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Program Overview

Program Overview

Where Tennessee turns for leadership.

Every community has unique needs and must have leaders who possess the capacity to both understand community complexities as well as the knowledge base to contend with the challenges that inevitably arise. Most importantly, community leaders must have the capability to respond by implementing solutions-focused interventions and policies. The need for community leadership in all social contexts has never been greater than in the present, whether the context is urban, rural, suburban, economically challenged or affluent. The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Leadership and Public Service at Lipscomb University has been created and designed to train leaders who can serve strong communities by implementing tangible solutions. The genesis of the M.A. program was predicated on both informal and formal guidance of local, state, regional, and national public servants in multiple sectors and venues of public service.

Discover ways to lead and serve with the State of Tennessee as your primary laboratory, providing a firsthand view of how this vibrant and growing state deals with dilemmas and opportunities. Accordingly, cities, counties, businesses, and public and private organizations offer countless opportunities for field placements designed to help students gain a valuable understanding of diverse policy issues. Join your classmates for immersive learning experiences throughout the state in cities like Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville, as well as many of Tennessee’s smaller cities, towns, and rural communities to learn the dynamics of leadership and governance in a variety of contexts and to explore how the policy development process works from current leaders. You will have the opportunity to discover that inspiration is not without the difficulties and complexities of poverty, race and economics. The program facilitates the building of critical skills in leadership, communication and conflict resolution. Our faculty and community experts will lead you along the way.

One year can change your life and your career trajectory. Join us as we work together to engage, equip, and empower those who strive to serve the common good.

Regional Scholars Program

The challenges of government don’t just affect large cities and metro areas. Small towns and rural communities face unique issues that require adept leaders who can find creative solutions that lead to flourishing.

Because Lipscomb University is “Where Tennessee Turns for Leadership,” we want to support leaders in cities and communities large and small across the state. To equip leaders and prepare them to govern in rural areas and small communities, the Regional Scholars Program gives public servants from rural areas of Tennessee the opportunity to earn a discounted master’s degree and take their education back to their communities to better serve their constituents.

Our aim is that communities would be changed and lives transformed across Tennessee through this program. To learn more about the Regional Scholars Program, contact Mark White, Director of Leadership and Public Service.

Learn more about our sponsors.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

  1. Application Form: Available online.

  2. Application Fee: Each application should include a $50 nonrefundable application fee ($75 for international students).

  3. Standardized examination score OR writing sample:

    • Accepted standardized test scores include those of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

    • The writing sample should demonstrate clarity of thinking, reasoning ability, logic, and strong writing and communication skills. The sample should be an academic or professional document that has been previously written in an academic or professional setting. Previously published work may also be considered. The sample should not be something prepared for the sole purpose of admission to the program.

  4. References: Two letters of reference are required as follows: one from a college or university administrator or professor, one from a professional supervisor/employer, or one from a personal reference with knowledge of your ability to satisfactorily perform at the graduate level.

  5. Official Transcripts: Each applicant must submit an official transcript showing degree conferral, when appropriate, from all schools attended.

  6. Health Form: Each applicant must submit a completed health form signed by a health care provider.

  7. FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act affords students certain rights of access to educational records; even if you are independent of your parents, you must submit this form prior to enrollment.

  8. Résumé: A résumé detailing academic, personal and professional experiences and achievements.

  9. Goals Statement: A 750-1000 word expanded goals statement concerning the applicant’s interest in and application of the program’s curriculum to expected career progression is required.

  10. TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required for international students.



Program of Study

  • LPS 5003 - Introduction to Leadership and Public Service
  • LPS 5053 - Ethical Leadership
  • LPS 5133 - Leading and Service for the Public Good 
  • LPS 5A0V - Special Topics in Leadership and Public Service: Community Development
  • ICM 5013 - Negotiation and Settlement Processes
  • LPS 5063 - Effective Cross Sector Collaboration
  • LPS 5153 - Data and Decision Making
  • LPS 5023 - Budget & Finance: Tennessee Travel Course 
  • LPS 5143 - State Politics, Policy, and Economics: The Role of States in Shaping Economies
  • LPS 5393 - Project in Leadership and Public Service
Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid

Lipscomb University is committed to making our first-class education as affordable as possible. For students earning their Masters in Leadership and Public Service, the tuition is approximately $1,091* per credit hour.

With various scholarship and financial aid programs available, your out-of-pocket cost of attendance can be much lower. Learn more about your financial aid options below.

*Note: The graduate tuition rates may increase annually, effective each summer semester.

Types of Aid

Partnerships of the Regional Scholars Program

Jim & Janet Ayers Foundation

Jim & Janet Ayers Foundation

The Jim & Janet Ayers Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for the people of Tennessee. They believe that through education, conservation and social welfare the people of Tennessee prosper. The Ayers Foundation also believes that these three pillars of prosperity are created and maintained by strong community leaders. The Ayers were the first to support Lipscomb University’s master’s program in Leadership and Public Service because of their strong belief and commitment to continue to build a strong Tennessee.

The Ayers Foundation
Farm Credit Mid-America

Farm Credit Mid-America

Farm Credit Mid-America’s tagline is “Securing the future of rural communities and agriculture.” Much of Tennessee’s economic base rests on the prosperity of our rural farming communities. Farm Credit-Mid America also believes that a strong community leader will bring business and agriculture expertise together. The College of Leadership & Public Service is grateful for their support of leadership development across Tennessee.

Farm Credit Mid-America


As a global leader in the 21st century, Tennessee is most fortunate that Amazon has chosen our state to continue to grow and provide leadership. Their philosophy is to empower people with lucrative options to make a living. Amazon’s corporate philosophy is built around leadership principles, and they know the value of strong leadership. Lipscomb University’s College of Leadership & Public Service is grateful that Amazon is supporting Tennessee’s growth by supporting and encouraging leadership development across our state.

Randy & Jenny Boyd Foundation

Randy & Jenny Boyd Foundation

As a well known leader in Tennessee, the Boyd Foundation strives to make Tennessee the state of opportunity. As entrepreneurs, job creators and philanthropists, Randy and Jenny understand the value of coordinated leadership. Among their many accomplishments, they believe that success depends on education, and education brings great leaders. The Boyd Foundation has partnered with the College of Leadership & Public Service with a belief that opportunity is created when leadership prospers.

Randy & Jenny Boyd Foundation
Ezell Family Foundation

Ezell Family Foundation

The history of Tennessee is linked to the experience and success of great entrepreneurial families such as the Ezells. The patriarch of the family once stated: “In order to succeed, think big, dream, work hard and be honest.” Their passion to return the blessings God gave them has linked the family to Lipscomb University for generations. The Ezell Family Foundation’s support of leadership development will continue their legacy of supporting a successful and strong Tennessee.

Regional Scholars Student & Alumni Stories

Ryan Egly

Ryan Egly - Jim & Janet Ayers Foundation

"The network of colleagues and resources across the state that we have developed and learned about through the program is an asset that will have a significant impact on the work I do in Lawrence County." - Ryan Egly

Learn More
John Butler

John Butler - Farm Credit Mid-America

"I believe working in agriculture is more than a job — it is a calling, and it certainly is an opportunity to serve in a lot of different ways. Providing food and fiber to the American consumer and consumers around the world is an honor." - John Butler

Learn More

Why Study Leadership and Public Service at Lipscomb University?


Both our deeply connected faculty and our experiential learning opportunities offer myriad ways for you to form relationships with leaders in the industry. These connections will serve and support you throughout your career.

Cohort Model

Our cohort model emphasizes communal learning and extended field experiences. You’ll have the opportunity to form professional and personal relationships with like-minded peers that will extend far beyond the duration of the program.

Nashville, TN

A big city. An even bigger opportunity. We consider Nashville, Tennessee, an extension of our classroom, and as a leading city in many industries, that means you’ll gain experience and insight you won’t find anywhere else.


Our Faculty

  • Scott Bledsoe headshot

    Scott Bledsoe

    Assistant Professor

    Scott Bledsoe, a 2014 graduate from Lipscomb University, is currently completing his PhD in political science from George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. After graduating from Lipscomb University, Scott moved to New York City, where he received an MA in comparative politics from NYU and worked as an editorial assistant at Oxford University Press. While at George Mason University, Scott served as a research assistant for the "Closing the Gap Project" at the United States Institute of Peace in conjunction with USAID, which explored the role of religious freedom in global socioeconomic development. Scott’s research interests include the role of religiosity in motivating behavioral polarization, religious identity in the United States, and early American political thought.

    Meet Scott Bledsoe
  • Hope Nordstrom headshot

    Hope Nordstrom

    Special Counsel to the President on Strategy

    Dr. Hope Nordstrom is the Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning and an Associate Professor of Education. As director, she provides administrative oversight and is directly involved in...

    Meet Hope Nordstrom
  • Matt Paden headshot

    Matt Paden

    Executive Vice President

    Matt Paden is executive vice president at Lipscomb University. An expert in leadership development, Paden is a speaker, consultant and professor of undergraduate and graduate courses on the topics of...

    Meet Matt Paden
  • Mandy Pellegrin headshot

    Mandy Pellegrin

    Adjunct Faculty

    Mandy has nearly two decades of experience supporting a diverse set of federal and state policymakers with unbiased, accessible analysis of complex public policy issues. Mandy is currently the Policy...

    Meet Mandy Pellegrin
  • Andrea Blackman

    Adjunct Faculty

    Meet Andrea Blackman
  • Kenyatta Lovett

    Scholar in Residence

    Meet Kenyatta Lovett

Career Paths


Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.


Working as an elected official, develop, introduce or enact laws and statutes at the local, tribal, state or federal level.

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise social service programs and community organizations. They manage workers who provide social services to the public.