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Public Administration, M.P.A.

Minimum Totals for Graduation: 37 hours

Program Director: Dr. Thomas Greitens, 989-774-3862;

Vision Statement

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Central Michigan University offers a nationally accredited applied professional degree that seeks to be an internationally recognized program for enriching public service and educating practitioners and pre-service students to lead and manage in a variety of public sector settings.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Public Administration program at Central Michigan University is to provide practitioners and pre-service students enriching learning experiences that prepare and advance their intellectual growth, ensure effective and accountable decision-making as they lead, manage, and serve in the public sector, and increase the likelihood of successful public governance via respect for citizens and clients in a variety of public service settings, from government organizations to non-profit agencies and international bodies.

Public Service Values

To achieve our mission and realize our vision, the MPA program at Central Michigan University emphasizes the following NASPAA public service values.

Students and alumni from the MPA program at Central Michigan University will:

  • Pursue the public interest with accountability and transparency.
  • Serve professionally with competence, efficiency, and objectivity.
  • Act ethically so as to uphold the public trust.
  • Demonstrate respect, equity, and fairness to dealings with citizens and fellow public servants.

Universal Competencies

To implement its Vision and Mission statements, the MPA program at Central Michigan University has adopted the following set of NASPAA required competencies in its curriculum.

Students in the MPA program at Central Michigan University will develop and enhance their ability:

  • To lead and manage in public governance.
  • To participate in and contribute to the policy process.
  • To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions.
  • To articulate and apply a public service perspective.
  • To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Program Requirements

The requirements for the MPA degree consist of 37 hours of course work. First, completion of a set of nine 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 two ways:

  1. by selecting a specific concentration in either Nonprofit Management or State and Local Government; or
  2. by selecting a set of generalized courses with the General Concentration.

Advisors may make substitutions to the course requirements to fit the student's focus and the availability of course work. However, students can only take up to 6 hours of credit at the 500 level, and for the entire program students can only take 9 hours of credit outside of PSC or PAD.

The pre-service student will also complete an internship of 3 hours (PAD 795) in place of an elective course.

Before enrollment in PAD 730 Public Service Competencies, students will consult with their advisor to determine the date(s) of their public service competency assessment.

Admission Requirements, Retention & Termination Standards

Admission Requirement Snapshot

GPA: 2.8

Entrance Exam: N/A

Internat'l Application Deadline: July 1 (Fall), Oct. 1 (Spring)

See Admission Requirement Details Below

MPA Admission Requirements include the following:

  1. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.8 (on a 4.0 point scale).
  2. Evidence of successful completion of an undergraduate statistics or research methods course is required.
  3. 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 achievement of those goals. This essay replaces the written statement requested as part of the application to the Graduate Studies at CMU.
  4. Three letters of recommendation from former professors, professionals in the field of public service, or alumni of the MPA program, that attest to the applicant's potential to succeed in the program.
  5. A current resume.
  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 considered 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 Vice President/Dean of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Program Requirements

Required Courses I (24 hours)

PAD 610Foundations of Public Administration


PAD 623Public Policy Processes and Evaluation


PAD 711Public Personnel Management


PAD 713Public Budgeting and Finance


PAD 714Program Analysis and Evaluation


PAD 773Administration and Ethics in Public Service


PAD 775Organization Theory and Behavior


PAD 780Public Sector Research Methods


Required Courses II (0-3 hours)

PAD 795Internship in Public Administration


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

Required Courses III (1 hour)

PAD 730Public Service Competencies


Note: After the successful completion of the core curriculum (excluding any internship requirement for pre-service students), students are required to register for PAD 730. Students must inform their advisor before the start of the semester of their intentions to take the Public Service Competencies Assessment.


Select one of the following concentrations:

General Concentration

Required Courses IV (3 hours)
PAD 785Strategic Leadership


Electives (6-9 hours)

With the approval of a program plan signed by the MPA Director, a student chooses 6-9 hours of coursework in Public Administration or another cognate subject area. A cognate subject is one outside of but related to the principal discipline of Public Administration:

Total: 37 semester hours

Nonprofit Management Concentration

Required Courses IV (6 hours)
PAD 620Nonprofit Management


PAD 621Board Governance and Executive Leadership


Electives (3-6 hours)

With the approval of a program plan signed by the MPA Director, a student chooses 3-6 hours of coursework emphasizing public service competencies utilized in nonprofit organizations.

Total: 37 semester hours

State and Local Government Concentration

Required Courses IV (6 hours)
PAD 655Managing Modern Local Government


PAD 661Administration and Policy in American State Government


Electives (3-6 hours)

With the approval of a program plan signed by the MPA Director, a student chooses 3-6 hours of coursework emphasizing public service competencies utilized in state and local governments:

Total: 37 semester hours