School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration

Advising Resources and Protocols


Advising protocols

  • Consult your faculty advisor before embarking on your program of study.
  • PA 520 (MPA) should be taken your first semester.
  • PA 611 should be taken early in your program of study.
  • It is recommended to enroll in PA 614 only after you have completed PA 520.
  • PA 611 is a prerequisite for PA 616.
  • PA 615 should preferably be taken before PA 616.
  • PA 619 should be taken in your last semester or at least 30 credit hours.
  • A normal (non-employed) full-time graduate student load is nine credits and a maximum load should not exceed 12 credits.
  • It is advised that full-time employed practitioners should enroll for one or two classes a semester.
  • It is advised to mix core and concentration courses throughout your program, rather than completing all you core requirements then moving to your concentration courses or visa versa.
  • Summer Study Abroad and Field Study Programs are encouraged: Australia (4 1/2 weeks), Bristol (2wks)
  • Internships (300 hours) are required for pre-service students who must complete 42 credits for the MPA degree. Active practitioners must complete 39 credits.
  • Independent Study and a Masters' Thesis must follow the graduate studies thesis and dissertations guidelines. The Masters Thesis is best reserved for students who are considering a Ph.D. You must have completed 24 credit hours. Independent study cannot substitute for a core or concentration required course.
  • Nine credits of electives are available in each concentration. Elective courses may be taken from any concentration that meets your interest/goals/needs unless there are prerequisites. Summer Study Abroad programs can count as elective credits. Only three credits of electives can be PA Workshops.

Masters' Thesis and Research Project

Students are not required to submit a thesis or terminal project. Those pursuing policy expertise or those considering going on in doctoral studies are strongly encouraged to take up to six hours of thesis (PA 695 - Master's Thesis). A Thesis can replace PA 619 as the required capstone course for the MPA. A thesis must follow SPNA's Masters Thesis guidelines .

Those wanting to do graduate research that does not qualify as a thesis can take up to six hours of PA 693 - Research Project


The School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration has a dual advising system. The Undergraduate Advising Center can assist public and nonprofit administration majors with degree planning, registration, and other GVSU issues.

Each major is also assigned a faculty mentor to assist with career planning. Majors can find their advisor through MyBanner. Quincy Williams (, 331-2362 ) is the undergraduate coordinator and general adviser for public and nonprofit administration majors.


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Page last modified July 22, 2014