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Graduate Catalog 2015-16


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Contact: Graduate Program Director

Department’s Home Page

Application Deadlines:
For domestic classified status, the deadline is approximately a month before the start of classes (Definite dates are on the application itself). International students, please see the FAQs #16 for your deadline.


The Department of Public Administration offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Public Administration degree, a professional degree designed to prepare persons for management careers in the public and nonprofit sectors. The program serves two types of students: (1) pre-service students who have recently completed a bachelor's degree and wish to use the master's degree to gain entry into a professional career track, and (2) in-service students who have worked for several years in the public sector or nonprofit sector but wish to return to the University to enhance or upgrade their skills and knowledge.

Graduates of the program hold a wide range of positions such as city managers, finance directors, policy analysts, legislative staff, administrators of non-profit agencies, health care administrators, military staff and line commanders, police chiefs, fire chiefs, recreation directors, museum directors, and social service staff and managers.


Unconditional admission to the program requires an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.7 (A=4.0) or a grade point average for the last two years of 3.0. An undergraduate background in the social sciences or business administration is useful but not required.

Applicants with an overall undergraduate grade point average between 2.5 and 2.7 may be required to take a test administered by the Department of Public Administration to evaluate their writing and analytical skills. Based on the results of this test, the program director may require students to submit scores from standardized examinations such as Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or Miller Analogies Test (MAT); and/or resumés summarizing their work experience over the last ten years. Applicants who are denied admission may request a review of their credentials by the department's Student Appeals Committee.


The Master of Public Administration degree requires the completion of at least 39 semester hours with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher distributed as follows:

Required core courses (21 hours): PAPA 420, 500, 501, 510, 530, 540, 550 with a minimum 3.0 grade point average in the core courses.

Area of emphasis courses (18 hours): Chosen from an approved list of courses in public management or nonprofit administration. Students may also design their own area of emphasis with the consent of their adviser.

"Unclassified" graduate students may take PAPA courses only with the permission of either the department chair or the MPA program director.


Students must receive a passing grade on a comprehensive exit examination. Students must submit two papers written during their course work as evidence of their writing skills and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in the PAPA "core" courses in order to qualify to take the final comprehensive examination.

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