2021-2022 Catalog

Master of Public Service Management (M.S.P)

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Public Service Management program is to provide graduate education to current and potential managers employed by state and local governmental entities or employed by not-for-profit organizations and agencies through academic course work in the broad areas of human relations, management, and research.

The Master of Public Service Management (MSP) degree is offered as a part of Cumberland University’s institutional outreach to provide opportunities for advanced study in fields appropriate to the needs of the community. The program seeks to provide individuals who have attained the baccalaureate degree, in any field, with an opportunity to acquire advanced expertise while continuing to work full-time during the period of enrollment.

The program of study was instituted in 1996 with the first graduates receiving the Master of Public Service Management degree at the May, 1998, graduation. Enrollment in the M.S.P. degree program is limited. Students who enter the two-year program will attend classes for 5 consecutive semesters, usually sequenced fall-spring-summer-fall-spring.

Primarily, students are admitted for the incoming class during the fall semester, but other admitted students may become part of the program on a space available basis in other terms.

General Information

Cumberland University has established an Office of Student Affairs to facilitate the success experiences of all individuals enrolled in the institution. Persons taking classes away from the main campus are both invited and encouraged to avail themselves of the programs and professional staff located in Lebanon, and because classes in the MSP degree program are taught in Davidson County, the distance from the main campus is not prohibitive for enrollees to use the campus services on a regular basis.

When appropriate, certain student affairs/services functions can be delivered to off-campus locations. Since the advisor to this program has both educational training and employment experience in this area of university management, he can represent the institution in responding to the questions and needs of the students enrolled in this program.

On-site student services include academic advisement and registration. For many classes, the advisor or professor will bring the textbooks and other required classroom materials for student purchase to the location of the class.

The program advisor is available by telephone or e-mail to facilitate any needed inter-actions between the student and personnel located on the campus. Faculty teaching in the program supply each student with both home and office telephone numbers and encourage the enrollee to contact them with questions and concerns or special assistance if needed in their particular course.

Campus based student services include admissions, the book and supply store, counseling services (both career and personal), enrollment verification, financial aid and scholarship information, the library (including reference assistance), orientation (including the making of an I.D. card), placement services, transcript and grade report requests, plus veterans’ certification.

Previous and current students enrolled in this program have come to campus regularly for sporting, musical, and theatrical events. Admission to many of these functions is free with a validated I.D. card. Non-campus based graduate students are encouraged to participate in the athletic and cultural life of the university.

For assistance in student services or other areas of the degree program, the advisor serves as the contact individual. Regular dialog with the advisor is encouraged.

Admission Procedures

In addition to the general admission requirements for graduate students the following is required for students entering the Master of Public Service Management program.

Applicants must provide transcripts of all previously completed college or university work, one including a conferred baccalaureate degree
Two recommendation forms
An on-campus interview

Application Fee

A $50.00 non-refundable application fee is required of all graduate student applicants.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Students applying for the MSP degree program must have been awarded an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Transfer Credit

The MSP degree program is designed to be a “lock-step” experience (students take the exact same courses and progress together as a group). No previously completed graduate course work will be accepted in this program.

Required Orientation Seminar

Students enrolled in the MSP degree program will have a required orientation, information, and overview session prior to the beginning of the term of enrollment.


Three weeks prior to the beginning of each term, a student may obtain a class schedule (Timetable) from the Office of the University Registrar or from the MSP Program Advisor. MSP students will be able to complete the registration process with their advisor at a teaching location in Nashville-Davidson County.

Academic Load

Students in the MSP degree program will enroll for seven or eight hours during the Fall, Spring, and May/Summer semesters. The normal load is seven semester hours for each of the Fall and Spring terms and eight semester hours for the May/Summer session.


Each student enrolled in the MSP degree program at is assigned an on-campus liaison who is a faculty member and/or institutional administrator. For most MSP students, the program advisor will serve in this capacity. This faculty member and/or administrator may be contacted by telephone/e-mail and will be available for scheduled on-campus appointments. The purpose of this individual is to assist the enrollee in inter facing with the institution and to serve as the faculty advisor for the student.

Program Advisory Team

A number of individuals teaching in the Master of Public Service Management degree program will form an advisory team. The duties of this group will be to interview for admissions, to mentor and encourage the progress of the enrollees, review and update the curriculum, plus serve as resource individuals to the enrolled graduate students.

Library Availability

Students enrolled in the MSP degree program will have use of the services of the Doris and Harry Vise University Library located on the Cumberland campus in Lebanon, Tennessee. A specific librarian may be asked to serve as a reference liaison for this particular graduate group.

Services include a pre-enrollment bibliographic instructional overview geared toward informing the student of the library’s resources in his/her discipline, an orientation providing a basic understanding of the organization of the Vise University Library, and the presentation of an annotated bibliography describing these resources.

Comprehensive Final Examination

A written comprehensive examination will be administered during the final semester before graduation. A passing grade is considered to be 80% or higher on each of the 5 parts.

Candidacy and Residency Requirements

Any MSP student reaches candidacy status for commencement during the final semester of course work, after the comprehensive examination has been passed. Students completing the required classes are judged to meet all residency requirements.

Alumni Group

The graduates of the Master of Public Service Management have established an alumni group, which is a sub-division of the general alumni association of the University. Graduates and current students are both invited and encouraged to participate in the activities of this group.