Master of Public Administration Degree Requirements

The 36 credit hour MPA program is a professional degree suitable to all students interested in pursuing a career in management within the public and nonprofit sectors.

The core MPA requirements are shown below. See all of the emphases requirements in the General Catalog.

Some courses require instructor approval. In such cases, you will need to complete an add course request to register for these courses.

Core Requirements - Complete All Seven Courses

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
PADM 6000 Program Overview and Theory of Public Administration 3
PADM 6200 Public Sector Economics 3
PADM 6300 Administrative Law 3
PADM 6440 Research Methods for Public Administration 3
PADM 6500 Public Human Resource Mgmt 3
PADM 6620 Critical Thinking and Ethics in the Public Sector 3
PADM 6990 Capstone in Public Administration 3

Experiential Learning

All MPA Students must complete either a Professional Project or Thesis. Additionally, pre-service MPA students must complete an MPA internship.

As a terminal degree, the MPA develops practical skills in an applied setting, as well as in the classroom. The experiential learning courses offer students the opportunity to further develop their competencies in a professional setting. The content of these courses is unique to each student and specially designed around the student's needs and interests.

All students must complete PADM 6950 - Professional Project or PADM 6900 - MPA Thesis to earn the MPA degree.

MPA Internship

PADM 6890 - MPA Internship is a required course for all students who have less than one year of full-time experience in a public or nonprofit organization (pre-service). Responsibility for seeking an internship falls upon the student. However, we regularly post opportunities available for current MPA students in Canvas. Students with more than one year of relevant experience can request a waiver of the internship and substitute the 3 credit hours with another elective. Students may submit a Substitution & Waiver Form to request an internship waiver. Provide a brief explanation of your work history in the comments section of the waiver request.

Professional Project

The professional project offers students a unique opportunity to create a specialized learning environment in which to develop and apply competencies in a realistic setting. Under the supervision of an MPA faculty member, students partner with a host organization to develop and complete a project. Projects help students develop specific competencies in a safe, practical setting.

MPA Thesis

The thesis option creates a mentoring relationship between the student and MPA faculty for those students who anticipate pursuit of a doctoral program. If students elect a thesis option, the supervising faculty serves as a thesis committee chair, along with another MPA faculty and one committee member from outside the MPA.

Students interested in doing a thesis should expect to spread the course over multiple semesters; the thesis is not a one-semester class. As mentioned earlier, the experiential learning courses, such as the thesis, are unique to each student and may begin or end in the middle of a semester. Your thesis advisor can help you decide in which semester you should enroll in PADM 6900 Thesis and whether you should extend beyond the semester in which you first enrolled. Unlike a traditional MPA course, you should focus on the research of your thesis and not be too stressed if the thesis rolls into a second semester.

Students who extend beyond the initial semester must be enrolled in PADM 6900 for at least 1 credit hour for each subsequent semester until the project is completed. This requirement is called "continuous enrollment." Students must register for at least one (1) credit hour and must get permission from their faculty advisor to register. Standard MPA tuition and fees apply.

Elective Courses

In addition to the required core and experiential learning courses, students have a variety of electives from which to choose each semester, including summer. Students will take 3-4 electives to complete the MPA degree, depending on the student's internship requirement. Explore the catalog for more information about specific classes.