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Program Overview

Program Overview

Where Tennessee turns for leadership.

The need for community leadership has never been greater than in the present, whether the context is urban, rural, or suburban. Community leaders must have the capability to respond by implementing solutions-focused interventions and policies. The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Leadership and Public Service at Lipscomb University has been designed to train leaders who can serve strong communities by implementing tangible solutions. 

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. Join a cohort-based program with your classmates from communities across Tennessee to learn the dynamics of leadership, policy, and governance in a variety of contexts. The program facilitates the building of critical skills in leadership, communication, collaboration, 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.

"The program exceeded my expectations. It has equipped me with resources and given me the knowledge to be a better leader. I plan to take the knowledge from this program and use it to create more leaders in my community.”

"It went beyond any expectation I had. This program provided me with immersive experience and allowed me to build real friendships with professionals from all over the state, all with different backgrounds and perspectives. I have confidence to take on whatever I face and feel prepared to navigate challenges wherever I end up in my career because of the knowledge and skills this program gave me" 
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.



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


Counties across TN are represented by our Alumni

Student & Alumni Stories

Ryan Egly

Ryan Egly -Regional Scholar

"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

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John Butler

John Butler - Regional Scholar

"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

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Lieutenant Colonel Colby Tippens - Tennessee National Guard

Lieutenant Colonel Colby Tippens - Tennessee National Guard

“If you are going to be a true student of leadership or master a craft of any kind, you must continually learn.” - LTC Tippens

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Scarlett Bernier - Tennessee National Guard

Scarlett Bernier - Tennessee National Guard

"I want the person who takes my place to continue moving the bar forward when it comes to providing civilian education opportunities for our soldiers and airmen." CW4 Scarlett Bernier

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Tammy Dieter - Regional Scholar

Tammy Dieter - Regional Scholar

“I am lucky enough to have a career that mirrors my personal goal to be of service and to work to find issues in our communities alongside and giving voice to those who are most affected by these issues.” - Tammy Dieter

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Practitioner Focus

Our curriculum and course schedule are designed with practitioners in mind. Our classes feature skills and knowledge that you can incorporate into your leadership practice immediately, and our course schedule is created to accommodate professional’s with busy work schedules.

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.


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.

Our Faculty

  • Laura Encalade headshot

    Laura Encalade

    Executive Director School of Public Policy/Assistant Professor

    Laura Encalade is an experienced educational leader with deep expertise in strategic planning, innovative program design and implementation, and consulting. She is passionate about supporting communities and organizations to advance...

    Meet Laura Encalade
  • 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
  • Lipscomb Featured Faculty

    Kenyatta Lovett

    Faculty Fellow

    Meet Kenyatta Lovett
  • 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

Career Paths

Elected Officials

Our students and alumni work as elected officials, developing and implementing policy at the local, state, or federal level.

Nonprofit Managers

Nonprofit managers coordinate and supervise a variety of social service programs and community organizations.

Executive Leaders

Our students and alumni lead a variety of organizations, including state and local agencies and nonprofits. They serve in executive leadership roles in organizations like the military, government relations firms, and chambers of commerce.