Top 25 Most Affordable Online Masters in Organizational Leadership Programs for 2020



There are many ways to work towards leadership positions in companies, corporations and organizations. There are several academic paths that one could take to achieve the skills necessary for complex leadership roles. A lot of people choose to achieve an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) which focuses extensively on complex traditional leadership. MBA programs generally focus on key components like marketing, finance, accounting, and statistics. Students can walk away from such programs with the skills to guide a company. Some students choose to get a certificate in organizational leadership. Executive management is multi-faceted, however, and there are many key skills required to lead groups and even organizations, not just within the realm of finance. Additional skills that make effective leaders include oral and communication skills, interpersonal exchange, leadership theories, engaging with cultural diversity in the workplace, a code of ethics, among many others. 

Masters programs in organizational leadership emphasize all of the skills aforementioned, but focus more on the communication and leadership end of management. There are many flexible best online masters programs in organizational leadership that can support a successful career in a myriad of leadership positions.

We have sourced 25 programs that are the most affordable. There are a number of factors that have put these programs on the list, but in this case, the primary metric is affordability.

We have ranked them according to cost. They are listed from the least expensive to the most. Take a look and find something that speaks to you. Each program has its own personality, which may include specializations that appeal to you. A masters in organizational leadership might be exactly the ticket for you.

1. Cameron University

Cameron University offers an affordable master of science in organizational leadership program. This is considered one of the best online masters programs in organizational leadership for a number of reasons. It is designed to build a population of leaders in a variety of capacities. Leadership comes in many shapes and sizes and this course of study attempts to train students to have the skills to lead in environments such as government, organizational, and in the military. This program is delivered entirely online and offers students the resources to be successful. The total number of credits required to complete this program are 33; 12 of which are elective/ concentration credit hours. Some of the required classes include: organizational behavior, legal and ethical environment, organizational training and development, leadership, and data driven decision making. The electives are chosen within one of two disciplines including finance or management. Each student will participate in a culminating capstone experience/ masters project, which will include a research paper. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

Cost: $10,000

2. Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University offers an affordable online masters of arts in organizational leadership program. This program can be completed entirely online, which means students will not have to step foot on campus. This course of study prepares students to work within a number of professions and hold leadership roles. Some of the skills that are delivered in this course of study include managerial, applied leadership, a variety of technical skills, among many others. Students will also gain practice in complex decision making and best management practices. Students will also have the opportunity to choose electives that will support their particular goals and objectives professionally. This course of study is made up of 30 credit hours. Some of the required classes include: effective leadership studies, leadership ethics, and a culminating leadership studies capstone project. Prospective students must have first earned a bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited four year institution of higher learning. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $13,000

3. Manhattan College

Manhattan College offers an accelerated masters of science program in organizational leadership that is designed to be flexible and convenient. This program can be achieved entirely online or students can access the hybrid format. There are a number of tracks available for students to specialize including: public service, human resources, e-learning and training, and public service. This course of study offers a learning environment that allows participants to grow personally and professionally on their own terms. Students can customize their coursework, identifying their areas they want to emphasize. They will also enable students to focus on the professional development plans that are in line with their career goals. Each student will participate in a culminating capstone project that engages complex leadership skills and organizations that require real world experience. Students will also gain the skills to facilitate small and large group settings. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

Cost: $14,000

4. University of Wisconsin – Platteville

The University of Wisconsin Platteville offers a masters of science program in organizational change leadership. This is a unique program as it has an emphasis on creating change in organizations that are due for some transformation. This is known for being an affordable option and also flexible and convenient due to the fact that it is delivered in an online format. There are multiple concentrations within the discipline to choose from including: safety risk control, healthcare, project management, and human resources. The length of the program is variable based on the concentration and the students needs. However, most people can complete the entire program in less than two years. They allow students to transfer up to twelve credits from another graduate program. There are three foundational classes and they include: research methodology, applied accounting, and human resource management. 

Degree Type: Organizational Change Leadership, MS

Cost: $15,000

5. Colorado Technical University 

The Colorado Technical University offers an online masters of science degree program in organizational leadership that focuses on organizational leadership and change. This learning pathway is known for being affordable and effective. It is offered through Colorado Technical University’s College of Business and Management. This course of study focuses on managerial skills and the ways students can lead effectively. Students will learn how to lead effectively and focus on the ways they can improve the performance of an organization. Students will learn how to make decisions that impact large groups of people in a variety of contexts. The entire program is made up of 48 credit hours. The number of credits required for the management core are 28. Students will be prepared to embark on a career in the global business market as well as any profession that emphasizes group facilitation and leadership. 

Degree Type: Management – Organizational Leadership and Change, MS

Cost: $16,000

6. Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine offers a master of arts in organizational leadership program that is delivered entirely online. This is known for being an affordable online program that creates a skill toolkit in leadership for the prospective executive manager. The program opens with a 4 day conference to kick start this advanced degree pathway. Students are placed in cohorts from the start of the degree program, giving them access to a core group that they will work through the program with. Storytelling and personal life experience will act as a foundation for the coursework. Students will engage in live three hour bi monthly virtual fellow training sessions that end with an hour of question asking for students. Students will also have carte blanche access to podcasts and videos by, expert in the field, Doctor John Townsend. Team building and team work opportunities will be featured throughout the program. 

Degree Type: Management – Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $16,000

7. University of Saint Francis 

The University of Saint Francis offers an affordable master of organizational leadership program that is delivered entirely online. Students can complete this program in as little as one year with all of the top notch leadership skills under their belts. Students can also choose to participate in this program on a part time basis and finish in two years. While moving through the program, students will gain practical and applicable experience that is tailored to their career goals and needs. The program is designed to be both flexible and convenient. There are six start times, making it easy to matriculate at the time that works best for the student. Each course can be completed in eight week sessions. The core curriculum is made up of 24 credit hours, 12 of which are dedicated to their concentration. The concentrations include nonprofits, higher education, for profit organizations, and higher education. 

Degree Type: Master’s in Organizational Leadership

Cost: $17,000

8. Winona State University

Winona State University offers a master of science degree program in organizational leadership. This course of study is delivered entirely online in a flexible format. Students will focus on achieving all of the skills related to leadership, organizational change, continuous improvement, and communication. The curriculum emphasizes professional practice, technical applications, scholarly writing, attention to diversity, and complex facilitation skills. The classes are delivered in a virtual format that meet in the evenings, accounting for the fact that many students will work while moving through the program. Students will have a calendar at the start of the program that will offer the dates of all of the class sessions so that they can plan far ahead. The classes included will teach students how to be innovative in all aspects of facilitation and material. Students will also learn how to work within chaotic environments within cultural and political systems that are varied and complex. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

Cost: $17,000

9. Lincoln Christian University 

Lincoln Christian University offers a masters of arts in organizational leadership that is intended to develop organizational leaders in all disciplines. This online degree program requires no in person classes. The course of study is rooted in christian teachings, which will be a thread that runs through every course. Diversity is celebrated in this program and the student body is scattered throughout the world including in India, New Guinea, China, and of course throughout the United States. The student body is approaching this course of study from a variety of different backgrounds including ministry, criminal justice, education, business, among many others. Students will move through the program taking one class at a time and they will complete the program in 21 months. Lincoln Christian prides themselves on training students to be prepared for almost any career path with this program. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $18,000

10. Trevecca Nazarene University

Trevecca Nazarene University offers a masters degree program in organizational leadership. This is an affordable program that equips students with the leadership skills to be effective in a myriad of disciplines. One of the inviting points about this program is the fact that it is affordable. The classes were designed to be flexible and convenient, which is why all of the classes are delivered online. The classes are perfect for busy professionals who are working alongside their coursework. Enrollment counselors are available to consult prospective students by text. The programming is Christ centered from all aspects of coursework. Students will be placed in cohorts with up to 19 students. Students will participate in one class at a time for the duration of the 18 month period. Each class is six weeks in length.

Degree Type: Master’s in Organizational Leadership

Cost: $18,000

11. University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota offers a master of science degree program in organizational leadership. This course of study is not only affordable, but delivered in a flexible online format. Students can continue their professional careers while completing the program. The framework is multidisciplinary as they impart organizational skills that are applicable to numerous fields. The coursework dives into many topics including administrative theory and challenges that people may face in the field. Students can choose one of the following specializations: human resources, organizational leadership, addiction studies, health service administration, criminal justice studies, long term care administration. Students have access to a myriad of resources to support them through the program. International students have some different requirements that can be found on the department website. Some of the class requirements include professional writing for administration, research administration practice, and administrative law and government. 

Degree Type: Administration; organizational leadership, MS

Cost: $18,000

12. Charleston Southern University

Charleston Southern University offers a masters of arts program in organizational leadership. Students can choose to participate in this program entirely online, in which case all of the coursework will be delivered in an online format. Students will learn how to facilitate and lead in a myriad of environments including government agencies, nonprofits, and businesses. The entire program is made up of 33 credit hours. The entire program can be completed in 14-45 months, depending on if the student wants to complete the classes on a part time or full time basis. Some of the classes that students will take include: advanced organizational behavior, fundamentals of leadership, power and influence, and organizational change and transformation. The faith based element of this program is paramount to the course of study. Charleston Southern University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $18,000

13. Lewis University

Lewis University offers a masters degree program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. Students will learn how to find their innate ability to lead and combine that with the skills to be effective facilitators. The entire program is made up of 36 credit hours. There are four different concentrations that students can choose from including: organizational management, higher education student services, professional and executive coaching, and training and development. The faculty in the program are experts in the field that will share with students their personal experience as well as offer networking opportunities. Many people that complete this program go into a career such as business analyst, career counselor, corporate recruiters, human resources manager, operations manager, career counselor, education administrator, among many others. Financial aid is available to students in many forms. Each student will be offered support from a student services support coordinator. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $19,000

14. Michigan State University 

Michigan State University offers a master of science degree program in management, strategy, and leadership. This course of study is designed to be not only flexible and convenient, but also affordable. The classes will be delivered in an online format that makes it easy for students to continue working at the same time as participating in the coursework. Students will engage in classes that tie together a variety of leadership skills and experiences including management theory and different leadership styles. Students will be prepared to manage teams with confidence. They will also learn the art of complex problem solving. The entire course of study is made up of 30 credit hours and it can be completed in 20 months. There are five areas that the curriculum focuses on including: decision making, team management, strategy, human resource management, and leadership. 

Degree Type: Management, Strategy and Leadership, MS

Cost: $19,000

15. Colorado State University

Colorado State University offers a master of science program in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. This is a creative and innovative program designed to train learners to lead in ways that are outside the box. Some of the skills students will learn include: program implementation, maintain budgets, create guidelines for training employees, evaluate business research. Students will learn how to guide organizations by gaining awareness around: culture, organizational structure, communication, decision making, and leading diverse teams. The entire program is made up of 39 credit hours. The core courses make up 24 credits and the degree specialization is made up of 12 credits. Many people choose a specialization which can include: project management, finance, organizational learning and performance, applied business management, human resource management, strategic innovation and change management. The program is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

Cost: $20,000

16. Geneva College

Geneva College offers a masters of science in leadership studies that is affordable and also very flexible. This course of study is delivered entirely online. Students can participate in the program at the same time as working full time if they choose, because of its flexibility. There are three specializations that students can choose from including non-profits, ministry, and project management. The entire course of study is made up of 36 credit hours. Students should be able to complete the program in two and a half years if they take one class per term. Each term lasts eight weeks. Students will have small class sizes that allow them to build community and grow along with their classmates. There are many networking opportunities that students will have access to as well. This program has been operating for over 20 years, making this one of the first of its kind. 

Degree Type: Leadership Studies, MS

Cost: $20,000

17. Indiana Institute of Technology

Indiana Institute of Technology, also known as Indiana Tech, offers a master of science program in organizational leadership. This is an online program that is affordable, convenient, and flexible. The program is offered through Indiana Tech’s School of Business. The coursework can be achieved at an accelerated pace. Even online students will have access to financial aid opportunities. Students will have the opportunity to study in the comfort of their own homes as a result of the online delivery. Students will study a variety of skills that will make them effective leaders including building organizational excellence, developing human capital, change management, decision analysis, and strategy development and implementation. Graduates of the program have gone on to work for many well known companies in leadership roles. There are many resources online students have access to including complex advising.

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

Cost: $20,000

18. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University offers a masters of arts program in organizational leadership. This course of study is designed to be a skill building opportunity for students who are already working in fields where they want to achieve leadership roles. Students will learn how to bring together current leadership skills and theories with practical applications. Students will also learn how to engage with conflict in effective ways and in a variety of global and diverse contexts. This program utilizes the cohort model, ensuring that students will learn within small communities that can offer mutual support. The classes include leadership theory, wisdom in leadership, followership, organizational behavior and communication, and ethical challenges of leadership. Many students in this program will continue on to a doctoral program in this field. The entire course of study can be completed in a 20 month period. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $20,000

19. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a masters of arts degree in organizational leadership that is delivered entirely online. It is offered through their school of business and technology. Students will learn how to facilitate organizations both large and small including public, nonprofit, and private. The program is organized into five clusters that build on one another. They all touch upon key components including: the learning leader, the connected leader, the global leader, the change leader, and the adaptive leader. This includes learning skills like ethics, critical thinking, collaboration, team building, and strategy and innovation. The program is made up of 36 credit hours. Analytical and professional skills are emphasized throughout the course of the program. There are many financial aid options. There are also many information sessions that prospective students can access as part of their decision making to enroll. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $20,000

20. University of Valley Forge 

The University of Valley Forge offers a masters of arts program in organizational leadership that is designed to support students become transformative leaders. This program is affordable and flexible, as it is offered in an online format. There are two tracks that students can choose between including: church revitalization track and organizational leadership track. As noted from the above tracks, this program offers a strong religious foundation and gives students the skills to lead in a church like environment. Some of the skills that will be addressed include: leading change, conflict resolution, organizational effectiveness, leadership skills, and leading with christian values. All of the classes will be completed in 7 week sessions. The entire program can be completed in 18 months. Some of the additional skills that will be addressed include: budget preparation and financial planning, strategic planning and implementation, organizational behavior, among many others. . 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $20,000

21. Cornerstone University

Cornerstone University offers a masters of arts degree in organizational leadership. This course of study is designed to create innovative leaders in a variety of fields. Additional skills that will be imparted include managerial and administrative expert knowledge. This program is offered through Cornerstones Adult and Graduate Studies. Each class meets once a week, on a virtual platform, for four hours. Students will be able to complete the program in 19-20 months. Some of the course topics include: organizational decision making, business law, strategic management, leadership and employee development, conflict management, human resources and diversity, and budgeting and financial resource management. The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Students will emerge from this program with the skills to move an organization forward with an ethical and sustainable approach to facilitation. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $21,000

22. Fresno Pacific University 

Fresno Pacific University offers a masters of arts program in strategic and organizational leadership. This course of study is delivered online in a flexible and convenient format. There are some face-to-face requirements in this program. Students will learn ethical approaches to leadership that will support them to creatively bring a team together and enable the organization to thrive. The program is designed to be flexible and fit within an already busy schedule. Classes are offered one night per week and one class at a time. Students will achieve competencies in addressing challenges and obstacles. All of the faculty members in this program have extensive experience in the field. There are many financial aid offerings for this program, and many of the fees associated with the application have been temporarily waived due to COVID-19. Prospective students must have a 3.0 or above in their previous academic programming. 

Degree Type: Strategic and Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $21,000

23. National University

National University offers a masters of science degree program in organizational leadership. This course of study is delivered entirely online as per the students choice. Leadership skills that are hot for employers will be specifically addressed in this course of study. The program can be completed in 12-14 months depending on a number of factors. Students can enjoy year round enrollment in this program and they can transfer in as well as enroll at any time. This program is very military friendly and service members and their families have access to tuition discounts. All students can have access to the financial aid resources available. This program is designed to be flexible with their online format. Students will learn complex communication skills that can be applied in a leadership context. They will be able to work on interpersonal skills as well as the critical tools for effective facilitation. 

Degree Type: Organizational Leadership, MS

Cost: $21,000

24. University of Alabama

The University of Alabama offers a masters of arts in communication studies with a focus on organizational leadership. This program is delivered entirely online in a flexible and convenient format. Students will be able to decipher the different forms of communication and learn the theory and strategies associated with decisive communication. Communication plays a big role in every organization, and mastering such skills will offer a lot of support to building the health of the organization. Interpersonal dynamics and working with diverse groups will be stressed in the program. The curriculum also brings in some components related to active facilitation and moving a group forward. Applications for the program are accepted throughout the year, as students can matriculate when it is convenient for them. Financial aid options are available to students in a number of forms as is student advising and advising for prospective students. 

Degree Type: Communication Studies: Organizational Leadership, MA

Cost: $21,000

25. Waldorf University

Waldorf University offers a masters of arts in organizational leadership that is delivered online. Waldorf has a complex view of leadership and they view this program as a way to hone it’s instrument. The course of study offers eight unique specializations that can support students to excel in one concentration and beyond. These include: teacher leader, public administration leadership, criminal justice leadership, emergency management leadership, fire/ rescue executive leadership, healthcare management, sport management, and human resource development. The entire course of study is made up of 36 credit hours. 15 credit hours are required for the concentration. Students can choose to complete one or more concentration. Some of the required courses include: leadership theory and practice, personal leadership development, diversity and inclusion in the organization culture. Students must achieve a B or higher in all coursework in order to pass the program.

What is a Master’s in Organizational Leadership?

As noted from the list above, there are many best online masters in organizational leadership programs. You may be wondering, however, what is an organizational leadership degree? Well, this 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 students 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. Oftentimes, programs in organizational leadership ask students to choose a discipline that is related to one of the concepts 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 specializations that may include interdisciplinary topics including 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 programs 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 in to the learning portal 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 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 move 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:

What Can I do With a Masters in Organizational Leadership?

Best Online Masters in Organizational Leadership Programs

Will a Certificate in Organizational Leadership Help My Career?