Master in Public Service and Safety Leadership

The Master of Public Service and Safety Leadership focuses on developing the leadership skills necessary for you to successfully integrate all aspects of public safety, operations, personnel management and strategic practices and policies. Our goal is to enable you to be the most effective leader possible when your community and team need you most. 

Program curriculum was designed by public service and safety experts. Our faculty have been carefully selected to reflect extensive experience in diverse fields of public safety as well as having academic credentials from accredited institutions. Coursework features practical learning experiences and projects that can be immediately implemented in the work place.

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Who should earn this degree? 

This program is designed for public safety and service leaders in fields such as law enforcement, emergency management, fire service, public health service, emergency medical services, environmental health and safety services, nonprofit organizations engaged in public safety and service, homeland security and public administration. Military service members, particularly those planning to transition into civilian service, are encouraged to apply.

Graduates of this program will have: 

  • Leadership skills necessary to successfully integrate all aspects of public safety operations, personnel management and strategic planning and policies.
  • Practical learning experiences and projects that can be immediately implemented in the work place.

Program highlights:

  • 30-hour program
  • Online classes taught by experienced authorities in their fields
  • GRE not required for admission
  • Design a capstone project that fits your goals; no thesis required
  • A 12-credit hour Public Safety Leadership Certificate is also available
  • Credit toward your master’s may be requested for up to six qualifying professional development hours
  • Emergency Management student may complete up to six graduate credit hours concurrently while completing their undergraduate degree
  • Total cost of the program is less than $14,000; certificate less than $6,000

This degree requires 30 credit hours (10 courses) and is available entirely online:

PSSL 600: Integrated Approaches to Public Safety
3 credit hours

This course establishes the integrative and collaborative perspective needed by individuals working in all-hazards public safety and service organizations. This seminar course features case studies, theories, and frameworks that exemplify best practices at the organizational, community, regional, and national levels.

PSSL 610: Strategic Planning and Evaluation
3 credit hours

This course provides the framework for effective goal setting and planning that moves a team, administrative unit, and/or organization toward the fulfillment of its overall mission. Topics include establishing goals and priorities, assessing stakeholder perspectives and building a shared vision, designing decision-making processes that align resources with goals, identifying and adapting to situational dynamics, and identifying measurable and relevant metrics.

PSSL 620: Human Resource Management and Employee Wellness
3 credit hours

This course provides the knowledge needed to develop and sustain a capable, productive, diverse, inclusive, and healthy staff. Material will cover best practices for recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining employees.

PSSL 630: Effective Project Management
3 credit hours

This course prepares leaders to oversee a variety of projects that emerge in public safety and service organizations (i.e., develop new training standards, design and implement a dispatch system, develop an innovative community preparedness program, or secure new facilities). Students will learn how to manage a project from conception to implementation including the identification of project goals, mapping out a feasible timeline and budget, communicating with stakeholders, managing teams, negotiating responsibilities, troubleshooting issues, and delivering the end product.

PSSL 640: Financial Management and Sustainability
3 credit hours

This course prepares leaders for budgeting, reporting, and oversight responsibilities. Content addresses best practices in developing financial sustainability including granting writing and management, and securing collaborative partnerships.

PSSL 650: Ethics, Conflict, and Decision Making
3 credit hours

This course provides leaders with the frameworks and approaches for conflict resolution (interpersonal and group levels), transparency, and sound decision-making. Case studies emphasize the ethical dimensions underlying communication choices and resolution strategies.

PSSL 660: Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Program Promotion
3 credit hours

This course provides leaders with the information and tools to develop and execute initiatives that benefit the communities in which their organization’s operate. Students will learn how to create, promote, evaluate, and sustain robust safety and educational initiatives.

PSSL 670: Leading Teams and Organizations
3 credit hours

This course provides an overview of various theoretical perspectives on leadership. Students will use self-assessment tools to deepen their understanding of their own leadership style and learn strategies for adapting style to team, organizational, and external dynamics.

PSSL 680: Emerging Issues in Public Safety and Administration
3 credit hours

This seminar course presents topics that impact successful integration and collaboration among all-hazards public safety organizations. Topics may include policy and regulatory issues, social dimensions of disasters, culture and communication, and barriers to diversity and inclusion in staffing and community relations.

PSSL 695: Capstone Project
3 credit hours

This course is the culminating experience in the program. Students will develop and present an applied project that addresses two or more of the program’s subject areas. The project should demonstrate analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills. Examples of projects include proposals for new initiatives, analysis of a system or process, or a research paper on an emerging issue.

A 12 credit hour Public Safety Leadership Certificate is also available. 

For information on Drury's other leadership related certificates and programs, visit the Drury Leadership Collaborative.

Jarett Metheny, Program Coordinator

Jarett Metheny serves as the Program Coordinator for the Public Safety and Service Leadership Master’s Degree Program. He began his fire service career in 1995 and has served in a variety of leadership capacities. In addition to his public safety experience, he has served as an Assistant Professor and Adjunct Professor in multiple public safety programs. 

Jarett obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology in 1995 and a Master’s Degree in Fire and Emergency Management Administration in 1999, both from Oklahoma State University, where he is also pursuing a PhD. 

He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and is credentialed as a Chief Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.  He has served on multiple boards and committees for the National Fire Protection Association, International Fire Service Training Association, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. 


Drury Leadership Collaborative
(417) 873-7267

Jarett Metheny, Program Coordinator

Admission Specialist
(417) 873-7505