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Department of Public Administration and Policy

Public Administration Wonk

The Master of Public Administration

The management degree for the public sector

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

The Master of Public Administration program provides students the knowledge, skills, and values for functioning with distinction throughout their careers at different levels of responsibility within the U.S. constitutional context and abroad.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for graduate study. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s academic record, two letters of recommendation, test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and an essay written by the applicant on his or her background and career interests. Applicants may substitute test scores from similar tests, such as the GMAT or LSAT, for the GRE where appropriate. Applicants who received their undergraduate degree more than five years prior to their date of application may waive the requirement for test scores by submitting a statement describing their professional experience. The department values applicants who have acquired practical experience before beginning their professional degree program. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s total record and not on any single strength or deficiency.

MPA on Twitter

Meet MPA Alumni

Matthew Sory Yansane
MPA ’12

Matthew Sory Yansane, MPA/12

Hometown: Washington, DC

Current position: Independent Management Consultant, Bainaka & Associates

Read more »

Take the next step

Apply to SPA Graduate Programs

Click below to start or continue your School of Public Affairs application.


Degree Requirements

• 42 credit hours of approved graduate work

• Comprehensive examination including an exercise in management analysis and a reflective essay

Course Requirements:

(Unless stated otherwise, all courses are worth 3 credits)

  • one course in public finance, financial management, or government budgeting from the following:

  • PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis and Management: Public Finance in Developing Countries

  • PUAD-691 Internship (Preservice students about to begin their career participate in a supervised internship).

Area of Concentration (12 credit hours)

(Click to download Concentration information)

Students may create special areas of concentration by consulting program faculty and their academic counselor.



MPA Sample Course Plan

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Exchange Program in Germany

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OPM and Key credits

Due to a special arrangement, students admitted to the MPA may utilize qualifying courses offered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Executive Management Training Centers toward the credit hours required to earn the degree. Qualifying courses from these two institutions have been certified for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE).

Students who successfully complete the SPA Key Executive Leadership Development Program may apply to reduce the overall degree requirement for the 42-credit hour MPA by up to an additional 6 credit hours. Students who avail themselves of this provision remain eligible to request the 3 or 6 credit hour waiver for prior professional experience as noted above. At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence for the MPA.

Up to 6 credit hours may be waived for qualifying courses and/or transfer credit from another academic institution, and up to 6 credit hours may be waived for significant management experience, for a total not to exceed 12 credit hours. Students who avail themselves of this provision will be encouraged to take advanced level work in designated areas as a consequence.