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Online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Practical skills for new world leaders.

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership is one of the most sought-after degrees for candidates who aspire to reach an executive or a top-level position in the organization.

While traditional MBA programs emphasize business-driven outcomes, the MA in Organizational Leadership draws from a more human-centered approach, prioritizing meaning, values and vision to unlock the fullest potential of human capital.

In this program, you will learn how to analyze and apply organizational leadership theories to respond to real leadership challenges such as organizational inefficiencies, corporate culture issues, dormant productivity and more. You will gain a deeper understanding of how to instill effective leadership practices, policies and systems to enable 21st-century organizations to grow, evolve and adapt to the realities of an ever-changing, globalized world.

Through rigorous coursework and experiential learning opportunities, this Masters in Organizational Leadership degree will help you develop your leadership style and learn to build highly effective teams and a culture of collaboration within the organization. All along the way, you will have an opportunity to learn from a diverse group of experienced and accomplished faculty with backgrounds and specialty areas ranging from Fortune 500 companies, military, adult learning, strategic foresight, and behavioral sciences.

In this program, you will learn to:

  • Develop and align organizational vision, mission, values, and goals to achieve and sustain strategic advantage
  • Synthesize organizational problems and devise innovative, research-informed solutions
  • Analyze ethical aspects of leadership such as accountability and social responsibility
  • Understand global systems and analyze the impact of global issues on an organization
  • Apply organizational development theories to build human capital and manage performance effectively
  • Build and lead highly effective workforce with coaching, training and development programs
  • Develop strategic foresight to manage organizational change and transformation
  • Formulate and devise innovation strategies for dynamic market environment
  • Respond to conflict and differences on interpersonal, group, and organizational levels

Your online MA in Organizational Leadership degree at work:

This program aims to prepare leaders for diverse work settings and broad career opportunities in all different types of organizations including public, private and nonprofit organizations.

$113,250 Average annual salary of Training and Development Managers (BLS)
$123,030 Average annual salary of General and Operations Managers (BLS)
$96,940Average annual salary of Administrative Services Managers (BLS)

masters of arts in organizational leadership career outlook infographic

Job responsibilities and titles include:

  • Training and Development Manager
  • Chief Executive
  • General and Operations Manager
  • Administrative Services Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Management Analyst
  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Administrative Services Manager


To complete the degree requirements for MA in Organizational Leadership program, students need to complete 36 credit hours. The program consists of 8 core courses plus 4 specialization courses. 

Students will have the opportunity to choose one of four concentrations:

Courses you may take

ORL 505 - Fundamentals of Organizational Leadership - 3.00

Fundamentals of organizational leadership course will prepare students to lead and develop highly effective and efficient organizations. Students will explore a number of leadership theories and analyze leadership dynamics at individual, team, and organizational levels. They will also examine various concepts related to the leadership vision, leadership competencies, relationship between leaders and followers, and leadership as an integrated organizational process. From real world case studies ranging from first-time managers to CEOs, students will learn how to effectively lead organizations facing challenges and transformations.

ORL 520 - 21st Century Organizations - 3.00

This course aims at providing students with knowledge on how the changes in business environment are shaping the new world of industry. In this course, students will learn the new ways of inventing and creating effective work systems. They will examine what is changing, reasons for change, results and implications of change for future of the organizations. They will learn to develop new business strategies demanded by todays transforming institutions. In this future oriented course, students will develop the perspectives on why organizations need to focus on human values as much as they focus on pure profits.

ORL 525 - Human Behavior and Learning - 3.00

In this course, students will explore a wide range of concepts related to human behavior and learning. Topics include but not limited to personality, perception, attitudes, learning and reinforcement, motivation, leadership, teams, creativity, culture, organization design, change, and diversity. Students will develop various people management skills throughout the course by understanding the ways in which humans respond as individuals and interact within organizations. They will also examine relevant readings, case studies, and researches on theories of human behavior and learn to analyze how to manage human performance for organizational success.

ORL 530 - Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility - 3.00

In the context of individual and organizational effectiveness, this course emphasizes on the importance of ethics and moral values including integrity, honesty, fairness, and trust. Students will learn to solve problems and make decisions ethically. They will explore ethical dilemmas with case studies and experiential learning exercises. In addition, they will synthesize business’s influence on government, policymaking, consumerism, social systems, stakeholders, and natural environment. Students will learn to develop strategies focused on sustainable organizational practices and corporate social responsibility.

ORL 540 - Organizational Communication - 3.00

This course aims at key communication skills that leaders in modern organizations require. Students will learn effective ways to communicate with different types of parties – clients, employees, leaders, and other stakeholders. They will learn about interpersonal and professional skills to improve their communication. Emphasis will be given to various types of communication, styles, and modes. Students will learn how to write professional reports, presentation of projects, use of data, writing day-to-day professional messages, conducting effective face-to-face and virtual meetings. Prerequisite: ORL505

ORL 570 - Leadership Development - 3.00

In this course, students will learn to develop their personal leadership vision and goals. They will examine various theories of leadership development and typical challenges leaders face in the context of modern-day workplaces. The course provides students with contemporary leadership perspectives, researches, and case studies. Students will compare different leadership styles and expand their own self-concept as a leader. They will develop key leadership competencies to create and lead a successful organization. Prerequisite: ORL505

ORL 580 - Research for Decision Making - 3.00

In this course, students will develop skills to conduct research for effective decision making in the organizational context. They will explore various data and information sources to find credible information. The course provides them with various research techniques and methodologies that they can apply in researching problems of different kinds. Students will learn to use qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods to solve different types of research problems. Prerequisite: ORL505

ORL 590 - Organizational Leadership Capstone - 3.00

In the capstone course, students will complete an approved research work or service project. Their work will require them to apply integrated knowledge of organizational leadership and skills that they have developed throughout this program. The course is intended to generate reflection and critical thought on various leadership theories and practices. Students will be expected to engage in research, utilize quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods to formulate their final paper that produces effective outcomes for leaders in real-life work settings. Prerequisite: Must be completed during the student's final term in the program.



  • Completed application
  • Official transcripts (2.5 GPA or higher) mailed from the college/university of which you graduated

Your digital classroom. Available anywhere.

William Woods online graduate programs are available to students across the country. In Missouri, our students come from Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Moberly, Springfield, Ozark, Cape Girardeau, Rolla and many more locations. Beyond Missouri, our online graduates hail from California, Illinois, Kansas, Washington, Arkansas and other states.

Admissions Information

Learn more about online admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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