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Degree Requirements

The minimum credit requirement for the Master of Science degree in Public Safety Leadership is 36 semester hours of graduate credit. No credit will be given for courses taken more than six years prior to the date of which the degree is to be conferred.

There are certain conditions that must be met before graduate credit can be transferred to Mercer's graduate program. The student must have attended an institution accredited by a regional accrediting body and the student must have been admitted to the institution's regular graduate program. Graduate work taken at other institutions must have been part of a planned program leading to a degree equivalent to the Master of Science degree in Public Safety Leadership at Mercer University. The maximum amount of transferred credit is six semester hours. Only courses in which the student earned a grade of "B" or better will be considered for transfer credit. Courses taken for another degree previously earned may not be applied to the Master of Science degree in Public Safety Leadership.

Degree Requirements – 36 semester hours

Core Requirements (24 or 27 semester hours)

  • PSLD 601. Multidisciplinary View of Theories and Models of Leadership
  • PSLD 602. Comparative Studies in Public Safety
  • PSLD 603. Organizational Research, Analysis and Problem Solving
  • PSLD 604. Organizational Communication, Conflict Resolution and Negotiations
  • PSLD 605. Leadership and Ethics in Public Safety Leadership
  • PSLD 606. Seminar on Terrorism
  • PSLD 701. Preparation, Execution, and Coordination of Disaster Response Capstone Students must select one of the following capstone courses o PSLD 798. Master's Research Thesis option (6 hours) or o PSLD 799. Master's Research Report plus a comprehensive examination in Public Safety Leadership option (3 hours)

Total Core Requirements

  • Master's Research Thesis option (27 semester hours)
  • Master's Research Report plus a comprehensive examination option (24 semester hours)

Electives (9 or 12 semester hours)

  • CRJS 630. Forensic Psychology
  • CRJS 631. History of Corrections and Jails
  • CRJS 632. Deviant Behavior: Crime, Conflict, and Interest Groups
  • PSLD 630. Leadership and Corrections
  • PSLD 631. Cyber crime
  • PSLD 632. Internship
  • PSLD 633. Seminar on the Budget Process
  • PSLD 634. Nature of Crime and Justice in the 21st Century
  • PSLD 635. Local Government, Media, and Politics
  • PSLD/CRJS 625/725 Special Topics in Public Safety Leadership

Total Degree Requirements for Research Thesis Option

  • Total Core Requirements (27 semester hours)
  • Total Elective Requirements (9 semester hours)

Total Degree Requirements for Research Report plus Examination Option

  • Total Core Requirements (24 semester hours)
  • Total Elective Requirements (12 semester hours)

Core Required Courses

The required core courses provide a strong background in leadership, organization administration, ethics, and research methods. A student is required to take 27 semester hours of core courses for the Master's Research Thesis option. This option is designed primarily for those students who may desire to pursue a doctorate degree. If students elect the Master's Research Report option, 24 semester hours of core courses plus an exit exam are required.

Elective Courses

The elective courses focus on a variety of topics designed to enhance the core courses. Students are required to complete 9 or 12 hours from the elective course offerings, depending on whether they choose to complete the thesis or research report track option of the capstone.

Optional Internship

An internship is available for students interested in professional development and growth, and may be particularly helpful for students who have had little or no work experience in the field. The internship provides the student with the opportunity to apply concepts and skills learned in their curriculum. Internship credit requires completion of 180 hours at an approved internship site. The student may only take 3 semester hours of internship. The application must be received at least six weeks prior to the semester in which the internship semester begins. If students elect to take the internship, the internship cannot be done in the student's place of employment. A comprehensive internship report is necessary upon completion of the internship.

Public Safety Leadership Capstone

The public safety leadership capstone functions as an integrative experience and provides students with a choice of activities designed to enhance their knowledge and application of public safety leadership and the research process. All Public Safety Leadership candidates will be required to complete the capstone after the completion of the core course requirements. All students will complete one of the following two options.

  1. Research Thesis Option (PSLD 798). The master's research thesis includes individual study of a selected research problem in public safety leadership under the direction of one of the faculty members. A research thesis option student must take 21 hours of core courses and 6 hours of research credit. Students may not register for the research thesis option credit unless 15 semester hours of core courses have been successfully completed.
  2. Research Report plus a comprehensive examination in Public Safety Leadership option (PSLD 799). The research report option requires students to complete a written critical analysis of scholarly literature on core or specific topics in the field of public safety leadership, as well as to take a comprehensive exam at the end of the semester. Students choosing this option will be required to enroll in the Master's Research Report option during the spring semester. Students, who have completed at least 15 semester hours of core courses, will be permitted to enroll in the Master's Research Report.