Organizational Leadership Graduate Degree Programs & Schools
What is a Master’s in Organizational Leadership Degree?
A Master's in Organizational Leadership is a kind of business administration degree. It focuses on the skills and knowhow needed by corporate leaders.
Some themes touch on ethics, communication and creating a personal leadership style. Others may discuss business topics like HR and analytics. Because of its scope, many compare the MSOL to the MBA.
written by Rana Waxman
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Organizational Leadership Degree?
It is a motivating time to pursue a master’s in organizational leadership degree. Every business, institution, form of government, or needs ethical and focused leader. In all these areas, there are leaders and managers of all kinds, making it a field full of potential opportunity.
Some organizational leaders function at the C-suite level. CEOs can now manage day-to-day operations from mobile offices, so there are many new jobs. As such, the BLS.gov reports there is a growing need (8 percent to 2026) for corporate leaders and managers.
What if a C-suite job isn’t your endgame? Many MSOL programs feature emphasis in coaching, training and development. These classes may solidify the skills to pursue other avenues with favorable outlooks.
For instance, leaders are crucial at the level of training personnel. By aligning corporate goals with culture, you might help a business succeed and grow. In this line of work, the BLS.gov projects a 10 percent expansion over the next 7 years. You may find jobs here given there are newer and more cost-effective ways to train staff.
What jobs can you get with a Master’s in Organizational Leadership Degree?
Many training and development managers have a master's degree. Persons in this role tend to be effective communicators and are able to generate ideas. They use their abilities to oversee staff, training programs and budgets. The position they hold may boost corporate outcomes by making it more productive.
Jobs in Organizational Leadership
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Training and Development Manager
Top States for Employment: Chief Executive Officer
Annual Mean Wage
Source: (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm )
Top Metro Areas for Employment: Chief Executive Officer
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL||$207,090||Not Reported|
CEOs work in almost every industry. While 23 percent are self-employed, others work in small and large businesses, government, consulting and healthcare.
Popular Master’s in Organizational Leadership Programs
Organizational leadership degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Business, management, marketing, and related support services.
In fact, in the most recent update of the data (2009/10), across the U.S, there were 1,801 organizational leadership degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority (87 percent) of these programs were at the master’s degree level.
MSOL vs MBA, What’s the Difference?
There are two common degree paths for managers who seek want to step into leadership. The Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) and the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
The MSOL, MS in Management (MSM) and MBA are grad degrees with a focus on professional management. Yet the programs often cultivate distinct skills through their study plans.
MSOL degree programs usually devote courses to both hard and soft leadership skills. Soft skills might include how to network, collaborate and mentor others. Hard skills are technical. These may touch on business planning and making data-driven decisions about personnel etc. You might also tailor an MSOL to areas such as executive coaching, adult learning and training or organizational change.
MBA degree programs cover the functional areas of business. For example, marketing, accounting, finance, HR, operations management, and so on. From there, if you choose OL as a focus, you are likely to take a handful of courses. These might draw on topics like organizational behavior, ethics and strategy.
Graduate Organizational Leadership Degree Guide
Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL)
Master of Business Administration
|Master of Science in Organizational Leadership|
Length of Program: 36 credits, 12 months
Length of Program: 36 credits, 12 months+
This program features modules in professional ethics, managing talent, networking and leadership. Students also take individual coaching sessions with faculty.
This program revolves around a traditional MBA curriculum. These provide a solid base in areas like managerial accounting, marketing and quantitative analysis for decision-making. Students also take several courses in strategic management.
No specific accreditations (other than regional)
Programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Either the MSOL or MBA might be useful if you plan to rise to a more senior leadership role, switch sector or start out on your own. Reading course lists is one way to check which program lines up with the things you want to learn and skills you seek to enhance. If you want analytical business classes and to understand group interaction, there are Dual MBA/MSOB programs.
For those who want to achieve a terminal degree, there are other graduate degrees in organizational behavior. While master’s programs may gear courses to current and emerging managers, doctorate programs are usually for the experienced executive.
For instance, PhD programs tend to build thought leadership through a final research dissertation. Others like the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and MS/DNP Executive Leader programs may stress problem-solving.
Master’s in Organizational Leadership Programs
A typical MSOL program covers theories, tools, and techniques in how to run a business well. Some courses will thus focus on managerial processes and how an organization works. From daily operations and human resources to the establishment of team relationships.
Other key topics may help you identify your personal leadership style. In figuring out your strengths and skills, you may also learn how to use them to impact your work. Such classes may involve learning about ethics, organizational behavior and corporate dynamics.
Then there is the larger context of setting a common vision of change for an organization. One that will move it forward. Such classes may discuss modern issues in leadership. Things like telework, using social networks, diversity. Or, the challenges of leading in a specific industry. Health care, non-profits, education etc.
In other classes, you may focus on human resources, negotiation and conflict resolution. Most programs also include an analytic component. These explore strategy, analytics and governance.
What Organizational Leadership Courses Would I Take?
Organizational leadership classes differ in each school, though many share similar themes. Here are some common courses that you might take if pursuing a master’s degree.
Leadership Theories, Practices and Context
This class may look at key theories and practices of leadership as well as how to apply them in real life. It may also cover various metrics like Big Five Personality Test, Type A, Narcissism and others.
This class may help you understand organizational change. What creates it, makes people resistant to it, and how to use different change models to succeed. In doing so, students may develop a ‘roadmap’ which helps chart their progress as a change leader.
Psychology of Motivation
This course might look at modern ways to craft and apply motivational tactics. Related topics may discuss leadership science and behavior shaping.
This course may look for links between a leader's emotional IQ and the way they perform and function. Apart from studying constructive thinking, you may assess your own emotional quotient.
This class looks at the basic systems that form our concepts of right and wrong. From the personal, cultural and national to the familial, and/or religious experiences. Along the way it may include questions of integrity and character.
This class may present tools to measure and test how effective a learning program is. It may offer a step-by-step approach to communicating and working with others.
Organizational Leadership Degree Accreditation
Many schools with regional accreditation offer organizational leadership degree programs. Studying at one of them means you may be eligible to use transfer credits and apply for federal aid. Because it also ensures a school meets standards, accreditation is something to check.
Another level of review and quality control is for programs. There are three independent, non-profit agencies that accredit MBA programs in the US:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
This type of rubber stamp vets a program's curriculum. It is in place to ensure grads learn relevant (ethical) skills and timely information.
Because the status is good for a set period, the program has to undergo a self-study when it wants to renew. This keeps the curriculum up-to-date.
How Long Does it take to earn a Master’s in Organizational Leadership?
A full-time student might earn a master's in organizational leadership degree in 15 months to 2 years. Select schools offer accelerated one-year programs. Earning a DBA in organizational leadership may take a commitment of three to four years.
MSOL Programs That Could Be Completed in 24 Months or Less
|University||# of Credits Required||Start Dates||Minimum Months to Complete|
|Southern New Hampshire University||36||5||15|
|Saint Joseph’s University||36||multiple||24|
How Much Does an Organizational Leadership Degree Cost?
The average cost of a of a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you will be able to find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
To give specific examples, this visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with Organizational Leadership Degrees as reported by the NCES. We have then compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also as reported by NCES.
Instate/Out Of State Tuition
What are the Costs per Credit for a Master’s in Organizational Leadership?
Cost per credit of course is different at every College or University. State Universities are also likely to have in state costs vs out of state costs. Below are a few examples of the cost per credit as reported by each one of these institutions.
|University||# of Credits Required||Cost Per Credit||Tuition Cost|
|Colorado State University||36||$500||$18,000|
|Grand Canyon University||57||$575||$26,450|
|Southern New Hampshire University||36||$627||$22,572|
Top 40 Organizational Leadership Degree Programs
- No application fee for April & June terms
- Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
- Eligible new or returning students can save $3,000 on tuition with the Master’s Scholarship.
- Strayer University is an accredited institution with a proud history of 125 years in quality education.
- With the help of dedicated personal support and AI technology, earn your degree online or on campus.
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Business Administration - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - General Organizational Leadership Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management
Manhattanville CollegeMaster of Science in Human Resource Management and Organizational Effectiveness Master of Science in Business Leadership
Union Institute and UniversityMS in Organizational Leadership
American UniversityMaster of Science in Organization Development
Lewis UniversityMA in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Management MA in Organizational Leadership - Professional and Executive Coaching MA in Organizational Leadership - Training and Development MA in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education - Student Services MA in Organizational Leadership
Concordia University ChicagoMA, Leadership: Organizational Leadership Specialization MBA, Leadership and Change Management Specialization
Purdue University GlobalM.S. in Management and Leadership - Leadership M.S. - DNP Executive Leader
Grand Canyon UniversityM.B.A. and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree) M.B.A.: Leadership M.S. in Leadership
Pacific Oaks CollegeM.A. Organizational Leadership and Change
Roger Williams UniversityM.S. Leadership
South UniversityMS in Leadership
California State University, NorthridgeDiverse Community Development Leadership
Liberty University OnlineDoctor of Business Administration: Strategic Management DSL: Strategic Leadership Doctor of Business Administration: Leadership PHD: Education: Organizational Leadership
Capella UniversityPhD - Strategy and Innovation PhD - Leadership (ACBSP-accredited) DBA - Strategy and Innovation (ACBSP-accredited) DBA - Leadership (ACBSP-accredited)
Southern New Hampshire UniversityMS Organizational Leadership MS Management MBA w/conc in Leadership