Dec 08, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Public Administration, M.P.A.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: School of Public Affairs 


The Public Administration major offers a multi-disciplinary course of study leading to a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree. This degree is designed primarily to prepare students for successful leadership roles and management careers in the public (i.e., governmental and quasi-governmental organizations), non-profit, and private sectors. Students enrolled in the M.P.A. program pursue careers in local, state, or federal agencies of government, non-profit organizations, and special service districts. Those employed in public management positions may wish to pursue an M.P.A. degree in order to broaden their educational backgrounds to prepare for increased job responsibilities, or to change career paths.

The Public Administration major also offers courses of study leading to a Graduate Certificate in Public Management or a Graduate Certificate in Management of Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organizations. These options are designed for individuals who wish to acquire knowledge of public and non-profit management theory and practices, but who do not find it necessary or feasible to pursue the M.P.A. degree.

Accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

Admission decisions to the M.P.A. degree program are based on an overall assessment of the applicant’s potential for successfully completing the M.P.A. degree. General admission criteria include scores obtained on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and performance as an undergraduate. Specific criteria includes:

  • Two letters of recommendation minimum, one from a faculty member familiar with the applicant’s academic performance and potential, and the other from a work supervisor or manager.
  • Personal statement detailing the applicant’s career goals and aspirations, including ways in which the applicant believes the M.P.A. degree can help to facilitate the stated goals.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae showing work experience.
  • Approval by the M.P.A. Admissions Committee and, if deemed necessary, an admissions interview.
  • GRE is required with preferred scores of V 153 (60%), Q 146 (25%), and AW 4.0 (59%). At the discretion of the M.P.A. Director, the GRE may be waived under one of the following conditions:
    • Applicant already possesses a graduate degree from an accredited university;
    • Applicant has a 3.25, or higher, overall undergraduate GPA;
    • Applicant has five years or more of practical, professional experience at a senior level documentation of experience required through letters of recommendation from senior management; or
    • Completion of the Graduate Certificate in Public Management or Graduate Certificate in Management of Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organizations with a GPA of 3.50 or higher.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours: 36 credit hours

  • Core – 24 credit hours
  • Electives – 9 credit hours
  • Capstone – 3 credit hours
  • Internship (if required) – 3 additional credit hours

Core Requirements (24 Credit Hours)

Performance in core courses: Students will only be allowed to have a maximum of two “C” letter grades in their core courses. Any student who obtains a third “C” letter grade will be required to retake one of the applicable courses.

Elective Requirements (9 Credit Hours)

Each student must take nine (9) elective graduate credit hours. Students should refer to the M.P.A. website for courses approved by the Department. All elective courses must be taken from the Public Administration or Urban and Regional Planning Programs.

Internship (if required) (3 Credit Hours)

Pre-service students are required to complete a supervised internship in a governmental or nonprofit organization. Internships provide students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the public sector, thereby enhancing the academic course of study. Credit must be earned while the student is in residence and before the student has completed all coursework requirements. Exceptions to this rule can only be made by the MPA Director and must be made in advance. In-service students, who have appropriate managerial/work experience commensurate with their career goals, may not be required to complete an internship. After consultation with the student, the MPA Director may choose to waive the internship requirement.

Comprehensive Exam

In lieu of a comprehensive exam, students must successfully complete the Capstone course as a culminating experience.

Capstone (exit requirement) (3 Credit Hours)

This is the final step before graduation. The course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge, leadership, communication, and decision-making skills acquired throughout the M.P.A. program. This course is designed to challenge students to demonstrate their capability in synthesizing and integrating conceptual frameworks, and relate these skills to managerial or administrative situations. To be eligible for the Capstone course, students must have already completed all of their core course requirements prior to enrolling in this course. A minimum grade of “B-” must be earned in the Capstone to pass. No other course can substitute this requirement.