Looking for a flexible graduate program to increase income and promotion opportunities,
fulfill professional development needs, and add marketable skills to your resume?
MTSU’s Strategic Leadership concentration, leading to a Master of Professional Studies
(M.P.S.) degree, allows working professionals to earn an advanced degree through 24/7
online coursework. The leadership function is the single greatest contributor to the
overall success of any organization. Leadership impacts all areas of operation and
requires that a leader be well versed in many areas. The Strategic Leadership master’s
program examines various subject areas including leadership theory, research/data
analysis, organizational structure and change, communication, and strategic planning
and assessment. The 30-hour interdisciplinary program culminates with a professional
project and is typically related to the student's professional work.
M.P.S. helps hone leadership skills while working
Emily Curtis moved into an administration consultant role with a nonprofit organization
after earning her Master of Professional Studies in the Strategic Leadership concentration
in December 2013. She received a promotion once she started the program, becoming
an assistant registrar at MTSU and serving on various committees and project teams.
“The M.P.S. program enriched my career not only because it gave me a graduate-level
education, which opened doors of opportunity, but it also gave me leadership and organizational
tools to use in my profession,” she says. Curtis chose MTSU’s program because it allowed
her to further her education while also pursuing a career. She also worked full time
when she graduated from Bryan College with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree
in 2007. Curtis began her professional career in higher education in 2005. “Many leadership
concepts are learned after years of experience, but this program allowed me to learn
those concepts and identify them early in my career,” she says. Curtis now works as
the Director of Student Accounts in the bursar's office at Nashville State Community
Alum learns about leadership, earns promotion with master’s
H. Gerald Grimes was promoted to building services director at MTSU six months after
earning his Strategic Leadership M.P.S. online in December 2014. His mentor, Gerald
Caudill, who retired from the position, encouraged Grimes to complete his undergraduate
degree and then the master’s. Grimes’ department is responsible for making sure lighting
and utilities function well in classrooms in all academic buildings. They also assist
other University groups such as energy services, residential life, and agribusiness. He
worked in construction during his undergraduate days at MTSU and then returned as
a maintenance technician in 1999. Grimes finished his bachelor’s in 2004 before moving
up. The Strategic Leadership M.P.S. program broadened his view of managing people.
“I learned to find ways that you can support your staff so that they improve not only
professionally but also personally. They can catch that enthusiasm to improve,” Grimes
says. “It creates a perpetual snowball that can spur you on to be better, which in
turn puts those energies back into your staff.”
MTSU College of Graduate Studies
The Strategic Leadership master’s degree is intended to help with career advancement
for working professionals seeking to improve organizational leadership, planning,
communication, conflict management, and other areas of leadership. Some possible professional
opportunities for degree-holders
- Business owner
- Company executive
- Director of Marketing
- Vice President
- Team leader
- Director of Technology Enhancements
- Director of Strategic Influence
- Senior Project Manager
- Assistant Special Agent in Charge
- Intelligence Officer
- Site Director
- PMO Manager
Employers of MTSU alumni include
- Dyersburg State Community College
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office
- Tennessee Department of Corrections
- Tennessee General Assembly
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center
- Y-12 National Security Complex
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
- Tennessee State University
- Premise Health
- HCA Healthcare
- Tennessee Air National Guard
- Marketing Strategies International
- United Health Group
View the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for Administrative Services Managers.
MTSU offers the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.), an online program designed
for working professionals, with three concentrations available: Human Resources Leadership, Strategic Leadership, and Training and Development.
Each M.P.S. program consists of 12 hours of core requirements, 15 hours related directly
to the concentration, and a 3-hour culminating professional project.
Applicants must have the following:
- an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college
- an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all college work taken (at least 2.75 for
- completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with acceptable scores (generally at least 146 verbal, 144 quantitative, and
4.0 on analytical writing), OR a non-GRE option is available for those with a 2.75
GPA or higher and five (5) years of professional full-time work experience requiring
the submission of a portfolio of works.
- competency in word processing, library retrieval systems, presentation graphics, spreadsheets,
and databases (Students must be computer literate—using email, posting discussions,
using chat, web page navigation, uploading attachments, etc.—as well as have excellent
time management skills in order to be successful in the online course environment.)
- regular access to a computer and reliable Internet connection
Applicants who do not meet the criteria for unconditional admission may apply for
as a non-degree seeking student and take up to 6 hours before officially applying
to the program.
For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.
Professional Studies, Strategic Leadership Concentration, M.P.S.
Pamela D. Morris, Program Director
The University College offers the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) with concentrations in Human Resources Leadership, Leadership in Nutrition, Operations Research, Strategic Leadership, and Training and Development. For more information, contact Pamela.Morris@mtsu.edu, call (615) 898-5920, or visit www.mtsu.edu/mps.
Admission to the Master of Professional Studies program requires
- an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college;
- an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all college work taken (at least 2.75 for unconditional admission);
- three (3) letters of recommendation;
- completion of a portfolio of works OR Graduate Record Examination (GRE) based on criteria below:
- completion of a portfolio of works for those with a 3.25 GPA or higher; OR
- completion of a portfolio of works for those with a 2.75 GPA or higher and five (5) years of professional full-time work experience; OR
- completion of the GRE General Test with acceptable scores;
- competency in word processing, library retrieval systems, presentation graphics, spreadsheets, and databases. Students must be computer literate (using email, posting discussions, using chat, webpage navigation, uploading attachments, etc.) as well as have excellent time management skills in order to be successful in the online course environment;
- regular access to a computer and reliable Internet connection.
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
- submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
- submit official transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended;
- submit three letters of reference;
- submit official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A composite GRE score of 291 (current scale) or 900 (former scale) is expected for consideration of unconditional admission. Applicants with a 2.75 GPA or higher and five (5) years of professional full-time work experience may submit a portfolio of works in place of a GRE score. Applicants who meet this requirement may inquire about the portfolio requirements by e-mailing Pamela.Morris@mtsu.edu or going to www.mtsu.edu/university-college/mps/portfolio.php.
The Master of Professional Studies with a concentration in Strategic Leadership requires completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours.
- complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
- complete a professional project during the final semester of the program.
Curriculum: Professional Studies, Strategic Leadership
The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements.
Core Courses (12 hours)
PRST 6000 - Leading Organizational Transformation
Focuses on the leadership aspects of creating, implementing, and monitoring initiatives that will help an organization's employees make the essential transitions necessary to enable their organization to successfully transform to the needs of its operational environment.
PRST 6100 - Professional Environment: Issues and Ethics
Introduces the discipline of ethics and values. Explores the various theories and practices that have led to, and continue to dominate the study of ethics and values in public service. Students will display their knowledge of ethics and values in various reading, writing, and oratorical assignments.
PRST 6300 - Research Methods
Study and application of research methods appropriate to professional studies. Provides a general introduction to research methods as well as providing practical exposure to problem statements, literature reviews, writing the research proposal, and organizations of the research report. Quantitative and qualitative research methodologies briefly covered in preparation for later courses in these areas.
PRST 6600 - Statistical Analysis
Prerequisite: PRST 6300. Explores the fundamental principles that form the foundation of the scientific process. Ultimate goal is to enhance student's ability to effectively interpret and translate the results of research.
Strategic Leadership Concentration (15 hours)
At least five courses must be completed, including at least one course from each of the four subject areas.
HSC 6530 - Effective Program Management
Addresses the knowledge and skills required for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating programs to meet the needs of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. In addition, it covers the aspects of writing grant proposals to support those programs.
MGMT 6740 - Leadership and Motivation
Issues in leadership and motivation in business organizations. An examination of the theoretical framework for leadership and motivation processes serves as foundation. Emphasis on practical issues and applications of leadership development and motivation.
Organizational Structure and Change
PRST 6800 - Organizational Skills and Development
Examines concepts and techniques of organizational development (OD) and the leadership skills required for organizational change. Emphasis on understanding and application of OD theory, skills, and methods.
BCED 5660 - Corporate Communication
Prerequisite: BCED 3510 or equivalent. Research and analysis of case studies of significant research; case studies in business communication; communication policies, principles, and procedures from the executive's viewpoint.
COMM 6650 - Conflict Management and Resolution
Explores the role of communication in conflict management/resolution between or among individuals or groups. Potential topics may include interpersonal and workplace conflict, tools for conflict resolution, including mediation and negotiation.
Strategic Planning and Assessment
MGMT 6680 - Seminar in Human Resources Management
Focus on the responsibility of all managers with respect to the effective development of human resources. The responsibility of all functional areas in the human resource department or impinging forces such as technology, organized labor, and government legislation examined along with the emerging concepts, problems, and theories supported by research in the field.
PRST 6770 - Computer-based Decision Modeling
Advanced techniques in quantitative methods. Modeling and optimization techniques. Computer applications emphasized.
Professional Project (3 or 4 hours)
PRST 6998 - Professional Project
3 to 4credit hours
Capstone course for the Master of Professional Studies degree. The integrative culmination of the program of study.
PRST 6998 must be taken during the final semester of the program. Students should begin planning their projects when they enter the M.P.S. program. They should consult their advisors about appropriate topics and submit their proposals for approval prior to entering this course.
Students applying for EXL Scholar Designation should take EXL 6000 for 1 credit hour.
MPS students are limited to no more than 6 hours of prior learning assessment (PLA) credit and transfer credit combined.
Since this degree program is supported by courses through the Tennessee e-Campus,
faculty come from participating state universities.