by Web Manager published Jan 19, 2017 11:55 AM, last modified Feb 09, 2017 02:49 PM
FAQs for Prospective Students

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Does your program require the GRE?

No. However, the Graduate School may require international students to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), depending on the country where the institution that granted your previous degree(s) is located. See http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/prospective-students/how-to-apply/new-applicants/requirements-for-graduate-admission/ for the current list of countries whose students are exempt from this requirement. (Scroll down to English Proficiency: Exemptions from English Proficiency Testing.)

Are courses given in person at all or only online? If online only, are the courses pre-recorded or only given at certain times?

All PSU World Campus courses are conducted entirely online. The format of the courses in our program includes required reading and online discussion groups. In most cases there will be a fair bit of writing and possibly an occasional quiz. For each assignment, you are given a timeframe for completion; you can work at your own pace within this timeframe as long as you meet the assignment’s deadline. Also, note that unlike a few of the World Campus graduate degree programs, the MPS in Psychology of Leadership program has no residency requirement.

How much does the program cost?

You need 33 credits to graduate; each course represents three credits. Generally speaking, the total cost of program tuition will be the current cost-per-credit established by the World Campus, multiplied by 33; however, if you take a large enough course load in any given semester you will be charged a flat rate for tuition. In addition, Penn State automatically adds an information technology fee to your bill every semester, based on the number of credits you are taking. For details and current prices, visit http://worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/psychology-leadership-at-work-masters/overview.

How long does it take to complete the program?

That is entirely up to you. Most students average two three-credit courses per semester, but you can take as few as one or as many as you think you reasonably have time for, although we recommend students not take more than three. (Two courses is the minimum required to be eligible for any kind of financial assistance; for more information, visit Tuition and Financial Aid on the World Campus site.) Once you are admitted to the program, you can work out a study plan with your academic advisor that best meets your needs and your interests.

Once I start the program, can I miss a semester?

You can temporarily withdraw from the program for up to three consecutive semesters without having to reapply simply by not registering for any classes, although you will have to complete a Resume Studies application when you are ready to return. You can read more about this process at http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/prospective-students/how-to-apply/new-applicants/requirements-for-graduate-admission/  Note that the PSU Graduate School expects students to complete their degree programs within eight years. However, it is possible to petition for an extension if special circumstances warrant it. 

What options do I have if I find I cannot begin my studies as planned, due to unforeseen circumstances?

Submit a written request to the MPS program administrator asking to have the Graduate School defer you to the following semester. (Email is acceptable.) You can do this for three consecutive semesters without having to reapply. Note, however, that once the Graduate School defers you, the online system regards you as a newly accepted applicant; you will have to go back into your Graduate School status page at some point and accept the new offer before you can register for classes.

Is this an industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology program? If not, how does it differ?

No. I/O psychology is a broad discipline that includes leadership as just one component among many others such as personnel selection and assessment, training, work-family conflict, etc. Our program examines leadership from a psychological perspective and starts with the idea that our leadership style is determined by who we are, the experiences we have, and how we view others, rather than the organization for which we work.

How do I know whether your program would be a good fit for me?

Working professionals in any field can benefit from the advanced education in leadership our program provides, whether their goal is personal career enhancement, better support for organizational goals and objectives, or mastery of new strategies for motivating work groups and individuals. Please browse our course offerings to learn more about specific courses and whether they could apply directly to your career.

Is your program currently accredited?

The MPS Psychology of Leadership degree is accredited as are all programs at Penn State. Penn State's president, Dr. Eric Barron, confers the power and authority to the University Faculty Senate to approve all programs that the University offers. Our program was approved by the Faculty Senate in 2014 and we admitted our first group of students in 2015.

Penn State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).  We are on a 10-year reaccreditation cycle, and the most recent reaccreditation was in 2015.  Here is a link to an article that explains the process:


You will note that the article cited the strength of the World Campus as one of the factors considered in our reaccreditation.

What types of job opportunities exist for graduates with this degree?

The MPS in Psychology of Leadership does not prepare you for a specific job or a specific field. Rather, the program is aimed at working professionals who want to move into leadership roles in their chosen field(s). Its great benefit is that the concepts it teaches can be applied to leadership positions in almost any field imaginable.

What opportunities exist for networking or mentoring after graduation?

All graduates of PSU World Campus programs are PSU alumni with access to the same postgraduation resources as full-time students. These include the Alumni Career Services group, which offers both networking and mentoring opportunities, as well as the chance to join one of the many Penn State alumni groups located around the world. Also, we are currently in the process of developing networking opportunities specifically for our MPS in Psychology of Leadership graduates.

What type of coursework or projects should I expect to encounter throughout the program?

MPS in Psychology of Leadership courses tend to be writing-intensive. In addition to specific writing assignments, you will be required to participate in one or more online discussion groups. There may be an occasional quiz. Some—but not all—of the courses require textbooks. Your final course, the Capstone Experience, has a major writing component.

Can the two years of work experience required for program admission include internships or work-study positions? Also, do you ever waive the requirement, for example, based on letters of recommendation or at your own discretion?

No and no. Work experience is necessary to provide context for understanding leadership as applied in our program and is thus one of the basic requirements for admission. Note that applicants do not need to have held leadership positions previously; they need only have experienced leadership in action in a work setting.

Is there interaction between the students or between students and instructors?

In addition to written assignments, you will be expected to participate in online discussion forums with other students. Instructors should provide you with timely feedback about your progress, and you can always contact them by email.

How many students are accepted each semester?

Our program only began in summer of 2015, so enrollment numbers have not settled into a regular pattern yet. But so far enrollment has steadily risen each semester, from an initial figure of about 15 to more than 50 in fall 2016.

Typically, where do students in the program come from—which countries and companies?

Literally from all over the world. We don’t track companies or industries; we do, of course, have many current Penn State employees and alumni, and we have a number of students engaged in the military.

Is it possible to sample or demo a course?

There are sample syllabi available on the course schedule page for some courses in progress or courses recently taught. For general information about the World Campus online learning experience, see their How Online Learning Works page.

I already have a degree. Can any of my courses be used to fulfill some of the MPS in Psychology of Leadership elective requirements?

Possibly. Currently, the maximum number of credits eligible for transfer into our program is six, and courses must have been taken within the last five years. You will need to provide the director with the syllabi of the courses you wish to be considered for transfer credit. In addition, the Graduate School has its own policy regarding transfer credit, which you can read about at http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/prospective-students/how-to-apply/new-applicants/requirements-for-graduate-admission/.

What is the average annual salary with this degree?

There is no one answer to this question, as salary depends on the field in which you are or will be working, how long you have been employed, and other factors specific to your situation.

What is the Capstone Experience?

Students enroll in the Capstone Experience as the final course required for the MPS in Psychology of Leadership degree. Currently they can choose to focus on either an issue encountered in their own organization or an organization to which they aspire to belong as the subject of a major project or paper. The Capstone Experience gives students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned throughout the entire program to the solution or recommended solution to a real world problem. 

FAQs for Current Students

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I can’t register for classes in LionPATH because the system is telling me there is a “hold” on my record. What does this mean?

Most likely, you have not yet accepted the Financial Responsibility Agreement (FRA), the link to which is located in the blue information box on the right-hand side of the LionPATH Student Center screen. You will have to do this every enrollment period, as well as complete the Pre-Registration Activities and any other items LionPATH enters on your To Do List. Your account may also incur an enrollment hold if you if you have not yet paid your term bill, as explained in the next item.

When and how do I pay for my courses? I’m confused in general about finance-related issues.

As of the 2016 fall semester, students receive and pay bills via LionPATH. Each semester, the system sends an email to your PSU address to let you know your bill is available. You will find it under the Finances tab of your LionPATH student center page; any financial aid you receive will already have been factored in to the amount you owe. You can then pay by eCheck or credit card. Failure to pay your bill by the specified due date causes the system to automatically place an enrollment hold on your account. You will also incur a 1.5 percent late payment fee. For a detailed explanation of the LionPATH bill payment process, including a link to a tutorial, see http://blog.worldcampus.psu.edu/2016/11/receiving-and-paying-your-bill-in-lionpath-what-you-need-to-know/.

My military assistance plan requires me to file a degree plan or progress report in lionPATH. Can you help me with this?

LionPATH does not include a standard degree plan, but your academic advisor will work with you to develop an individualized plan based on the degree requirements outlined on this page:


Start by reviewing these requirements and determine how many courses and which ones you would like to take each semester. Contact your academic advisor if you have questions, and once you have a tentative plan, send it to her for review and arrange a time to discuss it.

Once your plan is final, the program director will give you a signed cover memo that you can submit to your employer, along with the plan itself.

I’ve registered for a course for the upcoming semester. How can I get a copy of the syllabus?

You can obtain a copy of a course syllabus in two ways:

For courses labeled PSY—that is, those offered by the Psychology department—you can simply visit this page on the PSU College of Liberal Arts website: http://www.la.psu.edu/online/students-resources/online-courses/psychology-of-leadership

For eligible electives like CAS 404 or OLEAD 409, you will need to do a course search in lionPATH. To find the syllabus for OLEAD 409, for example, display the Class Search page and click on the Class number in the left-hand column (circled in red below):



That action will bring up the following screen, from which you can click on the link circled in red below to see the course syllabus and any required materials. (Not all courses have them.)


Why won’t LionPATH let me drop a course?

Probably because it is your only course. Once classes begin, if you want to drop out of all your courses for that semester, the Graduate School considers that you are actually withdrawing (even if only temporarily). In this case, in order to drop that last course, you must file a Withdrawal form with the Registrar’s office; when ready to return, you must then file a Resume Studies application with the Graduate School. You should be aware that withdrawing for a semester can have financial aid implications. For full details of the Graduate School’s Withdrawal policy, including a link to the Withdrawal form, see http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/current-students/withdrawal/. The Withdrawal form is also available directly from the University Registrar’s site: http://registrar.psu.edu/student_forms/withdrawal_form.cfm.

How do I file a Resume Studies application and what should I expect to happen when I do?

You can find the Resume Studies application at http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/prospective-students/how-to-apply/current-students/. The Graduate School will treat your Resume Studies application in the same way as your initial application. That is, once you receive word that they have accepted your application, you will have to log into your Graduate School status page and accept this new offer before you can enroll in classes.

What if I’ve enrolled in classes ahead of time, but find I have to drop out, due to unforeseen circumstances?

In that case, you can simply cancel your registration. The University Registrar’s website explains how to do this at http://www.registrar.psu.edu/leaving_university/cancel_registration.cfm.

Why can’t I register for the capstone experience?

The capstone experience is available only to students entering their final semester in the program. Just before each enrollment period, we provide the World Campus with a list of eligible students; the World Campus then enables capstone registration for those students individually in LionPATH.

I’m a student in another World Campus degree program, but I think the MPS in Psychology of Leadership might better match my goals. Do I have to apply all over again?

No, but you will have to file a Change of Major/Degree form with the Graduate School, available at http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/prospective-students/how-to-apply/current-students/. Once submitted, the system treats the form much like your original application, in that it passes through an automated approval process, after which you must go into your Graduate School status page and accept the offer, before you can move forward with enrollment.

What courses should I take next?

This is a question you will want to discuss with your academic advisor.

Can I graduate in a semester other than spring?

Yes, commencement exercises are held at the end of the fall, spring, and summer semesters; you can participate at the appropriate time. Besides the traditional ceremonies, the World Campus holds an informal “celebration” of graduates to which they can bring family and friends.