The College of Letters and Science and the Lubar College of Business offer and present jointly the Master of Public Administration (MPA).

The program is designed to provide theoretical and practical preparation for careers in public and non-profit administration with three areas of concentration: municipal management, general public administration, and non-profit management.

Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Applications are considered on a rolling admissions basis, although we suggest that a completed portfolio be submitted at least 6-8 weeks prior to the beginning of the starting semester.

Applicants should keep in mind that applications for various University fellowships are typically due in January. If you are planning to apply for Financial Aid, all application materials must be submitted by March 1 of each year.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements and hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university to be considered for admission.

There are no fixed prerequisites in terms of prior academic training; but background in public administration, American governmental institutions, economics, statistics, and computer applications in social science is beneficial. Each student’s academic preparation is evaluated at the time of application. A personal interview may be required.

Applicants may be admitted with specific program-defined course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses.

The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.

The MPA program requirements to be considered for admission are:

  1. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with applicant’s academic ability and achievement.
  3. Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

Candidates seeking admission to the MPA/MUP program must apply to and be admitted to both programs. The requirements for admission to the MUP program are detailed in the Urban Planning section of this Catalog.

Credits and Courses

The Master of Public Administration degree requires satisfactory completion of 39-42 credits of prescribed graduate study and appropriate coursework.

Minimum Grade Requirements in the Core Courses

In order to demonstrate mastery of the critical Core Course material, MPA students must achieve a grade point average of 3.0 in the six Core Courses, and, regardless of average, students must earn a grade of B- or better in each Core Course. If a grade of C+ or lower is earned in any Core Course, that course must be repeated in an effort to earn the minimum grade of B-. If the student’s grade point average in the six Core Courses is below 3.0, the student must repeat one or more Core Courses in which a grade of lower than B was earned in an effort to establish a grade point average of 3.0 in the Core. (For purposes of this requirement, the grade point average for the Core Courses will be calculated on the basis of only the highest grade earned; that is, the grade earned in the first attempt at a Core Course will not be averaged with the grade earned in the repeat.)

Core Requirements

Students entering the MPA program will be placed, at the discretion of the MPA Director, in one of two tracks (A or B) within the core. The minimum degree requirement is 39 credits for Track A students and 42 credits for Track B students.

Required Core
BUSMGMT 709Predictive Analytics for Managers3
BUS ADM 738Human Resource Management3
PUB ADM/URBPLAN 630Budgeting and Finance in the Public Sector3
PUB ADM 763Scope and Dynamics of Public Administration3
PUB ADM 769Analyzing and Evaluating Public Policies and Programs3
PUB ADM 921Public Service Administrative Internship 13
Select one of the following:3
Special Topics in Human Resources Management:
Managing in a Dynamic Environment
Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion
Managerial Decisions and Negotiations
Select Track A or B below15-18
PUB ADM 959Capstone Seminar in Public Administration 23
Total Credits39-42

Waived for students with significant experience in the public or nonprofit sector; see Track A.


Every student will be required to take the capstone seminar, PUB ADM 959. The course requirements will include the completion and written and oral presentation of a project on a topic selected with the assistance of the instructor. This course will also be devoted to coverage of special issues and problems of the public administration profession, including administrative ethics.

Track A

Students with significant public or nonprofit sector work experience may, at the discretion of the MPA Director, have the Government/Nonprofit Administrative Internship course (PUB ADM 921) waived. Students seeking placement in this track will need to meet with the MPA Director to discuss this possibility and will be required to provide documentation of current public or nonprofit sector work experience.

Track B

Students with no significant public or nonprofit sector work experience are required to enroll in and successfully complete PUB ADM 921. As part of the requirements for this course, Track B students are required to obtain, with the assistance of the MPA Director, one or more internships in either the public or nonprofit sector while enrolled in the MPA program.

Every student must select and complete the requirements for one of the following three concentrations:

Municipal Management
Select two of the following:6
Budgeting for Public Sector Professionals
Municipal Management
Public Administration Risk and Analysis
Select two of the following:6
Seminar in Intergovernmental Relations
Land Use Planning Practice
Planning Local Economic Development
Introduction to Land Use Planning
and Introduction to Planning Law
Select at least 6 elective credits 16
Total Credits18

Selected by the student with the approval of the MPA Director that relate to the student’s substantive interests within the discipline of public administration.

Other courses may be substituted with the approval of the MPA Director.

General Public Administration
Select four of the following:12
Diversity in Organizations (if not used to satisfy seminar in organizational management requirement)
Ethics and Responsibility in Public Administration
Administrative Law
Government Public Relations and Advocacy
Public Administration Risk and Analysis
Seminar in Intergovernmental Relations
Seminar in Public Administration:
Select at least 6 elective credits 16
Total Credits18

Selected by the student with the approval of the MPA Director that relate to the student’s substantive interests within the discipline of public administration.

Nonprofit Organization and Management
BUS ADM 766Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations3
BUS ADM 724Business Combinations and Governmental Accounting3
NONPROF 789Theory and Role of Nonprofit Organizations3
PUB ADM 958Seminar in Public Administration:3
Select at least 6 elective credits 16
Total Credits18

Selected by the student with the approval of the MPA Director that relate to the student’s substantive interests within the discipline of public administration.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. A student who is not assigned to an advisor at the time of admission should immediately contact the Program Director.


Not required.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of initial enrollment. Students in the MPA/MUP program are allowed up to seven years to complete all requirements for both degrees.