Prepare to Lead

Female police officerSchool of Police Staff & Command (SPSC) offers an unparalleled education in public safety leadership and management that helps experienced law enforcement professionals succeed in senior command positions.

Since 1983, SPSC has graduated more than 565 classes — more than 21,000 students — consisting of the some of the best and brightest professionals in the field.

The SPSC Advantage

"[The grant] never would have happened if it weren’t for the training that I received at NUCPS, where I learned where to locate such grants and then in turn how to write them. This was my first time writing a grant . . .. It's really opened so much." — SPSC #535 Graduate & Shaker Heights (OH) Police Dept. Commander Daniel Grispino on obtaining a $400,000 grant for his agency

Since its inception 40 years ago, law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. and around the globe have recognized the important impact SPSC makes on their leadership and management teams. 

 Students who successfully complete SPSC are better prepared to:

  • Think globally rather than remain task-oriented;
  • Deliver services effectively and efficiently;
  • Successfully accomplish team-oriented projects and tasks;
  • Analyze the environment;
  • Mitigate legal exposure; and,
  • Develop systems of accountability.

SPSC Curriculum

The School of Police Staff and Command (SPSC) is the most academically rigorous program available for experienced mid- and upper-level supervisory personnel. Through an innovative combination of academic principles blended with practical applications, our intensive curriculum focuses on areas critical to successful senior law enforcement leadership and management. In addition to lectures, our curriculum is designed for practical application of academic principles plus course activities that encourage class members to learn from one another’s experiences. Participating students should have at least two years of supervisory experience.

Students in the on-ground and online programs study the same SPSC curriculum, which includes the following topics:

  • Budgeting
  • Communications & Media Relations
  • Contemporary Policing
  • Critical Incidents
  • Decision Making
  • Employee Relations 
  • Employment Law
  • Evaluating Products & Services
  • Executive Image
  • Grant Writing
  • Human Resources & Employee Discipline
  • Leadership Principles
  • Officer Wellness
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategic Planning & Policies
  • Performance Appraisals & Job Design
  • Project Management
  • Recruiting
  • Resource Allocation
  • Statistics
  • Traffic

University-Level Work

Students should be prepared to complete university-level course work. This means that they are able to:

  • Write an annotated research paper. 
  • Perform mathematic operations and understand elementary algebraic notation.
  • Read, comprehend, and retain assigned materials based on textbooks, professional journals, trade magazines, and other sources.
  • Schedule time to complete out-of-class reading and writing assignments and study.

Research is a key component of SPSC, and all students are required to write an objective, well-documented staff study addressing a problem or issue currently affecting the student’s organization. Because the student’s research project originates from a timely and critical issue facing that student’s agency, the final study can be put to use immediately.

Please note: Students who enroll in our 10-week, on-ground course should be released from their regular job responsibilities to ensure that they have sufficient time to attend class, complete homework assignments, and study for unit tests.

Download a printable, detailed PDF about the SPSC Curriculum.

Select On-Ground or Online

Prospective students can select an on-ground or online experience. The curriculum is the same no matter which format a student chooses.



Tuition, Prerequisites & University Credit

On-Ground Tuition: $4400+ (varies by location) | Online Tuition: $4,200

Prerequisites: 2 years of supervisory experience; completion of Supervision of Police Personnel is highly recommended.  SPSC is not appropriate for entry-level officers, deputies, or troopers. We recommend Supervision of Police Personnel for those recently appointed to their first supervisory position.

Northwestern University credit: 6 units of credit under the Northwestern University quarter system.

Expert Instructors

Our carefully selected SPSC course directors, adjunct instructors, and guest lecturers are experts in their fields. They enhance the program's learning experience by not only teaching critical concepts and strategies — but also how to effectively implement the concepts, apply the strategies, and lead situations where the problems are real and agency outcomes are critical.

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