Organizational Leadership Degrees by Degree Program Level

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

Bachelor's programs in organizational leadership prepare students for entry-level leadership positions in various industries, and they sometimes include an internship. Master's programs can prepare students to become entrepreneurs or high-level managers, and they sometimes include teamwork and leadership seminars. Students in both bachelor's and master's programs in organizational leadership learn about workplace group dynamics and leadership theories. Doctoral programs in organizational leadership can prepare students for careers as professors, educational administrators or business owners. Students learn about research methods, strategic leadership, and leadership accountability, as well as completing dissertations or research projects.

Bachelor's degrees last four years and require students to have a high school diploma or GED, as well as high ACT or SAT scores. Two-year master's degrees need students to have completed a bachelor's degree prior to enrolling with high GRE scores, and a doctoral program requires the same of master's holders. Programs can also be found online.

Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Leadership

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Organizational Leadership helps students develop a foundation in the cultural, social, and organizational skills commonly used in leadership roles in a number of industries. Graduates of these programs often pursue entry-level organizational leadership positions and further education in the field.

The introductory concepts and behaviors of organizational leadership are typically covered in the B.S. programs. Many of these courses are prerequisites for graduate-level programs. Students may take the following courses:

  • Introductory organizational leadership concepts
  • Group analysis
  • Business ethics
  • Dynamics in the workplace
  • Internship in organizational leadership

Master's Degrees in Organizational Leadership

Organizational leadership master's degree programs are offered as Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) options. The M.A. option typically focuses on a variety of fields, including human resources, communication, and social sciences. The M.S. option prepares students for leadership roles through skill-development in teamwork, as well as problem-solving. MBA in Organizational Leadership programs are typically designed for students who are seeking advancement opportunities in their current management positions.

Students can design a course load that prepares them for a doctorate program or advancement opportunities in their field. Courses may include:

  • Mathematics and statistics for business leadership
  • Organizational leadership theory
  • Research methods and presentation
  • Leadership and group dynamics
  • Organizational leadership seminar

Doctoral Degrees in Organizational Leadership

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are the highest degree options available in the field of organizational leadership. The Ed.D. program is designed for students who are pursuing teaching positions with a college or university. The Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership is structured for managers who are interested in developing their business or organization. These doctorate programs can include theses, dissertations, and research projects.

Coursework in these programs helps students gain advanced research and teaching skills used in high-level leadership positions. Students typically choose specialized courses based on their organizational leadership area of concentration. These may include:

  • Leadership: a study of its practices and theory
  • Modeling environments where organizational behavior operates
  • Strategic Leadership: Management concepts and problems
  • An understanding of accountability and governance in organizational leadership
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods of research

Popular Career Options

Graduates of master's degree in organizational leadership programs are typically pursuing advanced leadership positions. The advanced skill-development may be useful in non-profit management. Other possible careers include:

  • Non-profit administrator
  • Operations manager
  • Special events lead coordinator
  • Entrepreneur

Graduates of doctoral organizational leadership programs are usually preparing for the highest position available in their field. The Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree can be used for careers in business, healthcare, or government. Possible careers are:

  • Professor
  • Educational administrative coordinator
  • Director of management
  • Business owner

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Bachelor's-level organizational leadership graduates are prepared for entry- to mid-level positions in various industries, including businesses. With experience, these graduates may take on management roles; for example, human resource manager is one job option. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job opportunities for human resource managers would increase by 7% between 2018 and 2028 ( The median annual salary for human resource managers was $116,720 as of May 2018, according to the BLS. Meanwhile, marketing managers earned a median of $136,850 in that same year. Openings for marketing managers were projected to grow by 8% from 2018-2028, as well, per the BLS.

Organizational leadership bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees teach students skills to become effective leaders in a variety of career fields. Master's degrees can prepare you for advanced career opportunities while a doctorate is geared more towards teaching or administrative positions.

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