Online Business Leadership Degree Program Overviews

Get info about online degree programs in business leadership. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Many schools offer online degree programs in business leadership at the bachelor's and master's levels. Most programs can be completed entirely through online courses, but some are in a hybrid format with both online and on-campus courses included. Majors with business leadership courses include Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, Master of Science (MS) in Business Leadership, and Master of Business Administration with a concentration in leadership.

Bachelor's degree programs in leadership train students in various aspects of organizational management. Students may be able to choose a specialty area of study such as human resources management or policy making.

Several types of master's degree programs are available online with leadership concentrations. These programs cover many aspects of business and place emphasis on decision-making skills, the formation of interpersonal relationships and the ability to form business strategies.

Master's degree programs are often more flexible than undergraduate programs in regards to course selection and scheduling. Prospective graduate students with unrelated bachelor's degrees are required to have prior management or business courses to be admitted to the master's degree program.

Bachelor of Science - Organizational Leadership

Most online bachelor's degree programs in organizational leadership take up to four years to finish and require students to complete around 120 credits of business and liberal arts courses. Many schools stress the flexibility of their programs and allow students to focus on an area of interest that may include policy making, collective bargaining or labor relations. Most schools require applicants to have a GED or high school diploma. Students also need to take a handful of general education courses before they begin their organizational leadership curriculum.

Requirements and Details

In order to complete coursework, take exams and listen to lectures, online bachelor's degree programs require students to be running current operating systems and Internet browsers on their home computers. Some schools may require students to use software like Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Many programs also utilize course delivery systems such as Blackboard. Most schools offering online undergraduate programs in organizational leadership do not require students to attend classes on campus; however, students are typically given the option to do so if they wish.

Common Courses

Program coursework gives students an overview of the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective business leaders. The curriculum also includes electives designed to help students decide where their specific interests lie.

Managing Organizational Change

This course covers human resources management during organizational change, especially during volatile times. A changing organization's place within the international business landscape is also discussed.

Operations Management

Students taking this course are trained to manage the delivery of goods and services within an organization. They are also taught the concepts and methods of manufacturing and production.


Course topics include leadership assessment, the leadership process and organizational productivity. Students also discuss corporate leadership on an international level.

Master of Science - Business Leadership

Online master's degree programs in business leadership are aimed at bachelor's degree program graduates as well as business managers who are looking to enhance their skills and advance their careers. These programs focus on effective leadership within the corporate environment. Students who have completed bachelor's degree programs in organizational leadership typically do not have to complete pre-requisite management or business courses, as with students who hold a bachelor's degree in another area.

Some schools also offer online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs with a concentration in leadership. These programs are structured in a similar fashion to MS programs and include a handful of general business management courses in addition to leadership electives.

Information and Requirements

Most online master's degree programs in business leadership can be completed without spending any time in a traditional classroom, or even on a college campus. Some schools may offer students the opportunity to accelerate their studies by attending on-campus courses, though they are not required.

Students will need a computer with a current browser and operating system as well as a reliable Internet connection. Many schools set up online bulletin boards so that students can communicate with their instructors and peers. Software requirements vary from school to school, though most will require word processing and spreadsheet programs to complete coursework.

Common Courses

Most schools offer a variety of graduate-level business leadership electives so that students may tailor their master's degree program to their interests.


This course teaches students to be effective leaders in the corporate environment and to understand mistakes made by ineffective leaders. The course also discusses the impact of leadership on the overall productivity of an organization.

Business & Organizational Dynamics

Students in this course learn how organizational methods effect changes on the behavior of its members. Students also discuss how both internal and external forces can have an impact on an organization's operation.

Decision Making

This class teaches students how to make decisions that will benefit the overall operation of a business organization. Students analyze different methods of knowledge-based decision making in order to avoid common pitfalls in a business environment.

Career Information

Students who complete undergraduate degrees in organizational and business leadership are qualified for management positions in most branches of business operations. Depending on an individual's interests, graduates can enter into human resources management, financial management or marketing management positions. A 9% job growth was projected for human resources managers through the 2014-2024 decade. A 7% job growth for financial managers and a 9% job growth for marketing managers were projected for the same period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the salary for any type of business leadership or management position is based on experience and education ( Generally, students who complete graduate-level degrees are eligible for advanced management positions with higher salaries. The BLS reported that in May 2015, the average annual salary for human resource managers specializing in compensation and benefits was $121,630. Financial managers earned an average annual salary of $134,330, while marketing managers earned $140,660 during the same year.

Online business leadership degree programs are available in many schools at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs may be completed entirely online, though in some schools, students may opt to attend on-campus classes in addition to online courses.

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