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Master of Public Administration

Public Administration (MPA)

Offered by the Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public Affairs, the Master of Public Administration program instills the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to manage and lead with distinction in government and related organizations that serve the public good in the U.S. democratic 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.

Degree Requirements

  • 39 credit hours of approved graduate work
    • Students who successfully complete the SPA Key Executive Leadership Development Program may apply to reduce the overall degree requirement for the 39-credit hour MPA by up to 6 credit hours
    • Up to 6 credit hours may be waived for qualifying courses and/or transfer credit from another academic institution. Students who avail themselves of this provision will be encouraged to take advanced level work in designated areas as a consequence
    • No combination of qualifying course waivers or credit hour reductions may reduce the total completed credit hours below 30 credit hours
  • Capstone experience: PUAD-610 Public Administration Capstone  (3) 

Course Requirements

Core (24 credit hours)

Required

Additional

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Public Finance, Financial Management, or Government Budgeting

Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Capstone (3 credit hours)

Concentration (12 credit hours)

  • 12 credit hours in an area of concentration. Areas include: nonprofit management (with optional arts management focus); international management; public management (with optional management consulting or human resources focus); state and local management; public financial management; policy analysis; policy and management (with optional social policy or health policy or environmental policy or science and technology focus); and applied politics. Students may create special areas of concentration by consulting their academic counselor

Internship

Students without a significant professional work background participate in either a for-credit or non-credit internship. Students taking a for-credit internship complete PUAD-691 as part of the concentration; students taking a non-credit internship complete a survey on the experience

Combined (BA) and Public Administration (MPA)

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for combined bachelor's/master's programs:

  • Admission requires a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00, a completed application form (available from the Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP) and submitted to the BA/MPA advisor), a written faculty recommendation, an essay on the student's interests and abilities in public administration, and an interview with an academic advisor.
  • Undergraduate students may apply up to 15 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework to satisfy the requirements for both degrees. Students take courses in statistics, economics, public administration, and other courses approved by DPAP.

Public Administration (MPA) and Juris Doctor (JD)

Admission to the Program

Applicants must satisfy the admission requirements of both the Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP)/SPA and Washington College of Law (WCL). Admission criteria are the same as those for the MPA. However, students who have been admitted to WCL will not be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Students may begin their studies in SPA after completing one year or the equivalent of full-time study at WCL. Admission to either the MPA or JD program does not guarantee admission to the other.

Dual Degree Requirements

  • 104 credit hours of approved graduate coursework, including 24 credit hours of MPA coursework in SPA, and 80 credit hours of law coursework in WCL

MPA Degree Requirements

MPA Course Requirements

Core (21 credit hours)

Required
Additional

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Public Finance, Financial Management, or Government Budgeting

Complete 3 credit hours from the following, or other course approved by MPA advisor:

Capstone (3 credit hours)

JD Degree Requirements

  • 86 credit hours of coursework required for the JD, of which at least 80 credits must be earned in WCL courses, including:
    • LAW-601 Administrative Law (3-4)
    • LAW-550 Legal Ethics (2-3)

Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Laws (LLM)

American University's School of Public Affairs (SPA) and the Washington College of Law (WCL) jointly offer a dual degree program in law and public administration. The program is especially attractive for attorneys who hope to practice and innovate in the political, governmental and not-for-profit realms. The program provides a broad theoretical grounding in public administration and management, while also providing students with a practical education in the analysis and implementation of policy and law at all levels of government.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must satisfy the admission requirements of both the Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP)/SPA and Washington College of Law (WCL). Admission criteria are the same as those for the MPA. However, students who have been admitted to WCL will not be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For entering law students, applications for this program are first reviewed by the WCL. Upon admission to WCL, the application is forwarded to SPA for review and decision. Currently enrolled WCL students may apply during their studies at WCL.

Admission to either the MPA or LLM program does not guarantee admission to the other. Students who have been admitted to the MPA program may apply to WCL. Students may begin their studies in SPA in their first semester of the LLM program.

Dual Degree Requirements

  • 42 credits hours of approved graduate coursework, including 24 credit hours of MPA coursework in SPA, and 18 credit hours of law coursework in WCL

MPA Degree Requirements

MPA Course Requirements

Core (21 credit hours)

Required
Additional

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Public Finance, Financial Management, or Government Budgeting

Complete 3 credit hours from the following, or other course approved by MPA advisor:

Capstone (3 credit hours)

LLM Degree Requirements

  • 18 credit hours of coursework required for the LLM, including:

Required

  • LAW-601 Administrative Law (3-4)or
  • Other approved course

Seminar

Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

  • LAW-580 American Lawyer Seminar (3)
  • LAW-892 Washington Lawyer Seminar (3)

Note: No new students will be admitted to this program for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Dual MPA Degrees

JD/MPA

LLM/MPA

MEd/MPA

MPA Advising Worksheet

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MPA Sample Course Plan

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MPA Concentration Book

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Combined BA/MPA

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