Master of Public Administration Degree
Department of Political Science and Planning
Pafford 140 • 678-839-6504
S. Caress, L. Howe, R. Sanders (Director of Graduate Studies), R. Schaefer (Chair)
G. Dixon, H. J. Jun, S. Lee, P. Rutledge
The Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree program is designed both to augment the skills and knowledge of those already in the public service and to provide a professional graduate degree program to meet the growing need for skilled, knowledgeable public administrators. It is also intended to encourage students to pursue careers in government and to equip superior students for research and study at the doctoral level. The M.P.A. program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.
M.P.A. students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Public service values including ethics, democracy, and constitutional principles
- Generalist management techniques and skills
- The linkage between theory and practice
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Students with any undergraduate major may apply. Those students with no prior public administration education or public service experience will be required to take POLS 5200, Principles of Public Administration. This course does not count toward the 36 hours required for the degree.
Admission will be based on the M.P.A. Committee's evaluation of three factors: GRE scores, the student's undergraduate record, and letters of recommendation. When appropriate, an oral interview may be required.
Program of Study
The M.P.A. degree is a professional program requiring the completion of 36 semester hours of graduate credit. While an exit paper is required in the Professional Seminar, the program is a non-thesis program. The curriculum for the M.P.A. degree places major emphasis upon courses in the area of public administration and policy. All pre-service students will be required to substitute an internship for 3 hours of the elective track. The program is built on three tiers of course work:
- The Professional Core (21 hours): All students must complete the professional core. The courses in the core are: POLS 6200, Public Budgeting; POLS 6201, Theory of Public Administration; POLS 6202, Research Methods for Public Administration; POLS 6203, Theories of Public Organization; POLS 6204, Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation; POLS 6205, Administrative Law and Procedures; POLS 6206, Public Personnel Administration.
- The Elective Track (12 hours): With the approval of the program advisor, each student must select 12 hours beyond the core courses. The track courses may be taken from any graduate program in the University. Generally, electives should form a coherent whole. Examples of track emphasis include planning, management, and particular areas of public policy.
- The Professional Seminar - POLS 6286 (3-6 hours): This seminar normally will be taken at the completion of the students' degree program. The seminar consists of the preparation of an exit paper (3 hours) and for those not employed in the public service, a three-month internship in a government or non-profit agency (3 hours). The exit paper can take several forms, but typically provides an analysis of the internship or the agency of employment of in-service students. The paper will analyze an actual problem which confronts the student's agency, describe the problem-solving approach taken, and evaluate the supportive evidence for the decision made. Finally, the paper will evaluate linkages between the internship or work experience, classroom experiences, and public administration literature. An oral defense of the paper before each student's committee is required.