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Strategic Leadership, M.P.S.

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The Strategic Leadership, M.P.S. (Master of Professional Studies) is an interdisciplinary graduate degree program designed for working professionals who wish to earn a graduate degree and excel in their careers. This program is:

  • Designed for the working adult
  • Completely Online
  • Flexible Schedule
  • No GRE required with 5 years' work experience

This 30-hour program combines the social sciences and the professions to make it directly applicable for the working adult who wants to increase income and promotion possibilities.  Since it is offered 100% online and available 24/7, it easily fits around almost any schedule. 

The leadership function is the single greatest contributor to the overall success of any organization. Strategic 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. 

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M.P.S. helps hone leadership skills while working

Strategic Leadership, 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 College. 

Alum learns about leadership, earns promotion with Strategic Leadership, M.P.S.

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.”

Related Media

  • MTSU College of Graduate Studies

    MTSU College of Graduate Studies

  • MTSU | The University of Opportunities

    MTSU | The University of Opportunities


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
  • Manager
  • Director of Marketing
  • Vice President
  • Researcher
  • 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 unconditional admission)
  • 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
(615) 898-5920

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, call (615) 898-5920, or visit

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Professional Studies program requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college;
  2. an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all college work taken (at least 2.75 for unconditional admission);
  3. completion of a portfolio of works based on criteria below:
    1. completion of a portfolio of works for those with a 3.25 GPA or higher; OR
    2. 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.
  4. 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;
  5. regular access to a computer and reliable Internet connection.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at;
  2. submit official transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended;
  3. submit a portfolio of works for those with a 2.75 GPA or higher and five (5) years of full-time work experience OR those with a 3.25 GPA with less than five (5) years of full-time work experience. Applicants who meet this requirement may inquire about the portfolio requirements by e-mailing or going to

Degree Requirements

The Master of Professional Studies with a concentration in Strategic Leadership requires completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours.

Candidate must

  1. complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
  2. 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

    3credit hours

    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

    3credit hours

    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  3 credit hours  

    PRST 6300 - Research Methods

    3credit hours

    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

    3credit hours

    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.

Leadership Theory

  • HSC 6530 - Effective Program Management

    3credit hours

    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

    3credit hours

    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

    3credit hours

    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

    3credit hours

    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

    3credit hours

    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

    3credit hours

    Focuses on the responsibility all managers and leaders have with respect to an organization's greatest asset-it's people. Explores the human resource management fundamentals such as compensation, employment law, human resource development, and talent management. Uses applied, high-impact assignments integrated with other relevant content, including current research, emerging trends, global issues, and technology.

  • PRST 6770 - Computer-based Decision Modeling

    3credit hours

    Advanced techniques in quantita­tive methods. Modeling and optimization techniques. Compu­ter applications emphasized.

Professional Project (3 or 4 hours)

  • PRST 6998 - Professional Project  3 to 4 credit 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.

Online or Hybrid Programs at a Glance

This program is available fully online.

For More Information or Explore Your Options​

Contact your department / program coordinator or advisor for more details about the program OR work one-on-one with your advisor to explore your options.

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The Online Advantage​

With over 25 years of experience in online teaching and learning, MTSU Online offers students access to innovative, high-quality programs. Designed with students in mind, our courses allow maximum flexibility for those unable to participate in person. ​

Resources and services for online students are available from MTSU Online or contact us at

Contact Information

Pam Morris

Who is My Advisor?

Pam Morris

Mailing Address

University College M.P.S. Program
Middle Tennessee State University
503 East Bell Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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