by Web Manager published Jan 19, 2017 11:55 AM, last modified May 28, 2019 03:42 PM
FAQs for Prospective Students

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Is there an application fee?

Yes. As of January, 2020, The fee to apply to Penn State’s graduate programs, including the Master of Professional Studies Psychology of Leadership program is $65.00 for degree-seeking students.

How much does the program cost?

As of January 2020, the total cost of program tuition will be the $65 application fee, plus the cost-per-credit established by the University multiplied by 33. The eleven courses represented by this credit total may be taken at your own pace. If you take 12 or more credits in any given semester you will be charged a flat rate for tuition as a full-time student. However, we advise that our students take no more than three courses per semester. For details and current prices, visit the Penn State World Campus’ tuition estimator web page.

Is Financial Aid available?

Students that take two or more courses during a given semester (which is considered a half-time course load) may be eligible for financial assistance. For more information, visit the World Campus website on Tuition and Financial Aid

How do I apply to the program?

The instructions regarding how to apply are listed on Penn State’s World Campus Master of Professional Studies program website.

Does your program require the GRE?

No. the Master of Professional Studies Psychology of Leadership program does not require the GRE.

What about English proficiency?

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/are located, or the country of the student’s origination.

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.)

What are the program requirements?

Students admitted to the program must earn 33 credits via 11 courses, each worth three credits to earn a degree. There are four  required courses (PSY 532, PSY, 539, PSY 833, and PSY 894) that every student must take. Students must also complete five Psychology (PSY) electives and two non-Psychology electives.  Only courses that are pre-approved to serve as program electives can satisfy this requirement. 

For more information, see the Psychology of Leadership Master of Professional Studies program requirement details .

How long does it take to complete the program?

Most students take two courses per semester. This would see a student complete the program in two years, including summers (six  semesters). However, students may take as few as one or as many as they feel is reasonable. We recommend students not take more than three courses per semester. Once admitted to the program, students can work out a study plan with their academic advisor that best meets their needs and interests.

For more information, see the Psychology of Leadership Master of Professional Studies program requirement details .

Can the two years of paid, full-time 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. Work experience provides our students with the necessary context to understand leadership and inform their studies in our program. Thus, two years of paid, full-time work experience is a basic requirement for admission and will not be waived.

Note: Applicants do not need to have held leadership positions previously. They need only have two years of work experience.

Does the program require an in-person component?

No, the Master of Professional Studies, Psychology of Leadership program is taken entirely online through Penn State’s World Campus. There is no residency requirement.

What is the format of the program’s courses?

The courses in our program are presented entirely online, requiring reading, papers, individual and group projects, and online discussion groups. In most cases there will be a lot of writing. For each assignment, you are given a timeframe for completion; you can work at your own pace within this timeframe. However, students must meet the established deadline for any given assignment.

Is there interaction between students or between students and instructors?

Yes. In addition to written assignments, students are expected to participate in online discussion forums. In addition, instructors will provide timely feedback about student progress, and the faculty are always available via email.  Whenever needed, students and instructors can schedule individual, real-time meetings via video chat or phone.

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

Yes.  Some students take summers off, and this has no impact on your status as an enrolled student.  If there are extenuating circumstances, a student may temporarily withdraw from the program for up to three consecutive semesters without having to reapply simply by not registering for any classes.  However, they will have to complete a Resume Studies application when they are ready to return. You can read more about this process at  http://gradschool.psu.edu/prospective-students/how-to-apply/current-students/

Note: The 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?

Students may submit a written request to the MPS program administrator requesting the Graduate School defer admission to a following semester. (Sending the request via email is acceptable.) Students can request deferring their admission for up to three consecutive semesters without having to reapply.

Note: However, once deferred, the student will have to go back into the Graduate School Application status page and accept the offer again before registering for classes.

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

No. Industrial and Organizational (I/O) psychology is a broad discipline that includes leadership as one component among others, including personnel selection and assessment, training, work-family conflict, etc. Our program on leadership does not cover these other components that an I/O program will.

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 by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), as are all programs at Penn State. We are on a 10-year reaccreditation cycle, and the most recent reaccreditation was in 2015. 

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

The MPS in Psychology of Leadership is aimed at working professionals who want to move into leadership roles in their chosen field(s). Our program benefits its students through teaching leadership skills that apply to almost any endeavor. In addition, all students and alumni are eligible to engage the many career resources Penn State has to offer.

What opportunities exist for networking or mentoring after graduation?

All PSU alumni have access to the same postgraduation resources. 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.

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

Students in the MPS in Psychology of Leadership program come from many vocations and hail from a wide variety of countries all over the world. Currently, the program enrolls  students that have professions as military personnel, corporate executives, educators, and other professionals.

Is it possible to sample or demo a course?

No. While demoing a course is not possible, there are sample syllabi for our program courses on  this College of Liberal Arts page.

For general information about the World Campus online learning experience, see their  How Online Learning Works  page.

Can I use transfer courses towards satisfying the program’s requirements?

Students may be able to transfer two graduate-level courses as non-Psychology electives if they are relevant to the study of leadership and have been taken within the last five years. However, any courses taken to satisfy previous degree requirements, whether at Penn State or elsewhere, cannot be applied toward the Psychology of Leadership degree.   If there are course credits that were  not used to earn a degree, and that might be relevant to this program, you can send copies of the course(s) syllabi to the program director for evaluation.

What is the average annual salary with this degree?

There is no one answer to this question, as salary depends on the field in question, length of employment, and other factors specific to the given situation.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook contains salary data for most professions.

What is the Capstone Experience?

Students enroll in the Capstone Experience as the final course required for the MPS 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?

Holds on a student’s account must be resolved before changes can be made to a student’s account (e.g. enroll in courses). Most likely, you have not yet accepted the Financial Responsibility Agreement (FRA) for the new semester, but there are other possibilities. There will be a new FRA for every enrollment period, as well as Pre-Registration Activities and any other items LionPATH enters on your To Do List that you will have to complete. Click the “My Information” button and then click the “Holds” button for information on the item and how to resolve it.


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

Students receive and pay bills via LionPATH. Each semester, the system sends an email to the student’s PSU email address to alert them that their bill is available. Click on the ”My Finances” button on the LionPATH home page; any financial aid will already have been factored in to the amount owed. The bill can be paid by eCheck or credit card. Failure to pay the bill by the specified due date causes the system to automatically place an enrollment hold on the account. There is also a 1.5 percent late payment fee that may be incurred if the bills are not paid by the due date. For a detailed explanation of the LionPATH bill payment process, including a link to a tutorial, see  https://blog.worldcampus.psu.edu/2018/04/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 an 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. Once you have a tentative plan, send it to your academic advisor 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

For eligible electives like MGMT 507 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?

In general, students may drop a course during the semester before the late-drop deadline. However, if it is the only course on a student’s schedule, you must submit a withdrawal.  Once classes begin, a student dropping out of all their courses for that semester is considered  withdrawing (even if only temporarily).

To withdraw, a student must file a Withdrawal form with the Registrar’s office. When ready to return, they must then file a Resume Studies application with the Graduate School. Students should be aware that withdrawing for a semester can have financial aid implications.

Use this link for full details of the Graduate School’s Withdrawal policy, including a link to the Withdrawal form .

How does a student file a Resume Studies application and what should they expect to happen when they do?

Students should click the “Apply to Resume Study” button on the Resume Study, Change of Major, and/or Add a Certificate page on the Graduate School’s web site. The Graduate School will treat the Resume Studies application in the same way as your initial application. That is, once the student receives word that they have accepted the application, the student will have to log into your Graduate School status page and accept this new offer before they can enroll in classes.

Note: a Resume Studies application does not require a fee, transcript, or references.

What if a student enrolled in classes ahead of time, but finds out they have to drop out due to unforeseen circumstances?

Students may cancel their registration before the first day of class. The University Registrar’s How to Cancel Your Registration website explains how to do this. Once classes have begun, students wishing to end their enrollment must process a Withdrawal.

How do students register for PSY 894, The Capstone Experience?

The Capstone Experience is available only to students entering their final semester in the program. Eligible students must contact the program administrator if they intend to take the PSY 894 during the upcoming semester. To be eligible to take PSY 894, students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA, have no courses with D or F grades to repeat, and have fulfilled all other degree requirements before the semester in which they take PSY 894.  The administrator  will coordinate the enrollments with the World Campus and enroll the appropriate students directly. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information regarding the Capstone Experience.

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?

This is a question that a student will want to discuss with their academic advisor. However, a student can start by referring to our  MPS in the Psychology of Leadership Degree Requirements document.

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.

What are the SARI requirements?

Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) training is required of all PSU graduate students. In the case of MPS in Psychology of Leadership students, they fulfill the SARI requirements after taking PSY 833, Ethics and Leadership: Psychological and Social Processes. If you've taken and passed PSY 833, you've met the requirements. You don't need to do anything else; our director will update your LionPATH milestones accordingly.