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Top 25 Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership Degree Programs for 2017

Master’s degrees in business are the most popular master’s degree in the country. Almost twice as many graduate students choose business than the next closest major in popularity. As online learning grows and continues to allow working professionals to pursue higher learning, the popularity of online master’s degrees in business grows at nearly the same pace. The dominant degree in this field is the master’s in business administration (MBA), but there are other options for professionals aspiring to be leaders in their field. The online master’s in organizational leadership is similar to the MBA in that it prepares graduates for a number of management level positions within an organization, but organizational leadership focuses more on people and personnel management strategies as opposed to the analytical and structural management strategies of the MBA.

Many modern organizations seek out managers who work with staff members on an emotional level. Most online master’s of organizational leadership degrees teach students conflict management, communication techniques, and organizational behavior, all leadership strategies that value humanity in employees more than traditional management programs. This shift in leadership focus is important for many organizations as different personalities, generations, and cultures fill the ranks of the workforce. Managers with the skills to treat employees as individuals have shown the ability to inspire them and help them reach their true potential.

Top 25 Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership Degree Programs

Job Outlook and Salaries for Organizational Leadership

The field of organizational leadership is made up predominantly of professionals with master’s degrees. Since most businesses look for a combination of education and experience in their leaders, graduate degrees have increasingly become a prerequisite for management positions. In 2015, 53% of the organizational leadership degrees awarded were at the master’s degree level. Comparatively, 40% of the degrees were bachelor’s degrees. An online master’s in leadership is a major with broad focus. It prepares students with the ability to build teams, make important business decisions, and lead effectively. Most students combine this degree with an undergraduate business degree, giving them the foundation and analytical expertise, as well as the flexible leadership skills they need, to excel in the field. This is big part of the reason why the online master’s in organizational leadership is more popular than the bachelor’s degree.

There are other reasons why the online master’s of organizational leadership is so popular. The placement rates for graduate-level leaders is 95.6%, almost 4% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree. The financial rewards are substantial as well. With experience, graduate degree holders can earn a median salary of $93,000 in the leadership field. That’s approximately 35% more than the $69,000 median salary earned by experienced professionals with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. Furthermore, while all business fields are projected to experience growth over the next several years, careers that typically require an online organizational leadership master’s degree are projected to grow at equal or faster rates than the positions that require bachelor’s degrees. In some fields, such as human resources and administration, leadership positions are projected to grow at rates four times faster than the specialist positions.

Job Options for Organizational Leadership

Management Analysts

Management analysts are tasked with helping organizations and managers improve organizational processes. They analyze personnel, financials, and processes and recommend changes and new methods to improve. The majority of management analysts work a 40-hour week, splitting their time between their own office and the client organization’s location. While management analysts do require analytical skills to interpret and find solutions in the hard data and information, there is a great deal of interpersonal skills needed as well. Professionals in this field typically need strong communication and creative problem-solving skills to be able to understand the issues and find solutions to the unique challenges they face on the job.

Human Resources Managers

Organizational leadership graduates who pursue a career as a human resources manager look forward to coordinating and managing the administrative side of a business. They are often in charge of connecting an organization’s management personnel with employees, meaning they’re in charge of staffing, interviewing, and workplace conflict mediation and resolution. Most human resources managers stay in one office location and work about 40 hours per week, but professionals that are in charge of several different organizational branches are often required to travel. To connect more effectively with employees, human resources managers benefit from knowledge in conflict management and business psychology. Other important capabilities necessary for the role are communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills.

Training and Development Managers

Organizational leadership professionals who become training and development managers are in charge of enhancing the skills and knowledge of an organization’s staff. These professionals manage a team of specialists and create training programs that help organizations strengthen staff and processes. Managers empower their team of specialists with the ability to run these programs individually, providing assistance and leadership when and where necessary. Approximately half of the professionals in this field work more than 40 hours a week, and travel between training locations is often required. The most important skills in this field are communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills. Working with people closely requires an understanding of how to speak with people and how to communicate training methods and procedures to others. There’s also a significant amount of critical thinking necessary to determine what the organization’s individual needs are and how to craft a training program suitable to provide the right solution.

Administrative Services Managers

Administrative services managers are in charge of coordinating and managing the supportive services within an organization. This position typically requires managers to supervise all administrative personnel and ensure that all administrative processes are running as effectively as possible. Managers also need to suggest, create, and implement procedural changes if inefficiencies are found. The majority of administrative services managers work a standard 40-hour week alongside their team of administrative personnel. Since this is a leadership position, management skills, communication skills, and interpersonal skills are expected. Managers are also detail oriented and have the analytical skills necessary to analyze organization processes and find more effective pathways if available.



To determine the best master’s degrees in organizational leadership, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the top 25 master’s degrees in organizational leadership. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.