Top 25 Best Organizational Leadership Master’s for 2020



There are so many masters degrees out there that foster leadership. It might be hard to choose just the right discipline if you are wanting to dedicate your career to managerial and leadership roles in business or within an organization. Many people turn to an MBA (masters in business administration) if they are interested in this type of leadership. However, another interesting alternative is to achieve a masters degree in organizational leadership. They may instead consider a certificate program in organizational leadership. This degree path offers unique tools to support the growth and development of future leaders. Many subjects are embedded into the curricula of leadership programs including communication strategies, transformative leadership ideology, interpersonal dynamics, and often some supplementary business classes. 

There are many masters degree programs in organizational leadership and more and more you can find them delivered in an online format. If you are interested in pursuing one of the best online masters programs in organizational leadership, take a look at the 25 programs we have sourced for you. All of them are online with flexible course delivery. In many cases, students can participate while they are working and continuing to live busy lives. Most of the programs enable students to log in from anywhere in the world. All of the programs have their own unique spin on the discipline, including specializations that students can choose to tailor their program to their own career goals. There is some nuance in degree title and focus, and some of the programs have on campus requirements, while others are entirely online. We have ranked these programs based on the following metric:

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Student Success Rate

1. University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder offers a masters of science degree program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This course of study was designed to be entirely flexible and, therefore, the classes are delivered in an asynchronous format. This program was designed expressly for working professionals, so the clases cater to adult learners with busy lives. The coursework is comprehensive and interdisciplinary and the classes include topics like communication, business, and social science. Students will choose between five tracks including: human resources, strategic leadership, leading innovation, broad perspective, general, and organizational leadership. Some of the skills that will be covered in the program include: data analysis and organizational assessment, critical thinking, decision making, vision and mission articulation, and problem identification. The program utilizes the cohort model, making it easy for students to access mutual support and collaboration, as well as team work. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

2. Jacksonville University

Jacksonville University offers a masters of science program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This degree synthesizes several related disciplines including business, social sciences and communication, management, and leadership. There are many commonalities that this program has to a masters in business administration, though this is considered to be less intense quantitatively. This program is made up of 30 credit hours and each class is delivered in eight week modules. The faculty in the program are dedicated leaders in the field and are known for making themselves accessible to the participants. The courses are designed around the cohort model, where the students can easily access one another for mutual support and team collaboration. The GRE test scores have been waived along with the application fees as a result of COVID-19. The application requires students to write a personal statement that is one to two pages. This will be heavily weighted in the application process. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

3. California Baptist University 

California Baptist University offers a masters of arts degree in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. Students in this program will learn how to engage in complex decision making, learn different communication styles, engage with strategic management, among many other related skills. The entire course of study is made up of 30 credit hours and students can complete the program in as little as 12 months. The program costs on average $19,000. Some of the skills that are actively covered in the program include ethics, motivation, strategic management, group development, technology, and teamwork. The program is rooted in christian spirituality. Some of the tenants of the christian foundation include self reflection and critical thinking. The program is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Students in this program are eligible for financial aid in many forms. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

4. Colorado Christian University 

Colorado Christian University offers a masters degree program in leadership that is delivered entirely online. Students will learn many related skills including topics like constitutional law, leadership and government, social technology and emerging media, and all about nonprofit organizations. A topic heavily covered in this christian program is “servant leadership.” This is a concept related to accepting Jesus within the path of leadership. Students will also learn all about the ins and outs of public policy in this program. There will be an emphasis on action oriented behavior and ways to apply scholarship and communication to facilitation and leadership. The entire course of study is made up of 36 credit hours. Courses can be taken one at a time and completed in 5 week modules. This program is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students can transfer in up to six credit hours from previous academic programming. 

Degree Type: Master’s in Organizational Leadership

5. Crown College

Crown College offers an online masters of arts program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This degree path is expressly in service of christian leadership practices. The key factors of the program include educating students on complex communication strategies and leadership philosophy, all from a christian foundation. There are twelve emphasis tracks included in this program and they are the following: christian studies, biblical studies, church development, disaster and emergency management, higher education (this one is new), spiritual formation, pastoral leadership, social science research, international christian education, and intercultural ministries. Financial aid is part of the fabric of the institution as 98 percent of the students receive it in some form, even though the program is already affordable. Some of the topics that are addressed in the program include workforce dynamics, non-profit and business environments, diverse workforce dynamics, and strong chirstian ethics. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

6. Palm Beach Atlantic University 

Palm Beach Atlantic University offers a masters degree program in leadership. Students will learn facilitation and leadership skills. Students in this program will learn how to engage strong leadership skills in a variety of contexts. They will also learn how to offer guidance by way of practical studies, biblical studies, and historical information. This course of study is made up of 36 graduate credit hours and can be completed in 24 months. All online students are automatically enrolled in the organizational leadership track. The program has entry points in the fall and winter (August and January), with application deadlines of august and december 1. There are some courses that can be taken in the summer term. Some of the perks of the program include the fact that it is remarkably flexible. Their leadership classes are conducted once a week. Students get a significant amount of personal attention. They never have class sizes bigger than 20 students. 

Degree Type: Master’s Leadership

7. Regis University

Regis University offers a masters of science program in organizational leadership. This course of study is designed to train students how to engage with the global marketplace with a leadership framework. Students will learn a myriad of skills related to grounded leadership. They will be considered consensus builders with the ability to understand opportunities when they see them. Students will be able to define problems large and small and find creative solutions. They believe that leadership is an ethical and socially responsible skill set that must be honed. Regis goes to great lengths to offer students the chance to learn how to tune their instruments as far as leadership is concerned. Students will learn how to navigate the complexities of communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and negotiation. They will also train students to move towards positivity in their impact and seek the best in everyone they work with and touch. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

8. Simpson University 

Simpson University offers a masters of arts degree in organizational leadership that has an entirely online delivery option. The program is called ASPIRE and it is designed to give students the tools to lead within for profit and non-profit contexts. Excellent candidates for the program include students who are interested in interdisciplinary studies as well as careers that engage administration and supervision. The online format is designed to be incredibly flexible, so students can accomplish the coursework at their own pace, when it is convenient for them. The entire program is made up of 12 distinct classes that are five weeks in length. One class is completed at a time in this program. Each student must start with an orientation class that will act as the foundation to the program. The entire course of study culminates in a capstone project that builds on their goals and interests. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

9. Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University offers a masters of arts degree program in leadership that is available in an entirely online delivery format. This course of study trains students to have agility when it comes to working with groups, and also to access innovative models of facilitation. Their curriculum takes a human centered approach to problem solving. This means that students will be trained to read the room with curiosity and creativity. Another important aspect of this program is its attunement to christian ideology and practice. All of their classes have a christian undertow that supports the learning. This is an excellent program for people interested in leading within the church and beyond. The program is also excellent for those who are interested in extensive hands-on learning opportunities. There will be opportunities for play, experiential learning, and collaboration. This course of study is perfect for working professionals who require a flexible course of study to be successful. 

Degree Type: Leadership, MA

10. Pfeiffer University

Pfeiffer University offers one of the best online masters programs in organizational leadership. This course of study is designed to train students to embark on the many skills necessary for excellent leadership in every discipline. Some of the classes touch upon skills such as conflict resolution, situation awareness, cultural competence, and change management. Professionals that work in non-profits and corporate environments join this program to gain the skills to make an impact and expand their career potential. The entire course of study is made up of 36 credit hours. Students can complete the entire program in as little as 15 months. Some of the classes offered include: organizational behavior, ethical issues and the law, organizational communication, strategic management and leadership, organizational change management, among many other disciplines. There are two concentrations that include international management and human resources. They also offer a graduate certificate program in leadership. 

Degree Type: Leadership, MS 

11. Robert Morris University 

Robert Morris University offers one of the best online masters in organizational leadership programs. The program is delivered through the school of informatics, humanities, and social sciences. This offering is designed to be flexible enough to continue working in the field or otherwise while completing the classes online. The entire course of study is made up of 30 credits. Practical skills will be blended with analytical skills throughout the entire trajectory. Each class is delivered in eight week segments within an accelerated framework of completion. Most students in the program receive some form of financial aid. They also account for the fact that some employers offer an employee tuition benefit, and therefore, they engage a program that includes corporate deferred billing. Some of the primary classes include: group dynamics and interpersonal relationships, foundations of leadership and followership, leadership and ethics. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

12. Abilene Christian University 

Abilene Christian University offers one of the best online masters in organizational leadership programs. It is delivered through the school of professional studies. This program is a masters of science degree program in organizational development. Students will learn how to take the temperature of an organization. They will gain skills that include complex inquiry and critical thinking, communication, psychology, and conflict resolution. This course of study is deeply rooted in christian ideology, ethics, and principles, and therefore, their coursework is no different. Students will utilize biblical teachings to move groups in a direction of transformation, organization, and even healing. Prospective students must show transcripts from a four year accredited undergraduate program with a record of a 3.0 or higher. They also have to have a resume that proves work experience that is relevant. Abilene Christian University offers a webinar for all prospective students. 

Degree Type: Organizational Development, MS

13. Rider University

Rider University offers an online masters of arts degree program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This is considered one of the best online masters in organizational leadership programs. This course of study is designed to be incredibly flexible to cater to the busy professional learner. They require no testing for entrance to the program. The entire degree path can be accomplished in under two years. There are six start dates to make it easy for prospective students to matriculate when it is convenient for them. There are three concentrations that students can choose from including: developing people and organizations, life and career coaching, and higher education leadership. All of the specializations emphasize the skills necessary for powerful leadership skills. They also all integrate communications with business. All students will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program to be eligible for this program. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

14. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University offers a bachelors to masters degree program in leadership and organizational development. This is definitely considered one of the best online masters in organizational leadership programs according to our metrics. This is an accelerated option, so students can move through the program at a fast pace. The entire course of study is made up of 33 credit hours. There are multiple start times, so rest assured if you require flexibility; they do everything they can to be accommodating. The program is known for being technology driven as well, so students will have opportunities to engage in innovative cutting edge approaches to leadership that include the latest technology. Each class is delivered in an eight week term. Students will work with advisors and faculty members to create roadmaps that outline their semesters. 

Degree Type: Leadership and Organizational Development, B.A. to M.A.

15. University of Denver

The University of Denver offers a program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This course of study is delivered entirely online. According to our ranking criteria, this program is known as one of the best online masters in organizational leadership programs. Classes for this degree path begin on September 14 and students complete the program in as little as 18 months. The online course delivery is designed to offer the most flexible learning environment that caters to working professionals. It is convenient enough to participate from anywhere in the world. The skills that are covered in this program include: organizing with a fiscally responsible framework, building partnerships that are strategic, maximizing values over time within an organization, contextualizing cultural and economical frameworks of leadership and facilitation. The concentrations include: project management, supply chain management, human capital in organizations, organizational developments, strategic innovation and change. 

Degree Type: Master’s in Organizational Leadership

16. Creighton University

Creighton University offers a masters of science degree program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This program ensures that you do not have to be a young, single, unemployed person to achieve this meaningful degree. This course of study is flexible enough to tailor it to your schedule and your professional goals. The entire course of study includes 18 credit hours dedicated program core classes and 18 credit hours of elective courses. Some of the core courses include: writing for graduate students, approaches to human capital, leadership theory, application and reflection, strategic orienteering and executive tactics. The program culminates in a leadership capstone project. Students can participate in a concentration which can include healthcare leadership and business leadership. This course of study is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students can also achieve a certificate in organizational leadership, which is made up of 15 credit hours. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

17. Western New England University 

Western New England University offers a masters of science in organizational leadership. This is delivered through the College of Business at Western New England University. This entire program is made up of 30 credit hours. The program focuses on enhancing leadership skills and professional mobility. It is fully accredited by the AACSB International, which is considered the best accrediting body for business schools. The admission requirements for prospective students include test scores from the GRE or GMAT. The faculty is made up of a diverse group of faculty members who have their own unique specializations that are applicable to the programmatic goals. The learning management system that this program utilizes is called Kodiak, which makes it easy for students to participate in group discussions, live classes and meetings, and also asynchronous learning. The classes offered include: organizational behavior and theory, methods of organizational research, foundations of leadership practice, among many others. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

18. Johns Hopkins University

The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University offers a masters of science program in organizational leadership. This course of study is designed to train the leaders of the future in the most relevant and current leadership techniques. The coursework is incredibly flexible, enabling students the breathing room to log into their classes when it is convenient for them in most cases. Students can also work while moving through the program. The entire program is made up of ten unique classes. Students can complete the program in two years. There are three start times throughout the year including in the fall, spring, and summer. Some careers that this program prepare students for include: operations manager, executive coach, management analyst, public health administrator, sales executive, public office/ mayor, general manager, among many others. The faculty are all powerful leaders in the leadership pathway. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

19. Florida Tech

Florida Tech offers a masters of arts degree program in organizational leadership. This made this list as one of the best online masters in organizational leadership. This program trains students to incite positive change in the professional sphere by training leaders who have the skills to be effective in such positions. The program is delivered entirely online in a flexible format that can be conveniently completed from any location. The entire program is made up of 11 unique classes. Students can complete the program in two years time. The program is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Some of the jobs that graduates will be prepared for include: executive leadership/ corporate officers, management analyst, administrative services officer, postsecondary education manager, training and development manager. The psychology of leadership is heavily emphasized in this course of study. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

20. Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University offers a masters in arts program in organizational leadership. This is one of the best online masters programs in organizational leadership programs and it is also known for being flexible. This program embeds a great deal of personal mentorship into the curriculum from faculty members that represent many academic and professional disciplines. Students will also gain a strong foundation in servant leadership. This faith based university utilizes a framework that students are answering their calling to be leaders in this complex world. The coursework trains students to work in diverse settings. The coursework includes managing conflict and change, leading in diverse communities, and managing conflict and change. The cohort model in this program makes it easy for students to get mutual support and participate in group activities. Communication skills and team building skills are highly emphasized in the coursework. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

21. George Washington University

George Washington University offers a masters of arts program in organizational leadership that can be completed entirely online. Students will learn leadership skills along with communication methods, the ability to conduct effective research, leadership development, and the foundations of human behavior. Some of the required classes include: work groups and team organizations and assessing the impact of organizational change using qualitative and quantitative methods. Some of the electives include: strategic change, consulting skills, globalization, change, and learning, action learning, and international and multicultural issues in organizations.  Alumni and current students work at such places as amazon, talent management, knowledge management, learning coaching and development, and performance improvement. The students will dive deep into the leadership skills that include ethical approaches to learning. The curriculum is innovative and applied. All of the faculty are applied scholars who offer a great deal of expertise in the field.

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

22. Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University offers a masters of arts program in organizational leadership that is completed entirely online. This online course of study is known for not only being flexible, but also convenient enough to participate in classes from anywhere in the world. There is one requirement for an on campus visit. The coursework dives into creative leadership strategies, critical thinking, and inquiry based learning and movement. Some of the programmatic skills that will be emphasized include motivating groups, conflict resolution, global strategy, decision making, negotiation, motivating groups, creative solutions, foresight and planning, and effective communication. There are several concentrations that students can choose to participate in including: servant leadership, change leadership, global leadership, and strategic and organizational communication. There are options for students to study abroad or participate in a domestic immersion. The entire course of study is made up of 30 credit hours and it can be completed in 2 years time. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

23. St. Joseph’s University

St. Joseph’s University offers a masters of science degree program in organizational development and leadership that is delivered entirely online. Students do, however, have the choice of utilizing the hybrid format, or taking some classes in person. This degree path is customizable with concentration areas that they can choose between including: diversity belonging and inclusion, talent development and leadership, organizational psychology and development, and organizational dynamics and leadership. All of the degree concentrations are made up of 36 credit hours. There are a limited number of assistantships for graduate students that students can apply for. They are a yellow ribbon school, meaning they are accessible for veterans. GI education benefits are accepted from the school. Students should be able to complete the entire program in 24 months time. Another perk is that they can can matriculate at any point in the year. 

Degree Type: Organization Development and Leadership M.S.

24. Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University hosts a Masters of science degree program in Organizational Leadership. It has a well known reputation as one of the premier organizational education graduate programs. This program is delivered with a mixture of face to face experiences and online learning, with a large amount of the program spent studying abroad. Pepperdine’s program is built for professionals looking to grow in this demanding field. The PU program uniquely offers a worldview approach to the benefits of  strategic shifts in organizational preparedness. Students can complete the program in two years. It requires no GRE and offers flexible options for completion, either online or in person. This 6 term program, 40 unit schedule, can be completed in 24 months, with a culminating masters in Organizational Leadership. To be accepted applicants must have a minimum of 5 years work experience. 

Degree Type: Organizational Development, MS

25. Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University offers a masters of science program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This course of study is designed to ensure the leaders of tomorrow are trained in all of the most critical skills in relation to communication, facilitation, and moving organizations forward. Students will learn leadership skills, techniques, and methods of practice. The coursework emphasizes a code of ethics, communication, and a variety of leadership practices. The program is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The core courses include: crucial conversations as leaders, foundations of organizational behavior and leadership, leading organizational change, and a capstone project in leadership consulting. Students will choose five electives from a comprehensive list including: talent management, ethics and governance, insights and emotions and emotional intelligence. Prospective students must write a personal statement to get into the program. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

What is an Organizational Leadership Degree?

Well, that is a good question, as there are so many advanced degree programs that train students how to become leaders in a variety of disciplines. Many participants choose to get a masters degree in business administration when they want to participate in leadership roles. Organizational leadership is a little different, even though there are some similarities. Generally, there are some business classes embedded into the program, however, they are more heavily weighted towards communication skills and leadership ideology. Some of the other skills addressed in organizational leadership include team building, active facilitation, interpersonal engagement, social justice, among many other similar concepts.

Many adults who began working with just a bachelor’s degree are finding that they can make the most of their career by going back to school to earn a master’s degree. The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is still the best-known higher degree in the business field, but the MBA isn’t always suited to the specialized needs of managers who are already working in their chosen career, or who are looking to a career change or promotion into management.

To meet the needs of leaders, business schools across the nation have developed a specialized master’s degree tailored to management. It goes by several different names, including:

  • Master of Science in Leadership (MSL) or MS in Organizational Leadership (MSOL)
  • Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) or MA in Organizational Leadership (MAOL)
  • Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL)

But whatever the name, the focus is generally the same. The Master of Organizational Leadership provides an alternative to the MBA that emphasizes communication, motivation, behavioral psychology, project management, and other theories and practices pertaining to leading teams.

Unlike the MBA, which includes statistical analysis, accounting, marketing, and other more technical areas, the MOL is an interdisciplinary degree often pulling together outwardly different, but related, human behavior fields. The MOL is designed to be more flexible and more broadly applicable than the MBA, cultivating leadership skills that can be used in a corporate setting as well as government, education, church, non-profit, and entrepreneurial sectors.

Since it is designed to appeal to working adults already in their careers, the Master of Organizational Leadership is often available as an online degree, and often in an accelerated format. Because MOL programs seem to be exploding in recent years, non-traditional students looking into an online MOL degree may find themselves in over their heads. That’s where Value Colleges comes in.

Oftentimes, programs in organizational leadership ask students to choose a discipline that is related to one of the subjects listed above. Some programs have a faith based approach that ties integrally into the coursework. You will see that some schools even require a biblical focus, with classes on christian fellowship, that are embedded into the curriculum. Other programs have an emphasis like social justice, that might even have some additional specializations that students can choose from. Some of the programs even have added elements that may include interdisciplinary topics like public health. 

Why Should I Get My Master’s of Organizational Leadership Online?

Online masters of organizational leadership programs are designed to carve out leaders for a future we can depend on. One can argue that there is a dearth in strong leadership in a myriad of capacities, and therefore, many of these program offerings are training students to be future leaders with the skills to guide organizations forward. Online master in organizational leadership programs offer a flexibility that traditional programs cannot provide. Many of the course offerings are delivered in such flexible formats that online learners can log into whenever it is convenient for them. They are often designed with working professionals in mind, so students can fit their coursework around their work schedules and other life commitments. Many said programs still have some live class offerings, meaning that students will have an opportunity to connect with their peers and faculty members and feel supported in the process. Cohort models are common in such programs as well. This means that students will start the program and move through it with a group of peers that can offer mutual support, team building opportunities, and collaboration as they work towards graduation. 

How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Organizational Leadership?

A masters in organizational leadership salary is on average $71,013 according to payscale. This figure is again an average, and moves quite a bit in both directions. A masters degree in organizational leadership salary can go as high as $81,000 for a human resources director position or a training and development manager. Executive directors tend to make somewhere around $90,000 per year; many of which are successful as a result of their organizational leadership masters degrees. On the lower end of the spectrum you will find jobs like human resources generalist, which can make around $55,000 annually. 

So many positions can be accessible for a graduate from an organizational leadership program. This degree can be a foundation for almost any discipline and ties into more professions then you can imagine. Many people even choose to go the route of policy.

Related:

Most Affordable Online Masters in Organizational Leadership Programs

What Can I do With a Masters in Organizational Leadership?

Will a Certificate in Organizational Leadership Help My Career?