Everything You Need to Know About a Masters in Leadership Degree

If you’re looking for ways to advance your skills and become a leader in your industry, then a masters in leadership is likely to be on your radar. A masters in leadership is a postgraduate degree that trains graduates to become strong leaders in a broad range of sectors and industries. It equips students with the skills and expertise needed to lead efficient teams in both the private and public sectors.


Completing a masters in leadership is a huge commitment and you shouldn’t decide to enroll in a program lightly. You will need to invest significant time and money to earn a masters degree, but the qualification has considerable advantages. If you’re considering advancing your career with a higher qualification, then here is everything you need to know about a masters in leadership degree.

What is a masters in leadership?

A masters in leadership is a postgraduate degree that is designed for professionals who want to transition into leadership roles. It can also be a great way for people already in leadership positions to develop their skills and boost their credentials. A masters in leadership degree is designed to teach students leadership attributes and qualities such as effective communication, team-building, and strategic thinking.


A masters in leadership is similar to an MBA (masters in business administration) and both degrees help a professional enhance their management and business skills. However, there are some distinctions between the two. The major difference between the two degrees is that a masters in leadership will prepare you for a leadership role in any industry, whereas an MBA focuses on business-related topics and goals. Check out this article by U.S. News for more information on how a masters in leadership compares to an MBA.

What are the benefits?

A masters in leadership will give you a solid foundation in leadership skills and help you grow both personally and professionally. Here are the top benefits of earning a masters in leadership:

Career advancement

One of the main reasons why professionals choose to complete a masters in leadership is because they want to advance into a more senior role. The degree will teach you the specific skills needed to qualify for leadership positions across a wide range of industries. Graduates with a masters in leadership are in high demand and can move up the career ladder quickly.

Salary potential

Earning a masters in leadership unlocks senior roles that offer higher salaries and attractive job perks. For instance, many graduates become chief executive officers (CEOs) of companies and earn over $100,000 per year according to Chron. Other popular jobs for graduates with a masters in leadership degree are human resources manager and corporate trainer. Most graduates with a masters in leadership secure senior-level positions with high annual salaries and other job perks such as generous pension schemes and performance bonuses.

Effective leader

Another major benefit of completing a masters in leadership is that it will help you become a stronger leader. These skills can be applied to help you land a promotion with your current employer, transition into a more senior role, or improve staff engagement and productivity in your business. Effective leadership skills are valued in all sectors and industries.

Less expensive 

Many professionals avoid enrolling in higher degree programs because of the high costs involved. The good news is, a masters in leadership is typically a lot more affordable than an MBA. This makes it an attractive option for professionals who want to develop strong leadership skills without getting into debt.

Who is the qualification best for?

A masters in leadership degree is ideal for anyone interested in a role that involves leadership e.g. management or team leader positions. This degree will help you to maximize your leadership skills and qualifying will demonstrate your ability to manage a team effectively. A masters in leadership teaches transferable skills that can be applied to various roles and settings.


Some graduates choose to enroll in a masters program straight after completing their bachelors degree. Many older professionals also choose to enroll in a masters degree as a way to enhance their resumé and boost their career prospects. Online programs allow professionals to earn a masters degree alongside work and other commitments. Completing a masters in leadership can also be a great option for anyone who is considering a significant career change or wants to launch a company.

How long does it take to complete?

An online masters in leadership degree typically takes between 18 months and two years to complete. The time that it takes you to complete the degree will vary depending on the course and method of study that you choose. Some accelerated programs can be completed in less than 18 months, allowing you to gain the certification faster; whereas, specialized courses may take more than two years to complete. Online masters programs tend to be quicker than traditional classroom-based courses.

Can I earn the qualification online?

Yes, online programs are becoming extremely popular and offer several benefits over campus-based learning. An online masters in leadership is ideal for working professionals or graduates with personal commitments e.g. young children. Distance learning gives you the flexibility to fit coursework around your existing routines and choose a study schedule that suits your lifestyle. Online masters programs also tend to be more budget-friendly as they have lower tuition fees and you won’t need to pay to relocate on-campus or commute to classes.


Flexibility, convenience, and lower costs are all great benefits of distance learning. Completing a masters in leadership has plenty of advantages, but it also has challenges. One of the most difficult parts of online learning is finding the motivation to complete study tasks without the structure and direction of an instructor. Distance learners have to be extremely self-motivated and organized to stay on top of their coursework and assessments.

Tips for online learning success

Here are some tips for online learning success if you’re considering enrolling in an online masters in leadership degree:


  • Set study goals to help you stay on task and engaged in your learning activities.
  • Treat your masters degree like a job and follow a strict learning schedule e.g. start and finish studying at the same time every day.
  • Write a clear study plan at the start of each term and specify how much time you will spend studying each day/week. Make a visual record of key coursework and assessments and avoid leaving deadlines to the last minute.
  • Choose a study space and stick with it. Make sure that you pick a quiet location and eliminate potential distractions like smartphones, TVs, and electronics.
  • Invest in essential learning equipment like an ergonomic desk chair, high-speed internet, textbooks, and a reliable computer or laptop.
  • Take regular breaks to avoid eyestrain and to help you stay focused on your learning activities.
  • Create a virtual study group with 2-3 of your peers and support each other online. The average person’s attention span is very short and you should aim to take a study break every 50 to 90 minutes.
  • Communicate with your peers and instructors regularly and get involved with online discussions.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a masters degree will vary depending on several factors. Keep in mind that some schools charge higher fees for out-of-state students, so it may be cheaper to apply to a program in your home state. Your course fees will be significantly higher if you choose to study at a private college or university. Enrolling in a public college could save you thousands of dollars each term.


Choosing an online program can also reduce the costs of a masters degree as tuition fees tend to be lower. Most online masters in leadership programs charge between $400 and $900 per credit. This means that students can expect to pay between $15,000 and $30,000 in tuition fees. You also need to consider additional expenses such as course books, learning equipment, and application fees.


There is a good selection of financial aid to support postgraduate students. You can apply for scholarships and grants or take out a student loan to cover your tuition fees. Explore the financial schemes available and make sure that you have a financial plan to pay for your masters degree before you enroll. There are plenty of articles offering advice on how to fund your masters without getting into debt.

What is covered in the program?

Most masters in leadership degrees involve a combination of core and elective coursework. Some core topics covered in the program are leadership, strategic thinking, and organizational communication. Some masters programs allow you to choose specializations such as:

  • Human resources management: Choosing a program with a human resources management specialism is ideal for professionals who are already working in HR. It will also give you a competitive advantage if you want to land an HR manager role.
  • Organization law: This specialism teaches students the ins and outs of organizational law relating to businesses.
  • Non-profit management: There are some major differences in the ways that non-profit and for-profit organizations are run. For example, non-profits have different tax requirements. so a masters with a non-profit management specialism will teach graduates how to become effective leaders in non-profit organizations.


You will also need to build your professional experience and complete work placements as part of your masters in leadership degree. Many programs will require you to put together a portfolio showcasing your professional development throughout the course.

What are the admission requirements?

Graduate admissions on masters degrees are highly competitive and you will need to complete a quality application that will impress the course provider. Many students decide to apply to several schools in order to improve their chances of being accepted, but you should only apply to schools and programs that you would be happy to attend. Tailor your application to each school and avoid sending a generic application letter or essay.


Most masters programs will require you to provide evidence of an accredited bachelors degree, a minimum GPA of 2.5, and professional experience. Make sure that you have these documents ready before you start your application. You will likely need to send the following admission materials when you apply: application form, transcripts, recommendation letters, test scores, and an application fee if applicable. Make sure that you complete every part of the application process thoroughly before you submit your application.

How can I find the right school?

There are many different schools offering masters in leadership degrees and you must consider the options thoroughly. Choosing the right degree program is crucial to your future career success, so make a shortlist of potential schools and then weigh up the advantages or disadvantages of each one. Some important factors to take into account when choosing a school are tuition fees, alumni members, geographic location, and school rankings.


If you are opting for a classroom-based course, then it’s a good idea to visit the school to get a feel for the campus and the overall atmosphere. If you are considering online programs, then check what technology is provided in order to support distance learners e.g. online course material and virtual discussion groups.


A masters in leadership is ideal for emerging leaders or professionals who are in leadership positions and hoping to strengthen their skills. The degree will equip you with the skills needed to be a strong leader in any industry, unlike an MBA that focuses specifically on business.


Earning a masters in leadership can help you land your next promotion, launch a start-up, or advance in your career. Obtaining a higher degree has dozens of great benefits, but it is a sizeable commitment. With that in mind, you must research masters programs and have a good understanding of what will be involved. Use the above guide to help you decide whether enrolling in a masters in leadership degree is the right step to take to advance your career.

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