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2019-2020 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 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.


Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration.

Minimum Number of Hours for Graduation: 39 (42 for precareer students)

Admission to Master 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 nor 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 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.

The Program Core

The program core includes 18 credit hours, as follows.

Students must select one concentration of 15 credit hours.

Criminal Justice

And one of the following:

Health Administration

And two of the following:

Nonprofit Management and Leadership

And two of the following:

Policy Analysis, Advocacy, and Evaluation

Required (Credits: 6)

And three of the following:

State, Regional, and Local Governance

Required (Credits: 9)

General Electives Requirements Credits: 6

The remainder of the M.P.A. program credits come from electives. Students must select six credits of electives.

The elective component of the M.P.A. degree can be made up of three one-credit workshops and one additional course from one other concentrations (or outside the SPNHA unit with prior approval), or two three-credit courses from our curriculum. 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 previously
    OR one from the following list.


All precareer students are required to take at least a three-credit internship (in addition to 39 hours of coursework). They may 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 PA 619 as their culminating 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 as their culminating experience.

Click here for the program description.

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