2022 Best Online Masters in Strategic Leadership Programs

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If you’re a professional looking to develop your critical thinking and strategic vision skills in a rapidly changing world, then a masters in strategic leadership might be right for you.

Best Online Masters in Strategic Leadership Programs

Proven and experienced leaders are needed to face the challenges of tomorrow. An online strategic management program might be the right step for managers looking to move into a C-suite office.

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These programs are built to maximize flexibility, allowing hard-working professionals to work at their own pace. Possible careers with this degree are among the most important in our society today. 

Online Masters in Strategic Leadership Programs

Man taking his Masters in Strategic Leadership online

It is no secret the pace of innovation in today’s world demands innovative ideas to combat the problems of our society.

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Online masters in strategic leadership programs prepare students by promoting personal development alongside organizational and team development. Pursuing this degree can help you gain the skills needed to lead and organize organizations and understand the key components of the organization you lead.

These online organizational leadership degree programs are designed to provide education and strategies to meet the demands of today and the future through:

  • Identifying the needs of businesses
  • Cultivating critical thinking
  • Interpreting macro trends and understanding how they impact organizations
  • Long-term strategic planning
  • Team management and development
  • Core business function integration into strategic visions

Master of Science in Strategic Leadership students take a wide variety of courses. These typically include studies in leadership, global management, corporate strategy, competitive analysis, and sustainability.

The purpose of master’s degree in strategic leadership programs is to prepare students who may already have managing and leadership experience for executive leadership. This means managing organizations, likely for-profit businesses, at the highest level.

Due to the breadth of the coursework, strategic leadership master’s programs are also useful for leadership positions in the NGO and non-profit world. Additionally, those looking to work in the government might also benefit from strategic management programs. 

Strategic Leadership Careers & Salaries

Strategic Leadership Careers & Salaries

Earning your strategic leadership degree can help open a new level of possibilities to you in a wide variety of different industries.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that management professions often have the highest wages of any occupational group and are predicted to grow at an average rate.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380
Compensation and Benefits Managers $127,530
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Industrial Production Managers $103,150
Medical and Health Services Managers $101,340
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers $99,290
Top Executives $98,980
Management Analysts $93,000
Emergency Management Directors $76,730

Salaries will vary depending on location, work experience, and other variables. Some of these positions may require further education or work experience to obtain. 

Strategic Leadership Masters Curriculum & Courses

People getting Strategic Leadership Masters, working together on a project

One of the strengths of a strategic leadership master’s degree program is the wide variety of courses available in the curriculum.

As a student in one of these programs, you may have to take one or more of the following courses:

  • Leadership: This course is designed as an overview of current practices and strategies for leadership within organizations, including laboratory applications of theory.
  • Strategic Management: This course goes through the basic concepts and principles that guide decision-makers in setting strategic goals for their organization.
  • Organization Analysis: This course can help you develop the tools needed to analyze organizations, including their management processes and organizational structure.
  • Power: This course is intended to help you develop a conceptual understanding of power, how it operates in the real world, and how to wield it responsibly for your organization.
  • Ethics: Ethics courses can help you gain a fundamental understanding of the ethical issues that come with leadership and how to resolve them.
  • Strategic Implementation: This course explores strategies that can be implemented within organizations to create organizational change.
  • Human Resource Management: This course teaches the essentials when it comes to best HR practices, from legal to administrative and practical issues addressed.
  • Workplace Diversity: This course brings into focus the issues related to diversifying an organization’s workforce and ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusionary policies.
  • Sustainability: This course discusses hard-hitting social and environmental issues all organizations deal with and the best practices to ensure sustainable organizations.
  • Negotiation: This course covers the issues at play when negotiating and can help you learn how to identify interests, define value, and construct arguments.

In addition to these core courses, some programs require electives. Depending on the program, you may also have to complete a capstone experience of some type. 

Master of Strategic Leadership Admissions Requirement

Woman preparing requirements for Master of Strategic Leadership

The admissions requirements for online masters in strategic leadership programs are different from school to school.

Though requirements vary, many schools do require the following for admission:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE scores (not all schools require these)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Entrance interview
  • Work experience

International applicants may have to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores as well. 


University offering Masters in Strategic Leadership

If a university holds regional accreditation, it is a sign that the university upholds rigorous standards and practices to ensure the quality of its programs.

It is important to apply to masters in strategic leadership programs that are regionally accredited. Going to a university without regional accreditation might affect your ability to transfer credits or apply to more advanced degrees in the future.

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A degree from an unaccredited school may also affect membership in professional or academic associations. You can visit the US Department of Education’s website to check if your school is accredited.  

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Masters in Strategic Leadership financial aid

It is no secret college is not cheap. Completing a master’s in strategic leadership program might come at a significant cost to you.

To help, there are significant opportunities available to fund graduate studies. These might include private scholarships, government financial aid, and employee training programs. Both the federal government and state governments distribute significant amounts of financial aid in the form of grants and loans.

To find out if you are eligible for federal student loans, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). State governments usually have their own websites for student aid. Additionally, you can talk to your employer to see if they offer any professional development programs to help fund your education.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Strategic Leadership?

Advertising & Marketing Manager discussing with the team

Completing a masters in strategic leadership program can help you meet the qualifications for entry into a number of promising managerial positions in both business and government.

You may choose to pursue a specialized managing role, such as payroll manager, human resources manager, or benefits manager. Other fields you may be qualified for include healthcare, hospital management, and emergency services management. A strategic leadership master’s degree may also open the door to high-level, C-suite positions.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Strategic Leadership Master Degree Online?

Woman completing her Online Masters in Strategic Leadership

The length of master’s degree in strategic leadership programs will differ from school to school and will depend on how many classes you choose to take in any given semester.

If you decide to attend full-time, most strategic leadership master’s degrees take 2 years to earn. These programs typically require the completion of 30 credit hours. Some programs may be accelerated and can potentially be completed in 1 year if attending full-time. Alternatively, part-time attendance will likely slow your progress toward earning your degree.

What’s the Difference between an MBA vs. Masters in Strategic Leadership?

There are a few key differences between MBA programs and master’s in strategic leadership programs you may want to consider when applying.

MBA Master’s in Strategic Leadership
  • Tailored toward management of business processes
  • Focused on broad business management practices
  • Prospective students typically have some management experience
  • May allow you to focus on specific management areas
  • Tailored toward leadership and vision
  • Focused on foundational business principals
  • Prospective students may have less management experience

Though there is overlap between an MBA and a masters in strategic leadership, there are key differences that separate them. 

Is a Master’s in Strategic Leadership Degree Worth it?

Compensation & Benefits Manager meeting with the HR staff

Yes, a master’s in strategic leadership degree is worth it for many students. Changing economic conditions brought on by political, economic, and social developments mean organizations need new leaders qualified to take on the challenges of tomorrow.

In sectors such as government, business, and the non-profit sphere, graduates of strategic leadership programs may be well placed to take on leadership positions. These programs are meant to develop skills that transfer between all specialties of organization management.

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At the same time, these programs can help you develop critical thinking and strategic vision skills that are necessary in many other professions requiring vision-oriented leadership.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Strategic Leadership Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Clayton State University

Clayton State University

Clayton State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

LeTourneau University

LeTourneau University

LeTourneau University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Life Pacific University

Life Pacific University

Life Pacific University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Messiah University

Messiah University

Messiah University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education.

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University

The Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Roberts Wesleyan University

Roberts Wesleyan University

Roberts Wesleyan University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Saint Francis University

Saint Francis University

Saint Francis University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tennessee Technological University

Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Technological University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Charleston

University of Charleston

The University of Charleston is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Masters in Strategic Leadership Online

Man pursuing Masters Degree in Strategic Leadership Online

Earning a master’s in strategic leadership may be the beginning of a new and important career transition for you. Online education is more accessible than ever. Strategic leadership online master’s programs are often flexible and may work well for you if you are currently employed in a management position.

At the same time, those with less experience looking to develop their management and leadership skills may also benefit from strategic leadership master’s programs. One advantage of these programs is their focus on strategic vision development. Organizations of all types are looking for qualified individuals to lead them through the trials of today.

You can get started by considering your own career goals and ambitions to decide if strategic leadership programs are right for you.

Ready to start your journey?
Leon Aristeguieta
Leon Aristeguieta
Leon is currently pursuing an M.A. in History from Florida Atlantic University. He holds both a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Leon's research interests include the Cold War in Latin America and US-Latin American relations.