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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Leadership and Management

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Editor's Picks: Online Schools for Leadership and Management

The best online master's degree in leadership and management for value is Webster University, a private university which offers an online Master of the Arts in Management and Leadership, through its School of Business and Technology. NU ranked among's top ROI Rankings, with an annual return on investment (ROI) of 2.9% and an annual ROI of 3.8% for students receiving financial aid. As noted on, last year Webster ranked in the top tier among best Midwest universities, according to U.S. News & World Report, and was also named one of Forbes magazine's best colleges in America.

The award for flexibility goes to Walden University, which offers an online Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Students on gave Walden a near-perfect score for academic flexibility, and, as noted on Walden's Online Education page, this university's unique online learning model is what provides the utmost convenience and flexibility for its students and sets Walden apart from the rest.

Career Support
At Webster University, online students are provided access to a multitude of career services. Webster's Career Services department offers to "unlock your potential" with services like self-evaluations, career planning and labor market information, employment and internship searches, and interview and resume assistance. Webster also maintains its own "Gorlok Jobs" job search database, as well as a Career Services page on Facebook page. For all this, Webster University wins the award for best career support for its online master's degree in leadership and management.

Financial Support

Walden University wins the award for best financial support for its online master's degree in leadership and management. Students on gave Walden an overall high score in the "tuition and financial aid" category, for "smoothest financial aid process" and "best bang for your buck." Walden's Tuition and Financial Aid section features a variety of financial aid options, like federal aid, scholarships, fellowships, veteran benefits, payment plans, and even a net price calculator.

Technology Support
The award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for technology support goes to Webster University. Webster provides comprehensive technology resources for students, and even offers assistance tailored to online students, with services like login help and account setup, technical requirements and browser issues, and course email assistance, just to name a few.

Student Engagement
Webster University wins the award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for student engagement. Webster's Student Life and Services department offers a large variety of engagement opportunities and ways for students to get involved. Here, students can find campus organizations, athletics, student health services, the Multicultural Center, student affairs administration, and campus counseling, among other resources.

Disability Support

Webster University also wins the award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for disability support. Webster's Disability Accommodations department offers many types of assistance, including peer tutoring, transitions programs, assistive technology resources, and extended campus resources. Webster also features a section of publications and tools for faculty to accommodate learning disabilities in their classrooms.

Library and Research Support
Webster University wins the award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for library and research support. Through the library section of Webster's site, students can search the library database, find multimedia materials via the archives and special reserves, and even browse the library's own mobile website. Online students can even take advantage of exclusive resources tailored to online learning, to supplement their research on the library site. Students agree that this university's library is a top resource—on, they gave Webster a high score for "best library."

Learning Support
The award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for learning support goes to Webster University. As an extension of the Academic Resource Center, students can take advantage of the many unique academic resources available, like the Writing Center, the Peer Tutoring Program, the Testing Center, and the Transitions Program, as well as academic counseling and assistive technology.

Faculty Credentials
Webster University wins the award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for faculty credentials. According to, part of this university's commitment to "delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence", is the outstanding faculty, of which Webster employs a total of 21,472 at its worldwide campus locations. Students on gave Webster a high score for "smartest professors" among top national universities.

Faculty Accessibility
Webster University wins the award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for faculty accessibility. U.S. News & World Report notes that this university, already among top national colleges rankings, has a student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1, and that 88.3% of classes contain fewer than 20 students. Students on gave Webster high scores for "most caring professors" and "professors most interested in classes."

Alumni Engagement
Walden University wins the award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for alumni engagement. On the Walden alumni web page, alumni can discover available resources, connect and interact with fellow alums, engage with the alumni community, through the Ambassador Program or other alumni events, and inspire others to pursue their goals at Walden, as well.

Prior Learning Options
Walden University also wins for best online master's degree in leadership and management for prior learning options. On the school's Credit Opportunities page, students can find various options for transferring their credits—Walden accepts college credit, prior learning assessment, and professional experience course work credits. Walden also offers students additional opportunities to accelerate their degrees, like structuring credit, gaining master's-level credit, and lifelong learning for Walden graduates.

New Online Student Orientation
Webster University wins the award for best online master's degree in leadership and management for its new online student orientation resources. On the New Student Orientation page, new students can find registration information and schedules of events, meet the staff, and see photos of Webster and from past orientations. This comprehensive site also features information for parents, and provides visitors with directions to the best hotels in the area.

Explore a Master's Degree in Leadership and Management

Business professionals seeking to become stronger, more effective leaders may benefit from a master's degree in leadership and management. These programs are designed to give students a deeper understanding of what their own personal leadership style is and how to best apply it to build and guide effective teams, manage conflict, and communicate in a business environment. They also can gain the theoretical foundation and technical skills to advance their careers to higher leadership positions, and sharpen interpersonal skills.

Leadership and management programs attract students from a variety of fields who are managers that have been working in the field for a few years and are looking to build on their people-management, communication, conflict management, and team-building skills to move up the managerial ladder. The length of the program will vary by the school, number of courses required, whether it's part-time or full-time, and the student's own experience and education background, through generally, they can take between one and two years to complete.

Class Curriculum

Through a master's degree in leadership and management, students will study concepts in organization theory and the behavioral sciences, such as enhanced self-awareness, group dynamics, organization and work design, and culture. They will also gain an understanding of the application of these concepts and theories to current issues facing managers, such as increasing influence, conflict management, productivity improvement, and overall organizational performance. Here's an example of some of the courses you can expect in this program:

  • Behavior in Organizations. In this course, students will learn how to apply conceptual and experiential approaches to self-awareness, perception, communication, motivation, productivity, group behavior processes, leadership, organizational change, diversity, ethical issues, career planning, and the management of personal and organizational stress. They may also develop their oral and written communication skills.
  • Leadership and Ethics. Through this course, students receive a foundation in responsible leadership of organizations. By examining case studies, they learn how to isolate ethical issues and propose viable alternatives to unethical decisions.
  • Information and Process Systems. This technology-focused course examines how businesses apply different information technology to improve the vital functions of information gathering, information processing, and information sharing. Students will learn about various production and service delivery processes, their different information requirements, and the role of information systems in supporting them to automate, streamline, reengineer, and integrate business processes.

Leadership and management programs often include a mix of lectures, workshops, and team-building so students can learn relevant theories and practices and then apply them. On the experiential side, students may create a leadership development plan, undergo a leadership project in their community, or complete a consulting project in a client organization. They also can expect to conduct research, write papers, and give presentations.

Building a Career

Graduates of master's programs in leadership and management should be equipped to develop strategies that build loyalty and enhance productivity, facilitate goal-setting and agenda-planning processes, assess conflicts, and build high-performance teams. They will also have verbal and written communication tools to facilitate effective listening and communication across an organization. These skills are relevant to those seeking management and executive positions in a number of different industries, from human resources to non-profit organizations to corporations.

Career demand will vary by industry. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2010 to 2020, employment is expected to grow by 13% for human resource managers, 27% for social and community services managers, and 5% for general and operations managers. Salary will also vary by industry. According to the BLS, the median annual wage was $99,180 for human resource managers, $57,950 for social and community service managers, and $94,400 for general and operations managers. In addition to industry, graduates' career prospects will also be influenced by their experience, education, location, and the economy.