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College of Continuing & Professional Studies

Master of Science in Public Safety Leadership (Executive format)

The Master of Science in Public Safety Leadership (Executive format) degree puts strong internal emphasis on innovation, creativity, critical thinking and analyses, problem solving and entrepreneurship for those seeking higher education and advancement to higher public safety leadership positions.  Public safety agency leaders consistently indicate that they desire to hire college graduates who can handle “out-of-the-box” situations that are frequently beyond the scope of traditional approaches to graduate educations.  Potential students say that this type of education model is a “break-through” for them, because it combines much of their previous training and experience with formal education in a realistic manner.  The degree program was designed to provide transformational change in the individual student, change that they can take back to their agencies and use to accomplish both personal and agency goals.

Upon completion of the degree program, students are able to:

  1. Understand and apply the knowledge, skills and abilities that are critical to public safety leadership effectiveness in today’s public safety organizations.
  2. Assess the various administrative, managerial, and leadership theories/perspectives as they relate to problem solving within a wide range of organizational structures.
  3. Evaluate various public safety theories, applications, and approaches within the broad social, economic, technological, and political environments of which public organizations operate.
  4. Command respect throughout the public safety field by being qualified to assume positions at the entry, supervisory, managerial and leadership levels of a variety of public safety agencies within the local, state and federal government settings.


This 2-year executive program is designed for public safety practitioners who want to advance their careers to higher leadership levels in today’s public safety organizations.  Specifically, the EMPSL degree program reaches out to both non-service students and practitioners who are seeking new jobs, those wanting to increase their proficiency in their current jobs, or those wanting to be promoted to positions of higher responsibility within their current agencies.  Classes are offered through a hybrid of the traditional classroom teaching and online learning through a virtual portal.  A typical 16-week semester course entails student participation in Preparation Periods, which consists of a wide range of weekly readings, structured projects, related “chats” and virtual discussions, and other academic activities reflecting critical thinking through Mercer’s Blackboard’s online course management system. Also, students attend traditional classroom sessions with an instructor to facilitate the Application Periods, to include the administration of appropriate tests, giving feedback, and administering assessments and related evaluations.  Students meet face-to-face at one of Mercer’s Regional Academic Centers or other designated location for the Applications Periods.


PSLD 601 

Multidisciplinary View of Theories and Models of Leadership

3 hrs.

PSLD 602

Comparative Studies in Public Safety

3 hrs.

PSLD 603

Organizational Research, Analysis, and Problem Solving

3 hrs.

PSLD 604

Organizational Communication, Conflict Resolution, and Negotiations

3 hrs.

PSLD 605

Leadership and Ethics in Public Safety

3 hrs.

PSLD 799

Master’s Research Report (Capstone: Applied Project)

3 hrs.


PSLD 606

Seminar on Terrorism

3 hrs.

PSLD 625

Special Topics in Public Safety Leadership

3 hrs.

PSLD 630

Leadership and Corrections

3 hrs.

PSLD 631


3 hrs.

PSLD 633

The Budget Process

3 hrs.

PSLD 635

Local Government, Media, and Politics

3 hrs.

PSLD 701

Preparation, Execution, and Coordination of Disaster Response

3 hrs.

Total Hours Needed to Graduate: 36