Master of Public Administration
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) which serves as a national and international resource for the promotion of excellence in education and training for public service.
The MPA program is designed to prepare students for careers in public service and to provide professional development for administrators of public agencies and non-profit organizations. As such, the purpose of the program is to help students develop theoretical and analytical insights into problems of governance in a democratic society, into the interplay between politics and public service, and into the relationship between elected officials and bureaucracy in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies. Specifically, the goals of our program, in conjunction with the University’s state-wide mission in public affairs, are to produce graduates who:
- are culturally competent and understand the importance of civic engagement and the role of ethical leadership in public service;
- have an understanding of the role that public service plays in democratic society; and
- are prepared to pursue advanced study in public administration.
All students with demonstrated academic competence, interested in pursuing a career in public service, and who meet the entrance requirements of the Graduate College and the MPA program will be welcomed into the program. The program is designed to give students the opportunity to pursue specializations in one of the following areas: 1) public safety, 2) local government management, and 3) public policy.
- 3.00 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
- Three strong letters of recommendation from undergraduate professors and/or persons well acquainted with the applicant's education and abilities. Letters should be submitted directly to the Director of the MPA program.
- A minimum score of 290 on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general examination.
- Applicants with a GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 and/or score of less than 290 on the GRE test may be admitted to the program on a provisional status at the discretion of the MPA director. A personal interview may be required.
All students applying for a graduate assistantship must have their GRE scores (verbal and quantitative) on file at the time of application. All graduate assistants in Political Science are required to take 9 hours of course work per semester.
- The MPA director may waive the internship requirement for students who have appropriate and sufficient prior work experience in public or not-for-profit organizations. Students with prior work experience in the public or not-for-profit sector should submit a letter to the MPA director requesting a waiver in the internship requirement along with a copy of his/her resume. Students for whom an internship requirement is waived must still take a three hour course to substitute for the internship.
- All MPA students in consultation with the MPA director will select an area of concentration (cognate field) within the MPA degree. Students shall take elective courses from the list of courses for the area of concentration he/she has selected. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the MPA director.
- All MPA students should work closely with the MPA director in completing their required and elective courses, internship, Advisor Approved Program of Study, and comprehensive examination.
- Students interested in pursuing a thesis option should establish a thesis committee consisting of three graduate faculty members and select one of the members to serve as chair of the thesis committee. The chair of the committee will guide the student through the entire thesis process.
Degree Requirements (Minimum of 39 hrs)
- Required Core:
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours PLS 673 Policy Analysis 3 hrs PLS 676 Quantitative Methods of Political Science and Public Policy 3 hrs PLS 752 Public Personnel Management 3 hrs PLS 753 Management Techniques and Organizational Behavior 3 hrs PLS 756 Financial Management for State and Local Government 3 hrs PLS 771 Seminar in Public Administration 3 hrs PLS 778 Ethics and Leadership in the Public Sector 3 hrs Total Core 21 hrs
Note: If the student has taken a 500-level required course for undergraduate credit, he/she shall substitute a 600 or 700-level course selected with the approval of the advisor and the department for the course already taken.
- Internship: (PLS 781 In-Service Training in Public Administration). In-service training in an approved local, county, state, federal, non-profit or other approved agency (unless waived for candidate with adequate experience). 0-3 hrs
- Non-thesis option. Complete required core courses and up to 18 hours of courses in student’s chosen area of concentration (see #4 below).
- Thesis option. Complete required core courses, PLS 799 Thesis (6 hours), and up to 12 hours of courses in student’s chosen area of concentration (see #5 below).
- Areas of Concentration: The MPA student will take the required courses in his/her area of concentration and will select other courses to fill out the elective requirements depending on whether the internship is waived and which research option is selected. Required area of concentration courses: 9-18 hrs
- Local Government Management:
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours PLS 776 Local Public Service Delivery 3 hrs PLS 777 Local Government and Politics and Administration 3 hrs
- Public Policy:
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours PLS 762 Public Policy and Program Evaluation 3 hrs PLS 763 The Policy Process 3 hrs
- Public Safety:
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours PLS 772 Introduction to Public Safety Services 3 hrs PLS 773 Hazard Analysis, Mitigation, and Preparedness 3 hrs Total 39 hrs
Within each area of concentration, students may use the additional course(s) to pursue more specialized interests.
- Local Government Management:
- Comprehensive Examination. The Director of the MPA Program will prepare and administer a written comprehensive examination covering the general field of public administration, reflected in the required core courses offered. All students except those who choose a thesis option and successfully complete a master’s thesis will be required to take and pass a written comprehensive examination. Students who do not perform at satisfactory level on their comprehensive examination will be required to pass an oral examination until all course requirements for the degree have been satisfied.
Accelerated Master of Public Administration Option
Eligible Missouri State University majors in political science may apply for preliminary acceptance into the Master of Public Administration program after admission requirements for the accelerated master’s option have been satisfied. If accepted, the undergraduate requirements for PLS 673 (Policy Analysis), PLS 676 (Quantitative Methods of Political Science and Public Policy), and PLS 781 (In-service Training in Public Administration) can be counted for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
In addition, PLS 771 (Seminar in Public Administration) can be taken during the student’s senior year and can also count toward both degrees. This option gives exceptional undergraduate students the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ten semesters and a summer. Contact the Director of the MPA Program for further information and guidelines.
Before enrolling in a course to be counted as both undergraduate and graduate credit and to count the course toward the master’s degree, an undergraduate student must be accepted into the accelerated program and receive prior approval from the graduate program director, department head of the undergraduate program, and the dean of the Graduate College. Acceptance into the program and all approvals must be completed prior to the end of the Change of Schedule Period for the course(s). See the Graduate College for further information.
Admission Process for the Accelerated MPA Option
Immediately prior to or during the junior year, the prospective student should discuss the possibility of participating in the Accelerated Master’s Degree program with their undergraduate advisor and Department Head of the Political Science Department. If the student’s academic record and potential are judged strong, the Head recommends the student to the proposed Accelerated MPA program. Undergraduate students who enter the Accelerated Master’s Degree program should have a sponsor, i.e., a MPA faculty member who will serve as a mentor to the student throughout the undergraduate and graduate programs.
A student must be admitted into the Accelerated Master’s Degree Program at Missouri State University in order to begin taking graduate course work for dual credit. Students admitted into the Accelerated Master’s Degree program will not be fully admitted into the Graduate College until completion of their undergraduate degree and fulfillment of all other requirements for admission to the Graduate College (such as the Graduate Record Examination). Students should be awarded the bachelor’s degree upon completion of a minimum of 125 hours of combined graduate and undergraduate course work and degree specific requirements.
To be admitted into the Master’s of Public Administration program, you must meet specific requirements:
Admission requirements for the accelerated MPA option
- Public administration and political science undergraduate students must have at least junior standing and a minimum of 60 credit hours.
- Applicants must have a minimum 3.50 GPA in the public administration or political science curriculum and 3.00 overall GPA.
- Students in the Accelerated Master’s Degree Program must maintain a 3.50 GPA in the public administration and/or political science curriculums and maintain a 3.00 overall GPA to remain in the program.
- Transfer students will be allowed into the Accelerated Master's Degree Program. Transfer students must have a minimum of 30 graded hours of course work at Missouri State University before they can be accepted into the program.
- A maximum of 12 credits of accumulated graduate hours may be applied toward completion of their undergraduate degree requirements. The following courses will be allowed:
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours PLS 673 Policy Analysis 3 hrs PLS 676 Quantitative Methods of Political Science and Public Policy 3 hrs PLS 771 Seminar in Public Administration 3 hrs PLS 781 In-Service Training in Public Administration 3 hrs