MPS degree programs go far beyond technical skills and theoretical knowledge. With the goal of professional success in mind, Master of Professional Studies degrees prepare students for leadership and management roles in their field. Real-world application of relevant concepts, mentorship and industry connections, and a diverse, collaborative learning environment are advantages to the MPS degree. Many students value the MPS degree over a traditional master’s degree because of the applied professional skills that it provides.
What Exactly is an MPS Degree?
The Master of Professional Studies is a master’s degree that includes industry-focused skills. These skills can be applied in the workplace, as well as concentrated study of subjects applicable to your field. MPS degree programs are designed with the demands of sought-after employers in mind. They also anticipate future industry advancements and requirements. They provide you with hands-on applied experience, which can look like research or engagement with current industry projects and data. Most programs conclude with a capstone project, highlighting applied research and specialized expertise. UMBC’s MPS degree programs offer students a customized education, with tracks and electives that contribute to their desired specialization. Finally, programs are usually part-time to fit the needs to working professionals.
UMBC’s unique mentorship opportunities with experienced leaders in their field of study give students professional insight. For example, I/O Psychology MPS degree students form a mentorship relationship with Advisory Board members. Current I/O student Anne Harrelson applied to the program to move into a Human Resources career. Through the mentorship program, she connected with Wendy Merrill, Founder and Chief Rainmaker of Strategy Horse Consulting Group. Their mutually beneficial relationship encouraged professional development, as Anne was able to learn from Wendy’s many years of experience. Anne was able to put her education into practice when Wendy offered her a fellowship position.
“There are a lot of people out there that are happy to help you if you just make the connection and ask. Talk to them and learn from them and they will be willing to give you something in return. That’s the biggest lesson so far.” – Anne Harrelson, UMBC I/O Psychology MPS Program Student
Many of the professors in the program hold positions in their industry. So, they can take real-world topics and apply them to their teachings. Students can then adapt this knowledge to solve problems in their jobs.
Shift or Advance Your Career
An MPS degree can help you shift into a new field entirely. It can also give you the tools and experience to move up in your current sector. Students gain comprehensive technical skills, but also communication, management, and leadership competence. In their courses, students work in teams to practice both of these aspects, and learn from their collective experiences. They gain the confidence to succeed through presenting their projects and research.
UMBC’s Master’s of Professional Studies Programs offer a flexible learning experience. Because of the evening, online, and weekend course offerings, students can continue their career growth. The programs themselves are flexible. They offer different tracks and depth courses to give professionals exactly the skills that they need to meet their goals.
Courses take real-world experiences and data examples, and combine them with the textbook. Aayush Sharma, UMBC Engineering Management Alumnus, found trips to work with firms in D.C. and Baltimore highly beneficial. He participated in real projects with the Project Management Institute (PMI). And, after working in depth with organizations for about four months, Aayush and his team presented their final project.
“We’re not only seeing textbook explanations of data, but seeing real data used in real-life scenarios. Students often indicate that what they’ve learned in the classroom on Wednesday night, they actually applied in the workplace on Thursday morning. So, it’s definitely a highly-applied degree.” – Liz Ducey, Alumna, UMBC Geographic Information Systems MPS Program