Mar 29, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Public Administration [MPA]

Revised Program [Fall 2022]

The Master of Public Administration Program at Eastern Michigan University offers a professional degree grounded in applied social sciences that prepares students for leadership roles and careers in public and nonprofit organizations by providing the knowledge and tools to address complex and diverse public service needs. MPA graduates work in all sectors, including local government, nonprofit organizations, healthcare organizations, public safety, higher education, state government, the federal government, and the private sector. The majority of EMU MPA alumni live and work in Michigan. The MPA is a versatile degree that equips students with the tools to effectively lead and manage an organization and make a difference in their communities. When our students graduate, we expect them to have learned our program values of integrity; professionalism; service; collaboration, equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Our program is flexible for students who currently work or desire a public or nonprofit sector career. Students learn from knowledgeable faculty who have field and research experience. Students can specialize in local government or nonprofit management or construct a set of electives that prepares them for whatever niche of public service is attractive to them. MPA students have various interdisciplinary study opportunities, including management, health administration, educational leadership, urban and regional planning, marketing, and social work.


The MPA program is fully accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), the global standard in public service education. This accreditation indicates that EMU’s MPA program meets all global standards for such programs.

Department Activities

The department offers special opportunities to MPA students through its involvement in professional associations and local communities and its offering of professionalization workshops and other training opportunities. Students may also participate and assume leadership roles in the department’s Public Administration Club, a student organization designed to introduce students to government and nonprofit administration opportunities. The EMU MPA program stays connected to its network of more than 600 alums working in southeast Michigan and beyond.

Graduate Assistantships

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

Eastern Michigan University, the Graduate School, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Political Science Department also offer graduate students opportunities for scholarships and fellowships.

Program Admission

Admit Terms and Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; students may start the program in the Fall or Winter. See Application Deadlines.

Submitting the application early ensures that desired classes are available for students. Please account for delays in securing an official transcript to avoid delayed admission decisions. If pursuing this program in addition to a graduate certificate, please note that a separate application needs to be submitted for the certificate, even if done concurrently.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

For full admission, applicants must have 1) Earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution, 2) a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program. Conditional admission may be available to applicants who do not meet minimum admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Applicants must also meet the following program requirements. Requirements may be more stringent than the minimum graduate school requirements.

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or 3.25 in the last half of the undergraduate program
  • A 250-word description of the applicant’s academic and professional history and professional goals in public administration.
  • 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.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the program advisor before submitting their application if there are any questions about admission under the criteria above.

Conditional Admission An applicant deficient in the above prerequisites may be granted admission on a conditional basis, subject to completing the prerequisite(s). 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 contact the program advisor before submitting their application. Applicants will be awarded degree admission after completing at least three courses, two of which must be required courses for the program, with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each class.


Your application will be submitted using GradCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS) hosted by Liaison. After reviewing the admission requirements, please review the application instructions  and select the appropriate application.

Domestic Applicants Within the application, follow the instructions to submit an official transcript from all previously attended institutions.

International Applicants Before applying, applicants must review the international application/process deadlines at as they may differ from general program requirements.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.

Department Information

Political Science 601 Pray-Harrold, 734.487.3113

Barbara Patrick, PhD, Department Head

Advisor Information

Rose Jindal, MPA Coordinator, 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 seven 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: 18 hours

Select one of the following concentration areas. Students may take Special Topics courses (PLSC 590 /591 /592 ) and Independent Study courses (PLSC 697 /698 /699 ) with advisor approval.

Local Government: 18 hours

Nonprofit Management: 18 hours

General Public Administration: 18 hours

We welcome students who would like to tailor their program to their career interests rather than specialize in the two concentrations above.

Students in the General Public Administration Concentration may take courses in political science (PLSC), accounting (ACC, TAX), arts management (AMA), economics (ECON), educational leadership (EDLD), geography (GEOG), historical preservation (GHPR), health administration (HLAD), management (MGMT), marketing (MKTG), sociology (SOCL), social work (SWRK, SWKE), urban and regional planning (URP), and other subjects with the approval of the MPA advisor.

At least three courses must be in PLSC.

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.