The Master of Public Affairs (MPA)

Degree Requirements

COPRAlogoThe Master of Public Affairs (MPA) degree requires 43 semester hours if an internship is required, and 40 hours if a student has had relevant professional work experience and receives an internship waiver. Other requirements include:

  • American National Government or an equivalent from an accredited university
  • Eight core courses:
    • Public Administration and Management
    • Politics of Public Policy
    • Quantitative Analysis and Program Evaluation
    • Budgeting and Fiscal Administration (plus one hour lab)
    • Public Personnel Management
    • Organizational Behavior and Leadership
    • Legal Issues in Public Administration (one hour) OR Nonprofit Law (one hour)
    • One applied research tools course (e.g., Program and Policy Evaluation)
  • Electives: choice of a concentration or several electives from MPA offerings
  • Optional Concentrations:
    • Nonprofit Management
    • Community & Economic Development, or
    • Local Government Management
  • A comprehensive essay exam mid-way through the coursework
  • A written summary of learning paper at the end of the program

Full-time students can graduate in less than two years, while most part-time students finish in three to four years, though the program does not prescribe a course load or timeline for either groups. Our overall completion rates for the past four years averages 82%, with almost all full-time students finishing in two years, and almost all part-time students graduating in three years. Of the 20 students who started the program in 2012-13, 16 (80%) graduated, with 10 (50%) finishing in two years, and a total of 16 (80%) in 3 years.

Classes are offered on campus in the evenings and on Saturdays to accommodate students’ internships and full-time jobs. The program’s flexibility in scheduling courses, the many networking opportunities, and the variety of students and specializations are viewed by our graduates as significant strengths of the MPA program.


Students not having approved prior work experience in a professional or managerial position complete a supervised internship in a public or nonprofit agency for 3 hours credit, beyond the 40 hour requirement. The internship is usually designed as a paid, full-time professional position during the summer, from approximately May 15 to August 15, between the student’s first and second year of academic work. A part-time position for a longer time period is sometimes used as a substitute for the full-time summer internship. (See Internships)

Matriculation Schedule

For a depiction of year by year plan of study, please click on the above link.

For More Information

  • Dr. Hunter Bacot, MPA Director
  • Phone: (336) 256-0511 or 334-5093