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Compare master’s in leadership online programs

Prepare for high-level management roles and learn to apply complex leadership theories.

Explore online master’s in leadership programs

Why earn a master’s degree in leadership online?

Become a capable leader

Guide your team members toward a common goal and apply the latest trends in leadership theory.

Adapt to change

Prepare organizations for times of change and thrive in dynamic, fast-paced environments.

Pursue executive roles

Apply for high-level management positions in industries that align with your career path.

Browse online master’s in leadership New

What is an online master’s degree in leadership?

An online master’s degree in leadership is designed to prepare professionals to lead diverse teams and pursue management positions across a variety of industries. You will develop your hard and soft skills while deepening your understanding of management concepts such as leadership theory, human resource management, organizational behavior, conflict resolution, talent development, and more. In addition, through interactive, online classes you will be able to invest in your business education without having to put your career on hold. 

Types of leadership master’s degrees

  • Master’s in educational leadership: Gain the management skills necessary for leadership roles in a variety of educational settings. Lead individual primary schools as a principal, create initiatives on school boards, or manage entire school districts as a superintendent.

  • Master’s in organizational leadership: Develop strategic thinking skills and learn to apply team competency systems to lead teams and organizations. Cultivate productive communication between employees and emphasize social responsibility in your organization.

  • Master’s in leadership and management: Lead organizational strategy, set company goals, and align teams across organizational departments. Confidently navigate overarching management decisions through periods of change, innovation, and transformation.

  • Master’s in executive leadership: Make business decisions backed by data, lead projects that align with company vision and goals, and apply advanced management strategies to coordinate teams across multiple locations. This type of program is typically designed for professionals with several years of managerial experience who are pursuing executive roles.

Online master’s in leadership requirements

Admission requirements for online master’s in leadership programs may vary depending on the institution. However, standard requirements when applying for an online master’s in leadership program include having earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university as well as relevant work experience. Application materials for online master’s in leadership programs typically include:

  • Résumé

  • Official academic transcripts

  • Personal essay

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher

  • Application fee

Eager to jumpstart your career but haven’t earned your bachelor’s degree? Explore online bachelor’s degrees today. 

How to apply

Once you’ve decided to earn your master’s in leadership online, fill out our interest form on the course page so an admissions advisor can contact you. You will connect with your advisor to discuss the program, admission requirements, and your career goals as you pursue your online master’s in leadership.

What you’ll learn

Master’s in leadership programs empower learners with the organizational leadership skills and communication strategies they need to effectively manage teams toward a common goal. Learners are exposed to a variety of hard and soft skills that can help them inspire employees and creatively approach new challenges. Course topics typically include:  

  • Leadership theory: Improve decision making, adapt to new organizational challenges, and effectively lead diverse teams across a range of projects.

  • Human resources management: Identify, recruit, and hire the right talent for your organization while promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. 

  • Organizational behavior: Become a better leader by exploring the psychology of how people work, communicate in various settings, and collaborate together as a team.

  • Change management: Adapt to changes in the marketplace, new business trends, and disruptive technologies with confidence.

Interested in other courses and programs in leadership? Learn leadership strategies with online programs. 

Are you a woman in business looking to advance into leadership roles? Explore women’s executive leadership programs online

Want to pursue a master’s degree in another field? Browse more online master’s programs from edX. 

What can you do with a master’s in leadership?

Once you’ve earned your master’s in leadership, you can pursue roles across a wide range of industries including finance, energy, technology, healthcare, marketing, and more. Some of the careers in which you could apply your leadership and management expertise include:

  • Human resources manager: Manage recruitment and hiring, assess and update employee benefits, and ensure compliance with employment laws. 

  • Business executive: Lead the strategic direction of a company, manage large-scale projects, and ultimately increase the profitability of products and services. 

  • School principal: Oversee operations of a school, create a safe and accepting learning environment, and increase overall academic performance. 

  • Training and development manager: Plan, direct, and manage professional development programs to help meet an organization's goals.

  • Healthcare administrator: Oversee day-to-day activities of healthcare facilities, manage finances, and emphasize regulatory compliance.

Master’s in leadership salary and job outlook

Career opportunities for graduates of a master’s in leadership program will vary by industry, city, state, and level of the management role. However, looking at master of science in leadership jobs in specific industries can help inform professionals as they plan their career path. In healthcare, for example, the job outlook for medical and health services managers is expected to grow 28% through 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Footnote 1 In the field of marketing, for example, demand for marketing managers is expected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Footnote 2

Frequently asked questions

The duration of an online master’s in leadership program can vary depending on the program, whether its schedule is full time or part time, and its course structure. However, learners can typically earn an online master’s in leadership in 28 to 36 months. Be sure to choose a program that fits your learning style.

The cost of an online master’s in leadership program can depend on the number of credits needed, the institution, and length of course schedule. Explore available financial aid or scholarship options for the online master’s in leadership program that aligns with your career goals.

How difficult a master’s in leadership online program is can depend on the institution, the length of study, the weekly time commitment, and the rigor of the curriculum. Master’s in leadership programs also require at least a bachelor's degree to apply, and some programs recommend relevant work experience that can help learners to prepare for topics in management, finance, accounting, communication, and more.

Whether an online master’s in leadership is worth it depends on your career path and industry of choice. Earning your master’s in leadership can expand your management opportunities across a range of fields including finance, healthcare, technology, energy, marketing, and more. In the marketing industry for example, demand for marketing managers is expected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Footnote 3

Financial aid and scholarship options will vary depending on the program and institution. However, you can typically explore financial aid options that include federal financial aid, institutional scholarships, private scholarships, employer sponsorships, and military benefits.

Contact the financial aid office of the specific online leadership master's program in which you’re interested to explore your options.

Compared to traditional MBA programs, master’s in leadership programs are focused on specific areas of leadership and communication skills and don’t cover some general business topics as deeply. An MBA is typically for professionals who seek broader management roles requiring fundamental accounting and human capital skills. In contrast, a master’s in leadership prepares professionals for management positions that require refined leadership theory, organizational behavior, and conflict resolution expertise. Be sure to explore each style of program to decide which is best for your career.

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