Whether you’re interested in taking on a leadership position at a current job or looking for an inside track into management as you tackle your first job after college, an online organizational leadership degree can help you get there. There are many online organizational leadership bachelor’s degree programs to choose from, and the list of programs and schools below can get help you select the best one for you. These rankings are based on factors like academic quality, affordability, flexible learning, and student support services. A full rankings list is due later this year, but three top-notch schools worth your consideration are detailed below to get you started on your search.
The Pennsylvania State University – World Campus
The organizational leadership program from Penn State World Campus stands out for its flexibility in terms of learning format and content customization, beginning with the choice of either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership. Both degrees cover largely the same subjects, but the Bachelor of Arts curriculum includes more humanities-related courses and offers greater flexibility in required coursework. This makes the Bachelor of Arts degree ideal for students who want to graduate more quickly or already have supervisory experience.
The Bachelor of Science degree, on the other hand, provides more analytic- and research-oriented classes for those with no leadership experience or who want a more quantitative slant to their education. Students learn at their own pace for both degrees, and all courses can be completed 100% online.
- Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership
- Credits: 123
- Length: Varies
- Cost: $620-$664/credit
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: MSCHE (Institutional)
University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati’s online Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership program is ideal for traditional college students, transfer students, and those wanting to work full-time while in school. The University of Cincinnati makes transferring easy with its straightforward and generous transfer process. The program is 100% online with no campus visits needed, and most coursework is asynchronous with no set class times to allow learning at almost any time and place. Students begin classes on any of the three start dates in the fall, spring, or summer. A Student Success Coordinator is assigned to every online student to give additional guidance and help as needed.
- Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership
- Credits: 61-120
- Length: 2-4 years
- Cost: $549/credit
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: HLC (Institutional)
Colorado State University Global
The Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership program from Colorado State University Global is 100% online in an asynchronous learning format. Students choose from more than 20 specializations, including marketing, construction management, emergency management, project management, and healthcare management. They can also specialize in areas like public relations, intelligence and homeland security, information technology operations, and fundraising.
Alternatively, students can create a specialization by taking any combination of electives. In addition to the electives or specialization courses, students also complete 30 core degree credits and 31 general education credits. Regardless of the courses chosen, students can rest assured they are completing a high-quality curriculum that reflects the principles and concepts of the Project Management Institute (PMI).
- Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $350/credit
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: HLC (Institutional)
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Organizational Leadership Degree Program
An online bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership includes general education topics as well as subjects related to your major. General education courses provide a broad set of educational perspectives while courses in organizational leadership provide the theories, techniques, and skills necessary to serve as an effective leader and carry out your organization’s mission. Much of your major curriculum focuses on how to work with people and understand how they think, especially when interacting with others. The section below gives greater detail about the information and knowledge you can expect to acquire during your organizational leadership studies.
Main Topics You’ll Cover
- Project management
- Organizational behavior
- Leadership diversity
- Organizational ethics
- Leadership in teams
- Conflict resolution
- Employment relations
Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)
The first two years of your degree program consist of mostly general education courses. You’ll also begin taking introductory and prerequisite organizational leadership classes during this first half of your bachelor’s degree studies. These establish a foundation for more advanced learning during the second half of your organizational leadership program.
- An Introduction to Leadership: This course offers a basic overview of the theories and concepts related to leadership and how to differentiate and analyze various approaches to leading individuals and organizations.
- Public Speaking: Students learn to prepare material and develop skills and techniques for speaking in public to large groups of individuals. Both persuasive and informative speaking techniques are examined.
- Ethical Decision-making: This course exposes students to real-world ethical dilemmas that leaders often encounter. The class reviews different approaches and perspectives that help navigate these difficult situations.
- Organizational Theory and Behavior: This course reviews human psychological principles and how they affect individuals and groups within an organization or business. It uses several real-world scenarios as well as hypothetical events to demonstrate how people act and the reasoning behind their actions.
- Leadership in Multicultural Organizations: This class looks at the multitude of social, religious, and personal differences that individuals bring to an organization and how to better understand these differences to increase the creativity and effectiveness of a workforce.
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
During the final two years of your organizational leadership degree program, you’ll focus on core classes as well as any specializations. You’ll also take courses that give you a chance to apply what you’ve learned through group projects and experiential learning courses. There is still plenty of didactic learning, but it is more theoretical or relevant to situations you’re likely to encounter in the workplace.
- Team Leadership: This course provides an opportunity to apply the leadership skills you’ve learned to a team setting. You’ll analyze conflicts and challenges, then propose potential solutions.
- Employee Coaching: This class covers various skills and techniques that leaders use in a range of settings and with individuals at different stages in their lives and careers. This class covers topics like organizational dynamics, resiliency techniques, and intervention methods.
- Resource Allocation in Organizations: This course addresses how organizational leaders can apply their organization’s mission, culture, values, and philosophies to decide how its limited resources should be distributed. Special attention is placed on how financial metrics, risk analysis, and stakeholder motivations play a role in resource allocation decisions.
- Assessing Organizations: It’s difficult for leaders to know how to improve an organization without benchmarks and strategies for monitoring the attempts to change it. This course goes over the tools and methods leaders can use to obtain and convert information into usable metrics.
- Leadership Internship: This class serves as a way for instructors to assess a student’s cumulative leadership knowledge by observing how they apply that knowledge in a real-life environment.
Admissions: Getting into a Top Online Organizational Leadership Degree Program
When applying to an online program, the admissions process is often less competitive than that of a traditional on-campus program. Online programs are more likely to have non-traditional students apply, so they’re less likely to rely on conventional application metrics like entrance exam scores and grade point averages. With the classroom being the internet, there are also fewer physical and logistical limitations on class sizes.
That doesn’t mean you’ll get accepted into every program you apply to or that the application process takes only a few minutes, though. Most organizational degree online programs ask that you provide or complete the following when applying:
- Online application
- Application fee
- Official high school and/or college transcripts
Also keep in mind that programs often differ on minimum requirements for admission. Many schools have no official cut-offs, but schools like the University of Toledo with its 2.8 minimum GPA or 25 ACT/1200 SAT minimum scores do. While each admission process is different, you can be confident you’ll get into a top online organizational leadership program if you have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and an 80th percentile SAT or ACT score.
Paying for Your Online Organizational Leadership Degree: Costs and Financial Aid
When choosing which organizational leadership degree online programs to apply to, be sure to get a full picture of degree costs. The single most important factor is the tuition rate, which is affected by things like whether the school is a public or private institution and how many classes you’ll take per term.
Other factors that can make a big difference in your actual out-of-pocket cost include the availability of financial aid and the existence of any in-person requirements. Because of these and other factors, tuition rates vary widely among schools. The following chart provides a general idea of what you can expect to pay for your organizational leadership bachelor’s degree.
|School Name||School Type||Total Credits||In-State||Out-of-State|
|Capella University||Private for-profit||180||$357-$415/credit||$357-$415/credit|
|Maryville University||Private not-for-profit||128||$525/credit||$525/credit|
|Eastern University||Private not-for-profit||45||$566/credit||$566/credit|
|University of Arizona||Public||120||$500/credit||$500/credit|
|South Texas College||Public||120||$77/credit (in-district) $87.00/credit (out-of-district)||$250/credit|
Tuition rate is just one part of the total cost of attendance. Financial aid is also a big factor and includes student loans, work-study, grants, scholarships, and employee tuition reimbursement. Most schools have a department ready to help you figure out what financial aid you are eligible for. For example, Eastern University’s Financial Aid Office explains how students can apply for and obtain financial aid and provides resources that include forms, lists of scholarships and grants, scholarship application advice, student employment programs, financial aid eligibility guidance, loan options, and FAFSA application information.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership Online
Are online organizational leadership degree programs offered 100% online?
Most online leadership degree programs at the bachelor’s level are 100% online. Some online programs in other academic areas offer online coursework but include on-campus seminars or other experiential learning requirements. For most organizational leadership programs, though, all academic requirements for graduation can be completed with no campus visits or other in-person curriculum mandates.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership?
One of the best aspects of an organizational leadership online degree is that it’s so universal. Whether you’re in the private or public sector, a profit or non-profit company, there’s always a strong need for effective leaders. Most organizational leadership degree programs also offer specialized options. Despite this flexibility, you’re more likely to find positions relating to personnel, management, or supervisory roles, including:
- Sales manager
- Marketing manager
- Human resource specialist
- Public relations manager
- Project manager
- Operations manager
- Healthcare administrator
- Corporate recruiter
- Management consultant
Is earning an organizational leadership degree worth it?
An online bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership is worth earning if you aspire for a managerial, supervisory, or leadership role. Great leaders can exist without formal training but getting a degree in leadership can take these already talented leaders to the next level or help any prospective leaders shift into leadership roles within their company.
Upper-level positions can be very competitive, but they pay very well for the best leaders who advance their organizations. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a chief executive is $179,520. For all management positions, the median pay is $102,450, which is still well above the national median for most other professions.
What accreditation should I look for in an organizational leadership degree program?
There are two major types of accreditations, institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation applies to the entire school and usually comes from regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In contrast, programmatic accreditation applies to a specific degree program. When selecting an online organizational leadership degree program, you only need to confirm the school you’re enrolling in has institutional accreditation since there is no prominent accrediting body for bachelor’s degree programs in organizational leadership.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership?
The time it takes to earn your bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership depends on several factors, but most students earn their degrees in two to four years. Students can graduate in just two years if they’ve already completed extensive college credits when they transfer into their organizational leadership program. Traditional students entering the program straight out of high school or with no prior college courses can expect to take about four years to graduate when attending full-time.
Whether you’re a transfer student or haven’t taken a single college course, you can set your own pace. One way to speed up the time it takes to earn your degree is to accelerate it by taking more classes per term. You can also slow it down to make your schoolwork more manageable if you have personal or professional responsibilities. Online programs make it easier to progress at your own pace.
Employment Outlook with an Organizational Leadership Degree
What this degree teaches can translate to practically any organization involving two or more workers. Because finding good managers and leaders is so difficult, many positions that require or benefit from an online bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership pay very well and are often seeking new people to hire. The following chart reflects the types of positions open and the compensation offered to those with bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership.
|Career||Median Annual Earnings (2021)||Job Growth (2020-2030)|
|Training and Development Managers||$120,130||7%|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$101,340||28%|
|Human Resources Managers||$126,230||7%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics