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Information on Graduate Degree Programs in Organizational Leadership

Majors Overview June 11, 2015

This article talks about graduate degree programs in organizational leadership and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.

Information on Organizational Leadership Programs

Mid-career professionals who aspire for executive and upper management positions could benefit from enrolling in graduate degree programs in organizational leadership. Students enrolled in these master’s and doctoral degree programs learn about ways of enhancing their creative-thinking, problem-solving, and inspirational leadership abilities.

The focus of the majority of master’s degree programs is on a variety of aspects of leadership. Coursework may include topic areas such as human resources management, organizational ethics, strategic planning, and group dynamics. Team projects and workshops may also be in the program. As working people are the intended beneficiaries of these programs, online or evening classes are often offered. Students take two years to complete most master’s programs.

A master’s degree is usually a prerequisite for enrollment into a doctoral program that may lead to a career in academia. It may also benefit people who want to start their businesses or seek leadership roles in non-profit organizations. Coursework includes the development of research skills, in addition to organizational theory. The dissertation must also be completed by enrollees.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Organizational Leadership

Students enrolled in organizational leadership programs are ready for management positions through the development of their creative problem-solving skills. Students learn about conceptualizing and clearly communicating goals. They also learn ways of diagnosing and solving organizational problems in workplace settings, aiming to enhance the efficiency of an organization.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to submit letters of recommendation, while boasting good past academic performance and work history. Coursework is typically similar to that of a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree; however, the focus of courses is on topics related to human resources rather than business.


Coursework covers organizational leadership and disciplines associated with it, including social science, business, communication, and humanities. Coursework typically covers topic areas such as:

•Strategic planning
•Psychology of leadership
•Organizational analysis
•Organizational ethics
•Organizational theory
•Project management
•Group dynamics
•Organizational communication

Career Choices

Program graduates typically seek leadership roles in nonprofit, business, military agencies and government. They may aim for popular titles such as:

•Director of strategic planning
•Director of human resources
•Senior training consultant
•Chief information officer
•Project manager

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs in Organizational Leadership

Schools that offer Ph.D. programs in Organizational Leadership aim them at mid-career professionals wishing to conduct research in the field or advance to upper management positions. Degree concentrations are available through some schools aimed at individuals wanting to start a new business, directing a human resources department or leading a non-profit organization. Students enrolled in other programs may be allowed to focus on organizational development in government, education, or private industry.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a master’s degree in organizational leadership or a related field. Students must also submit previous transcripts, GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores, writing samples or scholarly research, professional career statements, and resumes.


Coursework is devised to impart a grasp of organizational theory and enable the conduct of dissertation research. Core coursework may covers topic areas such as:

•Ethical and legal issues
•Global leadership
•Leadership’s psycho-social dimensions
•Organizational diagnosis and theory
•Research methods
•Organizational change
•Educational leadership

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a job growth rate of 13% has been predicted for this field (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Wages vary by employer; in May 2012, individuals employed by enterprises and companies brought in an average annual wage of $124,180, while human resources managers hired by local government banked $93,400 per annum on average. Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, managers specializing in training and development are expected to see a 15% job growth while bringing in an average annual wage of $95,400 (BLS).

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