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2014-2015 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Master of Public Administration

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Community and Public Service section in this catalog.


M.P.A. graduates are leaders. They lead their communities and organizations on the basis of advanced administrative skills with a dedication to democratic values and public service. In today's global society, such leadership takes many forms and occurs in a variety of settings. The mission of the master of public administration is to develop both the general knowledge and specific abilities needed for professional careers in public service organizations. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to act ethically and effectively in public management, urban and regional policy and planning, nonprofit management, criminal justice, and health care administration.

As a professional school in an urban setting, the School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration is actively involved with the community in professional service activities and applied research. The program offers flexibility and innovation in curriculum design to meet the diverse educational needs of part-time and full-time students, including evening and weekend courses and workshops, and Internet enhanced learning. Because careers in administration are varied and include the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the curriculum is designed to develop advanced executive abilities through a combination of core competencies and specialized areas of concentration. Satisfactory completion of the program of study leads to the award of the M.P.A. degree.


National Association of Schools for Public Affairs and Administration

Minimum number of hours for graduation: 39 (42 for precareer students)

Admission to Masters of Public Administration Program

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Submitting a GRE score is recommended for applicants who have neither a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or five years of professional experience. The GRE is also recommended for applicants applying for a graduate assistantship with SPNHA.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 12 semester hours of transfer credit will be given for appropriate graduate courses completed within the previous five-year period with a grade of B or better at another college or university. These transfer credits may be substituted for required courses or given general credit as determined by the faculty.

Requirements for the M.P.A. degree

The M.P.A. degree consists of a minimum of 39 credit hours of coursework. Precareer students must take 3 credit hours of internship in addition to the 39 required hours of course work for a total of 42 credit hours. Students must meet with an advisor upon entry into the program to develop a program of study.

The program core includes 15 credit hours, as follows:

Students must select one concentration of 15 credit hours.

Public Management

Urban and Regional Policy and Planning

Health Administration

Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Criminal Justice

Students must select nine credits of electives.

At least nine credits must be selected from other graduate courses, including PA courses in other concentration areas (preceding) and nonconcentration PA courses and workshops (following). Note that a maximum of three workshop credits may be applied to the degree. The number of elective credits is reduced by three if the student does a six-credit thesis as a Capstone project. The number of elective credits is reduced by three if the student does a second three-credit internship.

  • Any PA course in a concentration listed above.

Pre-career students must take three credits of Internship.

All pre-career students are required to take at least three internship credits (in addition to 39 hours of course work). They may take a second internship for a total of six credits:

Students must take a three-credit Capstone at the end of their studies.

Most students will take PA 619 as their Capstone experience. They must have completed 30 credits of coursework before registering for PA 619. As an alternative to PA 619, students may opt for a research project or a thesis as their Capstone experience. If a thesis Capstone is chosen, six credits are required.

Click here for the program description.

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