How it Works | Course Descriptions

Master’s of Public Safety: An Online Program For Working Professionals 

The Master’s of Public Safety program is an online graduate program from the University of Virginia that requires 30 credit hours to complete. The curriculum is designed to help develop the next generation of public safety leaders in fields ranging from law enforcement to private nonprofits, fire and rescue, community organizations, all levels of public service, and more. 

Students are required to take five core courses, offered in eight-week sessions throughout the year. The core courses are online and asynchronous, meaning students have flexibility to access instruction and coursework on their own time in order to meet course deadlines and requirements.

The application deadline is July 1 for students who begin classes in August 2021. Applications are now open, and interested students can request additional information about the program. Questions? Email mps@virginia.edu. 

What will I learn?

The program is designed to develop transformational leaders in public safety, and the core instruction focuses on how to lead complex organizations, negotiate and collaborate with peer agencies, how to build and nurture community relationships, and more. Available electives are drawn from a variety of fields, including human resources, public administration and leadership.

Will my credits from UVA ELEVATE, UVA Command College or the FBI National Academy Count? 

Applicants who have successfully completed recent graduate coursework in the University of Virginia’s Command College, UVA ELEVATE or the FBI National Academy may have those credits count toward the degree, though they will still be required to take the five core courses. However, no previous graduate coursework is required for admission to the program.

Program Breakdown

5
Core courses, offered over five eight-week sessions each year.
5
Restricted electives supplement the core courses.
30
Total academic credits.

Course Descriptions

Below are course descriptions of the five core courses that students in the program are required to take. These courses will be offered over eight-week sessions throughout the calendar year. Note that these descriptions may be updated. 

Transformational Leadership in Changing Times

This course explores public safety leadership concepts and essential approaches needed in forging lasting, collaborative relationships with the public they serve. Students will analyze complex social and security issues. While maintaining a mindset of sociocultural awareness and sensitivity, students craft solutions to those public issues by applying advanced knowledge of public safety planning, management, and response.

Constitutional Framework of Public Safety

This course will explore the Constitution as the ethical compass that guides the work of public safety professionals and cement a fundamental understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the subsequent 27 amendments to the Bill of Rights. Students will read each provision closely and discuss their views as to what the framers' intended at the time of ratification, and how the courts have subsequently interpreted its meaning. Particular emphasis will be placed on the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments and their applicability to public safety policy and operational strategy. Students will develop a detailed understanding of both the powers and limitations that arise from the Bill of Rights, and closely examine the evolution of the rule of law that frames and guides their work. 

Developing and Implementing Systems of Emergency Preparedness

This course will examine joint operations and incident command for complex events, both planned and unplanned. Particular emphasis will be placed on command structure, continuity of operations, public safety response to community/public health emergencies, occupational health and safety, local systems and resources, inter-agency cooperation, and communications and technology support. Students will also engage the various law and policy issues that inform public safety responses in this critical sphere and will apply their knowledge through scenario-based exercises.

Creating and Sustaining Community Dialogue

This course focuses on the application of dialogue and deliberation skills and principles in the context of public safety. Students will gain understanding and practice in engaging communities in dialogue and deliberation around such challenging issues as inequality and power; interactions in the aftermath of tragedy; officer fear and anger; historical, political, and economic divides; implicit biases and stereotype threat; and the importance of building coalitions across boundaries.

Stewardship of Public Assets and Managing Human Capital 

This course examines public sector budget planning, analysis, execution, and management. Students will develop a detailed understanding of the legal aspects of public employment law, and the short and long-term impact of recruiting and retaining talented employees. Special emphasis will be placed on the means by which evidence-based strategies may be applied to determine the appropriate number of resources to deploy to normal and complex operations.

Restricted Electives

Students can complete a set of restricted electives from a variety of fields. Again, students who have successfully completed graduate coursework for the FBI National Academy, FBI ELEVATE or UVA National Criminal Justice Command College can count those credits toward the degree. 

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

Summer 2021 Course

PSPS 6040 : Creating and Sustaining Community Dialogue
Online Asynchronous | Available May 24 – Jul 16
Focuses on the application of communication skills and principles in the context of public safety. Students will gain understanding and practice in engaging communities around such challenging issues as inequality and power; interactions in the aftermath of tragedy; officer fear and anger; historical, political, and economic divides; implicit biases and stereotype threat; and the importance of building coalitions across boundaries.
Prerequisite: Admission to the MPS Degree Program
Bryon Gustafson | 3 GR credits | Required

Next Steps

If you’re ready to apply, you can do so here. If you’re interested in additional information about the program, please fill out the information request form. Still have questions? Email mps@virginia.edu

 

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