Organizational Leadership and Innovation Master of Science Degree
Organizational Leadership and Innovation: Online
Master of Science Degree
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Saunders College of Business
This dynamic organizational leadership degree prepares you to analyze and identify an organization’s ability to innovate and evolve.
Best Master’s of Management Programs, TFE Times
Years of experience delivering distance learning
job postings for leadership roles in innovation contexts in the U.S.
Overview for Organizational Leadership and Innovation MS
- Lead the adoption of innovation in today's tech-infused business environment.
- Gain global experience at one of RIT’s global campuses: RIT Dubai, RIT Croatia, RIT Kosovo, or RIT China.
- Participate in active, case-based learning, working with the latest technology and software in state-of-the-art facilities.
- Earn a 50% scholarship, industry connections, and one-on-one mentoring through the Saunders Leadership Fellows program.
Interested in influencing people, implementing innovation in dynamic ways, and impacting your organization at the highest levels? Then organizational leadership is paramount to your ability to lead in today's tech-infused business environment.
What is Organizational Leadership?
Leading in innovative environments demands leaders who have a future-focused mindset and the advanced skills to lead in organizations that are constantly adopting and evolving from the latest in tech innovations. Organizational leadership is creating an intentional, collaborative work environment where you are able to identify and influence an organization's ability to innovate and evolve. Leaders of innovation are initiators, doers, range-agents, and change-makers.
RIT’s Organizational Leadership Degree
Constant technology advances provide organizations with a growing set of tools and opportunities to manage. They need leaders to spearhead organizational change, particularly in these technology-driven and innovative contexts. In the MS degree in organizational leadership and innovation, you will be equipped with the tools to spearhead organizational change, particularly in technology-driven and innovative contexts. The curriculum adds future-focused and innovative leadership-oriented courses that leverage faculty expertise in organizational leadership, innovation, technology, and strategy development. You’ll learn to create an entrepreneurial culture and build sustainable teams while you develop skills in the leadership and management of innovation.
Organizational Leadership Courses
The curriculum includes courses in topics such as strategic foresight and innovation, technology and the future of work, leading change, and leading teams in organizations. You will learn how to foresee emerging technologies and innovations, and convert these opportunities into strategies. The program's courses are designed to develop your skills and abilities to use leadership to create innovative work cultures and lead innovative individuals and teams. By combining leadership skill development and managing innovation, you will be prepared to build sustainable organizations that can adapt efficiently.
Careers in Organizational Leadership
Careers in the field are growing. The job market shows a consistent increase in demand for students who know how to lead in innovation contexts. In 2021, top job sites in the U.S. carried more than 100,000 job postings for leadership roles in innovation contexts in the U.S. These jobs include leadership positions as chief innovation strategist, director of strategy and innovation, director of talent innovation, and more.
RIT undergraduates qualify for a tuition scholarship when they choose an RIT Master’s program.
Join us for Fall 2023
Many programs accept applications on a rolling, space-available basis.
Careers and Salary Info
Typical Job Titles
|Innovation Director||Program manager, Innovation|
|Innovation Expert||Innovation Leader|
|Innovation Lead||Director of Innovation and Learning|
|Innovation Manager/Project Manager||Director Strategy and&|
|Chief Innovation Strategist||Director Talent Innovation|
|Innovation Strategist for Workforce||Assistant Director, Leadership Development|
|Senior Manager, Organizational Effectiveness and Change||OD and Change Management Specialist|
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Michelle J. Teal ’23
"It was a game-changer for me as it gave me the skills and knowledge to transition into a new role as a project manager prior to graduating. The program provided valuable practical skills that allowed...
Aloha Learning Advisors, Honolulu, Hawaii
Kimo Kippen, co-op ’95
"My RIT graduate experience was very positive. The program was excellent and very engaging. The curriculum was practical and contributed greatly to my development as a human resource professional....
Curriculum for Organizational Leadership and Innovation MS
Organizational Leadership and Innovation, MS degree, typical course sequence
|Course||Sem. Cr. Hrs.|
Technology and the Future of Work
The rapid pace of progress in technology and the change in demographics of the workforce are anticipated to affect what work will look like in the future, in addition to the structure and nature of work itself. Some of these changes might be incremental and others more radical and disruptive affecting the conduct of business. The pace, nature, and magnitude of these changes demand that businesses, organizations, educators, policy makers, leaders, managers, and individual employees reimagine models of employment including the organization and functioning of the workforce. This course is intended to provide students with a global perspective of the future of work and employment, and insights into the implications on their designated professions and careers. Among others, this course will address the following questions: What are the skills and competencies required of the workforce for this new future of work? What skills, competencies, and job roles may become redundant? How should corporations preempt and prepare to deal with these changes? What will be the role of leaders and managers in reimagining and developing the workforce of the future? Seminar 3 (Fall).
Major change initiatives within organizations fail because of lack of understanding of the process of change and the lack of deliberate and focused attention to the change process. This course teaches students the change process and the alterations required in structures, processes, and activities to effectively implement change initiatives within organizations. The components of this course include applied approaches and tools to help analyze barriers for change, leverage power and influence, and provide frameworks to plan and implement change. Lecture 3 (Summer).
Leading Teams in Organizations
This course examines why people behave as they do in organizations and what managers can do to improve organizational performance by influencing people's behavior. Students will learn a number of frameworks for diagnosing and dealing with managerial challenges dynamics at the individual, group and organizational level. Topics include leadership, motivation, team building, conflict, organizational change, cultures, decision making, and ethical leadership. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Service Scenario and Strategy Development
The service world has many examples of once-successful companies that failed to accomplish the primary goal of every organization: consistently design, deliver value to customers and other key stakeholder groups in a highly competitive and ever-changing service environment. Today’s organizational leaders must be able to develop and implement strategies that ensure the continued competitiveness of their organizations, and identify and leverage opportunities for growth and innovation brought about by change. Firmly grounded in the fundamentals of strategy development this course prepares students to create and sustain competitive advantage; and to apply key foresight techniques including scenario planning to anticipate future opportunities. Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).
|Choose one of the following culminating experiences:||
A thesis is based on experimental evidence obtained by the candidate in an appropriate topic demonstrating the extension of theory into practice. A written proposal which is defended and authorized by the faculty adviser/committee followed by a formal written thesis and oral presentation of findings are required. Typically the candidate will have completed research methods, data analysis, and graduate writing strategies prior to enrolling in this course and will start the thesis process by taking thesis planning as soon as they have completed the prerequisites to allow them to finish the thesis when they have finished their coursework. The candidate must obtain the approval of their graduate adviser who will guide the thesis before registering for this course. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Thesis (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Comprehensive Exam (plus one additional Program Elective)
Students will demonstrate synthesis and integration of the theories and foundation principles of their discipline to respond to questions found in the comprehensive examination. This demonstration will apply core knowledge to problem situations to be successful students must receive a passing grade of at least 80 percent. (12 semester hours or less of coursework remaining to complete the program; completion of all core courses in the discipline; currently enrolled in the program; possess a program GPA of 3.0 or higher; no outstanding incomplete grades; student cannot be on academic/disciplinary probation; for disciplines requiring integrative problem solving successful completion of that course.) (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Comp Exam (Fall, Summer).
The purpose of this course is to provide students the opportunity to conduct research, develop a plan and evaluation components and submit the project as a demonstration of final proficiency in the program. The topic selected by the student will be guided by the faculty teaching the class and it will require the student to coalesce and incorporate into the final project a culmination of all their course work in the program to date. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Project 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
|Total Semester Credit Hours||
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of research in applied contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Leading Human Resources
The goal of this course is to develop knowledge of Human Resource Development and Management practices for the purpose of analyzing, communicating, evaluating, and leading the development of strategic human resource initiatives that react to emerging organizational concerns. This course is a foundation course for those seeking a leadership opportunity in Human Resources in which students will demonstrate their ability to analyze and lead the alignment of strategic organizational goals into HR functions. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Diversity in Global Workplace
As strategic partners in global workforce development, human resource development professionals guide organizations to build and maintain a diverse workforce. Diversity and inclusion exploit the natural synergies of a multicultural workforce. This course will examine dimensions of diversity beyond race, ethnicity, and gender and create opportunities to develop an understanding about how these dimensions intersect and play out in the workplace. The purpose of this course is to provide HRD professionals the knowledge required to manage these dynamics in an organizational setting and lead initiatives that will create and maintain an inclusive workplace. Project work will allow for the in-depth ability to assess the current state of diversity within a defined organization, conduct research and benchmarking to build a diverse workforce, and develop a diversity strategic plan with an on-going evaluation component to assess the success of diversity initiatives. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Introduction to Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
This course serves as an introduction to data analysis including both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Contemporary data analytics and business intelligence tools will be explored through realistic problem assignments. Lecture 3 (Fall).
This course is designed to teach the art and science of negotiation so that one can negotiate successfully in a variety of settings, within one's day-to-day experiences and, especially, within the broad spectrum of negotiation problems faced by managers and other professionals. Individual class sessions will explore the many ways that people think about and practice negotiation skills and strategies in a variety of contexts. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Ethical Decision Making and Corporate Social Performance
This course is designed to equip business practitioners with scientifically supported frameworks and methods for recognizing, analyzing, deciding on, and implementing ethical courses of action in business. Selected topics include stakeholders needs analysis, the science of decision-making, corporate social performance, issues involved with emerging technologies, and doing business in a global context. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Service Design Fundamentals*
Service design is a holistic design process. It uses skills from a variety of disciplines (design, management and process engineering) to develop models to create new services or to improve existing services in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The emphasis of the process is to provide value to the customer; as a service differentiator or create unique experiences for the customer. Service design uses methods and tools from a variety of disciplines to assist with the analysis and creation of enhanced systems. These tools include; mapping, blueprinting, analysis of customer behavior, market analysis, service marketing, and service recovery. The outcome of this course is to provide students with the fundamentals of service design thinking to allow them to lead the efforts of systematic design in a variety of disciplines. (SVCLED-MS, HSPT-MS) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Breakthrough Thinking, Creativity, and Innovation
This is an introductory-level survey course on the dynamics of innovation. The course focuses on individual, team and organization-human and systems dynamics that impact organizational innovation. Students gain awareness in, understanding of and important skills in fostering multi-level organizational human ecologies conducive to the creation of innovation. Issues and challenges important to leaders at all levels in an organization, entrepreneurs and talent management practitioners will be examined and explored. There is a required fee for the class to pay for the administration of the ISPI and Meyers Briggs evaluation instruments. Students will develop in their understanding of innovation, their own personal innovation capabilities, preferences, and the human dynamics unique to innovation applied in an organizational context. This background is becoming increasingly critical to developing innovation capabilities in and across organizations in our increasingly competitive and complex world. This course will build awareness and improve competency in the application of overall course content and design principles particular to developing innovation-competent individuals, teams, and organizations. Lecture 3 (Fall, Summer).
The Customer Centricity course develops the learners ability to help their organization manage its interactions with its valued customers across multiple channels, maximize revenue opportunities, build foundations to increase customer satisfaction, and drive customer retention and loyalty. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Analytics in service organizations is based on four phases: analysis and determination of what data to collect, gathering the data, analyzing it, and communicating the findings to others. In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of analytics to develop a measurement strategy for a given area of research and analysis. While this measurement process is used to ensure that operations function well and customer needs are met; the real power of measurement lies in using analytics predicatively to drive growth and service, to transform the organization and the value delivered to customers. Topics include big data, the role of measurement in growth and innovation, methodologies to measure quality, and other intangibles. Lecture 3 (Fall, Summer).
Data Mining In the Service Sector*
To gather and analyze public/private service sector information to inform decisions is the goal of every public/private sector administration. Data can drive success of governments and organizations or lead to their downfall. This course will explore data mining used in the public/private sector, how to gather it and utilize the results of the data collections to inform decisions that reflect the needs and desires of the stakeholders in this sector. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Achieving competitive advantage in today’s world demands that organizations know how to innovate, and do so not once, but repeatedly. Creativity, rapid learning through continuous improvement, and the ability to turn ideas into action, products, processes and services are crucial. How do leaders foster and sustain a culture of innovation? What unique competencies and skills do you need as a leader and what skills do your teams need? How is managing an innovation team different than managing other kinds of teams within an organization? Through this course, service leadership students will leverage and build on their growing knowledge about innovation, the individual and group skills required for innovating gained in SERQ-712. Students will gain deeper insights into innovation leadership requirements for creating, managing and curating a thriving environment in which cutting edge ideas are encouraged, born and grown. Open to students in the service leadership and innovation MS program and non-majors on a space available basis with department permission. (Prerequisite: SERQ-712 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Design Thinking and Creativity
The use of creative problem solving to discover new alternatives in the design of products and services is the essence of design thinking. The innovation design thinking process seeks creative inspiration to solve a problem, generating and selecting ideas to develop a path from design to market. Design thinking tools and strategies are discussed as are “Wicked Problems” and the impact design thinking can have on developing a solution for these problems. An in-depth approach uses stories and prototypes to design products/ services in an effort to solve problems in an innovative and sustainable manner. Lecture 3 (Fall).
* This program elective may be offered only at overseas campuses.
Note for online students
The frequency of required and elective course offerings in the online program will vary, semester by semester, and will not always match the information presented here. Online students are advised to seek guidance from the listed program contact when developing their individual program course schedule.
Admissions and Financial Aid
This program is available exclusively online.
|Offered||Admit Term(s)||Application Deadline||STEM Designated|
Part-time study is 1‑8 semester credit hours. RIT will not issue a student visa for programs offered exclusively online.
To be considered for admission to the Organizational Leadership and Innovation MS program, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete an online graduate application.
- Submit copies of official transcript(s) (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, including any transfer credit earned.
- Hold a baccalaureate degree (or US equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
- A recommended minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
- Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
- Submit a personal statement of educational objectives.
- Letters of recommendation are optional.
- Entrance exam requirements: GRE or GMAT required for individuals with degrees from international universities. No minimum score requirement.
- Writing samples are optional.
- Submit English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic), if required. Details are below.
English Language Test Scores
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit one of the following official English language test scores. Some international applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver.
International students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Each program requires balanced sub-scores when determining an applicant’s need for additional English language courses.
How to Apply Start or Manage Your Application
Cost and Financial Aid
An RIT graduate degree is an investment with lifelong returns. Graduate tuition varies by degree, the number of credits taken per semester, and delivery method. View the general cost of attendance or estimate the cost of your graduate degree.
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Online Study Restrictions for Some International Students
Certain countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes under US Export Controls, which prohibit virtually ALL exports, imports, and other transactions without a license or other US Government authorization. Learners from the Crimea region of the Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria may not register for RIT online courses. Nor may individuals on the United States Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the United States Commerce Department’s table of Deny Orders. By registering for RIT online courses, you represent and warrant that you are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of any such country or on any such list.
March 3, 2023
Innovating Business and Building Resilience
Students in the organizational leadership and innovation (OLI), master of business administration (MBA), technology innovation management and entrepreneurship (TIME), and hospitality business management (HBM) programs learn to become leaders, change agents, and expert decision-makers in their fields by mastering foundational business skills and applying them in real-world situations.
February 15, 2023
Saunders College will begin offering two new online master’s degrees in fall of 2023
Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology will begin offering two new master’s degree programs, exclusively online, beginning in the fall of 2023.
January 18, 2023
New chair joins Saunders College with extensive study of social networks and organizations
Rich DeJordy comes to RIT as chair of the Department of Management at Saunders College of Business after serving in a similar role at the Craig School of Business at California State University, Fresno. Before that, DeJordy was a faculty member for eight years at D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.