A process by which an individual can guide, direct and influence the work and behavior of others toward the achievement of specific goals in a given situation is known as Leadership. Individuals with relevant work experience who want to advance their leadership skills can pursue the master’s in leadership online program. An online leadership master’s will help students acquire knowledge, skills, and dispositions at a leadership level. It will help them become more effective in their current roles, learn to make ethical decisions, and lead the organization. Graduates of online leadership master’s degree can work in various leadership positions like a corporate trainer, human resource manager, school principal, health service manager, C-level executive, and more. This guide expounds on the master’s in leadership online degree and covers all its critical aspects that prospective students need to know.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.
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Prospective students must list universities that are ranked best in terms of reputation, teaching and experience of the faculty, accreditation, scholarship and funding, faculty research interests, support services, and more. Students should also ensure that the programs and universities align with their personal and professional goals. Here are some of the best master’s in leadership programs online prepared byOMC teams:
Understanding Master’s in Leadership Online Degree Programs
A master’s in leadership online degree helps professionals develop their leadership skills. It will help them lead organizations and teams through complex change. The online leadership degree is designed for professionals who are working and have a good amount of experience but who want to enhance their leadership skills and enter senior leadership and management roles. Students will require 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework to complete their program. Some master’s programs have concentration areas for students to choose from according to their interests. Students can also select their electives depending on their career interests.
The master’s in leadership is offered in online, offline, and hybrid learning modes. Online learning is flexible and helps students balance their work and studies, while offline students will have to go to university and attend classes face to face. The hybrid learning mode is a combination of both offline and online learning. Students will have most of their classes online and a few of them in person.
Master’s in Leadership Degree Types
There are three types of online master’s in leadership degrees. They are Master of Arts in Leadership, Master of Science in Leadership, and Master of Education in Leadership. Students can choose anyone depending on their personal and professional interests.
Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)
The Master of Arts or MA in leadership online is oriented towards subjects of liberal arts and humanities. It focuses more on research with a theoretical approach. This type of degree is suitable for individuals intending to pursue their doctoral studies.
Master of Science in Leadership
The Master of Science or MS in leadership online has a more scientific and technical approach with subjects from the STEM field. It gives professional competency to students with gaining more practical skills. The M.S program also consists of research.
Master of Education in Leadership
The Master of Education or M.Ed. leadership online focuses on theories and skills that can be applied across education. It focuses more on the practical aspects of the program.
Note: Some business schools offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis on leadership.
Master’s in Leadership vs. MBA
Master’s in Leadership and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) have similarities but do not replace each other, nor can they be each other’s substitute. Both degrees offer courses on management and leadership. Here are some of the differences between the Master’s in Leadership and an MBA:
Master of Arts/Master of Science in Leadership
Masters in Business Administration (Leadership Emphasis)
Master’s in Leadership is mainly designed for individuals who want to create a change, impact, and lead within an organization.
The MBA in leadership attracts people interested in business and want to acquire knowledge on a variety of topics in business, such as accounting, management, finance, entrepreneurship, and marketing.
Typically, individuals already working in an organization and have a good amount of experience enroll in the leadership master’s program.
Not all students who enroll in an MBA program have work experience.
It focuses on the principles of leadership and its aspects.
It focuses on business aspects such as marketing, finance, economics, and so on
It can be completed within one to two years.
An MBA will take an average of 2 to 3 years to complete.
Specializations in Master’s in Leadership Online Programs
Specialization helps students sharpen their skills and knowledge in specific areas of interest. It also has other advantages such as high salaries, career advancement, and industry recognition. Various specialization options are available within the leadership master’s program. Some of these leadership concentrations are:
Area of Specialization
Human Resources Management
This specialization focuses on the application of the study of human resource principles. It consists of various areas of study such as employee relations, benefits, and compensation.
The main focus of this concentration is leadership skills required in the public sector, such as conflict management, coaching, human resource management, and team building.
Organizational Leadership and Communication
This specialization focuses on leadership strategies that will prepare students to advance in upper management, middle management, and administrative positions in all fields.
Marketing Communications Leadership
This specialization provides students with highly demanded and unique marketing skills while acquiring leadership abilities to drive high-performance firms and clients.
This concentration helps in enhancing the professional skills of ministry leaders.
This concentration is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge, mindset, and skills to lead and manage others to build high-performing organizations.
Health Leadership and Management
This specialization provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary for managerial and leadership roles in healthcare settings.
This concentration provides foundational knowledge of the necessary core concepts to run functional areas of a sports team or organization. It will help students develop and refine their leadership abilities in sporting environments.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership
This specialization explores race, culture, gender, and ethnicity in executive writing, leadership, evidence-based practices, evaluation and statistics, and the roles of laws and policies.
Non-Profit Leadership and Management
This specialization provides students with the training and skills required to lead a complex, mission-driven, non-profit organization.
Some of the other available concentrations in a master’s in leadership online degree program include:
Leading and Managing Technical Projects
Sport and Social Change
Corporate Communications & Marketing
Executive Leadership & Organizational Development
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Leadership Online Programs
The online master’s in leadership program is designed for individuals who want to acquire leadership skills and expand their opportunities in leadership and management roles. This program requires 30 to 36 hours of coursework to be completed. Students can choose their electives depending on their interests and goals. They will also have to complete a capstone project as a part of the master’s in leadership online degree. To customize their degrees, students can choose from various concentrations that align with their interests and professional goals. Some examples of core leadership courses in the program include:
Organizational Behavior-This course uses several managerial, organizational & behavioral theories, principles & concepts in predicting, analyzing, diagnosing, and guiding human behavior within organizations committed to public service. It focuses on leadership, motivation, organization development, change, group dynamics, and personality.
Leading Productive Teams-This course analyzes the role of leadership and team dynamics in supporting effective outcomes of the team. It reviews team effectiveness and small group development. It also examines issues relating to culture, diversity, collective performance evaluations, performance pay, and individual proficiency.
Leadership Theory-This course examines leadership concepts, theory, and practice. It will help students identify leadership styles and leaders and apply their knowledge to positively affect and better understand their organization. Students will learn to identify their own leadership practices and styles so that they can identify their areas of personal development and growth
Financial Analysis-This course provides an overview of budgeting, financial, and accounting practices and their relationship with organization responsibilities for executive leadership. Topics such as control and planning issues reporting, cash and cost budgeting practices, working capital management, and cost of capital are covered. This course provides students with skills to evaluate the financial viability of an organization.
Strategic Planning and Execution-This course analyses the strategic dimension of leadership. Strategic planning, establishing a vision, and implementing strategic initiatives are some topics included in this course. Students will examine strategic issues and learn to apply their knowledge to positively affect their institution, organization, or business.
The master’s in leadership program will provide students with a strong foundation of skills and knowledge to lead in an organization. Among the many skills, students of this degree program would have gained the ability to:
use cutting-edge strategies in change management, innovation, and design thinking;
master principles of motivation and human behavior to maximize the use of human resources;
articulate important leadership theories in leadership studies, critique and analyze these theories and apply them while addressing a variety of organizational problems and issues;
provide visionary and innovative leadership to take an organization to the next level;
develop organizational-wide skills in coordination, structure, policy, and design of sub-units;
identify current challenges by interacting with executive-level leaders from the community and find solutions to address them;
to act morally and rationally when presented with difficult choices; and
utilize the most recent concepts and tools emerging in leadership and management.
Accreditation for Master’s in Leadership Online Programs
Accreditation is the strict process of evaluation that institutions go through to maintain their standards of educational quality. Accredited universities design and implement their education to the highest standards expected by students, parents, and the industry. Prospective students should choose from accredited leadership colleges for easy employability and a better career outlook. Here are some of the main accrediting agencies in the United States:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Timeline for graduation from Master’s in Leadership Online Programs
Master’s in leadership online programs are offered in both full-time and part-time options. A full-time master’s in leadership program can typically be completed in about 1 to 2 years. On the other hand, part-time master’s in leadership programs would require about 2 to 3 years to complete. While full-time programs are best for students who can take a break from their jobs and attend school, part-time programs are best for working professionals who will be able to balance their academic, personal and professional life.
Master’s in Leadership Programs Admission Requirements
Before beginning the application process, prospective students must go through the admission requirements for the master’s in leadership online program. Most of the admission requirements are similar across the universities. But many might have specific requirements depending on the university and program. Here are some of the master’s in leadership admission requirements:
Completed application form & application fee
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
Official and unofficial transcripts from all the previous institutions attended
A Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.7 on a scale of 4.0
In most instances, students must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and submit their scores before applying to a graduate program. However, some universities skip this requirement for students with high GPAs or substantial work experience. Examples of universities offering master’s in leadership no GRE programs include Miami Herbert Business School, University of San Diego, Belhaven University, etc.
Accelerated Master’s in Leadership Online Programs
An accelerated master’s in leadership online can be completed in lesser time when compared to traditional master’s programs. Students can earn their degrees faster by opting for transfer credits, fast-track programs, and covering more classes in less time. Alternatively, many institutions offer integrated programs combining bachelor’s and master’s degrees that can be completed in 5 years instead of the usual 6 years. Here are examples of some accelerated master’s in leadership:
North Central University– offers an accelerated master’s in organizational leadership, which can be completed in 12 months. The course structure of this program is intense and fast-paced.
Manhattan College – offers an accelerated master of science in organizational leadership that is well suited for working professionals.
Northeastern University – offers a master of science in organizational leadership that can be completed within one year.
Free Courses For Master’s in Leadership Online Students
Free courses help in providing additional information on a subject. But free courses are usually not accredited and do not lead to a master’s degree. While there are no free master’s in leadership online courses, in particular, some online platforms provide short free courses in leadership that can help students in their projects and assignments. Some examples are:
Udemy offers some free courses in leadership such as self-leadership, joyful leadership, becoming a better leader, leadership by design, etc.
How to Pay for a Master’s in Leadership Online Program
One of the important factors to keep in mind while applying to a master’s program is the overall cost, including the tuition fee, transport, housing, and meals. The cost of a master’s program varies from different programs and institutions. Although the added benefit for students pursuing their master’s online is they can save on travel and accommodation, they must still pay for course materials, tuition fees, and distance learning fees. Students can consider various funding mechanisms to fund their master’s in leadership online programs. Some of the funding possibilities are:
Scholarships are one of the popular funding mechanisms among students. They are awarded based on the academic merit of students. Scholarships are funded by private and public institutions, universities, and commercial organizations.
Students can consider grants as one of their funding options. Grants are usually not offered based on the student’s academic success but are awarded based on specific factors such as region, economic status, or particular areas of education and research.
Students can work part-time as graduate assistants, helping professors in their academic activity and teaching undergraduates in exchange for a fee waiver or stipend.
Students can work part-time for several hours while studying to support themselves. Although the money one earns may not suffice for paying the tuition fees, it would help meet other educational expenses.
Because most students applying to a master’s in leadership online program are likely to be already employed, they could check with their employers for sponsorship programs or fee reimbursement options.
Scholarships for Master’s in Leadership Online Students
Graduate school scholarships are offered to students with excellent academic track records. They are awarded by universities, associations, and external organizations after determining the student’s eligibility and levels of merit. Some examples of scholarships for master’s in leadership online students are:
The APF Queen-Nellie Evans Scholarship is offered to a graduate student from an underrepresented group who has shown a financial need and is committed to reducing gaps in societal structures and issues that adversely impact communities of color, particularly communities of African origin.
The Elite Lawyer Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student, the next generation of leaders passionate about bettering their communities.
January 19, 2023
FAQs about Master’s in Leadership Online Programs
Q. What is a master’s in leadership?
A master’s in leadership provides a deep foundation in leadership ability that combines practical and theory-based applications for evolving and complex organizations. It extends and builds skills and understanding in leadership practices necessary to lead an organization.
Q. Is a master’s in leadership online?
A.Several universities offer a master’s in leadership entirely online. The online option is best for students who prefer flexible study schedules while balancing their work and family lives too.
Q. What can you do with a master’s in leadership degree?
A.After graduating with a master’s in leadership degree, students can work in various leadership positions in different companies. They can work as an organizational trainer, retail manager, non-profit executive, and more.
Q. How long is a leadership master’s?
A. A master’s in leadership is anywhere between 1 to 2 years. However, the timeline will vary according to the student’s personal preferences and core courses, electives, capstone, etc.
Q. Is a leadership master’s worth it?
A. A master’s in leadership will help individuals enhance their leadership skills and the ability to lead in an organization. It will help them accelerate their careers, translating to senior roles and higher salaries, making the degree worth it.
Q. What is an executive master of leadership?
A. The executive master of leadership program is designed for working professionals who already have a good amount of experience but wish to take their leadership skills to the next level within an organization.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Master’s in Leadership Graduates
Graduates with a leadership online master’s can work in a wide range of settings in various leadership and managerial roles. Some examples include but are not limited to:
Some job roles graduates of online master’s in leadership usually take on are:
Leadership Development Program Manager
Community Service Manager
Health Services Manager
Here are a few career options for leadership master’s graduates, along with their reported annual median salaries and job growth:
Top executives devise strategies and procedures to meet an organization’s objectives. They plan and direct the work of businesses and organizations.
Certifications and Licensing for Master’s in Leadership Graduates
Individuals looking to enhance their career prospects and get a boost in their salary can get certified in their field. Certifications help widen one’s job opportunities and gain additional knowledge. When it comes to online master’s in leadership, there are no particular certifications required for graduates as the master itself is sufficient to increase their career potential. Nevertheless, some organizations offer training and certifications for leadership professionals, such as:
Korn Ferry – Certifications-Korn Ferry is a consulting organization offering extensive training and certifications for leadership and working professionals. Their objective is to improve project performance and deliver organizational success. They offer leadership and professional development programs that will benefit a professional organization.
Certified Leadership Professional (CLP)-The Certified Leadership Professional (CLP) designation is given to individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, abilities, and competencies in leadership. Essentially a Canadian certification, candidates are required to meet the Canadian College for Leadership & Management (CCLM) requirements.
Additional Resources for Master’s in Leadership Professionals
Tapping into various resources will help leadership professionals stay relevant in the field. One can stay up to date with colleagues and gain a wider perspective on their subject. Connecting with peers, joining organizations, staying up to date with journals and publications, and attending seminars and workshops are some ways of gaining a competitive edge over others. Some valuable resources for master’s in leadership online professionals are:
Interaction Associates– Interaction Associates is a pioneer of collaborative leadership, creative problem solving, and group facilitation. Companies around the world use their tools to foster inclusive behavior, engage personal accountability, engage employees, and achieve their results.
Klemmer and Associates – Klemmer and Associates aims to support corporations and individuals to increase their results. They provide personal mastery services, private team training, and more.
American Management Association (AMA) -The American Management Association (AMA) offers various training programs and webinars on leadership, such as HR management, business enhancement, project management, finance and accounting, leadership, management & supervisory skills, etc.
American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) -The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is the premier association management organization covering organizations and individual association professionals. ASAE nurtures a community of smart, creative, and interesting people and helps them achieve previously unimaginable performance levels.
NMA – The Leadership Development Organization – NMA – The Leadership Development Organization is a not-for-profit professional association dedicated to “the growth and development of its members by empowering them with the leadership skills needed in today’s workplace and beyond.”
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