What’s in a Degree: A Comparison of the MBA versus the M.S. in Organization Leadership

Comparing the MBA and the MSOL

Both of these business degrees prepare graduates for leadership positions in organizations. They differ in content and focus. Both are grounded in Jesuit values of social responsibility.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) offers the opportunity to develop a sophisticated understanding of the business enterprise. The curriculum is intended to develop business leaders that understand each functional element of business including leadership, management, marketing, operations, finance, and accounting. In addition, students can specialize in one business area for even more depth (see table below).

The Master of Science in Organization Leadership (MSOL) focuses specifically, and in depth, on the leadership function in organizations. The curriculum is intended to give all individuals exposure to organizational development, strategic planning, and process improvement. In addition, students may specialize in the leadership aspects related to one business area for more depth in that area (see table below).

Students wishing for a broader examination of business functions may prefer the MBA. Students wishing to focus in depth on leadership theory and skills development may prefer the MSOL.

A Comparison of Core Requirements: MBA vs. MSOL

MBA Core Requirements MSOL Core Requirements

MBAC 611 MBA Cornerstone Course

Foundational course in the MBA program. Explores all disciplines of business as well as the MBA program options. Activities will include simulations, graduate level research, and writing.

CBE 602 Leading in a New Era

Explores and examines the concept of shared leadership in organizations and how this paradigm impacts organization purpose, mission vision, culture, and ethics. Explores concepts related to leading in a socially responsible manner.

MBAC 601 Ethical & Legal Environment of Business

Examines the social and governmental structure within which business operates. Focuses on effective and ethical strategies for addressing issues of public concern including labor and employment law; administrative agency procedures; public issues management; product liability; and various models of corporate responsibility.

MSM 621 Leading Change & Innovation

Students will learn how the need for change is both predicable and unpredictable while analyzing actual workplace situations to diagnose when innovation within organizations is catalyzing change and when innovation provides a solution for change.

MBAC 602 Developing Effective Organizations

Effective organizations converge adaptable leadership, engaged workforces and aligned processes. Explores concepts from organizational behavior (OB), organizational development (OD) and strategic human resource management (SHRM) through the use of case studies and current organizations.

MSM 621 Leading Change & Innovation

Students will learn how the need for change is both predicable and unpredictable while analyzing actual workplace situations to diagnose when innovation within organizations is catalyzing change and when innovation provides a solution for change.

MBAC 696 MBA Capstone Course

MBA Capstone is a multifaceted project which serves as a culminating academic experience that reflects the business concepts and practices that affect business, globalization, ethical frameworks and CSR/sustainability in the 21st century workforce.

CBE 603 Business Intelligence & Analytics

Students gain insight into business intelligence and knowledge management systems. Students will learn to utilize applicable tools to examine complicated business problems and to select appropriate management decision models.

MBAC 604 Accounting & Financial Concepts for Managers

Examines accounting and finance concepts managers use in making decisions, including uses of cost information analysis, limitations and ethical dimensions of financial reporting, capital investment analysis, financing strategy, working capital management, and financial projections.

MSM 662 Foundations of Organizational Behavior

Explores how people and groups in organizations behave, react, and interpret events. Examines individual characteristics such as learning, personality, and motivation. Considers group formation, development, and structure.

A Comparison of Specializations: MBA vs. MSOL

MBA Specializations MSOL Specializations

General MBA

Provides a solid educational foundation of organizational behavior, strategy, leadership, finance, marketing and operations and allows students to build upon that foundation with courses across the general framework or specialize in the high-demand business discipline of their choice.

Organization Leadership Management

The namesake specialization for the MSOL degree, this specialization delivers a deeper understanding and commitment to organizational process excellence, collaborative leadership and forward-thinking change management in today's global society.

Finance and Accounting

Prepares students to assume an important role in managing their organization’s fiscal policy and operations, while also increasing their expertise in financial areas and developing skills essential to business and leadership.

Human Resources Management and Leadership

Learn to maximize human capital and potential to achieve individual team and strategic organizational goals. Fully aligns with SHRM's "HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates".

Health Industry Leadership

Designed to facilitate skills and knowledge such as leadership, management, critical thinking, strategy development and economics, which are directly tied to healthcare administration and related industries.


Project Leadership and Management

Provides the advanced knowledge required to develop, analyze and change a project plan, determine risk and allocate the necessary resources to effectively manage and complete a project. Fully aligns with the Project Management Institute for Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC).


Prepares students to examine the relationship between marketing and corporate strategy to develop and implement strong marketing tactics throughout their organization.

Enterprise Resource Leadership and Planning

Introduces you to business processes from a systems perspective. You will explore Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) utilizing SAP, and see how ERP systems operate and how they enable organizational objectives to be met.

Operations Management

Emphasizes the fundamentals of product creation, development, production and distribution, as well as quality control, logistics and analysis of the production process.


Strategic Management

Prepares you to effectively analyze operations, address competition, survive volatile markets and evolve operations in a fast-paced business environment


What’s in a Degree: A Comparison of the MBA versus the M.S. in Organization Leadership


Choose Regis

WHY SHOULD I STUDY Organizational Leadership?

The Master of Science in Organization Leadership program is designed for individuals who wish to cultivate their leadership skills and make a profound difference or institutional change within an organization. The program focuses on the qualitative issues of leadership, enabling students to become lifelong learners through the understanding of the following: effective communication, managing teams, and research skills.

The Organizational Leadership degree is designed to change the way our students think about leadership. Leaders are not born, they are developed. Our program teaches students that leadership is not about position. Increasingly, people must influence without formal authority. The Organizational Leadership degree teaches we all possess the capacity for leadership, but only those who cultivate it will ever become truly effective leaders. We strive in this program to encourage our students to develop the leader in each of them — to become part of the next generation of effective, ethical and socially responsible leaders.

Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens through us. Thus our program focuses on teaching how to apply leadership skills to contemporary topics such as strategy, change, corporate social responsibility, ethics and emotional intelligence. The development of this program utilizes the guiding questions for leadership education developed by the International Leadership Association (ILA).

IS the MS in Organizational Leadership FOR ME?

Management requires an ability to recognize opportunities, define problems, and implement creative solutions. It often requires long hours researching issues and working collaboratively with others. But the trade-off is you’ll earn a high salary to bring about positive change in your community and the world.

What types of people are attracted to our MBA program? You’re likely to share common traits such as:

  • Integrity
  • The ability to communicate effectively
  • Commitment
  • Ability to build trust
  • Flexible approach to interpersonal relations
  • Positive attitude
  • Excellent communicator, especially listening skills
  • Ability to delegate

The MS in Organizational Leadership will prepare you for career opportunities in a variety of areas. Some examples:

  • Human Resource Manager
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Training and Development Managers
  • Postsecondary Education Administration
  • Administrative Services Managers

WHAT WILL I LEARN IN REGIS’ MS in Organizational Leadership PROGRAM?

Our MS in Organizational Leadership program educates students on the various disciplines associated with modern business and organization management. In particular, the 30 credit-hour degree will prepare graduates to:

  • Evaluate organizational dynamics in the areas of structure, behavior, culture and their implications for leadership at various levels.
  • Evaluate the implications of organizational structure, design, and behavior for change management initiatives.
  • Evaluate strategic and ethical leadership issues and develop values based solutions to leadership problems.
  • Propose systemic and sustainable solutions to complex business problems using critical thinking and applied through organizational studies and leadership conceptual frameworks and theories.
  • Create effective dialogue across the organization in order to facilitate the delivery of organizational goals.
  • Practice socially responsible leadership in a changing global environment


Regis University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of six regional higher education institutional accreditors in the United States and a member of the North Central Association.


The MS in Organizational Leadership degree classes are offered evenings in classrooms or 100 percent online. The program requires just 30 credit-hours. Classes are offered in 8 week accelerated format.


Courses are offered in eight-week terms that begin in:

Career Opportunities

What careers can I enter with an MBA degree?

With an M.S. in Software Engineering, you’ll be prepared for a variety of roles in nearly any industry, wherever your passions lie. You’ll develop skills to work alongside business, technology and development teams, coming together to create solutions. Commonly held titles include:

Career support from Regis

The Center for Career and Professional Development at Regis provides you with the resources, training and advice to help you establish and meet your career goals. That means we’ll help you choose an academic major, explore and find a new career path or create the tools for a successful job search that will promote your career. To learn more, visit our Center for Career and Professional Development page.

What salary can I expect with an MBA degree?

Salary numbers for business administration jobs vary by title and experience. Below are ranges for some common job titles for Regis graduates with varying experience and salary levels. All salary information is via payscale.com*.

*Salary data from spring 2016.

Program Requirements

Foundation Requirements (15 credit hours) 
(may be waived)
AC 3200 Principles of Accounting I
AC 3210 Principles of Accounting II
BA 4100 Business Finance
MKT 3400 Marketing Principles
MT 270/MT 270C Introduction to Statistics
Required Courses (30 credit hours)
CBE 6240
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
EC 6000
Managerial Economics
FIN 6000
Accounting and Finance for Managers
HR 6350
Strategic Human Resource Management
LDR 6620
Foundations of Organizational Behavior
MGT 6010 Ethical/Legal Environment of Business
MGT 6020
Issues in International Business
MGT 6110
Strategy Formulation
MGT 6130
Logistics Management 
MKT 6020
Market Opportunity Assessment
Electives (6 credit hours from 600-level courses)
MSOL Specialization (12 credit hours, which may include elective courses) 
TOTAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTS: 42-48 semester hours

Please note that recent course requirement updates may not be reflected in the list above and you should contact an admissions counselor at 800.944.7667 for recent changes and updates.

How to Apply

Take the next step in your Regis experience and connect with a Regis admissions counselor for information and assistance.

Apply Now!


Regis University’s College of Business & Economics is dedicated to delivering a world-class business education founded on individualized, values-based, experiential learning.  We seek to attract aspiring business leaders who demonstrate a passion for addressing today’s complex economic, environmental, and social challenges with an ethical and innovative approach that addresses urgent civil needs.

We base our admissions evaluation on the totality of information available in the admissions application. No single factor (GPA performance, essay, recommendations, professional experience, or test scores) is the deciding factor for admission. We consider each application holistically, and take into account factors such as experience, fit with Regis University’s mission, aspirations, values, and accomplishments.  

Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree either from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or equivalent if bachelor’s is from outside the U.S. 


  • Complete the online graduate application.
  • Application fee: $50.00 non-refundable application fee (waived for Regis University graduates).
  • Official degree-bearing transcripts must be sent directly from your previously attended school to the Regis University Admissions Office (see below for address).
  • Current resume with evidence of 4 or more years of professional work experience.
  • Admission essay (instructions to upload your completed essay are included in the online application).
  • Official GMAT or GRE scores from tests completed within the past 5 years.
GMAT/GRE Waivers may be considered for an applicant whose academic records and professional work experience demonstrate a high level of quantitative and analytical skill and ability necessary for academic success. Professional work experience should include consistent career progression and a minimum of three years of management/supervisory responsibility.
  • If applicant possesses a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, the GMAT/GRE is waived. 
  • If applicant has demonstrated five or more years or more of professional full-time work or military experience, including three years or more of project management/supervisory responsibility or professional certification(s), applicant may request an exception to the above requirements. 
  • Quantitative Bachelor of Science degree from regionally accredited institution in STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and math), finance or accounting with a 3.2 or higher cumulative GPA in upper division coursework.
  • If applicant has other relevant professional certification(s)*, GMAT/GRE waiver may be considered.
  • If applicant possess an undergraduate degree from Regis University, the GMAT/GRE may be waived with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher.
*Examples of professional certifications that may be considered for GMAT/GRE test score waiver include, but are not limited to, SHRM-CP, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Financial Accountant (CFA), Six Sigma Black Belt or Green Belt, or Project Management Professional (PMP).

Additional admission requirements apply to international students who are non-U.S. citizens or received their undergraduate degrees outside the U.S.  More information can be found here.

NOTE: Applications that are incomplete and/or missing information will NOT be processed.  An applicant not meeting the above requirements may submit a request for special consideration by the Admissions Committee.

Send Transcripts to:

Regis University
Office of Admissions
Mail Code: P-28
3333 Regis Boulevard
Denver, CO 80221-1099 

Electronic transcripts may be sent to sendtranscripttoRU@regis.edu 

Completion of business foundation courses or demonstration of mastery at undergraduate level equivalent to: 
  • Financial Accounting, (AC320A) 
  • Managerial Accounting (AC320B) 
  • Business Finance (FIN400) 
  • Statistics (MT270) 
  • Marketing (MKT325) 
If the above prerequisites are not complete at time of application, student may be provisionally accepted and may take as first initial classes before taking 600-level MBA coursework

APPLICATION DEADLINE: It is recommended that applications are submitted one month in advance of desired start date to ensure adequate processing time and optimize class availability options. Completed applications will be considered up to two weeks prior to the start date. Visit the academic calendar to view start dates.

Your application file, including all required documents, must be completed to be considered for admission.  Keep in mind that classes can reach capacity, so you are encouraged to apply now for admission consideration.


Select College of Business and Economics on our Cost of Attendance page to see the Tuition and Fee Schedule for this program

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