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; balances theory and practice; exemplifies public service values through teaching, research, and community engagement; and promotes 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 offers students a choice of three tracks: general, criminal justice (CJ), and social issues (SI). Students will take the same core courses, and their electives, internships, and capstone topics will reflect their focus.
Students pursuing the MPA may also choose to complete a certificate program in Foreign Service; Geographic Information Science; or Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Dual degree options are offered in concert with the Master of Arts in International and Comparative Politics and the Master of Science in Social or Applied Economics programs.
Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation in the MPA program. Students who earned an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 or a GPA of at least 2.7 with a 3.2 GPA for the second half of their undergraduate course work may be granted Regular admission status. Those with an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.7 or a GPA of at least 2.5 with a GPA of 3.0 for the second half of their undergraduate course work 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.
Students are accepted into the program year-round to start in the Fall, Spring, or Summer terms. If starting other than the fall term, students may enroll in electives only unless given prior approval.
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 signed and on letterhead 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.
Program Learning Outcomes
MPA graduates will be able to:
- Lead and manage in the public interest
- Participate in and contribute to the policy process
- Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make evidence-informed decisions in a complex and dynamic environment
- Articulate, apply, and advance a public service perspective
- Communicate and interact productively and in culturally responsive ways with a diverse and changing workforce and society at large
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