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Downtown Grand Rapids

Public Administration, M.P.A.

The Master of Public Administration is the gold standard degree for careers in public service. The competency-based curriculum develops the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for leadership in community-based, public-facing organizations. Students engage with nationally and internationally recognized faculty, student organizations, alumni, and leaders in the field.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

The MPA degree is a 39-credit hour program (plus an additional three credit hours of internship for pre-career students) that prepares students for leadership. Accredited by the prestigious Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), it is designed to complement the career goals and schedules of our students developing the capacities for ethical judgment, critical thinking, and the core competencies necessary to fulfill multiple roles as effective managers and public servants.

The MPA program offers the following concentrations:

  • Nonprofit management and leadership
  • State, regional, and local governance
  • Policy analysis, advocacy, and evaluation
  • Criminal justice
  • Health administration

Why Study Public Administration at Grand Valley?

  • Students engage with nationally and internationally recognized faculty, network with student organizations, alumni, and leaders in the field.
  • The MPA degree serves both part-time and full-time students with highly flexible and accessible courses offered during weekday evenings as well as online.
  • Students can participate in research opportunities that have local and regional impact.
  • Students can transfer up to 12 credits of graduate course work from other programs.
  • A variety of scholarships and graduate assistantships are available to help make the degree more affordable.
  • Professional internship opportunities are available and encouraged for pre-career students.

Career Insights

This tool shows an overview of potential career opportunities for this major. Actual salaries, employment opportunities, and job titles may change over time.


Accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) for over twenty years, starting in 1995. This accreditation recognizes that our programs maintain rigor and currency for tomorrow's public leaders.

Location & Format

Classes are a combination of online and in-seat. In-seat classes are held in downtown Grand Rapids at the Richard M. DeVos Center, the LV Eberhard Center, and the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.



Students study a variety of public, nonprofit, health, and criminal justice topics including strategic management, grant writing, sustainability and planning, financial management, philanthropy, legal and ethical issues, research, policy, and organizational theory.

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to the Master of Public Administration program requires the following:

  • An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, calculated on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate coursework. You must submit official transcripts from all previous institutions.
  • Three letters of reference from informed sources.
  • A detailed resume.
  • An essay on career and educational objectives (250-750 words).
  • A demonstrated commitment to community and public service.
  • Note: For applicants who have neither a 3.0 undergraduate GPA nor five years of professional experience, submitting a GRE score is recommended. The GRE is also recommended for applicants applying for a graduate assistantship with SCLD.

For More Information

School of Community Leadership and Development

[email protected]
288C DeVos Center
(616) 331-6575

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office

Program Director

Neal Buckwalter, Ph.D. 
(616) 331-6583



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