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Graduate Programs


Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

Minimum Totals for Graduation: 36 hours Mission Statement

The Master of Public Administration at Central Michigan University provides a professional degree to prepare students to assume or advance in careers in the public and non-profit sectors. The program focuses on developing critical thinking, analytical skills, and an appreciation for ethical decision making. The pro- gram maintains a commitment to the recruitment and education of a diverse student body, and the recruitment and professional development of a diverse faculty. Consistent with the University’s mission, the program through collaboration with Off-Campus Programs offers the degree to underserved communities in select locations served by CMU.

Accordingly, MPA-CMU has the following goals:

  • Graduating well qualified professionals who will assume careers in the public and non-profit sectors.

  • Graduating well qualified mid-career professionals who will be prepared to advance in careers in the public and non- profit sectors.

  • Balancing practical learning with the current theories of management, leadership, and administration.

  • Providing a systematic understanding of political, economic, and social issues facing public administrators.

  • Developing quantitative, analytical, and information and technology management skills required for current and future work in the public and non-profit sectors.

  • Offering students professional development opportunities through internships and applied research in the public and non-profit sectors.

  • Developing core competencies in problem solving skills, policy analysis, legal and constitutional frameworks, and management of a diverse workforce.

  • Growing the MPA program for an off-campus audience through traditional and non-traditional delivery modes. The requirements for the MPA degree consist of 36 hours of

course work. First, completion of a set of core courses presents an understanding of essential components of the discipline. Then, with the approval of an advisor, the student creates a degree emphasis in one of three ways:

  • a.

    by selecting a specific concentration in either Public Manage- ment or State and Local Government;

  • b.

    by selecting a set of general elective courses; or

  • c.

    by selecting a set of cognate courses focused on a particular subject area. Using this last method, MPA students have developed emphases in such areas as Planning and Land Use, Health Administration, and Recreation Management by incorporating courses from other departments, again with the approval of an advisor.

  • d.

    Advisors may make substitutions to the course requirements to fit the student’s focus and the availability of course work. The pre-service student will also complete an internship of 3

hours (PSC 795) in place of an elective course.

Before enrollment in PSC 796 Applied Research in Public Admin- istration, a student, in conjunction with their advisor and faculty, develop an approved research topic for the Applied Research Project. The student will present his or her project as part of the PSC 796 course guidelines.

Admission Requirements, Retention & Termination Standards

MPA Admission Requirements include the following:


An undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.8 (on a 4.0 point scale).

  • 2.

    A minimum of 18 undergraduate hours in social science.

  • 3.

    Evidence of successful completion of an undergraduate statistics or research methods course is required.

  • 4.

    An essay (two or three pages, double-spaced) including a discussion of the applicant’s professional goals and how completion of the program will facilitate his or her achieve- ment of those goals. This essay replaces the written state- ment requested as part of the application to the College of Graduate Studies.

  • 5.

    Three letters of recommendation from former professors or professionals in the field of public service that attest to the applicant’s potential to succeed in the program.

  • 6.

    If the applicant is an international student for whom English is not the first language, a score of 550 on the written-based (or 213 on the computer-based) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

  • 7.

    Per university policy, conditional admission may be consid- ered for applicants with backgrounds or grade point averages that do not meet these requirements. Courses taken to meet these requirements may not be counted toward graduate degree requirements. Regular admission status should be requested upon completion of all conditional requirements.

  • 8.

    Up to 9 semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred from another institution with approval of the advisor and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Degree Requirements

Core Courses (24-27 hours) PSC 514 - American Public Policy Making 3(3-0) PSC 610 - Foundations of Public Administration 3(3-0) PSC 711 - Public Personnel Administration Practice 3(3-0) PSC 713 - Public Budgeting and Finance 3(3-0) PSC 714 - Program Analysis and Evaluation 3(3-0) PSC 775 - Organization Theory in Public Administration 3(3-0) PSC 780 - Research in Public Administration in Political Science

3(3-0) PSC 795 - Internship in Public Administration 1-6(Spec) PSC 796 - Applied Research in Public Administration 3(3-0)

Note: In-service students with experience are not required to take an internship (PSC 795). Students without experience will take 3 hours of internship, reducing their number of elective courses by 1 course, or 3 credit hours.

PSC 796 The Applied Research Project: Before a student’s final semester, he or she forms a Plan B paper committee of three members, and with their advice, develops an approved research topic. The student will present his or her finished paper to the committee when completed. Both on- and off-campus students are encouraged to develop their research topics through the tutelage of the entire teaching staff.


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