Psychology of Leadership

Graduate Program HeadKristin Ann Buss
Program CodePSYLD
Campus(es)World Campus (M.P.S.)
Degrees ConferredMaster of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)
The Graduate Faculty


The M.P.S. degree in Psychology of Leadership is designed for individuals who are in the early and middle stages of their organizational careers, currently in or aspiring to leadership positions. The content of the program is appropriate for individuals employed in a wide range of functional specialties and industry sectors, including public agencies.

The M.P.S. degree in Psychology of Leadership examines the nature and role of leadership across varied organizational settings. Leadership is broadly defined as the process of influencing others (individually or collectively) in organizational settings. The program is based on well-supported psychological research and theory that have been shown to increase leadership effectiveness in work groups and organizations. While based in research, the program emphasizes the application of learned knowledge. Courses address the ways that various aspects and techniques of leadership can enhance the motivation, attitudes, and performance of individuals and teams in organizations.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Educational Background

Students who do not have a GPA of at least 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the quality of their overall application. Applicants who are still completing their baccalaureate requirements at the time of application may be admitted to the Graduate School provisionally, pending the awarding of the baccalaureate degree. Students are also expected to have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience prior to admission.

Core Application Packet

  • Completed official online Graduate School application and payment of nonrefundable application fee.
  • Statement of purpose: a 2-3 page essay articulating career and educational goals that demonstrates the student’s written communication skills.
  • A current vita or resume.
  • Three letters of recommendation that attest to the student’s readiness for graduate study and document the requisite minimum of two years of paid work experience. Letters must be submitted through the online application. Within the online application the student will be asked to enter the names and email addresses of three individuals who will be providing recommendations. Those individuals will receive a note via email asking them to complete a brief form that will serve as the recommendation. The student should inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for the application to be complete.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended

Degree Requirements

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

Total required credits for the MPS: 33 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level; at least 27 must be at the 500 or 800 level, with at least 6 at the 500 level. Students must complete 9 credits of required courses and a 3-credit capstone course that serves as the culminating experience. Students choose the remaining 21 credits from a list of approved electives maintained by the program office.

Required Courses
PSY 532Psychological Foundations of Leadership3
PSY 539Foundations of Behavior, Motivation, and Attitudes at Work3
PSY 833Ethics and Leadership: Psychological and Social Processes3
Select 21 credits from list of approved electives maintained by the program office.21
Culminating Experience
PSY 894Capstone Experience (Scholarly Paper)3
Total Credits33

The culminating experience provides students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge of the psychological theories and principles concerning leadership to an applied research project. The choice of research project topic will be mutually determined by the instructor and each student. A written paper based on the applied project is required and must contain project description, analysis, and interpretation of its findings, as well as a review of relevant published literature.


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

World Campus students in graduate degree programs may be eligible for financial aid. Refer to the Tuition and Financial Aid section of the World Campus website for more information.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Psychology (PSY) Course List

Learning Outcomes

  1. Graduates will be able to explain relevant theories underlying and related to the psychology of leadership.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply psychological theories to leadership issues and situations.
  3. Graduates will be able to synthesize theories to communicate a comprehensive understanding of the psychology of leadership.
  4. Graduates will be able to analyze leadership situations in order to evaluate leader behaviors and predict their effectiveness in self and others.
  5. Graduates will be able to analyze leadership situations with respect to ethics and understand the implications of leader behavior in self and others.
  6. Graduates will be able to evaluate their own leadership behaviors and plan steps for improvement.
  7. Graduates will be able to plan strategies for improving leadership and organizational effectiveness.


Campus World Campus
Graduate Program Head Kristin Buss
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Greg Edward Loviscky
Program Contact

Mike Joyce
140 Moore Bldg
University Park PA 16802
(814) 865-0704

Program Website View