Human resources professionals are increasingly becoming an integral part of an organization’s
strategic planning process. MTSU’s new Human Resources Leadership concentration allows
working professionals to earn a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) around their
schedules and boost their careers through a 24/7 online program. The 30-hour degree
plan culminates with a professional project, typically related to the student’s work.
Company executives today are turning to HR professionals for policy directives and
creative ways to use human capital for improved performance results. The HR Leadership
coursework focuses on a variety of workplace factors (economic, environmental, ethical,
legal, political, and administrative) and the impact they can have on organizational
productivity, performance, and behavior. The program helps students build a strong
foundation in HR principles and procedures and develop critical thinking skills required
to make decisions and solve problems concerning the human side of an organization.
Adult learner thrives at MTSU, begins work on doctoral degree
Mary Kate Allen returned to MTSU as an adult seeking to finish her bachelor’s degree.
She had started college in 2004, but due to personal tragedy, she left that school.
She completed her associate’s degree in 2016 and made the move back to Tennessee and
MTSU in 2018. She finished her degree and graduated within a year, and continued right
on into graduate school in the M.P.S. program for Human Resources Leadership. “I had
my village [at MTSU], and I felt established enough to keep going,” she said. Despite
losing her job during the COVID-19 pandemic, she carried on and finished the program
in the Spring of 2021 with a GPA above 3.5. “I am thriving amidst the chaos, and I
feel very grateful for the wonderful professors at MTSU who have worked with me,”
Allen said about her educational journey. She’s now going for her third MTSU degree,
a doctoral degree in higher education. (Photo: Karlyn Stanley)
HR Leadership studies help Eaton with current and future career
Leanne Eaton, director of Coffee County Juvenile Court’s Youth Services Office, is
pursuing MTSU’s new Human Resources Leadership concentration for her M.P.S. degree.
Eaton, holding the supervisory position for 18 of her 25 years in the court system,
has long been interested in employee development and training, as well as employment
law. She has served on county employee compensation and personnel review committees.
“Not only have I been able to utilize what I have learned through the M.P.S. program
to enhance my current career, but at some point I plan to pursue a career in human
resources,” she says. “I have learned a wealth of information.” Her professional project
examines issues and conflicts of women in the workplace who share the dual role of
mother and employee. The Youth Services Office, which provides probation supervision
for juvenile offenders, hired Eaton just before her MTSU graduation with a B.S. in
Psychology. A mother of three, Eaton decided to fulfill her lifelong promise to get
a master’s degree when her oldest daughter began college at MTSU in 2013. “She inspired
me to keep working hard,” Eaton says.
MTSU College of Graduate Studies
The Human Resources Leadership master’s degree is designed for working professionals
interested in recruiting, selection, and retention of human capital, compensation,
and benefits, and other areas of human resources management. National job growth for
human resources managers is higher than all other professions on average, and median
annual pay was $102,780 in 2014 for human resources managers. A master’s offers a
competitive edge in a competitive field. Some possible professional opportunities for degree-holders:
- HR Compliance Assistant
- HR Coordinator
- HR Generalist
- Vice President
Employers of MTSU alumni
- Access Title
- Heatec, Inc.
- Lincoln Harris CSG
- Tractor Supply Company
View the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for Human Resources 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 as a
non-degree seeking student and take up to 6 hours before officially applying to the
For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right.
Professional Studies, Human Resources 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, 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.
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). Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
- 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 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 Human Resources 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, Human Resources 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.
Human Resources Leadership Concentration (15 hours)
Human Resources Theory (9 hours)
BCED 6680 - Women and Minorities in Business
Advancement of women and minorities as entrepreneurs and their roles on local, regional, and national boards of directors. Students interview local entrepreneurs to gain knowledge of being an entrepreneur in the twenty-first century.
BLAW 6520 - Current Legal Topics in Corporate Governance, Risk Management and Fraud
Prerequisite: Graduate standing; BLAW 3400 with minimum grade of C. Delves into current legal topics in corporate law and governance, including the division of power and responsibilities between the board of directors, board committees, officers, auditors, and shareholders; securities laws and other fraud topics; the duty of care and other fiduciary duties of directors, officers and auditors; special problems of closely held organizations; how governance models compare across the globe; and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Includes research related cases in key industries of their prospective careers, such as the healthcare and audit services.
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.
Leadership Theory (3 hours)
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.
Specialty Elective (3 hours)
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.
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.
PRST 6400 - Instructional Design for Training and Development
Provides a broad introduction to training and development as a field of study and practice. Designed for training and development specialists as well as organizational leaders focused on continually improving human and organizational performance.
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.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the degree programs offered by University College,
faculty are drawn from disciplines throughout MTSU.