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Program Requirements

Degree Audit

The DegreeWorks report provides the official course of study and includes the listing of all courses that must be completed to obtain the MPA degree.

As soon as a student is admitted to the MPA Program, a proposed degree outline is prepared in consultation with the graduate advisor. The proposed degree outline is then submitted by the department to the Dean of the Graduate College for approval. The DegreeWorks system is to be used by the student to determine which courses to select for each semester's registration. Any course taken outside of the DegreeWorks degree plan is taken at the student's risk as the courses completed may not count toward the degree requirements.

Outline Changes

Any changes in the degree outline must be requested in writing on the official Degree Audit Change Form, and a justification of the requested change must be stated. Any DegreeWorks plan change request should be completed prior to the student's registering for a course that is not included in the degree outline. Students should consult with the MPA program director to request changes to the degree plan. Any courses taken without an approved degree outline change request is taken at the student's own risk and may not count toward the degree.

Course Work

MPA program coursework consists of core courses and elective courses.

Background Course

Students without public or non-profit administrative experience will be required to take PA 5389, Internship in Government, within the first 24 hours of the program. In order for the internship requirement to be waived, a letter from an employer or past employer briefly documenting the student's administrative experience needs to be sent to the director of the MPA Program.

Core Courses (24 Hours + an addition 6 Hours depending on pathway)

The MPA core consists of 24 hours of public administration courses. If a student chooses the ARP or Thesis pathway to graduation, then there are an additional two courses as part of the core. Courses range across many different areas in public administration and management (public finance, organization theory, public personnel administration, research methodology, and public law). For a comprehensive listing of courses, review the curriculum outlines contained in these guidelines and in the Graduate Catalog.


Students can choose nine hours from 18 different elective courses if they have chosen the ARP or Thesis pathway. If students have chosen the non-Thesis route, then they take 15 hours of electives. Through these electives, students can gain expertise in human resources, non-profit management, public law, and public policy. There are also courses which develop technical skills such as performance management and information technology. For a comprehensive list of courses, see Course Offerings or the Graduate Catalog

Applied Research Project

MPA students are eligible to enroll in PA 5398 (Applied Research Project) after the completion of 33-36 hours of the MPA degree program. It is essential that students enroll in PA 5390, PA 5397 and PA 5398 sequentially. PA 5390 introduces students to different research research methods and research design techniques. In PA 5397 students work on a literature review and solidify their research proposal. In PA 5398, the final course in this sequence, students will complete their research project.