Master’s degree in organizational change and leadership

HomeTeaching and educationMaster’s Degree in Organizational Change and Leadership

Why get a master’s degree in organizational change & leadership?

The socio-politico-economic climate has become increasingly volatile over the past couple of years. Responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of organizational leaders to bring about the necessary changes to navigate this fraught landscape. These leaders must be adept problem solvers, passionate advocates, highly organized, and have a strong understanding of the theory behind successful management.

A master’s degree in organizational change and leadership should fully equip candidates with all the skills and knowledge needed to excel in senior management positions. This program usually succeeds a bachelor’s degree, advancing the student’s understanding of the topic and providing them with the necessary experience to secure relevant work. Graduates can also follow this qualification up with a doctorate if they would like to become involved in the vital research behind good leadership.

About the degree

It takes the average student around 2 years to earn their master’s degree when studying full-time. Part-time study and accelerated programs are also an option. With an accelerated course, students may be able to attain their degree in as little as 18 months.

Most master’s degrees in organizational change and leadership are delivered through classroom teaching, though some electives involve an internship where students receive on-the-job training. The program usually culminates with a capstone project. This requires learners to conduct research and create a solution to a real-world organizational problem.

puzzle Requirements

Students must fulfill their chosen university’s prerequisites before they can begin their master’s program. Though there are some variations between institutions, applicants can generally expect to be asked for academic transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Having an undergraduate degree from an accredited school is vital. Ideally, it will have been in a relevant subject with coursework that is applicable to organizational change and leadership i.e., business management. Select universities might also ask candidates to have some work experience in the sector.

Applicants will be in good stead if they have a GPA of 3.0 or above, but this isn’t always essential. Schools normally ask for GRE or GMAT scores, too. If your scores aren’t up to standard, don’t fret. Universities tend to waive these requirements for candidates with impressive GPAs or a decent amount of work experience. Furthermore, the vast majority of schools will accept credit transfers.

Degree flexibility

Part-time learning is an option with a master’s degree in organizational change and leadership. This allows students who are already in employment to continue working. Part-time learning can also benefit people who stay at home to provide care.

Offline, hybrid, and online programs are available. Online degrees are perfect for students who want to save money on traveling or accommodation. The classes tend to be asynchronous too, allowing you to tailor your learning to your lifestyle. The interdisciplinary nature of the master’s degree means that credit transfers are a strong possibility with this program. For example, students completing an educational leadership, human resource management, or social psychology degree should be able to transfer over because of how these subjects overlap.

Possible coursework

The coursework for this degree is interdisciplinary. It is typically influenced by the principles of business, sociology, human resources, and learning theory – teaching students how to bring about positive, effective change in established organizations. Some of the subjects you might study on the program include:

Innovation management

Innovation management teaches students about the use of innovation to catalyze businesses in a competitive environment. Everything from technology to intellectual property is explored in this context and you may also perform critical analyses of innovation management theory.

Organizational behavior

In this unit, students learn about social models that explain and predict organizational behavior. These include motivation theory and organizational culture. Upon completion, students should be able to improve existing policies and procedures.

Leadership ethics

Ethics have a huge impact on the productivity and happiness of employees, whilst also affecting a business’s reputation. A leadership ethics module will cover social responsibility, equality, and current debates surrounding these matters.

Contemporary issues in management

The business environment is constantly changing, in turn impacting how organizations should operate. As such, students will learn about contemporary debates, issues, phenomena, controversies, and how to navigate them.

Research methods

Research is essential to ensuring that organizations are operating as effectively and ethically as possible. In this unit, students will learn how to properly conduct critical research in real-world contexts.

alt"light-bulb-1" Internships aren’t a requirement for a master’s degree in organizational change and leadership, but they are an optional elective. Internships provide students with on-the-job training and instruction from professionals in the sector. Having this work experience under your belt can help improve your employment prospects after graduation.


The interdisciplinary nature of a master’s degree in organizational change and leadership means that the program is often taken with a specialization. If you are especially interested in one industry or area of business, then a concentration can really help you to secure employment in your desired sector. Here are some of the top specializations taken with a master’s degree in organizational change and leadership:

Healthcare management

With a specialization in healthcare management, students will learn about improving healthcare practices and policies, plus contemporary issues in the sector. Graduates usually go on to become healthcare administrators, clinical managers, or even hospital CEOs.

Human resources management

This specialization is perfect for those who want to become leaders in HR departments. The program material focuses on administration in organizations, covering everything from recruitment and conflict resolution to employee benefits and training.

Education organizational change

This concentration is for anyone interested in school governing. It teaches students how to apply organizational change and leadership principles to educational institutions, ensuring a high standard of education is delivered to pupils.


Accreditation is crucial for every university and degree program. Students who earn their master’s degree in organizational change and leadership from an unaccredited institution might struggle to secure employment after graduation. It may also impact credit transferability and your eligibility for financial aid.

To verify the accreditation of your institution, you can use the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP). The best master’s programs tend to be approved by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), but regional accreditation will suffice just as well.

What can you do with a master’s degree in organizational change and leadership?

A master’s degree in organizational change and leadership equips students with all the necessary knowledge and skills to revolutionize businesses. This multidisciplinary program encourages critical thinking, helping graduates to become strategic leaders who embrace change, rather than resist it. As the degree touches upon so many different topics – from social psychology to human resources – the career options are vast.

Continuing education

Most employers do not require students to have higher than a master’s degree in organizational change and leadership. However, if your interests lie more on the academic side of things – rather than the practical – then you might want to consider applying for a doctorate program.

This degree allows you to pursue a specific niche of the subject and conduct critical research that organizational leadership professionals then apply to their business practice. The doctorate of education in organizational change and leadership (Ed.D.) is an incredibly popular program among master’s graduates.

American Management Association

The American Management Association (AMA) is a nonprofit organization that provides quality management and educational services to organizations and individuals. Their goal is to educate and empower others, so they can succeed in the competitive and increasingly complex business world. They provide everything from online courses to certification. Students are able to become AMA members by paying $95 per annum.

Organization Development Network

The Organization Development Network was established in 1968 by leaders in the field of organizational development. Corporate consultants, entrepreneurs, academic professionals, students, and business professionals leading transformative change can all join this association. It offers educational opportunities, hosts conferences holds professional networking events, and publishes a quarterly journal.

American Society of Association Executives

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is passionate about innovation, diversity, and inclusion. It represents more than 7,000 different organizations and 48,000 industry partners. The ASAE provides members with a professional community, learning opportunities, special resources, and advocacy.