Graduate Degrees That Boost Leadership Skills and Help Organizations Thrive

by Heather Nelson

Strong leadership skills are essential in any organization. Accordingly, many students have been looking to develop the skill sets needed to succeed in the business sector.

Azusa Pacific University understands the important role leaders play in building (and sustaining) an effective organization, offering two graduate degrees that equip students to help organizations thrive. The M.S. in Organizational Psychology and M.A. in Leadership are applicable in a variety of careers, allowing students to select the option that best fits their goals.

Both Degrees Serve to Benefit the Workplace

Degrees in organizational psychology or leadership prepare students to solve challenges in the workplace and help organizations flourish, though they focus on different areas.

The organizational psychology degree looks at the science behind human behavior in the workplace. By collecting data and performing research, a graduate helps their organization implement effective procedures so the company and its employees can thrive.

Meanwhile, the leadership degree emphasizes leadership theory and practice. Students who pursue this degree learn how to effectively lead others within their organizations.

Which Program Is Right for You?

Organizational psychology and leadership are related programs, but knowing what sets them apart can help you decide which one to pursue. Here’s a look at what the two master’s degrees entail:

  • M.S. in Organizational Psychology: If digging into data and helping solve complex organizational hurdles sounds exciting, then pursuing an M.S. in Organizational Psychology could be the right path for you. In this program, students are equipped to diagnose organizational health, implement initiatives for workplace change, increase employee morale, help build successful teams, and more.
  • M.A. in Leadership: If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills and positively impacting your workplace, perhaps you should lean toward the M.A. in Leadership. By studying human development and understanding the dynamics of personal and professional leadership, students graduate ready to enhance the inner workings of their organizations.

According to Jillian Gilbert, director of the Master of Arts in Leadership program at APU, it’s possible to bring constructive change to a workplace by allowing leadership skills to thrive in any area of an organization. She said these two degrees work hand-in-hand to take data and research and turn it into effective leadership for organizations big and small.

Careers in Organizational Psychology or Leadership

Students interested in an organizational psychology or leadership degree can pursue many types of careers. In most cases, the difference lies in the individual’s role within an organization or company. Those with organizational psychology degrees typically work as consultants, while those with leadership degrees usually work in leadership roles.

Career opportunities for holders of an M.S. in Organizational Psychology include organizational consultant, organization development specialist, organizational effectiveness specialist, workplace learning specialist, human resources analyst, director of people and talent, and organizational researcher. For those interested in an M.A. in Leadership, the program at APU prepares students for potential leadership positions in any (and every) field, including leadership development, change leadership, and team development within an organization.

Whether analyzing solutions with research and data through organizational psychology or using a degree in leadership to apply that data strategically in the workplace, both provide career paths that make a positive difference for organizations—and the people within them.

Ready to make a difference in your organization? Learn more about these programs and the Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology.