A focus on practical knowledge

Unlike traditional master’s programs that encompass a broader and more general scope of material, a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) takes a targeted approach, focusing on preparing students for the demands of a specific role or field. This type of program emphasizes the practical application of knowledge and the strengthening of problem-solving skills, so graduates are equipped to handle scenarios they are likely to encounter in the workplace. There is a focus on hands-on learning, and the goal is to help students develop abilities that will prove useful in real-world, “on-the-job” situations.

Students benefit from industry expertise

Courses in MPS programs are typically taught by instructors with extensive experience in that field who draw upon their own expertise to develop relevant course material. This background allows instructors to provide an “inside look” at what it is really like to work in that industry, which can help students better understand the expectations of employers and the qualifications that can best prepare graduates to succeed.

In-depth research or experience opportunity

MPS programs also commonly involve some sort of “culminating experience” element, which may take the form of an internship, an independent research project, or even a community service or volunteer initiative.

For many Penn State World Campus programs, this means a capstone project in which students explore a core topic or important concept through in-depth research and then illustrate how they would apply that knowledge in their intended industry. This project gives students the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained and prove their understanding of how those skills can be used in situations they are likely to encounter in a role they may pursue after earning their degree.