Master of Public Administration (MPA)

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional degree designed for individuals with or without work experience who want to learn or grow their administrative, management and policy analysis skills in the public as well as the private sectors.

Offered through the Department of Public Policy and Administration, and housed within the College of Business and Public Management, the MPA curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in applying policy and management skills, preparing them for careers in government, nonprofit organizations, human services, education and more

We offer online, teleconferenced and face-to-face classroom instruction on a rotating basis, enabling students to complete the degree in the format that works for them.

MPA Course Rotation
*subject to change

 

MPA Curriculum

(36-39 semester hours), depending on whether a student's internship requirement is waived (See MPA Director)

The curriculum is outlined below. 

  1. Core Courses (required): PPA 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505 and 506 (21 credit hours)
  2. Elective courses (12 credit hours): May be taken in PPA or any department
  3. Capstone (3 credit hours): Taken during a students final year
  4. Internship (3 credit hours): Required for student without more than one year of management experience in a public or non-profit organization.
  • MPA General Concentration 
    This concentration is designed to equip students with the generalist skills necessary to be a leader in public service. This program plan is designed for individuals with with or without work experience.
  • MPA Concentration in Nonprofit Administration 
    This concentration is designed for individuals who want to grow their skills in leading nonprofit organizations. It is appropriate for individuals interested in developing a core set of  competencies and knowledge within the context of a nonprofit organization.

For students who do not wish to pursue a Master's degree but who are seeking to specialize in a specific area, the Department of Public Policy and Administration offers graduate certificates in Nonprofit Administration  and Public Administration .

  • Degree students in the MPA General Concentration may also apply for the certificate upon completion of the required courses. 

Additionally, students may earn certificates in other areas by completing their electives in other departments. These would include Applied Statistics, Business Ethics, Computer Security, Digital Media Marketing, Education for Sustainability, Emergency Preparedness, Geographic Information , Gerontology, Healthcare Ethics, Healthcare Management, Higher Education policy, Human Resource Management, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Sports Management & Athletics, Urban & Regional Planning, and more. *Note that some certificates require more than 12 credits.

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Certificate in Public Administration program.

The following represents Administrative Core Courses for the MPA program.

*All are required for all MPA students

  • PPA 500 Foundations of Public Service 
    Introduces students to the practice and discipline of public administration and the values of public service. Special emphasis is placed on the concepts of pursuing the public interest with accountability and transparency; serving professionally with competence, efficiency and objectivity; acting ethically to uphold the public trust; and demonstrating respect, equity and fairness in dealings with citizens and fellow public servants. Students are also introduced to the ethics of public administration and nonprofit organizations.
  • PPA 501 Research Methods in Public Administration
    This course introduces students to the practice of policy analysis and program evaluation. Emphasis is placed on the applied nature of both. Students are introduced to both the quantitative and qualitative methods of policy analysis and program evaluatio
  • PPA 502 Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation 
    Application of the logic of scientific methodology and research design construction to the practice and discipline of public administration. Emphasizes hypothesis development and testing, data collection, measurement problems, and theory application. *Pre / Co requisites: PPA 502 requires a prerequisite of PPA 501.
  • PPA 503 Public Budgeting and Finance 
    This course introduces students to the principles and procedures of public budgeting and finance, with emphasis placed on the budgeting process.
  • PPA 504 Public Human Resource Management 
    This course introduces students to human resource management in the public and nonprofit sectors. Topics include: federal and state employment laws, job analysis, recruitment and selection, performance evaluation, compensation and benefits, training and development, labor-management relations and human resource information technology.
  • PPA 505 Public Sector Organization Theory and Behavior 
    This course introduces students to the study of organization theory within the context of the public sector. Issues of organization design and effectiveness are explored. Schools of thought include: classical, neoclassical, human resources, modern structural, organizational culture and open-systems theory.
  • PPA 506 Foundations in Nonprofit Administration 
    Introduces students to the practice of  nonprofit administration. Core functions of the field are surveyed including financial and organizational management, role of boards and strategic planning.
  • PPA 510 Topics in Public Administration - Intensive study of selected topics in public administration current to the interest and needs of students. Students may enroll in more than one topics class to satisfy their electives, as long as the topic is not a repeat of one they have already taken. Some previous topics have included The Future of the Public Service Profession, Economic Development Policies, Community Development and Education Policies, and Urban Policy Analysis.
  • PPA 512 Communications for Public Administrators - Development of communication skills for the effective writing of letters, memos, reports and proposals. The course will survey communication issues specific to public and nonprofit management.
  • PPA 513 Law for Public Administrators - A survey of the legal environment of public administration. Topics include the development of and trends in administrative law and the rights, duties and liabilities of public officials.
  • PPA 514 American Public Policy - A survey of literature, an examination of approaches, and the discussion of concepts and issues in the field of American politics and policy processes.
  • PPA 515 Social Equity and Public Administration - This course examines the role of social equity and diversity in public policy and administration, focusing primarily on gender, race and ethnicity. Emphasis will be placed on the history of the struggle for legal equality and the current forces of institutional discrimination that still exist. Students will also learn strategies for how public managers can embrace diversity in their organizations and create a climate of cultural inclusiveness for the workforce as well as for citizens.
  • PPA 530 Topics in Nonprofit Administration - An intensive study of selected topics in nonprofit administration which are current to the interests and needs of students.
  • PPA 532 Grant Writing - The art of grant writing via proposal development processes, targeting proposals to public, private and nonprofit agencies.
  • PPA 533 Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials - This course emphasizes the concepts and tools necessary for understanding the fundraising process. Topics include relationship building, the solicitation process, specific fundraising strategies and ethical considerations.
  • PPA 535 Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organizations – A management course designed to prepare students for a career in executive management in public sector organizations which examines the overall concepts of management and strategy in the nonprofit and government settings, and the role of the board and executive leadership in providing strategic direction for the organization. Students will examine topics of special importance in the governance and strategic management of public sector organizations, including organization development, board leadership, strategic planning, human resource management, organizational performance and effectiveness, and marketing.
  • PPA 550 Topics in HR Management - An intensive study of selected topics in human resource management that are current to the interests and needs of students.
  • PPA 600 Capstone Seminar in Public Administration - This course integrates knowledge from the curriculum and uses it to demonstrate mastery of required competencies to complete a capstone portfolio. Students will submit their required competencies assessment portfolio.
  • PPA 601 Public Policy and Administration Internship - Field placement in a public sector or nonprofit organization through faculty guidance and supervision. Students will be required to complete a project as part of their internship.
  • PPA 602 Professional Seminar in Public Administration - A course designed to provide students with an equivalent experience to that of an internship in the public sector. Students will interact with practicing public administrators and non-profit professionals on a weekly basis and engage in assigned readings of case studies focused on the practice of public administration. Students are required to spend an intensive two to three days with a selected public sector or nonprofit organization or official. Lastly, as a class, students will complete a public service project over the course of a semester. While designed for students who already work full-time and need to satisfy the internship requirement, other students are welcome to enroll in this class as an elective.

Capstone Seminar

The capstone seminar is typically taken at the end of a student’s MPA studies. In lieu of a comprehensive exam, students will complete a series of case study analyses as well as a strategic case assessment that requires the application of knowledge and competencies gained in the core and concentration required courses.

The capstone course is grounded in four interrelated pedagogical approaches:

  • it integrates the MPA curriculum into one pedagogical experience;
  • it increases students’ professional competency by requiring them to independently analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions within the context of the learning goals of the MPA program;
  • it enhances methodological competence; and
  • it hones students’ ability to both synthesize and reflect on the knowledge and theories of public administration.

Certificates

Certificate in Non-Profit Administration

The Certificate in Nonprofit Administration is designed for those who desire to enhance their management and supervisory skills within the context of a nonprofit organization. To obtain the certificate, students must complete twelve credits of nonprofit-related courses from the MPA Administration Core or the MPA Nonprofit Concentration Requirements and earn a minimum grade of “B” in each course. Degree students that have completed the Administration Core with a minimum grade of "B" in each course may also apply for the certificate via the Add Certificate Request in myWCU.

Core Course (required): PPA 506

Non-Profit Administration Courses (required): PPA 530, 532, 533, and 535

Certificate in Public Administration

The Certificate in Administration is designed for persons who desire to enhance their management and supervisory skills. To obtain the certificate, students must complete twelve credits from the MPA Administration Core and earn a minimum grade of B in each course. Degree students that have completed the Administration Core with a minimum grade of B in each course may also apply for the certificate via the Add Certificate Request in myWCU.

Core Courses (required): PPA 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505 and 506

Five Year Accelerated Program

In just five years you can earn both your undergraduate and graduate degrees with WCU's Accelerated MPA Program. Note that all majors are eligible and no prerequisites are required. You may still pursue a minor, a double minor, or even a double major under this plan since there are numerous slots for electives. You can also take 3-15 credits of internship under this plan. How do you achieve a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree in approximately five years?

  • Take six credits of graduate courses for undergraduate credit in your senior year. You will pay undergraduate tuition for graduate courses, and upon completion of your bachelor's degree, these credit requirements will then be waived when you begin the MPA program.
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Complete 12 credits (two courses during each summer session) of graduate coursework in the summer after you finish your bachelor's degree
  • Complete 9-12 credits per semester for one academic year to earn your MPA

If you have 90 credits and a 3.0 GPA just complete this form , attain the required signatures, and forward it to Graduate Studies. Upon approval you may begin the program by registering for PPA500. Note that you will apply to the graduate program in your last undergraduate semester.

Admissions

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Application Information

The MPA Program welcomes applicants who hold baccalaureate degrees from accredited institutions. Admission to the MPA Program is based on a holistic evaluation of an applicant's educational and/or professional experiences, ability, aptitude and potential.

Our program operates on a rolling admissions policy; therefore, applications are accepted and reviewed  throughout the year.  In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to a degree program at West Chester University, applicants are required to submit:

  • Resume
  • Goal statement of short-term and long-term career objectives (see the Admissions tab on the FAQs Page for more information)
  • Recommendations from two current or former supervisors or professors who can attest to the applicant's professional development potential
  • Official academic transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, demonstrating the achievement of an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Students who do not meet this requirement may be considered for provisional status. Provisional students will be required to earn a grade of B+ or higher in their first two courses and enroll in PPA 512 Communications for Public Administrators in the student's first semester that it's offered
  • Official Application Form

All application materials are to be submitted to the The Graduate School using the online application process. After all required information has been received, it will be reviewed by the PPA department and a recommendation regarding admission will be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students will be notified of admissions decisions by the Graduate Admissions office.

Students may contact the MPA Director with any questions regarding their application process.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships

Overview

A limited number of Graduate assistantships are awarded each year to highly qualified students. Availability varies yearly and the process is highly competitive; therefore applicants should not plan their academic program assuming they will receive an assistantship. You must be a fully matriculated, non-provisional student in order to be considered for a graduate assistantship. If you are interested in an GA position, email the MPA Director to express your interest and submit your resume.

Requirements and Eligibility

Applicants indicate their interest in an MPA assistantship on the electronic application for admission. Detailed information about the eligibility requirements, work expectations, etc. can be found here Graduate Assistantship. Interested applicants can contact the MPA Director, with questions.

Note that maintaining a graduate assistantship requires the student to demonstrate both satisfactory performance in meeting assigned hours, dates and responsibilities, as well as good academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.0).  Students awarded graduate assistantships who fail to meet these requirements will have their assistantships revoked or will not have them renewed. This policy includes courses taken during summer sessions.

Frederick Douglass Graduate Assistantship

These graduate assistantships are named after Frederick Douglass, a great nineteenth-century American abolitionist and writer and a frequent visitor to West Chester. Douglass gave his last public lecture at West Chester Normal School on February 1, 1895.

Applicants with excellent academic credentials may apply for these assistantships. Efforts are made to appoint qualified candidates from historically underrepresented and underserved populations who have leadership experiences in their backgrounds or as part of their academic goals. This consideration is in keeping with the spirit of Douglass' life of public service and the University's mission to be a source of encouragement to the African American, Native American, Hispanic American and Asian American communities.

Students with Frederick Douglass graduate assistantships serve the Frederick Douglass Institute. These are full-time (20 hours per week) assistantships that provide a tuition waiver and a $5,000 stipend for the academic year. The awards are made on an annual basis and are renewable for a second year. Students may use these assistantships to pursue a master's degree in one of the University's graduate programs. Interested individuals with excellent credentials should contact the The Graduate School.

Institute for Women Graduate Grant

The Institute for Women at West Chester University offers an annual grant of $750 to a female graduate student who is accepted into a master's degree program at West Chester University. The award is based on high academic achievement; evidence of potential for contribution to the applicant's field of study; a record of leadership in school, community, church, or other setting; and evidence of service to others. Applications, including reference forms, are available from the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education. Completed materials must be submitted by March 15th. Only students who have filed all required admission credentials and plan to enroll for a minimum of six graduate credits are eligible.

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