MPS - Frequently Asked Questions

Below, please find answers to commonly asked questions about the Master of Public Safety. Didn't see what you are looking for? Email mps@virginia.edu at any time. 

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What will I learn and how will this help me?

The Master’s of Public Safety program is for leaders who want to develop professionally while earning a graduate degree from one of the nation’s top public universities.

The program is designed for working professionals, and the curriculum focuses on the complex realities of modern public safety. Graduates will finish the program with a deeper understanding of how to run complex organizations, negotiate and collaborate with peer agencies, and build and nurture the community relationships that are vital for success.

How does the program work?

Students will earn 30 credit hours by taking five core courses and five restricted electives. UVA offers the five core courses throughout the year over five eight-week sessions. All coursework is completely online, delivered asynchronously, and designed for working adults.

Students can be admitted at any time during the three admission cycles: Summer, Fall and Spring. Students are not required to take classes every session, but must complete the program requirements within three years after taking the first core course.

How much does it cost?

Tuition is $608 per credit hour (including mandatory comprehensive fees) for the 2021-2022 academic year, and there’s no difference for in-state and out-of-state students.

Is it online?

Yes, all courses are online. The core coursework is asynchronous, meaning students do not have to attend class at scheduled times, but will be responsible for accessing materials and completing work on their own time. Instructors support students each step of the way as they build critical skills. A weekly “live session” is offered for each course. Students who are unable to attend can watch a recording on their own time/schedule.

I’ve already done the FBI National Academy, FBI ELEVATE or UVA National Criminal Justice Command College. Will those credits count? Yes! Past participants in the FBI’s National Academy, FBI ELEVATE or UVA’s National Criminal Justice Command College may use their existing graduate coursework toward elective requirements, but must take all five core courses, 15 credits, to complete the program. Eligible students who have already completed 15 graduate credits with SCPS that meet elective requirements, may complete the program in one year by taking one eight-week course per session.

If I have previously attended the FBI National Academy, FBI ELEVATE or UVA National Criminal Justice Command College, do I still have to submit those transcripts when I apply? You will need to provide unofficial transcripts for any past courses taken through UVA (including the FBI National Academy, FBI ELEVATE or UVA National Criminal Justice Command College) with your application. Those unofficial transcripts can be easily accessed at https://www2.virginia.edu/registrar/transcript-fsa.html.

You do not, however, need to request the official transcripts for UVA-administered courses, as they will be provided by SCPS administration during the application process.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Students may apply up to 15 restricted credits from other select SCPS graduate programs. Students must take all five core courses, 15 credits, after being admitted to the degree program. Students who have completed their restricted electives can complete the program requirements in one year by taking one course per eight-week session. Students with no prior SCPS graduate credits and no transfer credits can complete the program in two years taking one eight-week course per session.

What are the requirements for transferring in credits from outside of UVA?

There are several requirements for transferring credits into the MPS degree. In brief, the requirements are as follows:

  1. Credits must be recent—five (5) or fewer years from the term they were earned to your first term in the MPS program (e.g., Fall 2017 is the maximum of five (5) years from an MPS start in Fall 2022).
  2. Credits must be at the graduate level. Each college/university has a system for numbering courses to denote level. The UVA Course Numbering System is an example.
  3. Credits must have been completed at a regionally-accredited institution. You can search for and confirm accreditation
  4. Credits are only accepted where a grade of “B” (3.0 GPA) or higher was earned. 
  5. Credits are only accepted where the coursework is relevant to public safety. 
  6. A maximum of six (6) credits can be transferred.
  7. Credit transfer is subject to approval by the MPS Program Director.

I’m not sure if my bachelor’s degree is regionally accredited (or it’s nationally-accredited, unaccredited, or something else). Is that OK?

Credits must have been completed at a regionally-accredited institution. You can search for and confirm accreditation. No other accreditation (other than “regional accreditation”) is acceptable.

Are scholarships or financial aid available?

UVA is currently not offering scholarships for the program, though students may use employer-provided professional development funds, or scholarships or grants from outside sources.

This program is eligible for student loans. Learn more about using federal loan programs at the University of Virginia.

What are the policies for adding/dropping classes and refunds?

Please click here for details.

Do I have to take the GRE?

No.

What’s it like to take an online class?

Our goal is to deliver an exceptional student experience, whether you're learning in one of our classrooms or learning online from where you live and work. When you enroll in an online course, you’ll experience a collaborative environment where you’ll interact with your instructor and other students who live not only in Virginia, but also in other parts of the country or around the globe. Watch our short videos and hear from students and faculty about their experiences with online learning.

I’ve never taken a class online before. Will I have help with the technology?

Absolutely. Here's a brief list of the online learning tools the program uses, along with links to resources. In addition, students can reach out at any time for help acclimating to online instruction. The orientation process will introduce students to the tech tools we use, and strategies for effective online learning.

Please see the technical support contact information below:

Canvas troubleshooting & tech support: [email protected], or 434-218-1756

For more support options, click on the Help button located at the bottom of the Global Navigation menu in Canvas (left side of the page)

Zoom: https://virginia.zoom.us and https://in.virginia.edu/zoom

General tech support questions, UVA computing ID, email & password issues: [email protected]

24/7 tech support via the UVA ITS Help Desk: https://in.virginia.edu/helpdesk

Additional resources include:

Canvas Support Page for SCPS students – links to videos, user guides, and Canvas support Canvas Overview Video – see Canvas from a student’s perspective Zoom Test Room – test your audio, video, and internet connection

Will there be an orientation?

There will be an online orientation prior to classes starting each semester.

Are the courses and programs offered through UVA SCPS accredited?

Yes. The University of Virginia is accredited by the commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Will the degree earned from SCPS be the same as others earned from the University of Virginia?

This degree is awarded by the University of Virginia. You will be getting the same high quality education as you would if you attended the University as a traditional student. Graduates are entitled to the same privileges and opportunities available to all students who have earned degrees from the University of Virginia.

Am I required to choose a concentration? (Effective Fall, 2024)

No, students are not required to choose a concentration. Students may choose to pursue the degree without a concentration. If you have questions about your eligibility for a concentration or whether you should select a concentration, please reach out to [email protected]

Are all students eligible to choose a concentration? (Effective Fall, 2024)

Students who earned a certificate first (as a stackable credential) before matriculating in the MPS program (e.g., FBI National Academy, FBI ELEVATE and National Criminal Justice Command College) are not be able to choose a concentration because the coursework that is stacking into MPS has served the purpose of the concentration, and you must complete required courses for the MPS degree.