2023 Best Online Master of Professional Studies Programs [MPS Degree]

Home » 2023 Best Online Master of Professional Studies Programs [MPS Degree]

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If you are a working professional looking to improve your industry skills and advance your career, an MPS degree might be the graduate path for you.

Best Online Master of Professional Studies Programs

There is a growing need for professionals with relevant industry skills who can also take on leadership and management positions within their organization and train other professionals.

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Master in professional studies degree concentrations is offered in a wide range of fields, providing numerous options for working professionals in many industries.

Online MPS Degrees

Man taking Online MPS Degrees

Master of Professional Studies (MPS) programs focus on the practical, conceptual, and theoretical study of students and professionals looking to advance in their field of study.

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MPS degrees are frequently pursued by working professionals who want to advance their careers through additional study and expertise. MPS programs focus on the practical management and leadership skills that can be applied in a range of industries, including healthcare, human resources, and communications, to name a few.

Some concentrated areas of study that you can pursue within an MPS degree include:

  • Leadership and management
  • Training and development
  • Nutrition
  • Cybersecurity
  • Project management
  • Environmental studies
  • Public relations and corporate communications
  • Animal Science
  • Urban and regional planning

These are just a few of the many fields in which you can pursue an MPS degree. Available concentrations can vary from school to school. MPS programs are frequently taught by experienced industry professionals who have hands-on work experience in the courses they teach.

Your coursework will vary depending on your chosen program and preferred specialty area. For instance, courses taken as part of an MPS in Leadership may include topics on the foundations of leadership, leadership and communication, and human resources management.

Many master in professional studies degree programs requires a capstone project to demonstrate your ability to put your knowledge into practice with hands-on experience. Many graduates pursue careers in management or leadership in their field of study.

Common Online Master of Professional Studies Concentrations

Training and Development Manager meeting with some employees

While there is a wide range of professional studies concentrations for you to explore, below are some common specialization areas for an MPS program:

  • Strategic Leadership. This concentration focuses on key leadership topics, including communication, organizational structure, strategic planning, and leadership theory.
  • Training and Development. This concentration prepares graduates to teach and engage adult learners in a variety of settings, including online learning environments.
  • Cybersecurity. This concentration helps computer science or related professionals develop the technological and leadership skills to assume leadership positions in cybersecurity.
  • Leadership in Nutrition. This concentration helps students develop relevant leadership, entrepreneurial, and nutrition-related skills to advance their careers in the field of nutrition and health.
  • Human Resources Leadership. This concentration focuses on the workplace factors, HR principles, and critical thinking skills needed to effectively manage human resources for an organization.

Some programs may also offer additional choices of concentration or focus within a field, allowing you to narrow your area of expertise even further.

Professional Studies Careers and Salaries

Professional Studies Careers and Salaries

Given the wide range of areas you can choose for your MPS degree, your job qualifications may depend on your chosen concentration.

While some graduates may go on to pursue doctoral degrees in their field of study, many graduates are able to advance their careers within their field. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are examples of careers that graduates with a professional studies masters degree may pursue, depending on their specialty.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Public Relations Managers $125,780
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Industrial Production Managers $103,150
Information Security Analysts $102,600
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers $99,290
Postsecondary Education Administrators $96,910
Urban and Regional Planners $78,500
Emergency Management Directors $76,730
Dietitians and Nutritionists $61,650

MPS programs are often interdisciplinary and can cover a wide range of fields. There are often numerous career opportunities you may pursue with your developed skill sets.

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Graduates may find employment opportunities in almost every industry, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies. Earning an MPS degree may also help you qualify for leadership or management roles in your field.

Master of Professional Studies Curriculum & Courses

young professionals pursuing MPS degree

While courses vary based on your program and MPS concentration, below are some common courses you may take:

  • Foundations of Leadership: This course covers contemporary leadership topics, including leadership theories, values and ethics, motivation, and conflict resolution.
  • Leadership and Communication: Students in this course will study leadership in relation to motivation, communication, risk-taking, and collaboration, among others.
  • Human Resources Management: In this course, you can develop supervisory skills to deal with common issues that arise when managing other employees.
  • Computer-Based Decision Modeling: Students in this course will gain insight into using computer-driven data and models to solve potential organizational problems.
  • Advanced Nutrition Counseling: This course focuses on nutrition counseling techniques with a diverse population in various settings.
  • Research Methods: Students in this course will review various nutritional studies, analyzing research design and data analysis.
  • Digital Forensics: This course focuses on the tools and methods used in computer forensics and hands-on experience using forensic tools and software.
  • Cyber Investigation: This course introduces you to the world of cybercrime, including crimes using technology and the tools needed for an investigation.
  • Instructional Design for Training and Development: This course introduces you to the skills needed to improve individual and organizational performance.
  • Facilitation of Learning: In this course, you can learn how to design and run training programs that are effective for professional adult learners.

In addition to core courses required for your MPS degree, some programs offer elective courses that align with your specialized interests.

Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing requirements for MPS Degree

Admissions requirements vary from program to program, but listed below are some common requirements for gaining admission to an MPS program:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school
  • Minimum GPA from your undergraduate courses
  • Copies of your academic transcripts to date.
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV detailing your work experience

In addition to the requirements listed above, most schools will require an online application and payment of an application fee. Graduate programs may also want to see your GRE or GMAT test scores, though a growing number of schools no longer have this requirement.


University offering MPS Degrees

The accreditation process ensures that educational institutions meet a predetermined standard of quality. Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted type of school accreditation.

Accreditation may factor into your admissions process, as some master’s programs only accept bachelor degrees from regionally accredited institutions. Accreditation may also affect your job opportunities available after graduation, as employers tend to look more favorably upon degrees earned from accredited institutions.

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You can discover a school’s accreditation status and learn more about the process at the US Department of Education’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

MPS Degrees Financial aid

As you look into earning your professional studies master degree, you can explore different financial aid opportunities that are available to qualifying students.

If you are currently employed in a profession related to your MPS program, you could explore if your employer offers any tuition reimbursement or compensation opportunities. You might also look into scholarship and financial assistance opportunities available through public, private, and non-profit institutions.

Funding may also be available through federal or state loans and grants. Federal work-study programs is another form of aid that helps you get part-time work to help pay for your program.

To learn more about the opportunities that might be available to you, you can visit the Federal Student Aid website.

What Is an MPS Degree?

Human Resources Manager disusing with the HR team

A Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree is a graduate degree that allows you to focus on enhancing your skills and knowledge in a specific field of study.

While traditional graduate degrees focus on theoretical knowledge and research, MPS degrees focus on providing you with skills you can implement in your workplace immediately. Courses in this type of program often help you develop industry-specific skills as well as leadership or management skills to help you advance to leadership positions within your industry.

MPS programs generally culminate in a capstone project that allows you to demonstrate what you’ve learned in a hands-on application.

What Can You Do with an MPS Degree?

Public Relations Manager meeting with the PR Team

Graduates with a masters in professional studies degree may advance their careers in their field, leveraging their industry expertise for new career opportunities. Many graduates pursue management, administration, and other leadership positions within their chosen fields.

Some graduates go on to pursue doctoral degrees, but most implement their skills directly in their industry. Cybersecurity, healthcare, human resources, training and development, agriculture, communications, and leadership are just a few of the specialty areas that can be available for an MPS degree.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MPS Degree Online?

student pursuing MPS Degree online

The time needed to complete your professional studies master degree will vary based on several factors, including your chosen program, the credits required, and your course schedule.

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Many programs can be completed within 1 to 2 years. Much like with online bachelors in professional studies programs, many online MPS programs are designed to be flexible with the scheduling needs of working professionals, so the timeframe can vary by student.

While some programs may be completed in less time with an accelerated course schedule, part-time studies may extend your overall completion time.

What’s the Difference Between an MS vs. MPS Degree?

While both MS (Master of Science) and MPS (Master of Professional Studies) programs offer a focused study in a specific area, some key distinctions exist between the two-degree tracks.

MS Programs MPS Programs
  • Focuses on theory- and research-based studies
  • Often culminates in a thesis
  • Strategic for those interested in pursuing additional research and academia
  • Focuses on skill application, industry-specific knowledge, and hands-on practice
  • Often culminates in a capstone project
  • Strategic for those who want to advance their careers and industry knowledge

In addition, many MS courses are taught by tenured faculty, whereas MPS courses may be taught by professionals with experience in their specific industry and field of study.

Is an MPS Degree Worth It?

Team of Information Security Analysts with MPS degree

Yes, an MPS degree is worth it for many students. MPS programs may help you advance your career opportunities and improve your industry-specific skills.

Many graduates go on to pursue management and leadership positions within their industry or organization. With the hands-on experience offered in MPS programs, graduates can be equipped to immediately implement their learned knowledge and skills in the workplace.

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According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many management careers related to MPS concentrations pay higher than average salaries. Plus, employment for management occupations overall is expected to grow by 8% over the next ten years, which is faster than average.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Professional Studies Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University

Bellevue University offers a Master of Professional Studies. The curriculum is designed to be easily adapted to personal interests and professional goals. Up to 12 qualifying credit hours may be transferred in toward the program’s 30 required credit hours. Classes can be attended online or in person.

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Columbia University

Columbia University

Columbia University offers a Master of Professional Studies. This program emphasizes problem-based learning and aims to help students develop the practical skills needed to thrive in a variety of industries. All classes meet 100% online. The degree requirements can typically be completed in 16 months of full-time study.

Columbia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University offers an online program for a Master of Professional Studies. This program may be an ideal fit for students wanting to combine studies in two or more professional disciplines. Students can select a concentration in General Studies or Leadership, Organizations, and Workforce Studies. The program consists of 33 credits, culminating in either a thesis or capstone project.

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Georgetown University

Georgetown University

Georgetown University offers a Master of Professional Studies. The program offers specializations in Applied Intelligence, Higher Education Administration, Urban Planning, Project Management, and Public Relations. Most specializations are available in a fully online learning format. Part-time students can typically graduate in 2 years, while full-time students can potentially finish in 16 months.

Georgetown University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University offers a 100% online program for a Master of Professional Studies. The curriculum consists of several certificate options. Two of these must be selected to meet degree requirements. The program requires the completion of 30 to 36 credits, depending on the chosen topic of study. Specializations offered include Sustainability, Strategic Leadership, Performance Coaching, and Business Leadership.

Lipscomb University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Missouri State University

Missouri State University

Missouri State University offers a Master of Professional Studies. The curriculum offers concentrations in Applied Communication, Screenwriting, Sports Management, Hospitality, and Project Management. Potential courses include Public Relations Campaigns, Risk Management and Legal Compliance, and Ethics and Leadership in the Public Sector. All classes can be attended entirely online.

Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Purdue University

Purdue University

Purdue University offers a Master of Professional Studies. This program may be an excellent next step for students wanting a curriculum that can be tailored to their specific goals. Classes are housed online, and each one is 10 weeks long. Students usually devote 15 hours to coursework each week, typically completing requirements in 1 year of full-time attendance.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech University offers a Master of Professional Studies. Concentrations include Corporate Communication, Healthcare Administration, Human Resource Leadership, Project Management, Strategic Communication, and Public Safety.

The curriculum consists of 30 credits. The program’s online learning model is designed with working professionals in mind, providing flexible scheduling and round-the-clock access to coursework.

Tennessee Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

The Master of Professional Studies at the University of Arizona offers an Indigenous Governance concentration. Additional specialties in Tribal Justice, Native Economic Development, and Nature Resources are also offered. Classes may be attended via hybrid online or on-campus learning formats. Potential courses include Environmental Law, Tribal Courts Procedure, and Intellectual Property Law.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Alabama

University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama offers a Master of Professional Studies. This program aims to meet the educational and career-based goals for students in diverse industries and disciplines. Classes meet either online or on campus. On average, the program’s 36 required credit hours can be completed in 2 years.

The University of North Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Masters in Professional Studies Online

student taking Master's in Professional Studies online

Pursuing a Master of Professional Studies program could be strategic if you want to build upon your current professional experience with more specialized skills and information.

A masters in professional studies degree allows you to grow your industry knowledge and expertise in your chosen field. There’s a wide range of concentration areas available for MPS degrees, and different schools may offer different varieties of study areas. Some online general studies degree programs even let you custom-tailor your coursework to fit your interests and career goals.

If you’re ready to further your educational and professional development, you can look into online MPS programs from accredited universities today.

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Kathryn Byrne
Kathryn Byrne
Kathryn holds a Bachelor's degree in English Education from the University of Delaware, and an ESL certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from Duke University. Kathryn has spent her entire career in education, with a focus on helping students of all ages ensure they have the necessary skills to maximize their educational opportunities.