Master of Public Administration
On-campus MPA and On-line MPA Programs
Director: Dr. Michael Pennington
The Master of Public Administration Program (MPA Program) is a broad-based degree designed to prepare students for leadership roles in public organizations. The MPA Program emphasizes the critical areas of political institutions and processes, managerial and leadership concepts and skills, and analytical skills and techniques. It is anchored in both theory and application for those seeking to leverage their career progress and enhance their leadership potential.
The MPA Program is intended for practicing and aspiring administrators in public sector organizations, and is also an excellent degree for those in non-profit and voluntary sectors, and in private organizations that interact consistently with public agencies or which maintain government or public affairs offices. The degree also is useful for those whose career paths may move across sectors over a period of time. The degree-while based solidly in research and theory-emphasizes the practical application of modern technical, managerial, and leadership skills in a variety of settings.
For those currently in administrative and managerial positions, the MPA Program will help refine, update, and improve career potential and help add value to performance. For preservice individuals, the program is an excellent way to build the educational foundation for a career in management and leadership.
This graduate program is devoted to public management, and also committed to serving the needs of those whose careers are invested in the work of non-profit organizations and private sector organizations that have public interest linkages. Given its emphasis on management, the program is multi-disciplinary and involves a significant mix of disciplines, all of which contribute to the value of the program for individual students. This multi-disciplinary quality, along with its public management base, is a significant, and unique strength of the MPA Program and degree.
The MPA Program offers four choices beyond the initial required courses: The student may choose a concentration in Public Management, Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, or Health Administration. These options are designed to enable the student to select courses that will enable meeting individual career and professional goals and needs.
The MPA program faculty is a distinguished, experienced group representing various disciplines. The core discipline of the program is public administration. Contributing disciplines include business administration, criminal justice, computer science, economics, health administration, and political science. Other disciplines contribute to the MPA Program on an occasional basis. All members of the MPA Program faculty hold the earned doctoral degree and bring to their courses and other work in the program a sound record of experience in government, business, research, and consulting. Students in the MPA Program benefit greatly from work in graduate courses taught from a variety of disciplinary perspectives offered by the faculty, and from the emphasis by the faculty on a blend of theory and practical management and leadership skills.
Program-Specific Admissions Standards
All applicants for the M.P.A. degree in Public Administration are required to submit an essay detailing their preparation for graduate studies, relevant professional experiences, and their objectives in pursuing an M.P.A. degree. The M.P.A. program requires submission of scores from the GRE General Test; students do not need to submit subject area scores. See also Graduate Programs, Procedures, and Policies.
The MPA Program Components
The major components of the MPA Program are: (1) the Required Core Courses; (2) the required concentration courses; (3) electives; (4) the Capstone/Professional Paper; and, for preservice, non-professional students, (5) the MPA Field Experience (Internship).
Capstone/MPA Professional Paper
Each student must successfully complete a professional paper guided by MPA professors. Students will design and complete their papers in the appropriate topic/concentration area. Details regarding topic selection, processes, and other requirements are available on the program website. Students will be required to make an on-campus oral presentation of their paper to their advisory committee and other faculty and students and submit both printed and electronic copies of their final version, following the process defined on the program website. This final version must incorporate all required revisions and can then by assigned a grade by the responsible faculty and the MPA Director.