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50 Best Online Master of Organizational Leadership Degree Programs 2018

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online masters in organizational leadershipIf you see yourself advancing in your career to lead and mentor employees in a non-profit, governmental, or business setting but just can’t picture yourself pursuing an MBA degree, we have the perfect solution for you: an online master’s degree in Organizational Leadership! One of the most popular online master’s degrees, the Organizational Leadership master’s provides graduates the skills needed to manage people and businesses similarly to a traditional MBA degree, but with an educational approach that puts more emphasis on qualitative and skills-based experience rather than quantitative analysis.

But don’t think that this means this degree is all warm-fuzzies with no substance–students in our top 50 ranked degree programs go through rigorous coursework to become the well-rounded leaders of tomorrow. Usually concentrating on issues like conflict resolution, business-place ethics, and communication, Organizational Leadership graduates focus more on encouraging and managing others in order to maintain a healthy, inspired workplace. And companies are starting to catch on–for better office harmony which in turn leads to higher productivity, many Boards recognize the need for good leadership, which we read about in this Forbes article. Check out our methodology below for picking the best of the best and then look at our countdown to the number one pick for best online master of organizational leadership degree!

Quick Links to Our Top 10

  1. Gonzaga University
  2. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
  3. Regis University
  4. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  5. Colorado State University-Global Campus
  6. Quinnipiac University
  7. Saint Louis University
  8. Lewis University
  9. Colorado Technical University
  10. Johns Hopkins University

Our methodology: Only considering schools that are regionally accredited, we examined publicly available information from such sources as US News and World Report, Forbes, the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the school websites in order to determine our ranking. These three factors influenced our determination:

  • The extent to which the program accommodates working professionals
  • Reputation of the school
  • Affordability

#50. Jacksonville University

Chartered in the spring of 1934 in Jacksonville, Florida, Jacksonville University began as the William J. Porter University in an auditorium of a local church. The following year the school was renamed Jacksonville Junior College (JJC) and moved to another location. Moving several more times, the first permanent building wasn’t occupied until 1950. By 1956 the move from junior college status began with the name change to Jacksonville University (JU), and the school finally became a four-year institution in 1961. Service to the community is a large component of JU life–every year on a date near Charter Day (April 16), students, alumni, faculty and staff are invited to participate in Charter Day of Service. Four colleges and two institutes make up the University, and almost 100 academic degree programs are offered to the 4,000 students. Jacksonville University is a private, non-profit university and has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1950.

Program Details: JU’s Davis College of Business (DCOB) and Nathan M. Bisk Center for Professional Studies (NMBCPS) provide a 100% online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) that effortlessly lands on our list. Once accepted into the program, students are assigned an academic advisor (just one of the excellent student support services available) to help guide them through the coursework, and have six different start dates from which to begin their academics.  The same full-time instructors that teach on campus deliver the online courses in topics such as “Leading People and Organizations” and “Managing Corporate Innovation,” so students can be assured they are earning the same preparatory degree as their on-campus counterparts. Classes are asynchronous and accessible at any point in time, so this program is ideal for working professionals.  The program’s twelve classes are taught in eight-week modules, for a total of 30 credit hours to earn the degree in two years. Tuition is listed at $770 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#49. Michigan State University

Holding the distinction of being the first land-grant school and serving as a template for all other schools that would participate in the benefits of the Morrill Act of 1862 (also known as the Land-Grant College Act), Michigan State University (MSU) had humble beginnings. Originally christened the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan (and going through several more name changes), MSU was founded in 1855 in East Lansing. The first classes began in 1857 with three buildings, five instructors, and 63 male students. The first women who were admitted in 1870 had to contend with stage coach commuting or residing with locals or faculty members, as there were no female residence halls on campus. Black students were not admitted until 1899, and Myrtle Craig, the first black female to attend, graduated in 1907. MSU now houses seventeen colleges, more than 50,000 students, and over 200 academic degree programs. The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to MSU.

Program Details: In just twenty months, students can earn an MS in Management, Strategy and Leadership developed by the renowned faculty of the Eli Broad College of Business at MSU. Offered solely online, this 30 credit hour degree program prepares professionals to inspire and encourage employees while maintaining strategic and far-reaching goals. Presented in fifteen five-week courses, the first two semesters are in the lock-step, cohort format (meaning all students progress at the same time through a set order in which the courses must be taken. However, classes are asynchronous, so students have the flexibility to logon at any point in time to complete their coursework). Courses include such topics as Competitive and Business Strategy, International Management, and Analyzing Your Organization (which is the final capstone course to be completed in each student’s last semester). Tuition is $1,090 per credit hour regardless of state residency.

Admissions website

#48. Montreat College School of Adult and Graduate Studies

In 1897 a group of interdenominational ministers formed the Mountain Retreat Association in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for the purpose of “Christian convention, public worship, missionary work, schools, and libraries.”  Sixteen years later Dr. Robert C. Anderson, the Association’s president, suggested that the facilities be used to house a school during the fall, winter and spring (the Association only held conventions in the summer).  The Montreat Normal School opened its doors in October 1916 to eight female students (“normal schools” were specifically formed to educate future teachers–the Montreat school also had a strong Christian component). Dr. Anderson remained president of the school through a transformation into a junior college, the rechristening of the school as Montreat College, and finally a full four-year college for women. In 1959 the school went coeducational and was renamed Montreat-Anderson College. This new name only lasted until 1995 when it went back to the original Montreat College. Regional accreditation is granted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Management and Leadership degree program is offered 100% online through the School of Adult and Graduate Studies at Montreat College. Promising a “balanced curriculum that mixes managerial and leadership principles with business theory,” coursework is offered in such topics as “Effective Communication, Negotiating and Conflict Resolution” and “Advanced Entrepreneurship and the Intrapreneurial Spirit.” Still a strong Christian-focused school, the MS in Management and Leadership degree program has been offered for more than twenty years at the Montreat College School of Adult and Graduate Studies and boasts an approach that enhances “critical thinking and strategic planning skills in the context of an ethical, Christ-centered worldview.” Admission requirements do not include professional experience, but an essay detailing how the applicant shows management and leadership qualities is required. Tuition for the 2016-17 academic year was listed as $510 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#47. Pennsylvania State University World Campus

The only land-grant institution in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University began when “gentleman farmer” James Irvin donated 200 acres to charter a college in 1855 for the purpose of training farmers in the science of agriculture. The school’s first president, Evan Pugh, was instrumental (along with advocates in other states) in the passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. Penn State therefore retroactively benefited from the Act, which allowed states to sell federal lands and invest the funds to then build and enhance colleges. And benefit it did—Penn State is one of the largest universities in the country with twenty-four campuses across the state and a thriving online “World Campus.” In addition to being a land-grant university, this public, research-intensive institution is also classified as a sea-grant (studying and implementing conservation programs for the coasts and marine areas), space-grant (conducting space research), and sun-grant (researching and designing sustainable, biological energy alternatives) school. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools regionally accredits Penn State.

Program Details: The Penn State College of Education’s Workforce Education and Development faculty offer a powerhouse degree program completely online through Penn State’s World Campus. The Master of Professional Studies in Organization Development and Change (MPS–OD&C) prepares students by teaching skills and techniques that students can practice in their current employment settings. The 33 credit hour program curriculum has nine foundational courses, one elective, and one required field placement course, in which students will pick an organization for which they will provide “contract problem analysis and resolutions.” The required 27 credit hours of foundation courses offer topics such as “Appreciative Inquiry,” “Assessing Data: Organizational Diagnosis,” and “Project Management for Professionals.” Students can choose their elective course from such classes as “Leadership Competencies for Professionals” or “Needs Assessment for Workforce Development Professionals.” Tuition for the 2017-18 academic year is $853 per credit hour for students taking less than twelve credits per semester.

Admissions website

#46. Our Lady of the Lake University

The Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, a religious order from France, arrived in Texas in 1866. In 1895, Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) was founded and construction began in San Antonio on the future campus. High school education for women was the first incarnation of the school, but by 1919 the school became a four-year institution (still for women) and joined the Texas Association of Colleges as members as Our Lady of Lake College. Graduate studies in 1942 opened the door to coeducational status, and the entire school became coed in 1969. Six years later the name changed to Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio. With the four core values of community, integrity, trust and service, OLLU is still sponsored by the Texas chapter of the Sisters. More than 3,000 students study almost 50 academic degree programs at this independent, Catholic university. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools regionally accredits OLLU.

Program Details: Offering an online MS in Organizational Leadership that is “firmly rooted in ethics,” the OLLU degree program provides optional curricular focus in such areas as stewardship and servant leadership, the social context of leadership, and multicultural and gender issues. Students move through this 36 credit hour program in a cohort format engaging in asynchronous classes. The twelve classes required can be completed in less than two years. Prior to the first class, an online orientation guides students through the resources and specifics of the program. Online students are privy to the same students services that are available on-campus, from admissions advisers to 24/7 tech support. In particular, OLLU offers additional support to students who have served in the military. Tuition for 2016 was listed as $13,680 for the year (military students receive a 10% discount).

#45. Northcentral University

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in San Diego, California, Northcentral University (NCU) offers students a “premier education that is geared to scholars who are driven to maximize their education and achieve their own particular dreams” by being completely online, with no classrooms to bind possibilities. Their unique one-to-one learning model pairs one student with one facility member for every class taken. This unparalleled singular attention results in customized teaching and individual attention for maximum academic success. High ethical standards comprise NCU’s guiding “I.D.E.A.s” (innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability) and challenges faculty and students to constantly raise the bar of distinction and quality. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission provides NCU with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: Flexibility and accommodation for the student is paramount with the online Master Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) degree program at NCU. With start dates every Monday, students have the option to choose a start date to begin the program fifty-two times a year. The program is 30-credit hours long, with ten courses that can be completed in as little as sixteen months in the accelerated program.  Course options include topics such as “People, Processes and Organizational Health,” Cultural Environment of International Business,” and “Ethics and Decision Making.” Six specializations are offered in the program as well–criminal justice, health care administration, human resources, nonprofit management, project management, and public administration. Estimated tuition is $25,770, and military and their families get a preferred tuition rate.

Admissions website

#44. Amridge University

Founded in 1967 as the Alabama Christian School of Religion and a pioneer in the distance education movement, Amridge University has offered higher education online since 1993. Originally a seminary to train ministers and counselors in the Churches of Christ denomination, Amridge has a small main campus located in Montgomery, Alabama. An independent, coeducational private university with a Christian-focused mission of preparing students “through a commitment to academic excellence and spiritual vitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels, for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service to the professions, society, church, and family” Amridge is made up of five schools: College of Business and Leadership, College of General Studies, School of Human Services, Turner School of Theology, and School of Continuing Education. Amridge University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Leadership and Management degree program at Amridge University is a 40 credit hour program (students can transfer up to fifteen credit hours from another institution) steeped in Amridge’s Christian traditions. Students learn key leadership and management skills within the “context of ethical and moral approaches.” The coursework includes 30 hours of “program specific courses” such as “Leadership Vision and Values” and “Building Effective Organizations” and ten hours of “non-specific courses” such as “Theories of Motivational Leadership” and “Spiritual Leadership within the Organization.” A final capstone course entitled “Strategies for Organizational Change” and exam is required for graduation, which can be achieved in only four semesters if students take classes full-time. Amridge prides itself on offering exceptional Career Services support to both students and alumni–with career advisors, online workshops, and resume support as just some of the offerings. Tuition is $650 for full-time academic credits and $750 for part-time.

Admissions website

#43. Olivet Nazarene University

Miss Mary Nesbitt’s school for children opened in 1907 in Georgetown, Illinois. Land was acquired in Olivet to which the school moved and a Wesleyan community was formed around the school. In that location, Illinois Holiness University was chartered in 1909 as a liberal arts college but was donated to the Church of the Nazarene in 1912. The name was changed in 1915 to Olivet University, but then changed again to Olivet College in 1921. Tumultuous times followed as bankruptcy and fire caused the school to move to the former site of the St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, Illinois in 1940. A few more name changes culminated in Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) in 1986. The 275 acre campus provides beauty and respite about 50 miles south of Chicago, and almost 5,000 students study in five colleges and schools at ONU. The Higher Learning Commission provides ONU with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: Five start dates greet students of ONU’s online Masters in Organizational Leadership (MOL) degree program–August, October, January, February or April. The 36-credit hour program is presented in the cohort format and can be completed in twenty-four months with accelerated options available. In step with ONU’s Christian heritage, there are four core values that guide the program: Community, Stewardship of Resources, Innovation and Distinction, and Faith and Ethics. A core curriculum with such class topics as “Organizational Culture and Ethics” and “Crafting and Executing Strategy” is the basis of the degree, and students choose from two electives: Special Topics in Business or a Global Immersion. The Global Immersion is an eight to ten day trip in a “dynamic business climate” such as China or the Czech Republic. Tuition is $675 per credit hour, with an estimated total tuition of $24,400 (total tuition is approximately $4,000 more for students who opt for the Global Immersion).

Admissions website

#42. Central Michigan University Global Campus

In 1892, thirty-one students began their education as teachers by taking classes in teaching, writing and business skills in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute held classes in an office on the corner of Main Street. In 1895 the school had grown to almost 150 students and was renamed Central Michigan Normal School when the Michigan State Board of Education gained control. Just over a decade later, the school had over 1,000 graduates. Expansion of the campus, academic programs, and student body led to several name changes through the years, with Central Michigan University (CMU) as the final name in 1959. With a main campus made up of 480 acres and almost 27,000 students both on campus and as part of the Global Campus, CMU has far exceeded its humble origins. The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits CMU.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Administration (MSA) offered through the Global Campus of CMU has fourteen different concentrations from which to choose. The Leadership Concentration in particular appeals to the business leaders of tomorrow and prepares graduates to “leverage group dynamics, organizational change, conflict management, negotiations, cultural diversity, and communications” in order to meet company needs and personal goals. The required 36 credit hours in comprised of eighteen total hours of core coursework, one required course chosen from either “Strategic Leadership” or “Disruption, Innovation, Transformation and Change,” and then twelve to fifteen elective hours. To help prepare prospective students and guide current students, CMU’s Global Campus has an Online Learning Resource Center with resources, webinars, and tutorials, as well as an Online Ally program (an “experienced, successful online student who provides personal assistance and advice” to assist students in need). Tuition is $575 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#41. Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University (CCU) was founded originally as Denver Bible Institute in 1914 with two students and one instructor. For almost thirty years the school moved and grew, and in 1945 the name was changed to Denver Bible College to reflect that growth and expansion. This name was short-lived, as the school changed again in 1949 to become Rockmont College. This name remained with the school until 1985, when it merged with Western Bible Institute to become Colorado Christian College. Four years later, the school officially became CCU and was recognized as the “flagship Christian university in the Rocky Mountain region” (the school moved several times as well until it found its permanent location in 1967 in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver). An interdenominational school, CCU hosts two colleges: the College of Undergraduate Studies and the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Offering more than 100 academic degree programs to over 7,000 students, CCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: CCU’s Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) online degree program encourages students to “think globally and take action locally” by focusing on the notion of “servant leadership.” The 36 credit hour program can be completed in as little as fourteen months or up to four years (although most complete the program in just under two years, with courses presented in five-week modules). The twelve course program centers on the idea of ethical leadership, with courses in such topics as Constitutional Law, Leading in Government and Non-Profit Organizations, and Organizational Leadership—Theory and Practice. Students can begin the program at multiple points throughout the year, and can transfer up to six credit hours of coursework (students must have completed coursework in statistics prior to applying). Tuition is $555 per credit hour plus fees for the 2017-2018 academic calendar year.

Admissions website

#40. University of Mary

Settling into the Dakota Territory in the late 1800s, the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation brought the spirit of the Christian Bible’s Great Commission (“go and teach all nations”) with them by opening schools and hospitals. They founded Mary College in 1959 in Bismarck, North Dakota as a women’s school with programs in nursing and education, and 69 women were the first class. Just over a decade later the school welcomed men onto campus and became coeducational. Sixteen years later in 1986 the school had grown enough to reach university status and became University of Mary. With the Benedictine values of service, hospitality, moderation, prayer, respect for persons, and community still an important part of the school’s identity, more than 3,000 students enjoy seeking their education in over 70 different academic degree programs at this private, Catholic university. The University of Mary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: Partnering with the Havard Virtuous Leadership Institute, University of Mary offers four different online business degrees with a Virtuous Leadership concentration. Students can choose from an online program to earn an MBA, an MS in Business, a Master of Project Management (MPM), or a Master of Public Administration (MPA)–and start dates for most classes begin every five weeks, so students can start when the time is right for their schedules. An added plus is that students can begin taking the core courses, which are the same for all four business degrees, and then determine which degree fits their specific needs and career goals. Once the degree is determined, students take two more required classes for the Virtuous Leadership concentration–“Philosophy of Happiness” and “Culture and Public Service.” In addition, if students wish to complete the program in just eighteen months on the accelerated track, they can participate in a four-day, on-campus Virtuous Leadership Immersion experience. Tuition is listed as $15,000 for the entire program.

Admissions website

#39. Messiah College

Founded by the Brethren in Christ Church in 1909 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home originally taught a high school curriculum and Bible studies. Twelve students began classes the following year, and by 1912 the school moved to Grantham, PA because of growth. In the 1920’s the school began offering college courses and changed its name to Messiah Bible School, but continued to outgrow the name and became Messiah College in 1951. The 1960’s brought more change–a merger with California’s Upland College in 1965 and a partnership with secular Temple University in 1968 to produce a campus in Philadelphia. Messiah College’s main campus has now increased to 471 acres, and almost 3,500 students engage in more than 175 academic degree programs of this Christian, nondenominational, coeducational liberal arts school. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education regionally accredits Messiah College.

Program Details: The Master of Arts (MA) in Strategic Leadership degree program offered 100% online by Messiah College is for professionals who desire to achieve “significant impact in the organizations they serve.” The 30 credit hour program is usually completed in two years with classes that are presented in eight-week course sections. Courses offered include such topics as “The Character of a Leader,” “Followership, Teamwork, & Group Dynamics,” and “Organizational Effectiveness.” A three-credit hour capstone field project is required in an organization of the student’s choosing with supervision provided by a Messiah College faculty member. In addition to being able to rely on faculty to advise and guide students in addition to teaching, Messiah College provides comprehensive Student Services to both on-campus and online students. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $645 per credit hour or $19,350 for the entire program.

Admissions website

#38. Rochester Institute of Technology

The Athenæum, a syndicate of community members brought together  “for the purpose of cultivating and promoting literature, science, and the arts,” was formed in Rochester, New York in 1829. It contained a library and offered community talks and discussions. Merging first with the Mechanics Literary Association in 1847, the Athenæum’s library grew to a collection of more than 8,000 books, and many revered personalities were invited to lead community discourse. The next merger in 1891 with Mechanics Institute, a technical training school, produced the Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute. In 1944 the school became an official university and was renamed Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The school’s continued expansion necessitated a move to a 1,300 acre campus in Henrietta, NY in the 1960’s.  Now nine colleges offer over 200 academic degree programs to the more than 18,000 students who attend RIT. Regional accreditation is granted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: RIT’s College of Applied Science & Technology offers an MS in Service Leadership & Innovation with the outcome goal for students to “apply systematic thinking to problem situations and solutions to successfully design, plan, and accomplish innovation throughout service organizations using a systemic thinking approach.” The 36 credit hour program is provided online both in a regular fourteen week semester and an accelerated eight week format, and students have three requirements from which to choose how they end the program–with a thesis, a capstone project, or an examination. Core classes are offered in topics like “Service Design Fundamentals” and “Leading Innovation” and course electives are in such topics as “Customer Centricity” and “Leading Not-For-Profits.” RIT wants students to succeed, and presents an online student orientation tutorial for potential students to explore as well as a Student Support Fund to help current students financially. The 2016-2017 tuition was listed as $993 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#37. Pfeiffer University

Miss Emily Prudden started the Oberlin Home and School in 1885 in Lick Mountain, North Carolina, which would later become Pfeiffer University. Ms. Prudden persuaded a church to take over running the school, and in 1903 the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church took charge and the name was changed to Ebenezer Mitchell Home and School. Ten years later the school moved to its current location in Misenheimer, NC and the first high school diplomas were awarded. When a junior college curriculum was added fifteen years later, the name changed again to Mitchell Junior College. Due to a gift to help construct buildings in 1935, the school was renamed again in honor of benefactors Henry and Annie Merner Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer Junior College became Pfeiffer College with additional gifts from the Pfeiffer family in 1954. In 1996 the school gained university status, and now more than 1,500 students are enrolled at this private university that is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The 36 credit hour Master of Science in Leadership (MSL) program is available online through Pfeiffer University’s division of arts and sciences, and the online programs promise to “deliver superior academic instruction led by Pfeiffer faculty and held to the same high standards as those offered in a traditional format.” The MSL is a fast-paced and customizable degree that can be completed in only fifteen months with core courses offered in classes such as “Ethical Issues in Employment Law,” “Negotiations and Conflict Resolution,” and “Effective Leadership.” Students can opt to focus their nine electives hours on two different concentrations: Human Resources Management (with classes like Managing a Diverse Workforce) or International Management (offering classes in Comparative International Business Law). Tuition per credit hour for the 2017-2018 academic calendar is $655 plus fees.

Admissions website

#36. Palm Beach Atlantic University

In the fall of 1968, Palm Beach Atlantic University (originally Palm Beach Atlantic College), known as PBA, began classes in West Palm Beach, Florida. Though founded by Baptist ministers and church members, PBA has always been open to students of all faith backgrounds. One guiding factor within the school is the concept of “Workship,” a “distinctive community service program that responds to human needs with Christ-like action,” and students have contributed more than three million service hours. Two new campuses were opened in Orlando and Wellington in 2002 and 2007, respectively. With almost 4,000 students enrolled, PBA now houses nine schools and over 50 academic degree programs. This coeducational, interdenominational Christian liberal arts university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Leadership online program offered through the MacArthur School of Leadership at PBA is 36 credit hours that can be completed in 24 months (in the accelerated program). There are three MS in Leadership tracks–Organizational Leadership, Corporate Leadership, and Non-profit Leadership (online students are enrolled in the Organizational Leadership track automatically). Classes are held one night each week, so current working professionals have the ease of limited time commitments when it comes to actual class time. PBA prides itself on having “developed a virtual experience that is challenging, rewarding, and focused on fostering a positive learning community.” Coursework is offered in topics such as “Leadership in the Multicultural Environment,” “Strategic Thinking and Planning,” and “Organizational Behavior and Group Formation.” Students can begin the program in the summer (limited classes offered), fall or spring. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $600 per credit hour.

#35. Neumann University

In 1965 the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia founded Neumann University, a “Catholic institution of higher education in the Franciscan tradition” in Aston, Pennsylvania. Originally named Our Lady of Angels College, 115 female students started classes at this private, liberal arts school the first year. Fifteen years after its beginning, the school had two big changes: a name change to Neumann College in honor of a past bishop of Philadelphia, and the admission of male students. Neumann would have another change in 2009 when the Pennsylvania Department of Education granted the school with university status. With core values of reverence, integrity, service, excellence, and stewardship (“RISES”) and an emphasis on “respect for individuals, concern for the environment, and social responsibility” as a guiding principle, Neumann embodies the Franciscan way for its 3,000 students. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides the regional accreditation status for Neumann University.

Program Details: The MS in Organizational and Strategic Leadership degree offered through Neumann is a 30 credit hour, accelerated program that can be completed in just eighteen months. Using the cohort format in which all students enter into the program and move through it together, this cohesive degree program prepares business leaders by “offering a distinctively Franciscan, values-based perspective to the study of organizational strategy and effective management practices” with classes such as “Social and Ethical Responsibility of Leadership,” “Public Policy and Administrative Law,” and “Fiscal Planning for Effective Leadership.” The ten required three-credit hour courses are taught in eight-week modules. To complete the program, students must write a paper, prepare their individualized portfolio, and complete a research action project together with their fellow cohorts.  The tuition for 2017-2018 is $615 per credit hour plus fees.

#34. Newman University

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC), a teaching religious order of the Catholic Church, was founded in 1834 Italy by Maria De Mattias. In the later part of the century, the ASC sisters came to the United States, and by 1902 had moved to Wichita, Kansas to form a boarding school for girls on a six-acre tract of land, and the following year one for boys. Thirty years later Mother Beata Netemeyer established Sacred Heart Junior College on the location of the boarding schools. Classes began in September 1933 with less than twenty students, all female. By the 1950’s the school expanded to a four-year college, and men were allowed to enroll in night classes and summer school (men would be granted full admission in 1965). Kansas Newman College became the school’s name in 1973 to honor 19th century theologian John Henry Newman, an academic and a Cardinal. Newman University (NU) became the official name in 1998, and now the school has more than 3,000 students. The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits Newman.

Program Details: The 33 credit, eleven course Organizational Leadership program is offered as a Master of Science in Education degree at NU (licensure and an education background is not required, and graduates go on to work in many different settings). The program is structured to be completed in eighteen months, but can be completed in as little as fourteen or longer if needed. Students are promised that through the duration of the program they will “learn skill-sets,” “examine critical keys,” and “have opportunities.” Classes in topics such as “Cultural Diversity,” “Advanced Instructional Methods,” and “Facilitation Strategies” are taught in eight-week modules. Tuition is listed as $488 per credit hour plus a technology fee of $17 per credit hour, for a total of $505 per graduate credit hour. The only exception is the Cultural Diversity class, which is listed with a flat fee of $749 for the class.

Admissions website

#33. University of the Rockies

University of the Rockies began as the Colorado School of Professional Psychology in the summer of 1998 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The initial goal of the school was to offer a curriculum to students of psychology to help them gain licensure and for others in the field who wanted to be practitioners. Classes began in 2000, and in 2007 the school was appropriated by Bridgepoint Education, Inc. out of San Diego, California. The name was changed to University of the Rockies (UoR) at that point, and the mission to provide “high-quality, accessible learning opportunities globally for diverse groups of individuals seeking preparation for life goals, professional practice, service, and distinguished leadership” remains an integral part of the institution. A new campus was opened in Denver in 2012, and now over 1,300 students study both on-campus and online. University of the Rockies is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Master of Arts in Organizational Development and Leadership degree at University of the Rockies is a self-paced, flexible program that can fit into any professional’s busy life. With all courses in the 39 credit hour program available online 24/7, students can access and study when the time is right for them. The program is designed to teach students how to “navigate through complex organizational systems, and apply psychological research to develop employees.” With faculty members who have also been practitioners, students learn with real-life examples and application methods. Classes are offered in such topics as “Principles of Social Psychology,” “Fundamentals of Coaching,” and “Diagnosing Organizations” and there are two specializations possible–the Training and E-Learning track and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship track. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic calendar is listed as $857 per credit hour plus fees.

Admissions website

#32. Brandman University

Chapman University, the largest private institution of higher education in Orange County, California, was founded in 1861. Almost a century later in 1958, the Chapman University system established Brandman University–originally named Chapman University College–in Irvine, California with the intention of offering a quality education to the nearby El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Brandman University is a separate, private, non-profit institution that has over twenty-five campuses across California and Washington State, as well as a thriving online campus community. Now serving “the unique needs of adult students” by using the iDEAL (Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning) curriculum model, Brandman is still a military friendly university. With five schools and more than 80 academic degree and certificate programs, over 12,000 students are participating in study at Brandman. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges regionally accredits Brandman University.

Program Details: The online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) degree program at Brandman is ideal for the working professional. Taking a cross-discipline approach, students customize their degree by choosing electives that are offered in different areas (for a strict business approach, Brandman also offers an MBA in Organizational Leadership). Students take two sets of core courses that comprise a total of 21 credit hours: Theoretical Foundation: The Vision, Mission & Values of Organizational Leadership (with classes like “Organizational Research” and “Democracy, Ethics and Leadership”) and Enacting the Vision: Putting Leadership into Practice (with classes such as “Leadership and Team Development” and “Leading Organizational Change”).  Twelve more credits in electives are required, and students work with an academic advisor to choose from courses in areas such as education, human resources, or computer science and information systems. Finally, a three-credit hour Leadership Capstone Seminar is required for a total of 36 credit hours. Tuition per credit hour is $400 for active duty military and spouses and $640 for non-military.

Admissions website

#31. George Washington University

In 1819, Luther Rice, Obadiah B. Brown, Spencer H. Cone, and Enoch Reynolds (all Baptist ministers) began motion towards founding a college in the District of Columbia. Securing funding to purchase land and petitioning Congress led to the creation of Columbian College. The school had since its inception the vision to admit any male student without regards to religion (women weren’t allowed admission until 1888), and in 1822 several male students began classes on the forty-six acre original site known as College Hill (it’s now known as Meridian Hill). As the college expanded, the name was changed by an Act of Congress in 1904 to George Washington University (GW) in honor of the nation’s first president. GW is a private, research university in the heart of the Capital. Three campuses– Foggy Bottom Campus, the Mount Vernon Campus, and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus—house fourteen schools and colleges to educate more than 25,000 students. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools regionally accredits GW.

Program Details: GW Online’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Learning is an “innovative, academically rigorous skills-based” degree program for professionals who want to learn all aspects of leadership in a “hands-on” environment. The program offered through the Graduate School of Education and Human Development requires thirty credit hours to graduate. Twenty-one of those required credits are core course in such topics as “Human Behavior in Organizations” and “Work Groups and Teams in Organizations.” Electives make up the remaining nine hours, and students can choose from coursework such as “International and Multicultural Issues in Organizations,” “Increasing the Capacity to Learn,” and “Assessing the Impact of Organizational Change.” GW also offers a great deal of student support to the online student, such as the Center for Career Services or the University Writing Center. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $1,060 plus fees.

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#30. Fort Hays State University

The infirmary at Fort Hays, an abandoned army post near the town of Hays, Kansas, served as the first classroom of the Western Branch of the Kansas Normal School where fifty-seven students (paying only $5 for tuition) began studying in the summer of 1902. Desiring a move off of the post and closer to town, the school began to transition in 1904. The first building on the new site, Picken Hall (named after the school’s first leader, William Picken), required a prairie dog colony to be relocated. Multiple name changes through the years finally led to Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in 1977. With a campus of 200 acres (and a University Farm covering 3,825 acres), FHSU serves over 14,000 students both on-campus and online. Five schools and colleges offer almost 100 academic degree programs in thirty departments. The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits FHSU.

Program Details: Offering a multi-disciplinary Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree with a concentration in Organizational Leadership, FHSU’s Virtual Campus is open for students to begin classes in spring or fall. A thirty credit hour program, there are three required core classes that cover theory and research methods. Twelve required major credit hours in topics such as “Leadership in Teams and Collaborative Environments” and “Organizational Intervention Strategies” make up the bulk of the program with six credit hours of cognates (coursework choices are vast) and three final credits of either on internship or a research project. Online through the Virtual Campus is the only way to access this degree without special permission, so students of the FHSU’s MPS in Organizational Leadership can be assured that this degree is taught by faculty who are well-versed not only in their subject area, but also in the art of online teaching. The Virtual College tuition for the 2017-2018 school-year is $280.73 per credit hour.

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#29. Charleston Southern University

In 1965 on the 300 acre site of a former rice and indigo plantation, Charleston Southern University (originally Baptist College at Charleston) was born. Preparation for the school started over a decade earlier in 1954 when the need for a college was noted. South Carolina Baptists championed the issue at their General Board meeting in the fall of 1955. The South Carolina Baptist Convention stood behind the development of the school, and money was raised to build it. By 1964 classes began for the first group of almost 600 students. As the school grew and expanded its curriculum, the name was changed in 1990 to Charleston Southern University. With a mission of “Promoting Academic Excellence in a Christian Environment,” Charleston Southern offers just under 100 academic degree programs in seven schools and colleges to over 3,500 students. Regional accreditation is granted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: Allowing prospective students to “virtually sit in on a class,” the Graduate School at Charleston Southern offers a glimpse of the top-notch program to entice and prepare for life as an online student. The MA in Organizational Leadership is 33 credit hours (eleven classes total) utilizing Charleston Southern’s “Encounter-Engage-Energize model of faith integration.” This model allows faculty to teach the central theories and methods of  leadership rooted in the Christian faith tradition. Nine credit hours of foundational classes (Fundamentals of Leadership, Managing with Excellence and Integrity, and Business Ethics from a Christian Worldview) are followed by twelve credits of core coursework (which include classes such as “Power and Influence” and “Organizational Change and Transformation”). The program culminates with nine credit hours of electives and three hours of a capstone course (Leadership Dynamics and Decisions). Tuition is $625 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#28. Creighton University

When prominent Omaha, Nebraska businessman Edward Creighton passed away in 1874, his widow determined to start a college in his memory. Giving $100,000 that he left to her to the city, Mary Lucretia Creighton birthed Creighton University. Recruiting the Jesuits to manage the school, Bishop James O’Connor made the dream a reality, and in 1878 Creighton College welcomed 120 all-male students to study within its walls. Women attended classes in 1892, but were not admitted fully until 1951. One of only 28 Jesuit institutions of higher education in the nation, Creighton University is a coeducational private, Catholic university in the Jesuit tradition. Almost 8,500 students study at Creighton’s nine schools and colleges on the 140 acre Omaha campus and online. Creighton University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The 36 credit hour Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) online program at Creighton is a well-crafted, strategic and ethical degree “centered on developing moral and ethical leaders who use their skills to promote social justice, societal and organizational change for a greater and more just tomorrow.” With core courses in subjects such as “Strategic Orienteering and Execution Tactics,” “Communicating and Leading Across Cultures,” and “Approaches to Human Capital” plus additional concentrations–Business Leadership, Healthcare Leadership, and Organizational Leadership (available to students in other programs)–students can really focus on the areas they need to study in order to succeed. Student support is also available to help online students succeed–with a 24/7 help desk, student services coordinators, and a career center (just to name a few)–students at Creighton are never on their own. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $850 per credit hour plus fees.

Admissions website

#27. Western Kentucky University

In March 1906 the Kentucky General Assembly made plans to establish two normal schools. The Western Kentucky State Normal School was established in Bowling Green, and classes began in January of 1907. Four years later the school would move to its permanent location–known as the Hill–and the former site of The Pleasant J. Potter College. For eleven years the school would continue training teachers, but in 1922 the school was renamed Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College and four-year degrees were offered. Merging with Ogden College in 1927 allowed the campus to expand, and through the years the name changed and the curriculum also expanded. In 1966 the name officially became Western Kentucky University (WKU), and now there are six academic colleges offering more than 100 academic degree programs to over 21,000 students on the WKU campus and online. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides regional accreditation to WKU.

Program Details: The online MA in Organizational Leadership degree at WKU is a highly-tailorable program requiring 30 credit hours. Nine required core course credit hours in topics such as “Effective Leadership Studies” and “Leadership Ethics” are followed up with nine credit hours of selective core classes like “Leading Teams” and “Elements of Public Administrations.” Students then choose twelve credit hours of electives to customize their degree from within the department or any other department at the school (with prior approval). Courses are presented asynchronously, so students can study at their convenience. Rolling admission leads to two start dates during the year. WKU provides prospective online students with several resources before they even apply–such as a “Distance Learning 101” tutorial and a team of support professionals. Tuition is $707 for the 2017-2018 academic year, with a discount for military.

Admissions website

#26. Azusa Pacific University

Conceived in 1899, the Training School for Christian Workers (the first Bible College of the West) was opened in Whittier, California in 1900 to twelve students. Starting with classes in a home, the school expanded, relocated, merged with other schools, and renamed itself multiple times through the years before finally granting degrees in 1939, landing in the city of Azusa in 1946, and taking the name Azusa Pacific University (APU) in 1981. With the motto “God first,” this private, evangelical Christian, coeducational university declares its “essence” to be guided by the ideals of Christianity, academia, development and servitude. APU offers over 10,000 enrolled students more than 100 academic degree programs online and at eight other campuses located throughout Southern California. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges regionally accredits APU.

Program Details: Requiring 33 program “units” (credit hours), the online Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Studies (MLOS) degree program at APU is “ideal for individuals who already possess professional skills, but who are in need of advanced leadership and organizational skills.” Offered through the University College (UC)–APU’s distance learning and nontraditional “campus”–coursework for the program is to be taken in a set order (two classes a semester). The eleven required classes include such topics as “Group and Team Dynamics,” “Leadership and Managerial Ethics,” and “Improving Quality and Productivity.” With a plethora of support services as well as actual Success Coaches to guide and encourage students, APU is “deeply committed to student success” and offers many resources to their online students.  Tuition is listed on the APU website as $600 per unit–with special resources to encourage military students to apply.

#25. Trevecca Nazarene University

In 1901 the Literary and Bible Training School for Christian Workers in downtown Nashville, Tennessee grew from a small group of parishioners and their pastor/teacher Reverend J. O. McClurkan. Originally begun as a way to train Christian workers, the curriculum grew throughout the decade and the name was changed to Trevecca College (a name borrowed from an institution in Wales which started in 1768 as a way to draw together Wesleyans and Calvinists and meaning “a binding together in love”). Over the next decade the school moved from downtown Nashville and officially became a Church of the Nazarene institution. Moving again in 1935 to its present location, the school made its final name change in 1995 to Trevecca Nazarene University (sometimes still shortened to just Trevecca). Now more than 3,000 students study in over 120 academic degree programs. Trevecca Nazarene University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: Focusing on the “three levels of leadership: Personal Leadership Development,  Interpersonal Leadership, and Organizational Impact” the Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) degree program at Trevecca Online “draws from communications, religion, and business to provide . . .  a balanced perspective on leadership” for its students. Utilizing the cohort model for coursework delivery provides students with a community of fellow learners and committed professors for maximum support–an intentional goal of Trevecca Online. The 33 credit hour program offers core courses in topics such as “Leading in Diverse Communities,” “Cultivating Networks and Fundraising,” and “Human Resources, Ethics, and the Law” and is envisioned to be completed in eighteen months. Proud to honor the military, Trevecca makes a point of providing assistance and resources to encourage members of the armed forces to apply and attend. Tuition is $420 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#24. California Baptist University

California Baptist College began offering classes in September 1950 in El Monte, California. Started by the Los Angeles Baptist Association, 42 students started school that fall, but the number increased to 120 by the end of that academic year. Continuing to grow at that pace, the school began to be overseen by the California Southern Baptist Convention in 1953 and had to move to a larger 75 acre site in Riverside by 1955. The school continued to grow–now campus is 160 acres, and the name changed in 1998 to California Baptist University (CBU) to reflect the growth and expansion. With a student enrollment of just over 9,000, CBU is a private, Christian liberal arts university with an emphasis on “living your purpose.” Ten schools and colleges and a thriving online department give students many choices to find that purpose. CBU is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: With an online MA in Organizational Leadership degree program that only takes twelve months, students can move on to that leadership job at truly accelerated-pace. Preparing students to “advance their proficiency as well as their profession,” the CBU degree program offers plenty of flexibility and support to their online students. Classes start every eight weeks and there are three semesters a year, so students can get started quickly and move through the program to get that degree and move on to the profession of their dreams. CBU offers many resources to the online student, such an Academic Success Center, Personal Enrollment Counselors, and Career Services. The 30 required major units (credit hours) are made up of classes like “Conflict Resolution and Negotiations,” “Organizational Communication,” and “Leadership Across Cultures.” Tuition per unit is $607 for an estimated total of $18,000.

Admissions website

#23. University of South Dakota

Before the state of South Dakota was even established, the University of South Dakota (USD) was created. In 1862 the Dakota Territorial Legislature authorized the university to be founded in the town of Vermillion. There was no funding however, so classes couldn’t begin until twenty years later when the support of local citizens helped the school gain enough funding. Sixty-nine students were enrolled at the end of the first year, and by the time South Dakota became a state in 1889, USD had 500 students. Now seven schools and colleges serve the more than 10,000 students who are enrolled in over 200 academic degree programs. This public coeducational research institution is the flagship university in the state of South Dakota and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The completely online Master of Science in Administration (MSA) program with a concentration in Organizational Leadership offered by USD is “designed for mid-career professionals who work in government agencies, nonprofit and social service organizations, as well as in the private sector”(five other specializations are also available: Health Services Administration, Long-Term Care Administration, Criminal Justice Studies, Addiction Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies). A flexible program with the same professors as on-campus, this degree is the best of both worlds. Focusing on leadership skills, communication methods, and conflict mediation, the MSA in Organizational Leadership curriculum is relevant and applicable. Core classes for this 36 credit hour program are offered in topics such as “Budgetary and Fiscal Management” and “Administrative Thought and Ethics,” and nine credit hours are allotted to the Organizational Leadership specialization electives. Tuition for the 2017-2018 school year is $444.25 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#22. Wheeling Jesuit University

Originally Wheeling College, Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) was founded in 1954 as a collaboration between the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia and the Society of Jesus of the Maryland Province (Jesuits). The first building began construction on the 65 acre main campus in 1954, and classes started the following year with twelve degree programs, twelve Jesuit professors, four lay people, and ninety students. With an emphasis on seeking and finding “God in all, in chapel and classroom, in liturgy and laboratory,” WJU is the only Catholic university in West Virginia and the newest of the twenty-eight Jesuit schools in the United States. Now with almost 50 academic degree programs for over 1,300 students and a 550 acre research farm and preserve, this private, coeducational Catholic research university is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: With the same standards as the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program that is offered on-campus, just with the added bonus of flexibility, the online MSOL at WJU is a solid degree. Classes are delivered asynchronously and in the cohort format. The program is 33 credit hours that are broken down into a set sequence of coursework that takes typically twenty-two months to complete. The classes are grouped by topic into: six credits of foundations, five credits of environmental dimensions, eight credits of structural dimensions, seven credits of personal dimensions, and seven credits of a thesis that students are to work on for fourteen months. These topic areas focus on key elements in leadership in a cohesive way that builds upon the prior coursework completed for a unified, strong academic outcome. Tuition is listed on the website as $4,435 for the semester plus fees.

Admissions website

#21. National University

Realizing the need for a non-traditional education program for working adults, David Chigos, a retired US Navy lieutenant commander, conceived National University in 1971. Also a director of employee training for a large multinational defense corporation, Chigos (who would also serve as the university’s first president) structured National University as a private, non-profit institution that would offer classes in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate adult learners and working professionals. Twenty-seven students were the first class in 1972; the school has grown to almost 25,000 enrolled students today. Multiple campuses in California and one in Nevada, plus a thriving online campus, offer over 130 academic degree programs (100 of which are also offered online). Administrative headquarters are located in La Jolla, California, and National University has been regionally accredited since 1977 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: With a mission statement of desiring to prepare “diverse learners to become effective, change-oriented leaders in an international society,” the National University online MSOL is a broad-focused and skill-based degree program that has start dates at the beginning of every month for ultimate convenience. Ten classes in such topics as “Ethics and Class Theory,” “Analysis and Decision-Making,” and “World View & Adult Development” make up the required 45 quarter units of core coursework. Students must also choose two electives from the School of Business and Management to complete the degree with nine more quarter units, or they can opt for the Specialization in Community Development. The specialization requires eighteen quarter units (four classes): Global Development, Human Environments, Culture and Change, and Planning and Evaluation. Offered through the School of Business and Management’s Leadership and Human Resource Management department, tuition is $416 per quarter unit.

Admissions website

#20. Southern New Hampshire University

The New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science was formed in the city of Manchester in 1932 by accountant H.A.B. Shapiro. Real growth didn’t occur until 1961, when the school became incorporated and was renamed New Hampshire College of Accounting and Commerce. Two years later the state of New Hampshire authorized the school to award degrees. “Accounting and Commerce” was dropped from the name in 1969, and two years later the college moved from its downtown location to a permanent campus on the Merrimack River, which has now grown to 300 acres. Campus expanded to the internet in 1995 with what would become known as SNHU Online and growth continued and brought about the final name change to Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in 2001. Now with more than 3000 on-campus students and 80,000 online students, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges regionally accredits SNHU.

Program Details: Having participated in online learning for over twenty years, SNHU Online has perfected online student support. Before a prospective student even applies for the MSOL degree program, admission counselors are available to guide them through the application process and discuss financial possibilities.  Once a student, the program is made up of six core courses, three electives with a leadership focus, and three electives with a business focus. The required 36 credit hours can be completed in as little as fifteen months, but some students may need to take two brush-up courses–Mathematics and Statistics for Business and Economics for Business–if they don’t have a strong background in those topics (these two courses count towards the three required business electives). Core courses cover topics like “Responsible Corporate Leadership” and “Human Behavior in Organizations.” Tuition per credit hour is $470 for military and the spouses of those on active duty, and $627 for others.

Admissions website

#19. Norwich University

The American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy was started by Captain Alden Partridge (a former West Point instructor) in Norwich, Vermont in 1819. Desiring to blend military science and training with a liberal education curriculum, Partridge developed what he termed an American System of Education–this would also be the origin of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.  After a brief time when the school relocated to Connecticut, the school was renamed Norwich University when the State of Vermont affirmed it as a degree-granting institution. After a fire devastated the school in 1866, campus moved to the current location in Northfield. Norwich was dubbed “The Military College of the State of Vermont” in 1898. Now 3,500 male and female students are enrolled in over 50 academic degree programs in the five schools and colleges at Norwich. Regional accreditation is granted by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: The online Master of Science in Leadership degree program at Norwich is supported by almost two centuries of leadership training. With stellar faculty teaching the curriculum, students can be sure the coursework they are mastering is relevant and rigorous. There are four possible start dates a year for the 36 credit hour, eighteen to twenty-four month-long program. Six courses are delivered over eleven week terms; all students start with the three six-credit core courses (“Leading Change in Organizations,” “Leadership Fundamentals–Ethical Leadership and Value-Driven Organizations,” and “Emotional Intelligence & Leadership Style”). Three six-credit electives are chosen based on students’ desired concentration area (Organizational Leadership, Public Sector/Government/Military Leadership, Human Resources Leadership, or Leading Change Management Consulting). The Organizational Leadership concentration focuses specifically on strategy, communication, and organizational behavior. Tuition is $704 per credit hour for the 2017-2018 school year.

Admissions website

#18. Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University started out as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1921. Founded by Andrew Blass, the school utilized multiple spaces in downtown Pittsburgh for over forty years before moving also to a 230 acre location in Moon Township in 1962. Purchasing the former home of the wealthy Kaufmann family (of Kaufmann’s, a Pennsylvania-based department store) in order to create a residential campus led to the school’s ability to grant associate degrees. Renaming itself after one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the school became first Robert Morris Junior College and then Robert Morris College in 1969. In 2002 university status was achieved, and Robert Morris University (RMU) became the definitive name. With two campuses (downtown Pittsburgh and Moon Township) proving too taxing, in 2010 the downtown campus closed. More than 5,000 students are currently enrolled in 100 different academic degrees within RMU’s five schools. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education regionally accredits RMU.

Program Details: The online MSOL degree offered through RMU’s School of Communications and Information Systems Department of Organizational Leadership gives graduates the edge to “recognize opportunity and motivate individuals and groups.” An interdisciplinary program requiring at least 36 credit hours to graduate, students start with twenty-one credit hours of core coursework. Examples of core classes include “History and Theory of Leadership,” “Critical Thinking and Problem Solving,” and “Conflict Resolution.” Elective courses include topics such as “Legal Issues for Leaders in Organizations” and “Group Dynamics and Interpersonal Relationships.” All students complete an “Organizational Leadership Capstone” as a final project. In addition to compelling and motivating coursework, RMU assigns each online student with a Online Student Services Representative to provide a “personalized experience when dealing with registration and any other needs that students may have.” Tuition is $695 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#17. Lincoln Christian University

Lincoln Bible Institute (as Lincoln Christian University was then called) was started in 1944 Lincoln, Illinois by local minister Earl C Hargrove. Originally conceived as a “training ground” for preachers and Christian workers, the school quickly expanded as others sought education there. Within the first ten years, the school’s name changed to Lincoln Christian College and Seminary to reflect the growth. In 2009 the school gained university status and became Lincoln Christian University (LCU). Over 1,000 students are enrolled at this coeducational Bible college with a mission to “nurture and equip Christians with a Biblical worldview to serve and lead in the church and the world.” LCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) at LCU is crafted to help students “make strategic decisions and give . . . interpersonal skills to handle conflict graciously” in the world and workplace. Encouraging students to take one asynchronous class at a time over a period of twenty-one months, the online MAOL degree program is both flexible and accommodating of busy schedules. With courses like “Vision, Values and the Voices in Organizational Leadership,” “Dynamics of Conflict and Change in Organizational Leadership,” and “Interpersonal Leadership for Organizational Effectiveness,” LCU wants students to learn using their faith as a cornerstone and guiding principle. LCU prides itself on being a different kind of school community both on-campus and online–a community especially for students who “crave a life of meaning.” Tuition is $434 per credit hour, plus fees.

Admissions website

#16. Crown College

In 1916 in St. Paul, Minneapolis, several students and Reverend J.D. Williams formed a Bible study for those who wanted to work in the ministry. Within a few years time, others joined and the name was changed to St. Paul Bible Institute. Over the next few decades other changes occurred–another name change in 1959 (St. Paul Bible College), accreditation, and a move from St. Paul to a 173 acre campus near St. Bonifacius, Minnesota in 1969. In 1992 the name was changed to Crown College to clear up confusion since the school’s campus was no longer in St. Paul. In 1999 Crown College began a thriving distance learning program by offering its first online course. This private, coeducational Christian college celebrated its centennial in 2016, and now over 1,300 students are enrolled. The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to Crown College.

Program Details: Crown College proudly states on their website that their fully online MAOL degree program is unique. Boasting a curriculum that “educates students in leadership philosophy, skills and strategies from a Christian perspective,” the 36 credit hour program can be completed in two years. Starting with a 24 credit hour “core phase” students then go on to choose one three credit hour general elective and nine credit hours of electives that will form their degree “emphasis tracks.” There are twelve tracks to choose from, and they cover both religious (Pastoral Leadership Emphasis, Intercultural Ministries Emphasis) and secular (Disaster and Emergency Management Emphasis, Non-Profit Leadership) fields. Even though online students are not required to come to campus for any reason during their studies, Crown does offer online students and their families “special events” on campus during graduation. Tuition for 2017-2018 is $510 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#15. Regent University

In 1977, conservative, charismatic Christian magnate Pat Robertson decided a university was needed to prepare “capable men and women for the challenge of representing Christ in their professions.” Originally called Christian Broadcasting Network University, Regent University began construction on 70 acres in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 1978, 70 students started their classes in nearby rented classrooms. The name was changed to Regent University in 1990 to reflect students acting as “regents” on earth for Christ. Now Regent has seven graduate schools and one undergraduate school to serve the almost 9,000 students studying in more than 125 academic degree programs. “Christian Leadership to Change the World” still serves as this private, interdenominational, evangelical, coeducational research institution’s motto. Regent University has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges since 1984.

Program Details: Regent’s School of Business and Leadership has been offering an online MAOL degree program since 1997, so students know they are invested in a program that has perfected both the degree and the online delivery. Allowing students up to five years to complete the 33 credit hour program, the courses are offered in eight week sections. Core courses, such as classes “Information Research & Resources” and “Motivation, Teams, Coaching & Mentoring,” make up twenty-one of the required credits. Nine credits are given to elective concentrations–thirteen options (such as “Future Studies,” “Kingdom Business,” “Small Business Information Technology,” and “Servant Leadership”) are available, but students can also opt to not have a specific concentration, but rather take “individual special topics” courses of their choosing. Tuition is $650 per credit hour for the 2017-2018 school year.

Admissions website

#14. University of Saint Francis

Saint Francis College started in Lafayette, Indiana in 1890. The Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration wanted a normal school to train sisters as teachers, and by 1923 the school was accredited by Indiana State Department of Public Instruction to offer two-year degrees in education. Fourteen years later the school expanded to four-year degrees, and two years later in 1939 students who were not nuns were admitted. Over the next five years other degrees were offered, and the school moved to a campus on 65 acres in Fort Wayne (further expansion added more acreage–the school now sits on 107 acres). Soon more laywoman than sisters were attending the college, and men were first admitted in 1957. The year 1998 saw a name change to University of Saint Francis (USF) due to the increase in students and  expansion of academic programs; currently over 2,000 students study in the four schools of USF. Regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) degree program offered through USF’s prestigious Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership is shaped by an academic atmosphere of “professionalism, scholarship, social responsibility, and spiritual development.” Online courses are taught by the same “highly-skilled and caring” faculty as the on-campus courses and classes are asynchronous, so it is evident that the success of students is a high priority at USF. There are four twelve credit hour concentrations from which students can choose: Non-Profit Organization, Higher Education, For-Profit Organization, and Healthcare Services. Twenty-four of the required 36 credit hours are made up of core courses such as “Ethics and Franciscan Values Business,” “Organizational Communication and Diversity,” and “Leading Change.” All students in the program are required to finish with a Capstone Senior Project, and can create it to fit in with their goals under advisement from an Academic Advisor. Tuition is $475 per credit hour.

#13. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University was founded in Marion, Indiana originally as Marion College in 1920 (the school was incorporated in 1919, but classes did not start until 1920). This private, evangelical liberal arts school associated with The Wesleyan Church started out with humble aspirations of being a normal school. Marion locals asked the Indiana Conference of The Wesleyan Methodist Church to transfer the Fairmount Bible School to Marion to start the school for teachers, but it grew to be much more. The name was changed in 1988 to Indiana Wesleyan University because of the expansion outside of just the Marion location. Classes take place on the 350 acre main campus but are also offered throughout the State and at education centers in other states. Over 120 academic degree programs are offered to the over 15,000 students at all of Indiana Wesleyan’s locations. Indiana Wesleyan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The ease of registering for classes cannot get any more convenient than the online MA in Organizational Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan’s School of Service and Leadership. Students register for classes in this cohort program just once–and never have to worry about it again. The 36 credit hour program can be completed in twenty-three months if students take the courses one at a time in the prescribed order. Classes are broken down into five sections of study that are sequential–Foundations of Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Organizational Foundations, Practical Leadership, and a final Leadership Thesis. Coursework is delivered asynchronously, and not in a traditional lecture format–rather, students get to participate in “virtual tours, video presentations and case studies, interactive CD-ROM or Web-based activities, simulations, and similar learning activities” to fully process the information they are learning. Services to enhance the online education experience are also made ready to students from the beginning of their education. Tuition is $494 per credit.

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#12. Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph’s Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was the first site of what was first known as Saint Joseph’s College. About thirty male students began classes in September 1851 thanks to the persistent advocacy of Jesuit Felix Barbelin, who helped bring the dreams of Jesuit Joseph Greaton, the pastor of Saint Joseph’s in 1741, of starting a school to fruition. After several moves and some financial hardships, the school raised enough money to purchase twenty-three acres in the city. More physical expansion continued through the years–by 1970 women were admitted as full-time students for the first time, and eight years later university status was granted and Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) became the new name. This Jesuit, Catholic university with a mission “to prepare students for personal excellence, professional success and engaged citizenship” now sits on 114 acres and enrolls more than 8,400 students. SJU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: The 36 credit hour online Master of Science in Organizational Development and Leadership (MSODL) degree at SJU focuses more on the “people side of change and is an alternative to more traditional business” degree programs. With teamwork an integral part of the program, students can expect to take all of their ten, three-credit hour classes online, but also participate with their classmates and faculty members in a four-day, six-credit on-campus residency in Change Leadership. Admissions is rolling and there are six start dates a year, but past experience is an important factor in a prospective student’s application–SJU requires eight years of relevant, professional work experience. For those with that level of experience, they can look forward to courses in topics like “Organizational Change and Culture,” “Learning Design and Leadership,” and “Career Development.” Students can expect to complete the degree program in two years, and tuition for the 2017-2018 year is $870 per credit hour.

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#11. University of Denver

Originally started as a Methodist school, the Colorado Seminary would later become Denver University (although as of 2015 the school’s W-9 form still lists Colorado Seminary as its name). The school was founded in 1864 Denver City–just six years after the town was created in the wild-west Colorado Territory. The name was changed to University of Denver (DU) in 1880, and campus was relocated to an old potato farm to escape some of the wild nature of the frontier life (the campus has now grown to over 125 acres and is an arboretum). Proud of advocating a “culture of inclusiveness and intellectual curiosity,” DU hosts an annual Diversity Summit in which students, faculty and the larger Denver community come together for healthy discussion on growth and change. Ten schools and colleges serve the over 11,000 students enrolled in this private, coeducational university. DU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: Through DU’s University College the online Master of Science in Leadership and Organizations is a degree taught by some of the best in the business, both experientially and academically. University College is a unique approach to teaching by offering students professors who are a “combination of practitioner faculty, who are professionally active in the fields they teach about, and full-time University of Denver faculty.” Requiring 48 credits to graduate, classes cover multiple topics ranging from “Cultivating and Sustaining Donor Relations” to “Building the 21st Century Organization” to “Large Scale Interventions.” Concentrations are offered in five areas: Human Capital in Organizations, Organizational Development, Philanthropic Leadership, Project Management, and Strategic Innovation and Change. For those that are unsure if online learning is a good fit for them, there’s a resource page that has tutorials, FAQs, and other support information. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $660 plus fees.

#10. Johns Hopkins University

In 1873 wealthy, childless Johns Hopkins passed away. A Quaker known for his altruistic and humanitarian nature, he left $7 million in his will for the establishment of a hospital and university in Baltimore, Maryland. Johns Hopkins University (called Johns Hopkins for short) was founded just three years later in 1876. Hopkins had desired his home to be the campus location but did not want his financial gift to be used for construction. As a result, the school located itself in the downtown area, but as it grew it needed more land to expand. Moving to what would become the main campus, the 140 acre former Homewood Estate, proved to be successful. Now with domestic campuses in both Baltimore and Montgomery County, Maryland and Washington, DC and overseas in Italy and China, Johns Hopkins offers nine divisions of schools to the over 24,000 enrolled students. This first, great research university is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: With an online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) offered through Johns Hopkins’ Division of Public Safety Leadership, students know this degree is unique in its approach with its core purpose of developing “leaders in both public safety and community public sector organizations through teaching, scholarship and community outreach.” The 36 credit hour online program is a new version of the highly successful on-campus program, which boasts of having graduated more “than 70 Police Chiefs.” With an obvious focus on the public safety and law enforcement arena, this cohort model program can be completed in under two years, and students partake in classes such as “Crisis Mitigation, Management, and Communication,” “Ethics, Integrity, and the Responsibility of Leaders,” and “Individual and Group Dynamics.” The next cohort start date is in January 2018, and tuition was listed for the last school year as $900 per credit hour.


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#9. Colorado Technical University

In 1965, Colonel Richard Davis and Major Robert Turkisher wanted to help others in the military that were returning to civilian life. Thinking education was the way to go, they formed the Colorado Electronic Training Center and held classes in a former roller-skating rink in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From its inception, the school  put a “strong focus on providing industry-relevant degree programs.” As technology changed through the years, so did the school, and in 1995 the school became a full four-year, degree-granting institution and was renamed Colorado Technical University (CTU). Their online program first began in 2000 and was dubbed the Virtual Campus. With an understanding that there are many different learning styles, CTU developed intellipath™, a “personalized learning system . . . that personalizes course material completely around” each student. Serving almost 25,000 students, CTU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: With a goal to broaden students’ “understanding of theory, research, strategy and methodology pertaining to organizational leadership,” the Master of Science in Management (MSM) with a concentration in Organizational Leadership and Change online degree program at CTU is incredibly well-rounded. This forty-eight credit hour program is made up of twenty-eight core courses in topics like “Applied Managerial Marketing” and “Strategic Management in Dynamic Environments.” The Organizational Leadership and Change concentration makes up the remaining twenty credits, and those classes cover subjects such as “Leadership and Organizational Power” and “Foundation of Organizational Design.” Before students even apply, admissions advisors are ready to book personalized appointments to offer guidance and support. Tuition is $585 per credit hour for 2017, plus fees. As an obviously military-friendly school, CTU offers many incentives, scholarships and discounts to active-duty military, veterans, and military spouses.


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#8. Lewis University

Holy Name Technical School opened to fifteen boys in Romeoville, Illinois in 1932. The Chicago Archdiocese and Bishop Bernard J. Sheil oversaw the school, which was on 170 acres of donated farmland. Frank J. Lewis, a noted Catholic, manufacturer and benefactor, funded the scholarships for students unable to afford the school and helped to supply building materials. Just two years after the founding of the school, the name was changed to include Lewis–the Lewis Holy Name Technical School. Several more names changes, all including “Lewis” continued through the years to reflect the changes and growth of the school. In 1948 the school ceased to offer high school classes and became a college, and the following year women were admitted. A university since 1973, Lewis (as it is known), is a comprehensive, Catholic, Lasallian institution sitting on 410 acres and offering 115 academic degree programs to 6,500 students. Lewis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: Lewis offers an online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) degree program that “focuses on the human side of leadership in the workplace.” A list of resources is provided to both prospective and current online students to provide information on job prospects and trends and workplace management skills. The 36 credit hour program provides students with five different concentrations from which to choose and customize their degree: Higher Education Student Services, Nonprofit Management, Organizational Management, Professional and Executive Coaching, and Training and Development. Core coursework in subjects like “Leading Change” and “Psychology of Motivation” make up twenty-four of the required credits, and the remaining twelve credits focus on the student’s chosen concentration. Six start dates a year are offered and give students the opportunity to complete the eight-week long courses in about eighteen months to two years. Tuition is $695 per credit hour for the 2017-2018 school year.


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#7. Saint Louis University

When the Most Reverend Louis William Valentine DuBourg, a Sulpician Bishop, started Saint Louis Academy, a place of education for young gentleman, in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1818, he founded the oldest school west of the Mississippi River. Saint Louis College became the name in 1820. Recruiting the Jesuits of the Missouri Mission in 1823 to help run the school (making it the second oldest Jesuit institution for higher education), the school floundered for a bit but then took off.  In 1867 campus moved to the location of a bloody Civil Way skirmish, Lindell’s Grove.  In addition to the main Saint Louis campus (which is now 235 acres), there is also an international campus–Saint Louis Madrid–which began as a study abroad program. Currently almost 13,000 students study in almost 200 academic degree programs in what is now known as Saint Louis University (SLU).  The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to SLU.

Program Details: The online Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Development offered through SLU’s School for Professional Studies produces graduates who will “work effectively as a self-aware, reflective change leader.” Focusing on “systems thinking, behavioral science and applied analytics,” this 36 credit hour degree program can be completed in two and a half year. Coursework is broken down into graduate core courses (with classes such as Contemporary Organizational Leadership), leadership development courses (like Organizational Dynamics), and then students choose from two different sets of electives (with topics ranging from “Talent Management and Development” to “Future-Focused Leadership”) and complete a Capstone project to finish the program. To help students plan the financial side of their education, SLU offers an Online Financial Education Center that provides resources on a variety of financial topics. Tuition for the School for Professional Studies 2017-2018 academic calendar is $780 per credit hour.


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#6. Quinnipiac University

A team of college aficionados determined to start an institution to fill the void left when Northeastern University left its New Haven, Connecticut location at the beginning of the Great Depression. Calling it the Connecticut College of Commerce, not quite 200 students signed up to pursue an associate’s degree when the college opened in 1929. By 1951, the school was renamed Quinnipiac College, after a Native American tribe that once lived in that area, and began awarding bachelor’s degrees. The school grew too large for its campus, and moved to Hamden in 1966, where the main campus resides today. In 2000 the school finally took the name Quinnipiac University (QU), and this private, nonsectarian, coeducational university currently has over 10,000 students on three campuses—two in Hamden and another newer campus in New Haven. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges regionally accredits QU.

Program Details: The MSOL through Quinnipiac University Online promises to help students of the program “develop the self-awareness and understanding of others that only effective leaders possess.” Offering “four professional focus tracks” in Health Care Management, Human Resource Leadership, Public Service/Nonprofit Leadership, and Strategic Leadership, students can really customize their degrees to maximize their academic potential for career success. The thirty-three credit hour program devotes nine elective credit hours to these four concentration areas, and the other twenty-four credits are core requirements and a capstone course. The core coursework covers topics such as “Leadership Across Boundaries,” “The Power & Politics of Communication,” and “Ethics & Governance.” In addition to these strong classes offered asynchronously for ultimate flexibility, QU takes support for online students very seriously and offers many services, such as academic advising, tech support and financial aid.  Tuition is listed as $925 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#5. Colorado State University-Global Campus

The first of its kind, Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global Campus) is a fully-accredited online university associated with both Colorado State University-Fort Collins (the flagship university in the system) and Colorado State University-Pueblo. Each school is its own independent institution, but governed by the same Board. With a goal of “advancing nontraditional learners” in the workplace, CSU-Global Campus was created in 2007 when the Colorado State University System Board of Governors granted a $12 million dollar loan to form this major public online university. A year later, 208 students made up the first class. Less than a decade later in 2016, the number of students reached 15,000. With a vision of being “the premier provider of innovative, higher learning opportunities for nontraditional students in Colorado and beyond,” CSU-Global Campus is making its mark in the higher education arena. The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation.

Program Details: CSU-Global Campus offers a MSOL that will help students to “develop expertise in evaluating business research, organizational innovation, decision making, communication, organizational psychology, business ethics, and team leadership.” With both a Research track and a Practitioner track and no less than fifteen specializations, student can find the right course of subject matter to prepare them fully for their academic and career goals. Some of the specializations offered are Applied Business Management, Criminal Justice Leadership, Human Resource Performance, Online Learning Innovation and Design, and Fraud Management. The program is 36-39 credit hours depending on if the student’s GPA was less than 3.0 as an undergraduate (the extra course in that case is a Fundamentals of Research and Writing). The flexibility offered at CSU-Global Campus can’t be beat–helping students find a work/life balance is also a hallmark with start dates every month and lots of support. Total cost is $500 per credit.


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#4. University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Platteville Normal School was begun in Platteville, Wisconsin in 1866 to educate teachers. The Wisconsin Mining Trade School, which was formed in 1907, also provided education in the area. Both schools shared space in Rountree Hall in Platteville’s downtown and expanded as institutions of education independently from one another, but combined as the Wisconsin State College and Institute of Technology at Platteville in 1959. The name of the school changed two more times–in 1966 to Wisconsin State University-Platteville, and then when the University of Wisconsin System became a governing Board for all of the state universities in 1971, the name changed one final time to University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-Platteville). With a main campus of 0ver 800 acres and a 400 acre research farm, UW-Platteville has three colleges and over 120 academic degree programs for the almost 8,700 students enrolled. Regional accreditation is provided by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The UW-Platteville Master of Science in Organizational Change Leadership is designed to produce “leaders equipped to navigate the complexities of rapidly changing business environments.” Offered through the Distance Education program, this 30-39 credit hour program is completely online for ultimate convenience. There are three foundational courses (Applied Accounting, Human Resource Management, and Research Methodology) that are optional depending upon a student’s chosen emphasis, twenty-one credits of required core courses (such as “Organizational Communication” and “Intercultural Change Leadership”), and then three to nine credits of electives (in subjects like “Consumer Behavior” and “Creative Problem Solving”). Six credits are devoted to the optional emphasis areas which are Healthcare, Project Management, and Human Resources. For prospective students, UW-Platteville offers “Ready2Learn,” a way to participate in a sample course that mirrors what an online course looks like. Current tuition is $665 per credit hour regardless of state of residency.

#3. Regis University

In 1877 Las Vegas, New Mexico, a small school was opened by members of the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits called the school Las Vegas College, but renamed it College of the Sacred Heart when it was moved to Morrison, Colorado in 1884. A gift of land in Denver provided the school with its current location since 1887, and now it stands as one of only twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities in the US. The name was changed to Regis College in 1921 after Jesuit saint John Francis Regis and then changed to Regis University in 1991 due to the expansion in academic programs. Five colleges currently make up this private, co-educational Catholic, Jesuit University with a mission to educate “men and women of all ages and faiths to take leadership roles and to make a positive impact in a changing society.” Regis University serves over 11,000 students and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The MSOL degree program offered through Regis University’s College of Business and Economics is designed to help students make a “profound difference or institutional change within an organization.” There are six start dates a year for this 30 credit hour program, and classes are presented in eight week terms. Nine hours of credit make up foundation courses (Logic and Critical Analysis, Leading in a New Era, and Business Intelligence and Analytics) followed by eighteen credits of required courses and a three credit-hour Capstone course titled “Leading Responsible Organizations.” Regis’ philosophy is that “all possess the capacity for leadership, but only those who cultivate it will ever become truly effective,” which is why all the online courses are taught by the same esteemed faculty as the on-campus courses in this highly-ranked, quality program. There is a Center for Career and Professional Development to help guide students as they also plot out their career paths. Tuition is $850 per credit hour.


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#2. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

In 1912 Saint Mary’s College, an academy and junior college for young men, was started in Winona, Minnesota by Patrick R. Heffron, a Bishop in Minnesota’s Diocese of Winona. In 1925 four-year degrees were awarded as the school became a full liberal arts college. The De La Salle Christian Brothers (a religious teaching order founded by Saint John Baptist de La Salle in 1680) bought the school from the Diocese in 1933. In 1969 women were admitted for the first time, making the school coeducational. In 1995 the name was changed to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (Saint Mary’s for short) due to the large expansion–Saint Mary’s classes are now offered to almost 6,000 students at various locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in Jamaica and Kenya. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) offered online through Saint Mary’s is arranged to develop student’s “leadership acumen and creative problem-solving skills for the betterment” of themselves, their organizations and the people with which they work. And to ensure each student’s success, all online students receive a brand new “iPad® loaded with a mobile learning platform” unique to Saint Mary’s. Presented as a thirty-six credit hour, twenty month program in six themed “clusters” of asynchronous coursework (The Learning Leader, The Connected Leader, The Global Leader, The Organizational Leader, The Change Leader, and The Adaptive Leader),  students move sequentially through as a cohort. In addition to challenging coursework taught by a strong team of experienced faculty members, students bond with and learn from each other in their cohorts in classes such as “Collaboration and Teamwork,” “Power and Influence,” and “Strategy and Innovation.” Tuition for the 2017 academic calendar is $610 per credit hour.


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#1. Gonzaga University

In 1881, Jesuit Father Joseph Cataldo bought 320 acres in Spokane, Washington for $936. He intended to start a school for young men and boys who wanted to further their education and become priests. Six years later, seventeen Jesuit teachers offered classes to the first eighteen students, all boys over the age of ten, at Gonzaga College. Named for Jesuit saint Aloysius de Gonzaga, the school became Gonzaga University in 1912, and the younger students went to school elsewhere. Through the years some of the acreage was sold, and Gonzaga now sits on 131 acres. This private, Roman Catholic, Jesuit, liberal arts university has over 100 academic degree programs offered in seven schools and colleges for more than 7,500 enrolled students. Gonzaga is one of the twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities in the country and is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Program Details: With thirty credit hours that can be completed in less than two years, some people may mistakenly think that the online MAOL offered through Gonzaga Online is a no-frills program. That couldn’t be farther from the truth in our top pick! Fifteen credit hours of core courses and fifteen of electives, two concentration options (Servant-leader and Global Leader), one three-day on-campus residency, and multiple study abroad and domestic immersion possibilities make this degree program truly a cut above. With electives like a “Renaissance Leadership in the 21st Century” study abroad class offered in Florence, Italy and a three-day immersion experience in Mt. Adams, WA called “Leadership and Hardiness,” students have several life-changing experiences from which to choose. And if choosing which class to take seems daunting, each online student is provided with a faculty advisor to help them navigate their education. Support starts from the very beginning with Admissions Counselors and faculty members who are available individually and in informational sessions and webinars to answer questions and guide future students as they work on their application. Tuition is listed as $940 per credit hour for this exceptional degree.

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Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor