Apr 19, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Master of Public Administration

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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:

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 Process

Application information and materials can be obtained from EMU’s Office of Admissions or at graduate.admissions@emich.edu, or international.admissions@emich.edu. Qualified applicants will be admitted to fall and winter semesters on a rolling basis until the start of the term, 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 pursuing, even if done concurrently.

Department Information:

Political Science - College of Arts & Sciences

David Klein, Ph.D.
Department Head

601 Pray-Harrold
(734) 487-3113

Department Website

Advisor Information:

Jeffrey L. Bernstein, Ph.D.

601 Pray-Harrold
(734) 487-3113

Degree Requirements: 39-42 hours

The M.P.A. degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of the following: 

  • 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 Political Science Department 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 Area: 15 hours

Select one of the following concentration areas:

Local Government Concentration: 15 hours

General Public Administration Concentration: 15 hours

We welcome students who would like to tailor their program to their career interests rather than specializing in either of the two concentrations above. You can create an individualized set of Political Science and other courses subject to approval by the MPA director. Three courses must be in PLSC.

Extended Program:

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

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