May 30, 2023  
Graduate Record 2022-2023 
Graduate Record 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Master of Public Safety

Return to: School of Continuing and Professional Studies: Programs/Courses  

Program Overview

The Master of Public Safety is an online graduate degree program (with potential in-person course options) that requires 30 credit hours to complete. The curriculum is designed to help develop public safety leaders in law enforcement and adjacent fields such as emergency management and the fire service. 

Students are required to take five core courses, typically offered in eight-week sessions throughout the year. The core courses are primarily online and asynchronous, and may offer some opportunities for synchronous and/or in-person sessions. The remaining fifteen credits will come from approved electives. Program completion includes passing a comprehensive exam.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students may apply to be admitted into one of three terms (Summer, Fall, or Spring) and to be eligible must have:

  • Significant professional experience in public safety (typically 5 or more years and supervisory experience)
  • Either (1) a bachelor’s or graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, or (2) a bachelor’s or graduate degree supplemented by a SCPS criminal justice program certificate
  • Bachelor’s GPA of 2.5 or higher
    • Students with limited professional experience or less than a 2.5 GPA may petition the Program Director for an exception

A complete application includes:

  • Official undergraduate transcript from institution granting the bachelor’s degree
  • A statement of purpose (approximately 500-750 words) explaining the applicant’s reason(s) for pursuing the degree
  • Resume detailing professional experience, education, and other relevant accomplishments
  • Two letters of professional reference that address the applicant’s suitability for graduate study

Meeting minimum requirements and completing an application does not guarantee admission.

Curriculum Requirements

Students will earn 30 credit hours by taking five core courses and five approved electives. The core courses are offered throughout the year over five sessions. 

Required Core Courses

  • PSPS 6000 Transformational Leadership in Changing Times (3 credits)
  • PSPS 6010 Constitutional Framework of Public Safety (3 credits)
  • PSPS 6030 Developing and Implementing Systems of Emergency Preparedness (3 credits)
  • PSPS 6040 Creating and Sustaining Community Dialogue (3 credits)
  • PSPS 6050 Stewardship of Public Assets and Managing Human Capital (3 credits)

Approved Electives

Students complete a set of approved electives from a variety of fields.

Students who have successfully completed recent graduate coursework in the University of Virginia’s National Criminal Justice Command College, FBI ELEVATE or the FBI National Academy may have those credits count toward the degree.

MPS-specific electives are designed to complement the core courses:

  • PSPS 6005 - Practical Applications of Risk Management in Public Safety Operations

Students can also choose to take electives drawn from these graduate certificate programs in UVA’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies:

Other graduate credits earned in other schools/programs at UVA may also be used for elective credit with approval of the Program Director.

Transfer Credits

A student may transfer up to six graduate credit hours into the MPS program from outside UVA. The credits must have been earned from a regionally accredited institution(s) with a grade of B (3.0) or better and within five (5) years prior to initial enrollment in MPS courses. Transfer credits can only be used to fulfill elective requirements. Transfer credits for core course requirements are not permitted. Transfer equivalencies, evaluations, and approvals will be made by the MPS Program Director.

Requirements for the Degree

All coursework (core courses and approved electives) must be completed with a grade of B (3.0) or better in order to count towards the degree. Students may retake a course if they get below a B (3.0). All requirements must be completed within five years of starting the program.

Candidacy & Comprehensive Exam

Following successful completion (grade of B (3.0) or better) of all required coursework, students advance to candidacy. Candidates must take and pass a comprehensive exam in Public Safety to earn the degree. The exam may be oral or written or both and will span the entirety of the core curriculum. The purpose of the exam is to confirm general mastery of the curriculum (i.e., Public Safety) and will be graded pass/fail. Any student who fails the comprehensive exam is entitled to an attempt at remediation (retest).

Other Requirements

All other academic rules, regulations, and information required comports to the standards established by the School of Continuing and Professional Studies as enumerated in the Graduate Record for same.