Jul 19, 2019  
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog 

PADM Revision Winter 2014

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

Revised Program, effective Winter 2014

M.P.A. Director: Gregory Plagens, Ph.D.
601J Pray-Harrold

Program Coordinator: Joseph Ohren, Ph.D.
601K Pray Harrold


Mission Statement

The mission of the M.P.A. program is to prepare students for leadership roles and careers in public and nonprofit organizations. In pursuing this mission, the M.P.A. program will (1) offer a professional, terminal degree grounded in political science; (2) combine a foundation in general public administration with the specialized knowledge and skills associated with one of the program’s concentrations with focused attention to the needs of professionals in local government and nonprofit agencies; and (3) serve the community by expanding and applying knowledge and providing leadership in addressing public service needs.


The M.P.A. program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. This accreditation indicates that EMU’s M.P.A. program meets all national standards for such programs.

Department Activities

The department offers special opportunities to M.P.A. students by its involvement and leadership roles in EMU’s applied research institutes, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance program on campus, the Detroit Metropolitan Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), the Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA) and other professional associations.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis to M.P.A. students. Graduate assistants support faculty members in instructional, research, service and administrative projects. Placements are also available outside the department with other University offices.

Admission Requirements

Degree Admissions
Applicants must have:

  1. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or 3.25 in the last half of the undergraduate program; the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required.

  2. A 250-word description of the applicant’s academic and professional history and professional goals in public administration.

  3. A personal interview with the program director is recommended if there are any questions about admission under the criteria above.

  4. One political science course in the fundamentals of American government, public law, state and local government or public administration, with a C or better if taken as a part of a bachelor’s degree or a B- or better if taken after the bachelor’s degree.

  5. Applicants whose native language is not English must achieve EMU Graduate School minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS, or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). Students with scores below the minimum must take English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at EMU to raise their English proficiency to a satisfactory level before beginning courses in the MPA program. These students may be admitted on a conditional basis, subject to successful completion of the ESL requirements. See the Admissions website for minimum scores.

Conditional Admission
An applicant deficient in the above prerequisites may be granted admission on a conditional basis, subject to completion of the prerequisite(s). In lieu of the above prerequisite course, documentation of acquired proficiency and/or appropriate experience may be accepted at the discretion of the MPA director.

Promising applicants with a minimum of five years of administrative experience that do not meet the GPA requirements for regular degree admission, and who have a GPA between 2.75 and 3.0, may be granted conditional admission. Such applicants must arrange for an admission interview with the program director and submit two letters of recommendation from employers or others who can testify to the applicant’s suitability for the program. Applicants may be granted degree admission after completing at least four courses approved by the program director, with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each course.

Application information and materials can be obtained from EMU’s Office of Admissions or at graduate.admissions@emich.edu, or international.admissions@emich.edu. Applications will be processed for Fall (February 15 deadline) and Winter (October 15 deadline) admission, but desired classes may not be available for students and delays in securing official transcripts may also delay admission decisions. As noted above, separate applications must be filed for the M.P.A. program and any certificate programs that a student may be interested in pursing, even if done concurrently.

Degree Requirements
The M.P.A. degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 17 courses with at least 40 hours of appropriate credit. This includes 9 required courses, four electives in political science, and a four course concentration. All pre-service students without substantial work experience in public administration must complete a 15-week equivalent internship experience and enroll in PLSC 688 - Practicum in Public Affairs . The director of internships in the Department of Political Science will work with students to identify and supervise an appropriate internship.

The minimum acceptable grade in each of the nine required courses is a B. Students scoring less than a B may repeat a course once before being dismissed from the program. All students must have a B average overall to graduate.

Concentration Courses: 8-12 hours

Select one of the following six concentration areas:

I. Public Management: 8-12 hours

Select four courses total with at least one course each from area A and area B:


Students concentrating in public management will be required to enroll in PLSC 625 - Local Government Management  as one of their restricted electives listed above.

II. Health Administration: 10-12 hours

  • One additional course that is complementary to the particular area of interest.


Students concentrating in health administration will be required to enroll in PLSC 660 - Public Health Care Policy  as one of their restricted electives listed above.

III. Land Planning and Development: 8-11 hours


Students concentrating in human resource management will be required to enroll in PLSC 655 - Politics of Local Planning  as one of their restricted electives listed above. PLSC 515 - Public Personnel Administration  will substitute for MGMT 509  as a prerequisite for MGMT 618 , MGMT 620  and MGMT 628 . PLSC 610 - Public Organization Theory  will substitute for MGMT 505  as a prerequisite for this concentration only.

V. Organization Management: 12 hours


Students concentrating in organization management will be required to enroll in MGMT 505 - Organizational Theory and Behavior  or PSY 565 - Industrial Psychology  as a prerequisite to all courses in this concentration. MGMT 505  or PSY 565  will count as an elective in the M.P.A. curriculum.


Students concentrating in nonprofit management will be required to enroll in PLSC 645 - Intergovernmental Relations  as an elective in the M.P.A. curriculum.

Program Total: 44 hours

Extended Programs

This program is offered at an EMU off-campus location. For a list of locations, please click here .


This program is offered at the following EMU off-campus locations: EMU–Livonia

Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Credit: Political Science

Undergraduate courses may be taken for graduate credit to meet program or certificate requirements with explicit approval of the MPA advisor. Students intending to register for undergraduate courses for graduate credit must receive permission before enrolling in the course; otherwise undergraduate credit will be awarded.