and goals. Training and development managers contribute to employee satisfaction and optimize the effectiveness of an organization’s workforce.

School Principal

School principals may pursue a master’s in organizational leadership to gain the key skills and knowledge they need to manage teachers and staff while meeting the needs of students and families. Principals select and coordinate curricula, oversee a school’s day-to-day operations, and ensure school safety. They typically have a bachelor’s in education and several years of teaching experience.

Organizational Leadership Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Organizational Leadership Programs

Is a master's in organizational leadership worth it?

A master’s in organizational leadership opens up a multitude of career opportunities for driven, leadership-focused individuals. These programs provide students with the skills, knowledge, and concepts needed to effectively lead others and take on management and executive roles, which often come with six-figure salaries and rapid job growth.

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

Equipped with a master’s in organizational leadership, you can move into management, executive, and director positions in businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies. Graduates often become business executives, human resources directors, school administrators, management consultants, and training and development managers.

Is it better to have an MBA or master's in organizational leadership?

While both paths can lead to considerable career growth, the option you choose depends largely on your goals. A master’s in organizational leadership prepares students for leadership roles not only in business, but also in the nonprofit, education, and public sectors. MBA programs focus on broad business skills. You may also consider an MBA with an organizational leadership concentration.

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

The salary you make depends on your chosen industry, level of commitment, and career goals. Generally, you can earn higher pay in the private sector, especially if you work for a large corporation. However, directors and administrators in education and the public sector can also bring in six-figure salaries.

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

Professionals typically make more money as they take on more responsibility and management roles within businesses and organizations. According to the BLS, executives make a median annual salary of $104,690. HR managers with large organizations can make even more, earning a median annual salary of $116,720.