MPA Handbook

Last update: 11/06/2020

Department Chair and MPA Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the Department of Public Policy and Administration and the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program, a unique alternative to other graduate school options. The core focus of our program is about developing your public service skills. Our dynamic, practical program enhances your general management and administrative qualifications while you also develop specific expertise in one of our three concentration areas: general public administration, human resource management, and nonprofit management. At the same time, many of our students have earned graduate certificates in urban and regional planning, sport management and athletics, and health care management.

Launched in 1979, the program continues to attract and graduate professionals from all types of organizations. Whether your career path is in a public, private or not-for-profit setting, our program meets your needs if you are ready to enhance your general management skills and upgrade your expertise in a specific career area.

Oriented toward emerging public service leaders and midcareer professionals, our program setting, structure and culture serve individuals who seek to learn alongside working professionals. Indeed, an important strength of our program is the caliber and diversity of our student body and, as a result, the quality of peer learning from which you will benefit as a student in our program.

Our program has a healthy balance of students who are midcareer professionals attending our classes one or two evenings per week and emerging public service leaders who enroll in three or more classes per week. One of the strengths of our program is our faculty who all have experience working in the fields of public administration and nonprofit management. In addition to our regular faculty, we have an excellent group of practitioners who bring to the classroom an extensive amount of practical experience. In this way, our students are always taught by individuals who have worked or continue to work in the field of public service.

To learn more about our program, we encourage you to explore this handbook, as well as our program website. We trust that it will prove a useful source of information for you and answer many of your initial questions. In addition, we'd be happy to talk with you at anytime, please contact us.

Thank you for your interest in the MPA program at West Chester University.

Introduction to the Handbook

The MPA Student Handbook (hence forth known as the Handbook) is intended to serve as a supplement to the following important sources of information available to you on WCU’s web pages

This Handbook has been prepared to provide you with an overview and a guide to important information about WCU and about the MPA degree program. We ask that you keep this Handbook throughout your association with the MPA program and with your personal professional records thereafter. The information it contains will help you to plan and record your progress through the program, and it may be useful to you at a later date for documenting aspects of your graduate experience.

Please also note that the Handbook and WCU’s Graduate Catalog are updated annually via separate processes. Therefore, it happens, occasionally, that some information appears different in the Handbook than in WCU’s Graduate Catalog. If you find such a discrepancy, please ask the MPA Program Director or your academic advisor for clarification.

Finally, we ask you to note that faculty advisors are available to support you, but the responsibility for completing all requirements, for conforming to current policies, and for meeting all deadlines is ultimately your own.

The MPA faculty look forward to a rewarding association with you. We hope that you will take advantage of all that the program and the University have to offer.

Department Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Public Policy and Administration is to provide high-quality, accessible education for a diverse community of emerging and existing public service leaders. Our faculty and students advance the practice of public administration through community partnerships, academic scholarship, and applied research—spanning the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

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