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2023-2024 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Master of Public Administration

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the School of Community Leadership and Development section in this catalog.


Master of Public Administration (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 state, regional, and local governance policy analysis, nonprofit management, criminal justice, and health care administration.

As a professional school in an urban setting, the Master of Public 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 hybrid and online 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.

Minimum Number of Hours for Graduation: 39 (42 for pre-career students)


Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration.


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.
  • 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.

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.


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

Core Courses

The program core requires the following (18 credits):

Concentration Areas

Students must select one concentration (15 credits) from the following five options.

Criminal Justice

AND one of the following courses:

Health Administration

AND two of the following courses:

Nonprofit Management and Leadership

AND two of the following courses:

Policy Analysis, Advocacy, and Evaluation

AND three of the following courses:

State, Regional, and Local Governance

AND two of the following courses:

Elective Courses

Requires six credits; the remainder of the M.P.A. program credits come from electives.

The elective component of the M.P.A. degree can be made up of the following:

  • Three one-credit workshops AND one additional course from one other concentration (or outside the SPNHTM unit with prior approval)
  • OR two three-credit courses from our curriculum.

The number of elective credits is reduced by three if the student completes a second three-credit internship.

Choose electives from the following list:


All pre-career students are required to take at least one three-credit internship in addition to 39 hours of coursework. Students may choose to take a second internship for a total of six credits.


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

Most students will take PNH 685 as their culminating experience. They must have completed 30 credits of coursework before registering for PNH 685. As an alternative to PNH 685, students may opt for a research project as their culminating experience.

Master of Public Administration Program Description

Click here for the program description.

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