Organizational leadership is the discipline that studies how humans influence change, development, and progress in the workplace. A master’s degree in Organizational Leadership will teach you the psychology, communication skills, motivational techniques, and other strategies behind the effective management of human capital. If you want to learn how to positively impact your team, business, and self, a degree in Organizational Leadership might be the path for you.
What kind of organizational leadership Master’s should you get?
While it can be difficult to decide what kind of degree you should pursue, affordability is a crucial consideration. An online program can make the difference in some cases, with students ridding themselves of the added, unnecessary expenses of travel and lodging on a college tuition bill.
Our ranking of the most affordable online programs may help narrow this decision down for you, but if you are still having trouble deciding, you may want to consider checking out our list of the Most Affordable Online Colleges for a more comprehensive overview.
How much money do people make with a Master’s in organizational leadership?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a degree in Organizational Management is a smart choice. This career is expected to grow by 14 percent by 2026, which is much faster than the national average for all other occupations.
Best yet, these professionals earn high average starting salaries. With a median pay of $52 per hour and over $108,000 per year, organizational leaders can pay back any college debt quickly and easily. Within the next eight years, over 34,500 new jobs are expected to be created.
What can you do with a Master’s in organizational leadership?
Organizational leaders oversee staff and plan programs to help bolster their company’s employees. They might work to motivate and encourage workers to achieve their goals and to inspire change within an organization.
These professionals are found in all industries, including human resources, training and development, administration, health care, and information technology. The bottom line is that a degree in organizational leadership prepares you to work in a variety of roles and to pursue a variety of career paths, based on your interests and prior work experiences.
What are the requirements for a Master’s in organizational leadership?
To be considered for admission to one of these programs, applicants generally must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. While some master’s programs do not require a degree in any specific area, some may specify that applicants come prepared with a background in business or management. Other programs also require work experience.
In some cases, standardized test scores, such as the GRE or GMAT, may be required. A GPA of 3.0 or higher, as well as leadership experience and communication skills, are also usually preferred. Keep in mind that, depending on your chosen path after graduation, you may also need to pursue licensing for certifications such as project management.
What are the best Master’s degrees in organizational leadership?
The best organizational leadership degrees will not only match your individual career goals and schedule preferences but will also meet your budgetary needs. A graduate degree can be expensive – even an online one! – with many schools charging hidden fees.
Our list of the Most Affordable Master’s in Organizational Leadership compiles the schools with the lowest average tuition costs, as well as the highest quality programs so that you can be sure you are getting the best value education for your time and money.
See our rankings methodology page.
Western Governors University
Average Net Price: $9,115
Western Governors University is a well-known online university that has been offering exceptional online programs for over 20 years. This university provides students the surprising ability to graduate with little to no student debt, allowing them to progress through courses as they master the content – not based on how much seat time they have.
The curriculum model at Western Governors allows students to complete competency-based credits, instead of attendance-based time. This means that students prepare for upper-level management positions by utilizing the knowledge they have already accrued through professional or educational experience. Required classes include:
- Managing Organizations and Leading People
- Managing Human Capital
- Data-Driven Decision Making
- Change Management and Innovation
This program is the most affordable option for students seeking a high-quality degree in organizational leadership. The university charges a flat-rate cost of $3,895 per term, regardless of how many credits are attempted. Students work closely with attentive faculty who adapt the curriculum to meet real-world challenges in the field of organizational management, leading to a 98 percent employer satisfaction rating with Western Governor graduates.
Columbia Southern University
Average Net Price: $10,287
The online Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Columbia Southern is one of many flexible distance-learning programs offered at this university. The school provides associate, bachelor, master, and certificate programs in a variety of hands-on fields, including business, criminal justice, and occupational safety. Based in Orange Beach, AL, this university is a private institution dedicated to diversity and affordability in distance learning.
This program explores a variety of modern issues and new theories, with students gaining proficiency in organizational change, communication skills, motivation tactics, and more. Most students can complete the degree in less than three years. Students will take classes such as:
- Business Ethics
- Intercultural Management
- Crisis Communication Management
- Psychological Foundations of Leadership
- Current Issues in Leadership
This degree in Organizational Leadership enables graduates to succeed by establishing a foundation for them to motivate and inspire others. The program’s flexibility is military-friendly, and its affordability simply cannot be beaten. Tuition starts at just $225 per credit-hour, with a variety of scholarship options, grants, and military funding available for those who qualify.
Average Net Price: $12,173
Cleary University is primarily a business school, headquartered in Detroit, MI. This school provides project-based education to nearly 1,000 students, offering a small student-to-faculty ratio that leads directly to student success. The Master of Business Administration in Global Leadership requires 33 credit-hours of study and is designed for individuals seeking to become leaders in organizations that make a global impact.
This program relies heavily on project-based work to help students become proficient in problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, and the application of global-management and decision-making skills. Although each student’s schedule will vary depending on preferences and timing, a sample schedule might include:
- Financial and Managerial Accounting
- Financial Management
- Management and Organizational Leadership
- Managerial Economics
- Strategic Management
The university is home to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which serves a community of entrepreneurs, major corporations, business owners, and, of course, students. This center provides students with the hands-on education necessary to be successful in actual organizational leadership. With a cumulative program cost of less than $31,000, this program is affordable and can be completed in less than 22 months.
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Average Net Price: $14,341
In southwest Wisconsin, just shy of the Illinois and Iowa borders, rests the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. This exceptional university offers over 40 majors with five online graduate majors. With an average class size of just 25 students, this school knows that the key to quality education in organizational leadership lies in the quality of its teaching staff and student-teacher relationships.
This program requires students to explore the many ways in which to apply leadership, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. It is designed in close partnership with industry partners and faculty professionals. Students will take classes such as:
- Strategic Thinking and Change
- Business Analytics
- Organizational Change Leadership: Theory and Practice
- Creative Problem Solving
- Intercultural Change Leadership
The university also offers a certificate program in Organizational Change Leadership, as well as optional areas of emphasis in Project management, Healthcare, Human Resources, and Safety Risk Control. No matter which path you choose, the degree’s price tag cannot be beaten. Rated as one of the best online graduate business degrees in the country by U.S. News & World Report, this program is also affordable, starting at just $675 per credit-hour.
Northern Arizona University
Average Net Price: $14,678
A public university centered on students, service, and research, Northern Arizona is built on a student-first foundation. Class sizes of on-campus and online courses alike are less than 18 students, allowing students to benefit from faculty members who are experts in their fields. Students may pursue an additional emphasis area in their studies, choosing from either Justice Studies or Project Management to enhance their degrees.
Most online classes are asynchronous, allowing students to take courses at times that are most convenient to them. All online graduate students studying in the organizational leadership program receive access to technical support, tutoring, library resources, and other campus resources, such as counseling. Required classes include:
- Economic Analysis
- Accounting for Managers
- Integrated Introduction to Management and Marketing
- Principles of Finance and Law for Managers
This program’s affordability is no secret. Recognized by multiple ranking organizations for its rock-bottom prices, this program provides hands-on support and quality education for those with limited budgets. Tuition starts at just $550 per credit-hour, with discounts available depending on the total number of credits pursued.
Michigan State University
Average Net Price: $14,970
Michigan State is the country’s pioneer land-grant universities and remains a top research institution today. This university is home to multiple nationally ranked academic programs, and its organizational leadership program is successful in that it is strengthened by hands-on and service-oriented learning activities. According to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, Michigan State is one of the top 80 universities in the world.
This program was designed by top management researchers employed by the AACSB-accredited College of Business, housed within the university. Students learn how to apply their findings and solutions to the most serious issues that tend to impact organizations. Curriculum is based on research and long-standing theories, instead of the latest trends. A sample schedule might include courses such as:
- Competitive and Business Strategy
- Developing Managerial Skills
- Strategic Decision Making
- International Management
- Leadership and Team Management
This 20-month degree is affordable as well as thoughtfully designed. Most students can complete the degree within just two years, allowing working professionals to create their courses around their schedules. Tuition starts at only $1,090 per-credit-hour, with the program featuring a variety of financing options to reduce costs even further.
Piedmont International University
Average Net Price: $15,332
Recognized as the top online university in the state of North Carolina, Piedmont International prides itself on its high-quality, Bible-centered instruction. Piedmont is an excellent opportunity for students seeking a faith-based organizational leadership degree in a small school environment. The university has a student-to-faculty ratio of just 9:1, with programs taught by full-time, highly credentialed instructors.
The program integrates real work experiences and research with a well-designed curriculum. It is designed for students seeking a range of employment opportunities, from the workplace to the church. Although each student’s schedule will vary depending on preferences and timing, a sample schedule might include:
- Introduction to Leadership
- Theories of Leadership
- Organizational Theory
- Ethics in Leadership
- Team Building
Piedmont’s programs are highly affordable, with 96 percent of all students receiving some form of financial aid. Piedmont is ranked second in the state for its affordability and quality, with tuition starting at just $340 per credit-hour, with very few additional hidden fees and a variety of financial aid and funding options available. Most students can complete their studies within two years.
Average Net Price: $15,520
Established in 1906, Campbellsville is a faith-based college that offers certifications, training programs, graduate, undergraduate, and doctoral degrees. Recognized as one of the Best Christian Colleges in the country, as well as a top Military Friendly School by U.S. News & World Report, Campbellsville offers an exceptional online Masters in Organizational Leadership that is designed for busy working professionals.
This program includes 30 credit hours of study, allowing most students to complete their studies in just a single year. The curriculum consists of in-depth insight into management skills that are highly sought after in the workplace, as well as foundational knowledge of business concepts and information systems. Students will take classes such as:
- Team Management
- Managerial Communication
- Human Resource Management
- Business Ethics
Students at Campbellsville are supported by thoughtful, dedicated support staff to help with any academic or technical issues. All classes are taught by professors with decades of business experience. Best yet, this program is within reach of any student, regardless of their finances. With tuition starting at just $479 per credit-hour, Campbellsville also offers a broad range of financing options to help make education affordable and flexible.
Charleston Southern University
Average Net Price: $15,709
Charleston Southern is a relatively young university of higher education, having been founded in only 1964. Resting on 300 acres in Charleston, South Carolina, this university provides fifteen entirely online programs to dedicated students. Of these online programs, the online Master’s in Organizational Leadership is one of the most popular, featuring a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Courses are taught by quality faculty who implement the “Encounter-Engage-Energize” model of faith integration. This model allows each element of organizational leadership development to be incorporated into a holistic, well-rounded perspective. Although each student’s schedule will vary depending on preferences and timing, a sample schedule might include:
- Advanced Human Resource Management
- Advanced Organizational Behavior
- Executive Communications
- Leadership Development
- Organizational Change and Transformation
This school is not just affordable, but it’s also military-friendly. U.S. News & World Report ranked Charleston Southern #17 on their list of the Best Online Graduate Business programs for Veterans in the Nation. Starting at just $625 per credit-hour, this degree provides students with distinctive business education without forcing them to break the bank.
Average Net Price: $16,742
Rosemont is a private liberal-arts college with just under 400 graduate students. Small class sizes and personalized faculty attention are the hallmarks of this institution, which offers ten graduate programs. Students seeking a small, close-knit online Master’s in Organizational Leadership will not be disappointed by selecting Rosemont – all graduate students complete some experiential learning before graduation and are enrolled in classes that, on average, have less than 12 students each.
This program provides students with the fundamental knowledge necessary to succeed in organizational leadership. Faculty members draw from their own real-world experiences to provide a well-informed, collaborative learning environment. Required classes include:
- Leadership Fundamentals: Ethical Leadership and Values-Driven Organizations
- Information Systems Strategy
- Organizational Psychology and Behavior
- Power and Politics of Communication
- Ethics, Integrity and Social Responsibility
With over 92 percent of Rosemont graduates employed or enrolled in graduate school upon graduation, this school features hands-on training that is second-to-none. Rosemont has 9,100 alumni working in service-oriented professions all over the world. As a result, the university is repeatedly at the top of national rankings, having received accolades as a College of Distinction, a Most Affordable Master’s Degree program, and a Best Value School.
Siena Heights University
Average Net Price: $17,519
Siena Heights is a Roman Catholic university that prides itself on award-winning programs and a robust Dominican tradition. With over 50 majors, the university ensures that all degree paths include a strong background in Liberal Arts so that students are prepared to tackle any challenge upon graduation. With fewer than 3,000 students between online and on-campus programs combined, Siena Heights is a phenomenal, close-knit institution to choose for a program in organizational leadership.
Designed for individuals with five or more years of professional work experience, this program gets right to the heart of effective organizational leadership. Students will receive training in multidisciplinary concepts from business, communications, and even the social sciences as they take classes such as:
- Finance + Quantitative Leadership
- Leadership Theory
- Organizational Culture & Communication
- Research and Professional Writing in Leadership
- Strategic Leadership
This program has achieved notoriety among its peers, ranked as the best university in Michigan and as one of the top schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. This school is also highly affordable, with 90 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid. The school is one of the top 25 most affordable Roman Catholic Colleges with high starting salaries of graduates, making it a smart choice for any students seeking to study organizational leadership.
Average Net Price: $17,837
Located on seventy acres in Virginia Beach, VA, Regent contains seven schools with two separate colleges. The university offers some of the best online graduate programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, and offers a comprehensive, faith-based liberal arts core. With over 21,000 proud alumni, this school is one of the best places to receive an online education in organizational leadership, as its programs are designed for busy professionals studying from a distance.
The 33 credit-hour program in Organizational Leadership provides students with training in key elements such as creativity, strategic planning, group development, and technology use. The following program concentrations are available to help students narrow their studies in their chosen interests:
- Healthcare Management
- Human Resource Management
- Interdisciplinary Studies
- Leadership Coaching & Mentoring
- Not-for-Profit Management
- Organizational Development Consulting
- Servant Leadership
Tuition at Regent is on average about $16,000 less than other private four-year institutions. With an approximate tuition cost of just $650 per credit-hour, Regent ranks among the top five percent of the most affordable private Christian universities. By making a quality education so affordable, Regent makes it easier for its students to focus on leadership and service, instead of on finances.
Trevecca Nazarene University
Average Net Price: $17,898
Trevecca Nazarene offers an online Master’s in Organizational Leadership with holistic roots, encouraging students to grow spiritually and emotionally as well as intellectually. The university provides 18 other exceptional graduate degrees to students from over 40 states and 16 countries. Thirty-three credit-hours are required for the interdisciplinary Master of Organizational Leadership, which combines communication, religion, and business for a balanced and well-rounded degree.
Each program is taught by experienced faculty members – in fact, 78 percent of faculty at Trevecca Nazarene has terminal degrees in their fields. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 18:1, this university’s attention to student success just can’t be beaten. Students will take classes such as:
- Organizational Culture and Change
- Strategic Thinking
- Human Resources, Ethics, and the Law
- Cultivating Networks and Fundraising
While this school already offers an incredibly low starting price tag of just $420 per credit-hour, over 98 percent of students receive some form of scholarships or financial aid. In addition, this school is a top military friendly-school, supporting students who are current or past members of the Armed Forces. Both Yellow Ribbon and GI Bill benefits are accepted.
Our Lady of the Lake University
Average Net Price: $18,754
This independent, co-ed Catholic university knows how to make a difference in the lives of all of its students. Ranked as the number one school in San Antonio for small class sizes (most are fewer than 20 students), Our Lady of the Lake ensures that students receive dedicated, hands-on education from some of the best minds in Organizational Leadership.
Students in this program learn how to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be successful, all within a supporting framework of student services and diverse, interdisciplinary curriculum. Although each student’s schedule will vary depending on preferences and timing, a sample schedule might include:
- Conflict Management for Leaders
- Leadership in Learning Organizations
- Leadership Assessment
- Intra-organizational Leadership
- Oral Communication for Leaders
Our Lady of the Lake has received consistent recognition for its online programs, topping national rankings several years in a row for its quality and affordability, according to Affordable Colleges Online and U.S. News & World Report. This program focuses on networking and places its students in cohorts as they progress through their studies together. These cohorts allow them to foster meaningful professional and personal relationships that help them gain access to top careers following graduation.
Indiana Wesleyan University
Average Net Price: $19,519
The largest private university in the state of Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan was founded in 1920 and has repeatedly by recognized as one of the top universities in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school values character, scholarship, and leadership in all of its graduate programs, including its outstanding Masters in Organizational Leadership.
In addition to the Master’s in Organizational Leadership, Indiana Wesleyan also features a Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Organizational Leadership. Students may move seamlessly to this second program, having received the background knowledge necessary for completion. Required classes for the master’s program include:
- Leadership Theory
- Wisdom and Leadership
- Ethical Challenges of Leadership
- Organizational Behavior and Communications
- Leadership Praxis
This degree can be completed in approximately 23 months, with students completing all courses in a cohort model. Each class is taught by a doctorally-prepared instructor, who have both powerful academic credentials and extensive professional expertise. These instructors encourage students to undertake quality academic research and engage in constant professional development. Also, this program is highly affordable, starting at $494 per credit-hour.
Colorado Technical University
Average Net Price: $19,856
Colorado Technical is a for-profit university headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, but a majority of its students never see the campus of this fledgling institution. Ninety-two percent of all Colorado Tech students attend entirely online, experiencing one of this university’s exceptional distance learning programs in business, technology, or, of course, organizational leadership. The school emphasizes the importance of competency-based learning and encourages all students to engage in hands-on experiences in the field.
Only 48 credit-hours are required for degree completion, with course beginning every eight weeks and lasting between five and six weeks each. Although each student’s schedule will vary depending on preferences and timing, a sample schedule might include:
- Applied Managerial Finance
- Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making
- IT Management
- Organizational Behavior
- Strategic Management in Dynamic Environments
Colorado Technical University has a profound reputation among its peers for its quality, flexible graduate programs. It is ranked among the best online graduate business programs by U.S. News & World Report, and features an attractive price tag. Tuition starts at just $585 per credit-hour, with additional discount available for financially needy students, as well as active-duty and veteran military members.
Indiana Institute of Technology
Average Net Price: $19,861
This comprehensive, private university is located in Fort Wayne, TX, but offers regional and online campuses around the country. Offering a range of programs in business, computer science, education, and criminal justice, Indiana Institute of Technology underscores the importance of student success in a close-knit learning environment. The university offers a student-to-faculty ratio of just 17:1, even in its popular organizational leadership degree.
This program combines theory and practice to help students explore change management, global leadership, and team building. Each student completes their studies by creating their own leadership projects. Students will take classes such as:
- Business Ethics
- Leadership Styles & Development
- Leadership Problem Analysis and Decision Making
- Developing Human Capital
- Management Information Systems
Graduates of this program are highly successful, going on to successful careers as middle managers and executive team leaders in a variety of industries. Many also complete further doctoral studies to allow them to succeed in business administration, industrial psychology, management, and other fields. With such a low starting cost of less than $13,000 per semester, this university is an obvious choice for any candidate seeking a degree in organizational leadership.
North Park University
Average Net Price: $20,076
Established in 1891, North Park University comprises 30 acres of Chicago with just over 3,000 students enrolled. Featuring a job placement rate close to 90 percent, the university offers small class sizes and dedicated attention to all students, including those studying in the organizational leadership program. Service learning and experiential education are the hallmark of all degree programs and are easily ingrained in classes that contain fewer than 20 students.
Thirteen core courses are required to complete this program, along with five elective courses that are designed to help students pursue their own career interests. Each element of the curriculum is industry-driven and teaches students essential leadership competencies. Although each student’s schedule will vary depending on preferences and timing, a sample schedule might include:
- Organizational Behavior and Ethics
- Ethical Leadership and Decision-Making
- Human Resource Management
- Diversity and Conflict
- Negotiation and Influence
Students may choose to complete their classes entirely online or to complete a hybrid version by attending occasional courses on-campus. Online courses are designed to fit each student’s busy schedule, with no specific weekly class meetings. While tuition for this program is already incredibly low, North Park offers an additional benefit: students who complete a master’s degree from the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, in which the Organizational Leadership program is housed, can return to complete any other courses at a 50 percent tuition discount.
Lincoln Christian University
Average Net Price: $20,123
Headquartered in Lincoln, IL, this Christian university was initially founded in 1944 as a Bible institute. Today, the university still promotes a Christ-centered curriculum that prepares students for their given professions, as well as for lifelong service. The school features seminary degrees as well as other undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including the sought-after Masters in Organizational Leadership.
This highly diverse group features students from all over the world, including candidates studying from Papua New Guinea, Mexico, China, and India, as well as representatives from most of the country’s states. Most students can complete their studies within 21 months, taking a single class at a time. Students will take classes such as:
- Visions, Values, and Voices in Organizational Leadership
- Authentic Leadership in Organizational Contexts
- Foundations for Organizational Leadership
- Organizational Leadership Development
- Cultural Expressions of Organizational Leadership
Featuring a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, this school promotes a collaborative environment. Only around 1,000 students are currently enrolled, making it possible for students to develop strong connections with their peers and instructors. Furthermore, this program is a low-cost option for individuals seeking a more spiritual online degree program. Nearly $10 million of financial assistance is awarded each year, supplementing an already-low average tuition cost of around $10,000 per semester.
Average Net Price: $20,232
The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership at Lewis University is ranked as one of the top ten of its kind by Business Insider. This accolade recognizes the program’s quality as well as the rich history of the university, which offers practical, goal-oriented education to 6,500 students. The university offers nearly 120 programs of study and is supported by the Roman Catholic Teaching Order of De La Salle Christian Brothers.
This program focuses on the human side of leadership in a work environment. Thirty-six credit-hours are required, allowing students to add an optional concentration to help them meet their individual goals. Concentrations include Higher Education Student Services, Non-Profit Management, and Professional and Executive Coaching, to name a few. Required classes include:
- Leadership: Theories, Practices, and Context
- Assessing Leadership Skills
- Leading Change
- Ethics, Integrity and Social Responsibility
- Conflict Management
This program features faculty who are some of the most respected leaders in organizational change and leadership. The curriculum culminates with a capstone that allows students to work with these professionals to develop solutions to a real-life workplace scenario. Students graduate with very little debt, enjoying one of the lowest tuition rates in the country. Most students pay less than $700 per credit-hour.