10 Best Online Master of Science in Leadership Graduate Schools

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Updated: March 11, 2024, Reading time: 21 minutes

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A famous quote says, “Leaders are born, not made.” While many people agree, some oppose it. Research finds that leadership is only 30% genetics, and 70% of it is learned through life experiences. Indeed, a person can have the innate ability to lead or gain the said ability by being educated and trained for leadership.

Any manager or executive at the organization’s top can expect a favorable career outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor says management jobs are expected to grow 8% from 2022 to 2032. Because of this rising demand, online leadership programs have also grown in popularity. There are now online Master’s in Leadership programs designed to prepare you for a career required to lead people

Many of the classes included in the Master in Leadership program are typically found in a general management program, such as marketing and finance. Any business person wishing to reach higher management levels will benefit from this online master’s degree. Leadership graduates, in particular, are often sought after in companies that emphasize team-building and a visionary approach to growth.

Most large companies in virtually every industry prefer to hire managers with a master’s degree. Also, the degree benefits senior management positions that focus on helping businesses manage change.

Quick audio summary:


The demand for leaders is only growing as industries and companies continue to grow and expand. While you can acquire leadership skills through real-life experiences, earning an online master’s degree in leadership will also support you with the necessary education and skills.

Fortunately, many colleges and universities now offer online master’s degrees in leadership programs. By studying online, you can gain more flexibility with your schedule and take advantage of courses that aren’t offered near you. The key is to search for the best online program that fits your preferences and matches your life goals.


Closely linked and often also referred to as an organizational leadership degree at the graduate level, an Online Master of Science in Leadership equips students for work in the scientific or technical side of the discipline. The key is to search for the best online programs in the country from the best graduate schools that fit your preferences and match your career goals, as typically characterized by these features:

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Best Online MS in Leadership Programs

Best Online MS in Leadership Programs

Belhaven University

Belhaven University

Jackson, Mississippi

Online MS in Leadership Degree Program

The Master of Science in Leadership (MSL) offered by Belhaven University is an online graduate program of 36 credit hours that develops the professional skills of business managers and executives. The program is designed for professionals seeking to enhance their managerial and leadership roles in business, education, and their local churches, among other things.

This online master’s degree in leadership is designed to expand an individual’s knowledge of the social, legal, political, and economic forces that impact organizational decision-making. It is open to both business and non-business holders of baccalaureate degrees.

Standout Features:

Students learn to think critically, lead with conviction, and achieve success in a Christian manner. All courses are taught from a biblical worldview. Complete a real-world project in a live organization integrating concepts and skills from all of the courses you’ve taken. Organizational-wide skills related to structure, coordination, policy, and sub-unit design will be developed. Organizational change and development methods can also be mastered.

Did You Know?

Belhaven’s Belhaven Promise program is the only one in the nation. Belhaven offers a free fifth year of tuition to first-time, full-time freshmen who remain continuously enrolled for four years and have been enrolled in a double major. You get to combine your majors according to how you want them. 

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Online MS in Leadership & Human Resource Development

The online Master of Science in Leadership & Human Resource Development at LSU provides students with the skills necessary to become versatile organizational development professionals and leaders. It is offered by one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in human resources. It is designed for people interested in advancing in HR, leading change, and developing people and organizations. 

After finishing this online master’s degree, you can land a job as a human resource manager, human resource development consultant, organizational development specialist, trainer, HR specialist, and other top management jobs. You work in diverse industries like manufacturing, healthcare, education, IT, government agencies, hospitality, or business. 

Standout Features:

With LSU’s Master of Science in Leadership & Human Resource Development or Graduate Certificate in Workforce Development, students can become more effective in various professional settings. Graduates are in high demand for positions in human resources management. As a result, students can develop their capability of identifying and analyzing workplace conflicts and finding solutions, as well as help organizations achieve their business and leadership goals and help organizations make lasting, effective changes. 

Did You Know?

The university holds the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning’s elite R1 designation, placing it among the country’s top-rated public and private research institutions. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® is the only college sports team in the world to compete at the highest level of NCAA competition.

The University of Texas at Dallas

University of Texas - Dallas

Richardson, Texas

Online MS in Leadership & Organizational Development

The MS in Leadership and Organizational Development (MS LOD) program is offered online and addresses vital leadership and human systems issues. Students develop behavioral science skills to increase an organization’s effectiveness and health in a constantly changing environment. You can develop a strong understanding of leadership and organizational development to design interventions at the system, group, and individual levels.

Applying best practices derived from empirical research teaches how to change individuals and groups in culturally diverse organizational contexts and improve the organizations’ effectiveness.

Standout Features:

UT Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management confers a diploma or certificate to graduates – a Carnegie Tier One University ranked #13 among US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools of 2022. This program offers an Academic Certificate in Transformational Leadership in addition to the MS degree if a specialization is not selected.

This means you will be receiving an MS in Leadership and Organizational Development while also acquiring an Academic Certificate in Transformational Leadership. A variety of related Expert Forums are offered regularly to all students enrolled in this degree program at no additional charge.

Did You Know?

Among the top-ranked programs at the school are those that offer degrees in STEM, management, liberal arts, and social sciences. There have been 68 companies formed through the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2016-2020).

University of Arkansas Grantham

University of Arkansas Grantham

Little Rock, Arkansas

Online MS in Leadership

Among the topics explored by this master’s program are aspects of organizational behavior, communication, and leading change. This online master’s degree in the Leadership program will teach students how to assess leadership at various levels, such as people, structures, cultures, and tasks. Additionally, they will examine diversity, inclusion, and trust within the workplace while studying management and ethics.

Standout Features:

Through the leadership degree program, students can analyze their strengths and weaknesses in leadership and identify areas for improvement. This online degree program can build, hone, and refine leadership skills.

Did You Know?

New University of Arkansas Grantham graduates will receive certificates or diplomas in 2022 – a credential backed by the reputation of Arkansas’ premier higher education system.

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

The MA in Organizational Leadership will provide the skills you need to succeed in business, economics, communication, organizational function, leadership principles, political science, psychology, and research. With this flexible degree program, you can advance your career by securing leadership positions in various industries.

Standout Features:

The MA in Organizational Leadership program seeks to give students a broad understanding of business, communication, organizational functions, psychology, political science, and aspects of leadership, including theories, approaches, models, and constructs. Students in the program are provided with the opportunity to develop and refine leadership skills that can be applied to various public and private sector organizations. 

Did You Know?

Graduate and professional programs at Mahurin Honors College have a 98% acceptance rate. In 2018, the School of Journalism & Broadcasting of Western Kentucky University won its fourth outright national championship in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

Southwestern College

Southwestern College kansas

Winfield, Kansas

Online MS in Leadership

Be prepared for healthcare, education, and business jobs with the Southwestern College MSL program. The virtual classroom setting is facilitated by industry experts who share their knowledge and expertise with participants. Classes can be attended from anywhere at any time so that learners can balance their work and home lives.

An MS in Leadership from Southwestern College Professional Studies prepares learners for leadership positions in various organizations, such as the military, government, health care, and education, as well as businesses, non-profits, and corporations. Relationship management is heavily emphasized, exposing students to leadership styles and organizational structures from a global and ethical perspective.

An MSL graduate will demonstrate proficiency in interpersonal and written communication and the essential leadership practices of inspiring a vision, motivating others to act, developing a data-driven strategy, and exercising ethical reasoning. Students can apply their leadership skills to leading change and quality initiatives with the resources provided throughout the program. They also gain practical problem-solving skills and learn how to evaluate the most effective leadership strategies. A graduate degree in leadership may also inspire learners to pursue further graduate studies.

Standout Features:

Southwestern College was recently listed as one of the Top Accredited Online Colleges offering quality online degrees to adult learners. Experts teach courses, and SC learners have access to various learning resources to help them succeed in their education and prepare for future careers.

Did You Know?

Southwestern is the oldest university in Texas, founded in 1873 through a revival of charters granted in 1840.

University of Houston

University of Houston

Houston, Texas

Online MS in Management and Leadership

You can enhance your career opportunities regardless of whether you’re fresh out of college or your job has become stale with Bauer’s Master of Management and Leadership program. In every industry, employers look for employees who are good at solving problems, communicate well and work well in a team, have a strong work ethic, take the initiative, and can lead. This degree program at Bauer teaches both the soft skills of leadership and the business fundamentals that lead to success in any organization.

The program is 100% online, so it’s perfect for working professionals who want to advance their skills while maintaining their day jobs. Through virtual classrooms and hands-on learning experiences, you will collaborate with peers in real time while learning from top-tier faculty whose expertise is rooted in real-world experience.

Standout Features:

The core competency courses you’ll study in this online master’s program are Organizational Behavior and Management, Fundamentals of Business, Managerial Decision-making, Ethical Leadership, Critical Reasoning, Effective Negotiations, Strategic Analysis, Leadership Development, and Human Resource Management. Students can select four electives based on their interests and goals to dive deeper into specialized areas.

Did You Know?

More than 600 UH students have the last name Smith, Jones, or Gonzalez. How interesting is that?

Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University

Township, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership

In today’s complex world, organizations require capable leaders and followers capable of leading change and adapting to new environments to accomplish organizational goals. Robert Morris University’s online MS in Organizational Leadership is a multidisciplinary degree program that gives students a solid grasp of intentional leadership for leadership and followership roles within organizations. You will gain insight and skills that will help you lead and follow effectively.

Standout Features:

In the program, they teach skills for recognizing opportunities to motivate individuals and groups, as well as understanding how and why followers choose certain leaders to lead them. You will learn how to motivate, engage, and inspire your organization using organizational structure and culture, interpersonal relationships, and change-enabling strategies. An advanced degree can help you develop new career opportunities in any industry, such as upper management.

This program will teach leadership theories and strategies, conflict resolution methods, thinking, and research analysis. The program will also teach communication skills, ethics, change strategies, teamwork, and how to navigate human behavior in various cultural contexts.

Did You Know?

Robert Morris University has been recognized for its efforts to provide meaningful education paths for military spouses with the Military Spouse Friendly Schools Award.

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University - Chaifetz School of Business

St Louis, Missouri

Online MA in Leadership & Organizational Development

Students gain the skills to lead change successfully as self-aware, reflective leaders through Saint Louis University’s School for Professional Studies. Organizational development and leadership will be the focus as you learn how to improve organizational dynamics.

Students’ leadership skills are put to the test in assessments, reflections, and project-based instruction. Graduate certificates complement master’s degrees, often with no additional credits required. They can therefore be tailored to meet your specific interests.

Standout Features:

The School for Professional Studies offers a 33-credit program designed for technology-driven professionals like you who are looking to meet their personal career goals. The master’s program offers multiple start terms, including fall, spring, and summer. Using online and hybrid formats, all courses are available in eight-week terms. This community of academics and professionals offers the opportunity to learn from peers from all over the world and from various professional and academic backgrounds.

Did You Know?

Saint Louis University was the first Jesuit college to receive the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership

SNHU’s MS in Organizational Leadership is a 100% online degree program that advances graduates’ careers in almost any industry. Whether currently in a leadership role or preparing for one in the near future, the MS in Organizational Leadership program prepares you for success. The program will prepare you to lead individuals and organizations. You can set and manage strategic goals and adapt organizational structures. 

Furthermore, you’ll gain the expertise needed to move your company forward during times of change. The skills and insights you’ll develop through this program will allow you to master best leadership practices that you can apply immediately at work.

Standout Features:

You’ll not only become a leader that people look up to with SNHU’s MS in Organizational Leadership, but you’ll also know how to advance your career and business. This is the perfect master’s program, especially for those pursuing the human resources field. You can acquire a certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and HR Certification Institute (HRCI®). Or complement the program with a certificate in human resource management. 

Did You Know?

US News & World Report has named the school as one of the nation’s “Best Regional Universities” in 2020. The US Distance Learning Association (USDLA) awards it the 21st Century Distance Learning Award for Excellence in Online Technology.

Common Jobs You Can Land With An Online Master’s Degree In Leadership

People with a master’s degree in Leadership are often employed in the following positions:

Human Resources Manager

People with advanced leadership degrees often work in human resources and workplace culture positions. In addition to recruiting, hiring, and managing employees, including benefit plans, workplace disputes, and ensuring regulatory compliance, the role involves managing and training all employees in a company or organization.

Sales Manager

Businesses can meet their growth goals with the help of sales professionals. All industries are aggressively seeking professionals with the right skills and education. You can be a sales manager at any company offering products or services. In addition to your performance bonuses, you can climb the top of your career ladder if you successfully lead your sales team.

Corporate Trainer

This role may be a good match if you enjoy teaching others and appreciate learning within a business environment. Within the next decade, the demand for trainers and development specialists is expected to grow by 8%

What Skills Should A Leader Have

Listed below is a list of leadership skills that are crucial for anyone seeking a job or seeking advancement in their career:


Many people believe that integrity is only about being truthful or honest, but in many cases, it’s also about standing up for and upholding strong values. In the workplace, integrity often involves making ethical choices and maintaining a positive image for the organization. Businesses look for employees with high integrity.


People can rely on and trust you if you are a dependable leader. Dependable people keep their promises. A team that can work through difficulties can be built by a leader who builds solid relationships. You need to follow deadlines, be straightforward, fulfill your responsibilities, and be honest when you cannot achieve a promise or goal.

Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills are essential for influential leaders. It takes calmness and patience to solve problems effectively. Effective problem-solving skills can enable leaders to make quick decisions, resolve obstacles within their teams and externally, and complete projects according to the specifications on time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete an online Master's in Leadership?
How long does it take to complete an online Master’s in Leadership?

The average time it takes to complete a master’s in leadership online degree program is about 18 to 24 months. Depending on the program, it may take more time to complete. Online master’s degrees typically take less time than traditional master’s degrees. Those enrolled in full-time programs may be able to expedite the process. Students can study more courses and speed up their studies if they want to finish earlier. Earning a master’s degree faster is often possible with full-time enrollment.

A full-time load may not be suitable for you if you also work full-time, but full-time study is beneficial if you want to finish your master’s degree quickly. Part-time master’s programs lengthen the time it takes to earn an online master’s degree in leadership. 

How much do holders of an online Master’s degree in Leadership typically make?

According to PayScale, the salary for a Master’s in Leadership graduate is $77,000 annually on average. However, many variables play a part in this number. Experience level, location, and industry are all factors that influence an individual’s paycheck.

According to the BLS, management occupations offer good pay and job growth. For example, financial managers earn $139,790 per year. However, one position with the lowest earnings is that of the preschool and childcare center directors, with $49,690 salaries per year.  

What requirements are needed for enrolling in an online Master of Science in Leadership?

An accredited leadership program requires a bachelor’s degree from a business school or related field. You should have acquired a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program, either regionally or nationally. If you have not yet received your degree upon applying to graduate school, most programs will receive a letter confirming your anticipated graduation date from your registrar.

Many online master’s programs often require test scores from the GRE. However, some forego this requirement. Applicants who demonstrate promise may even have their requirements waived. The GRE or GMAT can be waived for individuals with 3.5 GPAs. 

Is a Master in Leadership worth it?

Yes, if you’re considering career advancement and organizational leadership. Great leaders share one thing in common, no matter what the industry or role: an entrepreneurial mindset. The ability to innovate and inspire is fundamental to the make-it-happen mentality.

Possessing this mindset paves the way for professional advancement, personal growth, and organizational success. A leadership master’s program can help develop that mindset.

What can students or graduates do with a Master’s in Leadership?

Suppose you enroll in an advanced leadership program. In that case, you’ll better understand how to engage teams, collaborate with colleagues across your organization, and develop strategic plans for any type of organization, from global charities to fast-growing tech companies. With a skill set like this, it’s no wonder students who graduate with this degree make more money and have a brighter career path than ever before.

Graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively lead any organization they choose. By honing their skills in managing tasks, resolving conflicts, leading teams, and communicating effectively, MS in Leadership graduates are highly appealing to organizations facing organizational challenges.

Key Takeaways

Additional Resources:

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