Online Graduate Degrees in Organizational Leadership

Get info about online graduate programs in organizational leadership. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Both master's and doctoral degree programs in organizational leadership can be completed online. Master's degree programs are more common; several schools throughout the United States offer this type of program in a distance-learning format. A handful of doctoral degree programs are also available.

These programs are designed for working professionals and typically have flexible scheduling. Although the majority or all of the curriculum requirements can be completed online, some programs have short on-campus residencies or other practical training components.

Online students in organizational leadership programs may select a focus area, like business management, healthcare management, not-for-profit management, information technology, organizational development, international management and more. Specializations are more commonly offered at the master's degree level. Master's degree programs usually have final applied research projects, and doctoral degree programs typically require dissertations.

Online Availability Fully online and hybrid formats are available at the master's and doctoral levels
Degree Levels Available Master's and doctorate
In-Person Requirements On-site residency period or volunteer work

Master's in Organizational Leadership

Online graduate degrees in organizational leadership are available at the master's degree level through private, for-profit universities; they typically result in a Master of Arts. However, there are a few public and not-for-profit schools which offer this option as well. As traditional brick-and-mortar campuses expand their curriculum on the Web, there are expected to be more choices for individuals who want to complete an organizational leadership degree online.

Enrolling in a master's program requires an undergraduate degree. Some organizational leadership programs also require a minimum GPA and GRE or GMAT scores for admittance. Completion of a master's degree in organizational leadership typically takes two years; due to its asynchronous online format, program pacing may vary by student.

Program Options and Requirements

Most graduate degrees for organizational leadership offer several concentrations. Options may include training and development, not-for-profit management, public administration and higher education. Earning a concentration typically requires 15-20 hours of elective courses in addition to core classes.

Because learning how to communicate effectively is an important part of an organizational leadership curriculum, online programs provide students with networking tools to help facilitate the same interaction that takes place in an on-campus classroom. Web-based discussion boards and chat rooms keep students connected to peers and instructors. Additionally, some degrees require a 'weekend retreat' where students receive practical experience through an on-site residency near the end of the program.

Course Topics

Online master's degree courses for organizational leadership focus on the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in a supervisory role.

Leadership Theories, Practices and Context

This course teaches students how to apply leadership concepts to real-world situations. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the history and structure of an organization as well as how to face new challenges.

Critical Thinking and Decision-Making

In this class, students explore the relationship between critical and creative thinking. Students also analyze scientific methodology and logic, and how these practices influence good decision-making.

Ethics, Integrity and Social Responsibility

Lessons focus on how personal values and ethics determine leadership choices. Students learn about the moral obligations of leaders and how to shape a moral environment within an organization.

Conflict Management

Students study real-world cases to discuss and solve group conflict. This class focuses on the theories and practices used to control interpersonal conflict.

Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership

Online Ph.D. programs are available through a few private, not-for-profit schools. Some schools offer students the option to complete their degree entirely online, while others require a hybrid combination of online and on-campus courses.

Admittance into a doctorate-level organizational leadership program requires a master's degree, as well as an on-site interview and writing sample. Earning a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership typically takes 1-2 years.

Program Options and Requirements

Doctoral degrees are designed to help professionals refine their knowledge within a specific area of organizational leadership. Students can pursue concentrations in business leadership, nonprofit leadership or educational leadership. Earning a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership requires 36 core courses with an additional 15-20 hours in the chosen area of concentration.

Both online and blended-learning programs require students to complete a period of residency to graduate. Some programs may also have enrollees participate in community-building activities or complete volunteer work.

Course Topics

Organizational leadership classes at the doctoral level focus on applying knowledge in real-world scenarios. This typically involves conducting original research to supplement classroom learning

Organizational Behavior

The class reviews behavioral models and factors in an organization. Students learn how to implement a transformation process and successfully lead organizational change.

Research Methodology

Students review methods for both behavioral and social science research projects. Coursework covers the steps necessary to complete a multi-measure study and helps prepare students for their dissertation.

Strategic Leadership

This class focuses on building and executing a management plan for an organization. Students study SWOT analysis, cost analysis and competitive analysis; they also learn how to formulate a successful business strategy.

Career Information

There are career options in all fields for individuals who graduate with an online graduate degree in organizational leadership. Some job titles include operations manager, human resource director, chief executive officer and education administrator.

Continuing Education Information

A Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership is the highest formal education award an individual can achieve in this field. Leadership professionals who wish to continue learning and updating their skills can attend conferences and events offered by industry associations, such as the International Leadership Association (ILA).

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