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MPA Program Overview


Training tomorrow's public and nonprofit leaders today!

Program Mission Statement

What is MPA?

MPA is the abbreviation used for the educational degree Master in Public Administration. The MPA is a recognized professional degree for staff, supervisory personnel, and managers and leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors. It is the MBA of the public and nonprofit sectors. An MPA degree provides students with knowledge, skills, and abilities related to budgeting, human resources, management, planning, and other key functions in government agencies (local, state, and federal) and nonprofit organizations.


The MPA at SIUE is offered through the Department of Public Administration and Policy Analysis (PAPA) in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). The MPA program is the largest graduate program in CAS, the 4th largest at SIUE, and the largest MPA program in the region. The program at SIUE is designed to develop analytical and administrative skills. While the program is rigorous, it is also sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of the student. The faculty is committed to the highest quality of teaching and works closely with each individual student. All students participate in a set of core courses, but each individual student assist in creating a set of elective courses tailored to meet his or her career needs.

Who pursues an MPA?

The students within this program come from a variety of backgrounds. The students have bachelor degrees from almost every field and begin the program at almost any point in one's career. Some occupy senior positions and want to increase skill level and others are employed in technical positions and are motivated to move into a managerial role. Other students use the program to gain initial entry into management positions in the public and nonprofit sectors.

How long will it take to complete an MPA?

The MPA degree requires the completion of seven core and six elective courses. Thirteen courses or thirty-nine semester hours are required for graduation. Most full-time students complete the program in 1 to 2 years. Most part-time students take 2 to 3 years to complete the program. During the last 5 years, 60% of graduates attended the program part-time and completed the program within 5 years and 40% of the graduates attended full-time and completed the program within 2 years.  Students have a maximum of 6 years to complete the program.

What careers are available to MPA graduates?

Approximately 60-75% of our students are employed fulltime as working professionals in various employment sectors such as:

            National or central government within the county

            State, provincial or regional government within the county

            City, County, or other local government within the county

            Nonprofit domestic-oriented

            Military Service

Graduates of the program hold a wide range of positions across several functional areas. These include city managers, public safety officers, police chiefs, fire chiefs, budget officers, personnel specialists, and economic development officers. State officials in the social service and health care fields have pursued the MPA degree as they have sought to move out of direct client services into supervisory roles.

In the nonprofit sector, graduates of the MPA program are filling roles as executive directors, development directors, grant-writers, professional staff, and general management positions.

Nonprofit administrators have established careers in community development, health, social and human services, the arts and museums, religious organizations, and environmental agencies.

Military officers frequently pursue the MPA for career advancement or as preparation for the transition to civilian life upon retirement. Other graduates of this program have pursued careers as elected officials, legislative staff, policy analysts, researchers, and educators. A growing number of MPA alumni have used the MPA as a springboard to advanced degree studies.

Additionally, upon graduation, local units of government often hire students who have previously worked for them while serving as an intern as part of our MPA Internship Program.

Click here to view a table of Employment Statistics for the Previous Academic Year Graduates.

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