Master of Public Administration
- 1. Program Requirements for Admission
- 2. The Curriculum
- 3. Transfer Credits and Course Substitutions
- 4. MPA Grade-Point Average and Time Limit
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is intended for those with career interests in public management, health and human services, government, and other public service and nonprofit organizations. The curriculum blends theoretical and applied concepts and assures “real-world” experiences for the novice administrator. In addition, it requires that students devote attention to general professional development. The MPA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.
Students may begin the program in any semester. Three courses (or 9 credits) per semester are considered a normal course load for full-time students. Part-time students typically take one or two 3-credit courses each semester and one or two courses during the summer session to maintain steady progress toward the degree.
Degree Conferred: M.P.A.
Program Requirements for Admission
|GPA||a successful undergraduate record with a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (either as the cumulative GPA or for the last 60 hours of relevant course work)|
This program has rolling admission, that is, no specific deadline. Note that it may take 4-6 weeks to receive transcripts and process an application.
Gather supporting materials and begin the standard graduate application.
The MPA degree program requires 36 graduate credits (3 credits per course): 18 in core courses, 15 in electives and 3 for a capstone course. Up to 6 credits of 400-level courses may be taken as electives, with the approval of an advisor. In addition, a 3 credit 300 hour internship is required of students who do not have at least two years of full-time relevant work experience, which consists of supervisory, managerial or professional work. The internship is waived for students with this experience before they enter the program or who gain it by working full-time during their enrollment in the program. If this occurs, students must apply for the waiver.
Core Courses (18 credits)
- P ADM 500 Public Organization and Management
- P ADM 502 Government Fiscal Decision-Making
- P ADM 503 Research Methods
- P ADM 505 Human Resources in the Public and Nonprofit Sector
- P ADM 506 Management Information Systems
- P ADM 510 Organizational Behavior
Capstone Course (3 credits)
P ADM 594 Capstone Course
The capstone course for Master’s degree students in the MPA and iMPS in Homeland Security Base Program. The course builds on the knowledge components and skills students have gained in prior courses. The purpose of P ADM 594 is to develop additional competencies in problem identification and problem solving, professional writing and oral presentation, and group research and presentation skills.
Electives (15 credits)
With the faculty adviser's approval, a student selects 15 credits of electives from the courses list. Students also have the option of taking elective courses from one of the following concentrations:
- Government Administration
- Health Care Management and Policy
- Human Resources Management
- Information Resource Management
- Policy Analysis
- Criminal Justice
Every student who does not have two years of relevant professional or managerial experience is required to complete a three -credit internship (P ADM 595) of 300 hours of service. The internship experience provides students with a dynamic, professional forum in which to apply the analytical and managerial knowledge they acquired in the MPA program. During the internship, students can develop a professional network important to their careers. The purpose of the internship requirement is to provide students who lack real-world professional experience in public service organizations with: (1) opportunities for career exploration; and (2) a realistic exposure to the environment, management systems, and internal operations of public service organizations.
Students who have the relevant professional or managerial experience when they apply for admission usually are granted a waiver upon admission. Students who gain the experience, through working full-time while enrolled in the program, can request a waiver by describing the details of their experiences in a resume and letter addressed to the Program Coordinator. A student requiring an internship must complete 18 hours of credit with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher before they are eligible to do an internship. Eligibility for an internship.
Optimally, an internship should be taken during the course of a single semester. Generally a 15-week semester on a half-time basis or a summer semester of 8 weeks on a full-time basis meets the time requirement as well as the total credits (3) required. However, a full-time internship (40 hours per week, 300 hours for the semester) over the course of 8 weeks will satisfy the requirement.
Transfer Credits and Course Substitutions
A student can transfer 15 nondegree credits and 10 credits from an external institution as long as they have been taken within the last five years and if the student has earned a grade of B or better. Course substitutions are considered on an individual basis as they are requested.
MPA Grade-Point Average and Time Limit
The program, including an internship in a public agency or nonprofit organization, requires 18 to 24 months of full-time study, or three to five years on a part-time basis. Students must have a 3.00 grade-point average to graduate. All course work and requirements must be completed within an eight-year period from the time of first enrollment in the program.
This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.
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