Learning does not end when one earns an undergraduate degree and starts their career. Opportunities for growth and development await working professionals who want to further their education by pursuing an online Master of Professional Studies program.
Just like other advanced degrees like Master of Arts and Master of Science, the Master of Professional Studies program offers a focused study in a particular area but without the broadness of scope of science, engineering, and other traditional fields. Instead, this graduate-level degree focuses on a narrow spectrum of fields and other interdisciplinary areas in specific and specialized industries.
Many colleges and universities offer Master of Professional Studies programs with a wide range of concentrations. Students are equipped with the skills needed for work and are instrumental in advancing their careers.
Some of the fields covered by the MPS programs include Design, Applied Economics, Information Science, Project Management, and Strategic and Organizational Leadership.
This ranking is a compilation of the Best Online Master of Professional Studies Graduate Schools based on qualities that will provide each student with an excellent education, professional enrichment, and career advancement. The following factors were considered:
- Offered through a 100% online or hybrid format, offering concentrations in Professional Studies,
- Provides rigorous coursework applicable to the Professional Studies degree,
- Taught by exceptional faculty members with a focus on Professional Studies,
- Prepares graduates for a professional career or can provide career advancement opportunities,
- Displays positive acceptable, retention, graduation, and job placement rates,
- Provides financial aid services,
- Is properly accredited pursuant to high university standards, as well as distance learning formats,
- States positive student reviews and notability from academic and journalistic resources.
Best Online Master of Professional Studies Graduate Schools
Missouri State University
: 901 S. National Ave., Springfield, MO 65897
: 417 836 5000
A highly prestigious public university in the country, the Missouri State University, has three campuses within Missouri and one in Dalian, China. Since its founding in 1905, it has helped prepare students for their chosen careers. The university has enrolled tens of thousands of students across various educational levels. Their student-centered learning is integral in promoting and supporting not only academic success but also personal development.
- The program requires students to complete 33 credit hours.
- Several areas of concentration are available, including Criminal Justice, Applied Communication, Project Development, and Hospitality Administration.
- The Master of Professional Studies programs at Missouri State University can be completed fully online, with an added option to develop an individualized course of study.
- On average, the Master of Professional Studies programs in this institution cost $3,500, making them one of the country’s most affordable programs.
- The required and core courses vary depending on the area of concentration. For example, the MPS in Applied Communication gives students an option to choose four required courses, and the rest are core courses that make up 24 credit hours.
Standout Features of Missouri State University’s Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
On top of the six areas of concentration on offer, the online Master of Professional Studies at Missouri State University also allows Individualized studies. This means students can customize their MPS degree to fit their needs. They can develop their program of study by consulting with the Individualized Graduate Committee.
Missouri State University houses a wide range of centers and institutes, including the Center for Archaeological Research, Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences, Center for Resource Planning and Management, Ozarks Public Health Institute, and Foreign Language Institute. The university has continuously received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission since 1915.
Tennessee Technological University
: 1 William L Jones Dr, Cookeville, TN 38505
: 931 372 3888
Established in 1915, Tennessee Technological University is known for its commitment to transformative experiences in a technologically driven world by offering a range of STEM-infused and comprehensive programs across higher education levels. This highly regarded public university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
- Tennessee Technological University’s Master of Professional Studies program is available 24/7 online.
- The program offers six degree concentrations designed for career advancement, including Corporate Communication, Healthcare Administration, Human Resources Leadership, Media and Strategic Communication, Public Safety, and Strategic Leadership.
- They also offer a master’s concentration in Training and Development for those who aim to be specialists in managing, delivering, and assessing on-site training programs.
- The program requires the completion of 30 hours of interdisciplinary coursework.
- To qualify for admission, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Applicants must also demonstrate five years of work experience through a portfolio, including a resume, essay, professional reference, and other additional items.
Standout Features of Tennessee Technological University’s Online Master of Professional Studies Programs:
Designed to meet professionals’ educational needs, the Master of Professional Studies program at Tennessee Technological University is both affordable and flexible. Once completed, students can earn the degree program with an embedded certificate program.
Tennessee Tech used to be called the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute from 1915 to 1965. Its seal is put on display on the Derryberry clock tower. In 1965, the name was changed to Tennessee Technological University, fondly called Tech by its supporters. The university is symbolized by its beloved mascot and two-time consecutive UCA National Championship title winner, Awesome Eagle.
: 640 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
: 202 687 8700
Since its foundation in 1789, Georgetown University solidified its place as one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Its global network has reached 190,000. Currently, the university enrolls 17,000 students from 135 different countries.
- The online Master of Professional Studies from Georgetown University covers a wide range of subject areas, including Applied Intelligence, Real Estate, Higher Education Administration, Human Resource Management, Journalism, and many more.
- Fully available remotely, the Master of Professional Studies programs can be completed full-time and part-time, allowing students a flexible schedule that fits their needs.
- Apart from the online accessibility, the programs are also offered on-campus and in executive formats.
- Most of the programs require 33 credit hours for completion and can take students 2 to 5 years to finish.
- The online Master of Professional Studies programs open fall, spring, and summer semesters, with 6 to 9 hours rendered per week.
- GMAT and GRE are not part of the requirements to enter the university’s MPS programs.
Standout Features of Georgetown University’ Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
The Master of Professional Studies programs offered at Georgetown University are accelerated and can be earned completely online. While the MPS programs typically require a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, the university takes a holistic approach by evaluating the applicant’s academic history, professional qualifications, and other factors before admission.
Georgetown University houses a wide range of schools. It includes the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown Law, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Robert E. McDonough School of Business, Georgetown College, and School of Continuing Studies where the Master of Professional Studies programs belong.
University of Arizona
: 1200 E. University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721
: 520 621 0898
A land-grant university established in 1885, the University of Arizona pushes for educational offerings, partnerships, and community service to build sustainable relationships with Native Nations and indigenous communities. The university offers more than 300 majors across a variety of study areas.
- Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Indigenous Governance at the University of Arizona is offered in different tracks. It includes Tribal Justice, Native Economic Development, and a range of elective courses.
- This MPS program is available in a hybrid format, combining both online and on-campus classes.
- The degree requires 30 credit hours which can be completed within one year.
- Students of this MPS program are allowed to create their specialized courses of study.
- Applications for Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Indigenous Governance are accepted and reviewed regularly.
Standout Features of the University of Arizona’s Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
The university’s Master of Professional Studies in Indigenous Governance program is a unique offer that advances Indigenous issues. Courses related to Indigenous Governance are also hosted by other campus partners such as the Graduate College, Eller College of Management, The School of Environment and Natural Resources, and many more.
The University of Arizona has rich and colorful traditions. Two of their main attractions are their mascots Wilbur and Wilma, and their nationally acclaimed marching band. Their commitment to academic excellence is exemplified by over 100 centers and institutes that provide research opportunities to students, researchers, government, and industry.
: 1 University Park Dr, Nashville, TN 37204, USA
: 615 966 1100
Nestled in the heart of Nashville, Lipscomb University is a private institution known for its excellent academic programs and small teacher-to-student ratio. It currently offers more than 176 undergraduate programs, 60 master’s degree programs, and several doctorate programs.
- The Master of Professional Studies program at Lipscomb University is designed with working adults in mind, allowing students a convenient and customized degree that works around their hectic schedules.
- Some of the requirements for completion include a course of study built with a faculty advisor, a research plan, and a capstone project.
- This program can maintain its competitive advantage by combining two certificate programs tailored to its graduate study. Program options include Business Leadership, Performance Coaching, Sustainability, and many more.
- Students can be admitted to this graduate degree program if they have a bachelor’s degree and meet the minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.
- The MPS program requires students to complete 30-36 credit hours.
Standout Features of Lipscomb University’s Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
Students are allowed to create a program of studies based on their educational needs and career goals. They can earn the online Master of Professional Studies degree by selecting two stackable certificates with a research core and research methods and a capstone project.
Recognized for its many achievements and successes, Lipscomb University has built its credibility since its founding in 1891. It was one of the fastest-growing private doctoral universities in the country in 2019. The US News and World Reports recognized the university as an A+ School for B Students. It has been included in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of 100 best values in private universities several times.
Penn State World Campus
: 128 Outreach Building, University Park, PA 16802
: 800 252 3592
The Pennsylvania State University boasts more than 125 years of experience under its belt. It was one of the first few universities to offer fully online degrees when it launched the Penn State World Campus in 1998. The university currently offers more than 150 programs through the World Campus.
- The online Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership at Penn State World Campus requires 33 credits, with each credit costing $950.
- The program focuses on fostering leadership by helping students understand people and social situations in work settings instead of improving managerial skills.
- To earn the MPS degree, students must complete nine required courses and both psychology and non-psychology electives.
- A baccalaureate degree from an accredited school in the US is also required to be admitted to the program.
- Students are expected to have acquired full-time paid work experience for a minimum of 2 years before admission.
Standout Features of Pennsylvania State University’s Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
To offer the MPS in Psychology of Leadership program online, Penn State World Campus collaborated with the Penn State College of Liberal Arts. The focus of the program is the relationship between leaders and followers. Instructors of this degree include world-famous researchers and practitioners of leadership, ensuring working professionals learn from the best.
Pennsylvania State University is known for its academically rigorous and accredited programs. They have received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Students at the Penn State World Campus can access a full range of services, from academic advising and career counseling to technical support, a nationally recognized research library, and tutorials.
University of North Alabama
: 1 Harrison Plaza, Florence, AL 35632
: 256 765 4100
The University of North Alabama has been producing competent students for 185 years! It is known for online degree programs offered in the same quality as courses and faculty as their on-campus counterparts. They are also known for their commitment to providing lifelong opportunities for people of all ages.
- Seeking to meet the career-oriented objectives of working professionals, the online Master of Professional Studies program is 100% online and available face-to-face.
- The program requires anywhere between 33 and 36 credit hours and can take students two years to complete. The latter is subject to the course load taken by each student.
- Students must complete six core courses, including Professional Communications, Globalizations and Society, Applied Research for Professionals, Leadership, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Organizations, Institutions and Change, and Capstone/Thesis.
- They offer four areas of concentration: Information Technology, Security and Safety Leadership, Community Development, and Higher Education Administration.
- Students are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores for admission.
Standout Features of the University of North Alabama’s Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
In the University of North Alabama’s Online Master of Professional Studies program, students can customize their areas of study depending on their knowledge base. They are expected to communicate with their academic advisor to select and schedule their specialization coursework within the 12 graduate credit-hour requirement. The Master of Professional Studies program in this university has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The University of North Alabama is known for its affordable and accessible education to full-time professionals. A graduate degree from the university can cost only around $12,000 to $17,850. The costs are further brought down by financial aid, employee reimbursement schemes, and scholarships.
Fort Hays State University
: 600 Park Street, Hays, KS 67601-4099
: 785 628 3478
Fort Hays State University is located on the great plains of the American Midwest, which presents students with a safe and friendly college town that offers rich cultural experiences, from great food and art exhibits to theatre performances and festivals.
- Students should complete 30 credit hours to earn the online Master of Professional Studies program at Fort Hays State University, nine credit hours devoted to the core curriculum.
- The program has a concentration in Criminal Justice under the Department of Criminal Justice.
- For admission, students need to meet the minimum GPA requirement of 3.0.
- Students are allowed to choose three electives, equivalent to 9 credit hours, with their options ranging from Internship in Criminal Justice, Crime and Media, and Violence in Society.
- A research project, individualized project, or a thesis as a capstone is required to be completed in the last semester.
- Students are also expected to take and pass a comprehensive examination to earn the degree.
Standout Features of Fort Hays State University’s Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
The online Master of Professional Studies program with a concentration in Criminal Justice is offered under the Department of Criminal Justice. The department offers hands-on learning and opportunities for internships. Students have interned with the Hays Police Department, State of Kansas Community Corrections, and Kansas City FB Field Office.
Founded in 1902, Fort Hays State University constantly ranked in the top regional universities in the American Midwest. This regional public university is also a regular in the “best college” rankings of the US News and World Report and USDLA.
: 616 Thurston Ave., Ithaca, NY 14853
: 607 254 4636
Cornell University boasts 16 departments, two schools, and a research expenditure amounting to $242 million in a leading institution for scientific learning. Since 1865, it has grown into a prominent university with a high commitment to quality education. Currently, it enrolls 3,23,620 students.
- A career-focused program with concentrations in the fields of life, social and environmental sciences, and agriculture, Cornell University’s online Master of Professional Studies is composed of two main components: coursework and capstone project.
- Students must complete 20 credit units within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and take six credit hours of courses across Cornell University.
- The degree program can be earned upon the completion of 30 credit hours.
- Students are required to meet the minimum semester grade point average of 2.5 to earn the degree.
- The MPS program can be typically completed in 1 year.
- Focus areas for this program include Food Chemistry and Product Development, Controlled Environment Agriculture, Hemp Science, and Sustainable Systems, among many others.
Standout Features of Cornell University’s Online Master of Professional Studies Program:
Cornell University distinguishes being affiliated with 50 Nobel laureates, either as faculty members or alumni. This includes Roald Hoffman, Harold Varmus, Eric Betzig, Robert W. Fogel, and Toni Morrison.
: 2970 Broadway, MC 4119 New York, New York 10027
: 212 854 9666
Known as one of the world’s important research centers, Columbia University has provided quality and excellence in higher education since its establishment more than 250 years ago. It has 20 prestigious affiliated schools, one of which is the School of Professional Studies. The latter has been providing students with knowledge and skills to advance their personal and professional goals.
- The Master of Professional Studies programs at Columbia University are known for being innovative and ground-breaking. They are available online and part-time.
- There are two concentrations offered: the MPS program in Wealth Management and the MPS program in Insurance Management.
- Also required are five years of professional experience to be admitted in the Insurance Management program and two years for Wealth Management.
- A bachelor’s degree with a GPA 3.0 is also required for admission.
- Students must obtain 30 credits for degree completion within four consecutive terms.
Standout Features of Columbia University’s Online Master of Professional Studies Programs:
Columbia University’s online Master of Professional Studies in Wealth Management is the only degree of its kind in the Ivy League. It is a CFP Board Registered program designed for students who wish to meet their CFP certification.
Columbia University boasts over 20 research centers and institutes, with an annual research expenditure of $1 billion. It has helped produce 84 Nobel Laureates, including Theodore Roosevelt, Herman Joseph Muller, George Wald, Milton Friedman, and Nadine Gordimer, among many others.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Master of Professional Studies?
Often confined to practical and conceptual education and training, the Master of Professional Studies is interdisciplinary. The aim is to help prepare graduates to advance in a particular field, especially niche industries requiring specialized knowledge and skills.
Owing to the changing demands of the professional landscape, a Master of Professional Studies degree focuses on cultivating skills that employers want. Apart from conceptual learning, there is also a strong emphasis on hands-on research. Graduates are provided with firsthand experience to form a more solid understanding of theories and practice and apply what they learned.
Professional growth and career advancement are often at the core of this advanced degree program.
What sets Master of Professional Studies apart from other advanced degrees?
While the Master of Professional Studies is also considered a terminal degree, it differs significantly from Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science degrees because of its narrow and specific focus. Programs offered under the Master of Professional Studies cater to professionals who wish to learn and acquire interdisciplinary knowledge and extensive technical expertise with the aim of career advancement.
Since these programs are mostly geared towards working professionals, the classes are often held in the evenings, during weekends, or through online mediums to accommodate their hectic schedules. Moreover, part-time programs are the norm.
Industry experts lead the classroom instructions instead of traditional graduate degrees where a tenured faculty is at the helm. A Master of Professional Studies program often culminates in a capstone project, unlike its counterparts, requiring completing a thesis for graduation. Applied research and hands-on experience go hand in hand in a Master of Professional Studies program, going beyond the usual theory and research.
Who can benefit from a Master of Professional Studies program?
A Master of Professional Studies program is geared towards working professionals who seek career advancement and development. They have very specific knowledge, and skill sets that they wish to enhance, and in the process, help them grow their current careers. Ultimately, students of professional studies graduate programs are equipped with skills necessary for their specific career paths.
This type of terminal degree offers courses that combine applied research, specialized skills, and hands-on learning. It is mostly ideal for an almost immediate leap to the workforce right after they graduate. Students who take this advanced degree program are usually employed, so the flexible, part-time format suits their needs.
Is an online Master of Professional Studies program worth it?
If one’s goal is to acquire specialized knowledge and skills to develop and grow as professionals, then an online Master of Professional Studies program is worth looking into. This graduate degree often offers a range of professionally focused concentrations integral to their career advancement journey. Because of its specific scope, a Master of Professional Studies program is valued by employers. It is structured to prioritize the application of research skills, evidence-based problem-solving, and a combination of theory and practice across various disciplines.
In most online Master of Professional Studies programs, students are given ample opportunity to engage with professionals experienced in their respective fields and industry experts. They can also find opportunities to build their network, participate in valuable internships, and avail themselves of other career advancement benefits.
What employment opportunities does an online Master of Professional Studies program offer?
An online Master of Professional Studies program is designed to equip students with training to enhance their career prospects. Working professionals on career growth and enhancement can use this degree to gain practical competencies immediately applicable to their line of work. Career opportunities like promotions are on sight for those who complete this degree.
For example, an HR professional can be prepared for upper-level positions such as compensation and benefits manager and director of industrial relations. The specialized programs equip them with the right type of specialized skills that give them a considerable advantage over their competitors.