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Marti Ilg, 2014 graduate of the Master's in Organizational Leadership degree program, reviewing documented plans with her team of employees.

Master's in Organizational Leadership Online Master of Science (MS) Degree

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Register By: January 01 Classes Start: January 03

Earn an MS in Organizational Leadership

  • $627/credit (36 credits total)
  • Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
  • Finish in just 15 months, or at your own pace
  • Earn an HR certificate along the way
  • 9% job growth projected through 20301
  • $109,760 median annual salary for managers1

Master’s in Organizational Leadership Program Overview

Great leaders have a common trait. They’re driven to be better leaders. Better problem solvers. Better at leading with mission and purpose. More effective at managing conflict and navigating challenging times.

The Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Leadership is a fully online degree program that prepares students to be leaders in their careers. The skills acquired in this program offer flexibility for professional growth and advancement in nearly all industries, which makes graduates with this degree in demand. The world needs more great leaders. This program is designed to cultivate them.

Whether you’re in a leadership role now or preparing to step up to one, the MS in Organizational Leadership program lays the groundwork you’ll need to succeed. You’ll learn to lead individuals, teams and organizations; become adept at setting strategic goals; manage shifts in organizational structure; and gain the expertise to move business forward in times of change. The skills and insights you’ll acquire through this program can help you master best leadership practices that can get immediately applied in the workplace.

Ben Locwin '09 already had an MBA and an established career in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals field when he enrolled in SNHU's online master's in organizational leadership. His motivation was to “refine my personal leadership brand.”

Locwin saw the degree as “an important credential to show I had invested a significant amount of time in understanding how organizations operate.” He also saw it as a chance to get better at motivating employees to help improve company performance.

With the increased complexities of doing business in a global marketplace, leaders need to be more strategic to keep employees motivated and business running smoothly. A report from Human Resource Executive that came out amid the 2020 global pandemic shows how technology can help.2 While it focuses on times of crisis, its lessons apply to at least two key aspects of managing today’s workforce – remote workers and communications. The MS in Organizational Leadership explores the use of technology in tandem with other strategies to successfully lead teams, business units and organizations.

Workers depend on strong leaders in the best of times. In challenging times, they depend on them even more. “Each business has its own nuance, but they all boil down to the development of products and/or services,” said Locwin, “and those don't happen without people producing them. And people need good leadership they can look up to in times of ambiguity.”

SNHU’s MS in Organizational Leadership will not only help you become the kind of leader people look up to. It will help you know how to move business forward, along with your career.

For students seeking career growth with a specialized focus as a human resources professional, SNHU’s organizational leadership master’s also offers the opportunity to:

  • Pursue certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Pursue certification from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI®)
  • Earn a graduate certificate in human resource management in conjunction with your degree program

Learn how to:

  • Analyze organizational behavior to improve communication and interactions
  • Lead individuals, teams and organizations
  • Balance the needs, expectations and priorities of various stakeholders
  • Resolve issues using strategic HR management
  • Implement theories and models to drive organizational change
  • Apply strategies to enhance organizational performance
  • Promote and nurture growth in others to achieve common goals

Career Outlook

Better pay. Career growth. Upskilling. New to management or leadership. Professional development.

Those are just a few of the reasons students enroll in our master’s in organizational leadership program. Whatever your motivation, you’ll be making a worthwhile investment in your future.

In the face of ever-evolving market forces, organizations industrywide support the development of leadership skills in all their employees.

Sam Mahra with the text Sam MahraSam Mahra ’09G pursued his master’s in leadership to become a better manager and more effective leader. “My organizational leadership degree gave me a better understanding of how to lead an effective organization,” he said. “It also helped me understand how to motivate individuals and apply that to a group setting.”

Mahra, who works in higher education, said many of the roles he’s held required an advanced degree. His MS in Organizational Leadership helped move his career forward.

Steven Galante with the text Steven GalanteLike Mahra, Steven Galante '18G picked this degree for its broad real-world application. “Leadership is applicable in all aspects of life,” he said, “and I believed it would provide the skills I needed to move up into more supervisory roles.”

Demand for strong, effective leadership remains steady, especially for those with a master’s degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 11% job growth for training and development managers through 2030, with a median annual salary of $115,640 in May 2020.1 Similarly, BLS projects 9% growth for human resources managers, with median wages of $121,220 per year.1 Both rates of job growth are as fast or faster than average.

While these roles represent only a fraction of those in demand, they involve responsibilities common to leadership positions across nearly every industry. According to BLS,1 both training and development managers and human resources managers:

  • Plan, direct and coordinate critical organizational functions and staff
  • Develop and oversee essential programs and teams
  • Review and recommend programs from outside vendors
  • Train or consult with other managers, specialists and support staff
  • Align programs with the organization’s strategic goals

What makes an organizational leader different from, say, a department manager?

Dr. Linda Ellington with the text Dr. Linda EllingtonOrganizational leaders understand the business, for one. They also know their roles as “future visionaries and forward-thinkers who lead broad initiatives using integrity and ethics,” said Dr. Linda Ellington, SNHU faculty lead for the master’s and  bachelor's in organizational leadership online degree programs.

Organizational leaders help set strategic goals while motivating workers to successfully achieve those goals. They work for a range of organizations, businesses and enterprises, including:

  • Public and private sectors
  • For-profit and nonprofits
  • Centralized and decentralized institutions
  • Startups and global conglomerates

“If your goal is to influence people and impact the organization at the highest level possible, then you want to learn about organizational leadership,” said Deborah Gogliettino, SNHU’s associate dean for human resources.

Nathalie Ojeda headshot with text, "Nathalie Ojeda"That's been the goal for Nathalie Ojeda '21G.

"This degree has helped me gain a promotion within the last year and opened opportunities within my current organization," she said. "While in class, I was able to apply knowledge immediately. I would corollate my studies into my day-to-day job, which is what this program is all about: real-world situations put into action!"

Gogliettino believes the job and career prospects in organizational leadership are “constant and long-term."

“There is always going to be a need for skilled organizational leaders – today, tomorrow, and afterward,” she said.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online Organizational Leadership Degree

Courses & Curriculum

Whether you aspire to be an HR manager, a nonprofit administrator, a corporate manager or a small business owner, the master’s in organizational leadership was designed with your goals in mind.

“The MS in Organizational Leadership provides an opportunity to examine leadership, change management and corporate social responsibility from a theoretic and practical perspective,” said Dr. Jennifer Varney, senior associate dean of SNHU’s business programs.

SNHU’s program offers a balanced blend of theory and practice. You’ll study theories about motivation, strategy and leadership, and then put them into practice. In the process, you’ll gain all the rewards of developing a valuable new skill set, without the risks of real-world learning experiences.

Dr. Linda Ellington with the text Dr. Linda Ellington“We provide a safe sandbox or playground for our students to try simulations and develop confidence in their abilities,” said Dr. Linda Ellington, SNHU faculty lead for organizational leadership.

Debra Crombie headshot with text, "Debra Crombie"Debra Crombie '21G agreed.

"There were quite a few classes where I was immediately able to transfer my learning into the workplace, which helped me immensely," she said.

She especially enjoyed her Leading Change class.

"In my former role, we were implementing a new HRIS (human resources information system), and my role was to lead the change management part of the project along with the training part," she said. "Thank goodness I had learned about Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model, or I would have floundered."

Melissa Tilton with the text Melissa TiltonFor Melissa Tilton '14 '21G, she found plenty of value in her Negotiation and Advocacy class.

"At first, I did not think I would necessarily need or want to learn more about negotiations, but it was not about money," she said. "It was about getting things done and ensuring that you are constantly working with customers/peers/partners/colleagues to make things happen – which is what I do all day at work. The coursework in this class forced me outside of my comfort zone, but I was constantly having these a-ha moments at home and work when I realized what I was learning was immediately impacting the work I was doing."

As a master’s in leadership candidate, you’ll acquire the essential skills and mindsets of organizational leadership, including:

  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Communicating (and listening) effectively
  • Learning from a diversity of perspectives
  • Relationship- and team-building
  • Developing leadership potential in others
  • Identifying future innovations and opportunities
  • Understanding your business environment
  • Conducting business with integrity and ethics
  • Thinking strategically and holistically
  • Spreading the organization’s vision

The curriculum for SNHU’s 12-course (36-credit) online master’s in organizational leadership includes:

  • 6 core leadership courses
  • 3 leadership electives
  • 3 business electives, enabling you to select courses in your areas of interest

For those seeking career growth to a specialized focus as a human resources professional, the program also offers the opportunity to:

  • Receive certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Receive certification from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI®)
  • Earn a graduate certificate in human resource management

SNHU’s online master’s degree in leadership features these 6 core courses:

  • Human Behavior in Organizations. Look at theories of motivation, communication, leadership, power and change relative to contemporary issues. Identify organizational issues, conduct a root cause analysis from a human behavior perspective and determine targeted solutions that create positive sustainable change.
  • Strategic Human Resource Management. Examine HR functions and state and federal regulatory requirements. Analyze the strategic role of the HR manager in terms of recruitment, hiring, training, career development and more. Aligned to the globally recognized Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Body of Competency & Knowledge Model (BoCK).
  • Leading Change. Discover the various techniques and strategies used to effect systematic change and transform organizations. Coursework integrates Kotter's processes for leading change, organizational development and transformation theory and practice.
  • Organizational Leadership. Learn traditional and contemporary leadership theories and apply them to the analysis of the behavior of business managers, entrepreneurs and other recognized individuals. The course includes readings, cases, exercises and numerous examples of effective leadership models.
  • Responsible Corporate Leadership. Investigate the nature of the environments in which enterprises conduct their operations to determine the actual and desirable levels of business managers’ attentiveness and responsiveness to the relationship between the enterprise and society.
  • Organizational Leadership Capstone. The culminating experience for the program, the capstone will assess your ability to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and skills developed throughout your coursework. Prior course assignments scaffold to the final project, so you learn sequential order of analysis techniques that transfer to real-life situations in any organization or industry.

Sam Mahra ’09G identified with topics around responsible corporate leadership. “I truly enjoyed the social science and corporate social responsibility aspects of the program,” Mahra said.

That's not the only aspect that students are thankful for.

Dr. Christina Dumeng headshot with text, "Dr. Christina Dumeng""Another one of the most attractive parts of this program is the caring and dedicated faculty who are subject matter experts in their fields," said Dr. Christina Dumeng, associate dean at SNHU. "Our MS in Organizational Leadership faculty go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their students are learning contemporary skills to lead from any seat in their organizations."

"SNHU selects instructors who have a wealth of knowledge," said Nathalie Ojeda '21G. "They helped create conversation between peers, which helped us get a better understanding of material.... Instructors are very supportive, provide feedback and encouragement, and are available throughout the week."

Willie Wingfield headshot with text, "Willie Wingfield"Willie Wingfield '21 felt the same way about his experience.

"The instructors provided personal and professional experiences that were important to seeing and understanding the real-world applications of each course," he said. "Each instructor was knowledgeable and provided their own personal touch. They were challenging, supportive, knowledgeable, caring and provided communication that was necessary for me achieving my goal of attaining my degree."

What matters to you? What makes you want to be a better leader? Gain the skills and credentials you need to move your career and your organization forward with SNHU's master's in leadership online.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Graduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 15 credits 
Degree/Certificates $1,881 $627 $9,405 
Degree/Certificates
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
$1,410 $470 $7,050 

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.

Additional Costs:
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

University Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

This program and its concentrations are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Student achievement data can be found on College Navigator.

ACBSP logo

References