Public Administration at NMU
The master of public administration (MPA) degree is designed for both in-service and pre-service students. MPA students will expand their theoretical understanding of the field of public administration and develop essential competency in basic methodological and technical areas. Students also select a concentration in a sub-field that will advance their career expertise. The program offers concentrations in the areas of criminal justice administration, human resource administration, state and local government, and public management.
The MPA is housed in the Political Science and Public Administration Department. In addition, courses from other departments augment the core requirements. This interdisciplinary approach to graduate education enables MPA students to benefit from the numerous areas of expertise and diverse perspectives represented throughout the university.
Students must satisfy the designated core requirements, area of concentration, electives, and complete either a thesis or portfolio.
Pre-service students (those without one year of prior relevant work experience) are required to enroll in a public administration internship. In-service students (those with one or more years of prior relevant work experience) may request exemption from the internship requirement.
Students must submit two approved file papers, and pass a written and oral comprehensive examination prior to graduation.
Applicants are required to comply with the regular admission requirements of the College of Graduate Studies. In addition:
- MPA applicants must also have at least a 3.00 undergraduate GPA or a 3.00 GPA based on 12 or more semester hours of graduate work.
- Applicants must submit an essay explaining how the MPA will assist in the advancement of their goals.
- Submit scores from the GRE.
Application materials are reviewed by the MPA director and a two-person faculty graduate screening committee.
Conditional admission will be granted to students with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 - 3.00. Students granted conditional admission must receive a minimum grade of “B” (3.00) in each of their first three courses after admission to the program.
Applications are accepted throughout the year.
Students should have a basic understanding of American government, familiarity with economic analysis and basic mathematical skills. In addition, some courses may require prerequisite work. The MPA director will review each student’s transcripts and record of previous work experience in determining which prerequisites will be required.
Up to four credits of requirements may be waived in recognition of prior, relevant professional work experience in a particular subject area. The director of the graduate program in public administration and one faculty member will review requests for professional experience credit and make appropriate recommendations to the dean of graduate studies. The request will include a detailed job description, an employer’s evaluation of the employee’s performance, and a student essay describing how his/her work experiences provided knowledge that would have been gained in the designated course.
Thesis or Portfolio Options
Each student will need to work with the MPA director to identify the appropriate option for their individual educational and professional goals.
Students who choose the thesis option will be required to sign up for 6 credit hours of thesis credit and AIS 435 instead of elective hours. Students who choose the thesis option do not have to take PS 592. The thesis can be used as evidence of one’s ability to carry out successfully in-depth research. Students are expected to follow the College of Graduate Studies thesis guidelines when writing their thesis.
To fulfill this requirement, students must complete a portfolio of superior quality, and make a presentation based on its contents to a three person faculty review committee. This committee will evaluate both the portfolio itself and the presentation. The presentation should be scheduled for one hour. During that hour students are expected to make a presentation centered on their portfolio for no longer than 15-20 minutes. The rest of the hour will be devoted to a question and answer exchange between faculty members and the student.
The portfolio is designed to accomplish at least three fundamental things. First, it indicates students are capable of master’s level research and writing. Second, it indicates mastery of important professional skills (e.g., quantitative analysis or strategic management). Third, the portfolio should demonstrate students’ professional growth and development over the span of the MPA program. The student will work with the MPA director to develop his or her portfolio.
Plan of Study
Upon admission, students will consult with the program director to outline their course of study and select appropriate courses. A plan of study form must be approved before completion of 12 credits of graduate work.