2015-2016 Academic Catalog 
    Apr 20, 2024  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Administration, MPA

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Program Description:

The mission of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program is to prepare students to be successful public and nonprofit administrators and leaders in our diverse and multicultural regional environment and beyond.  To achieve this mission, the program emphasizes critical thinking, professional writing, and analytical skills; balancing theory and practice; exemplifying public service values through teaching, research, and community engagement; and by promoting core public service values, including accountability, democratic participation, ethical behavior, fairness, equity, and transparency.

The program is designed to meet the needs of students seeking to begin professional public service careers (pre-service) and current public service practitioners seeking career advancement (in-service). Students may complete the MPA degree through part-time or full-time enrollment. To best serve our MPA students we offer:

  • a blend of theory and practice in all MPA courses;
  • curriculum designed to develop and enhance core competencies; and
  • accommodating course schedules.

The MPA program additionally offers a certificate in nonprofit administration sponsored by the National Leadership Alliance and a certificate in Geographic Information Science. A dual degree option, offered in concert with the Master of International and Comparative Politics, is also available to all MPA students.

Admissions Requirements:

Applicants must have earned a Bachelor degree prior to matriculation in the MPA program. Students who earned an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 may be granted Regular admission status. Those with an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.0 but at least 2.7 may be granted Conditional admission status. Prospective applicants who do not meet these criteria for admission should review the policies of the WSU Graduate School for additional options.

The preferred application deadline for the MPA program is March 31. Prospective students submitting completed applications by this date will receive first consideration. Applications received after March 31 will receive consideration on a space-available basis.

Completed applications for the MPA program include: a) the WSU Application for Admission to Graduate Status; b) official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended (except WSU); c) three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic achievements and/or ability to meet the rigorous requirements of graduate studies; and d) a 400-word essay that explains how the MPA degree serves the applicant’s personal and professional goals.

Students begin the MPA program in the Fall term each year. Exceptions to this policy are rare, but may be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the MPA program.


Program Requirements:

The MPA program requires 36 semester credit hours of approved course work comprised of:

  • 21 credit hours of core courses;
  • 3 credit hours of a culminating project, or 6 credit hours of thesis;
  • 3 to 6 credit hours of internship (may be substituted with an elective for in-service); and
  • approved elective courses for the remainder of the required credit hours.

MPA core courses develop an understanding of the dynamic metropolitan and global context in which public and nonprofit professionals operate. Elective courses supplement the broad range of knowledge and skills developed in the MPA core and strengthen students’ knowledge and skills in their particular areas of professional interest. For these reasons, MPA students meet with their faculty advisor to discuss planning and selecting elective courses.

When completing the degree program, MPA students have the option of participating in a capstone project or completing an applied research project. The capstone project utilizes small student teams while the applied research project is performed individually. In both forms of the culminating project, students apply sound research methodologies and techniques to analyze “real world” problems and make recommendations to improve or solve them. In lieu of these culminating project options, students may choose to complete a thesis.

Advisors are available to help students choose the most appropriate option for their culminating experience in the MPA program.

Internships are designed to meet the needs of students with no or limited prior experience in the public or nonprofit sectors and to assist with post-graduation job placement. In-service students may substitute an elective course for the internship requirement with advisor approval.

For additional information about the Master of Public Administration, please visit the MPA program website at

www.wright.edu/mpa (http://www.wright.edu/mpa).

Course Requirements

II. Additional Requirements: 3-6 Hours

Select one from:

Total: 36 Hours

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