Skip to Navigation
    University of North Carolina at Charlotte
   
 
  Jan 23, 2018
 
 
    
Graduate Catalog | 2015-2016 Previous Edition

Public Administration, M.P.A.


The primary objective of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program is to provide professional training in public administration. The curriculum of this National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) accredited program emphasizes the analysis of the political and administrative environments as well as the administrative decision-making approaches of public administration. Application of techniques and administrative skills to the management of nonprofit organizations is also included in the curriculum. The methods of instruction employed in the program expose students to a variety of approaches to public management.

Students may enroll in the Master of Public Administration program on either a full-time or part-time basis. The majority of classes are scheduled in the evening throughout the year. Classes meet on the main University campus and at UNC Charlotte Center City.

Admission Requirements


Admission to the Master of Public Administration program is open to qualified graduates of recognized colleges and universities accredited by a regional or general accrediting agency. There are seven major requirements for admission:

  1. Application submitted online to the Graduate Admissions Office, accompanied by the application fee, which is neither deductible nor refundable
  2. Possession of a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university
  3. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  4. An appropriate score on the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical portions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Although there is no required score for these exams, typically an acceptable score would be above the 35th percentile.
  5. A written statement of professional career goals and a description of any significant work experience, particularly in the public or nonprofit sectors
  6. Three supporting letters of recommendation from professors or employers
  7. Submission of two official transcripts from all postsecondary educational institutions in which the candidate was enrolled

Prerequisite Requirements


In addition to the admission requirements, MPA students must complete STAT 1222 (Elementary Statistics for the Social Sciences) or its equivalent with a grade of C or above; and demonstrate proficiency in computer applications (e.g., ability to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) prior to taking MPAD 6126 . Also, POLS 1110 (Introduction to American Government) or its equivalent with a grade of C or above must be completed prior to taking MPAD 6102 . Students may complete these after admission into the program.

Degree Requirements


The Master of Public Administration program is structured in three distinct phases:  1) Core, 2) Advanced Work, and 3) directed Study Or Research Project.  In all, the program requires 39 hours of graduate credit for completion of the degree. The MPA Program Handbook, available online at mpa.uncc.edu, presents the most up-to-date listing of degree requirements.

Core Courses (18 credit hours)


All students are required to complete 18 credit hours in core study. The emphasis in the core is twofold: (a) Understanding the various managerial and analytical approaches salient to the environment of public administration, and (b) Achieving an overall perspective on the problems of public administration. Students must attain a grade of B or above in each core course prior to enrolling in MPAD 6187  and MPAD 6188 . Students earning grades of C in a core course must retake that course at the earliest possible opportunity. The core courses are:

Advanced Courses


Elective Courses (12-15 credit hours)


The MPA program offers several advanced elective courses in areas important to public administrators. With the approval of the program director, students may take advanced elective work with other departments.  Students are required to take a minimum of fifteen hours of advanced electives unless they opt for the Directed Study option (see below), in which case they need only take twelve hours of advanced electives.  The MPA electives are:

Capstone Seminar (3 credit hours)


Students are required to complete the capstone course.  Students must successfully complete all of their Core Courses with a grade of B or above prior to enrolling in this course.

Directed Study or Research Applications Courses


Each MPA student must complete one of the options (A or B). Students must successfully complete all of their Core Courses with a grade of B or above prior to enrolling in any courses listed in this section.

Research Applications Course


Students who select this option complete a one-semester written project course on an approved topic of significance in public administration or nonprofit management.  The project includes the submission of revised paper drafts based on instructor evaluation.  Students must enroll in the following course, which is graded A, B, C, or U:

Directed Study Courses


Students who select this option complete a written project on a topic of significance based on a field experience or research in public administration, nonprofit management, or arts administration.  The Directed Study requires the following courses, graded on a pass/unsatisfactory basis:

Note:

University regulations governing the preparation and submission of Master’s theses apply to the Directed Study  option. Rules for the Directed Study committee are provided in the MPA Program Handbook. Students who select option B may take one less elective course for 3 credits to complete the MPA degree in the required 39 hours.

Admission to Candidacy Requirements


Students are required to complete an “Application for Admission to Candidacy” due November 1 (for May graduation), September 1 (for December graduation), or May 1 (for August graduation). This form lists all courses to be counted toward the degree. It must be signed by the student and returned to the MPA Program office. The form is available online from the Graduate School website.

Internships


Each student in the Master of Public Administration Program is required to complete a field experience. This requirement may be satisfied in one of these ways: (1) through a position in a public or nonprofit organization; (2) through a position in a business where the work experience is approved for internship by the MPA director; or (3) through an approved internship in a public or nonprofit organization. Each student must complete an “MPA Internship Information” form and submit it to the MPA Program office for approval. Forms to evaluate the internship experience must also be completed. These forms are available in the main MPA office. Current guidelines for the internship requirement are provided in the MPA Program Handbook.

Degree Concentrations


Students may either develop their own program of study with their elective credits or complete one of five approved 15 credit hour concentrations. Students who choose a concentration must focus their research in MPAD 6188 , or MPAD 6800  and MPAD 6801  on an approved topic related to the concentration subject matter.

1) Arts Administration


Prerequisites: For students with an undergraduate degree not in the arts: You are required to take no less than four 3-credit hour undergraduate arts courses (or the equivalent) in order to develop the necessary foundation of appreciation for the arts required of arts administrators. The exact set of courses will be determined by the field of arts on which you desire to focus and in consultation with your advisor. The prerequisites vary by visual arts, dance, theater, and music. Ideally, these prerequisites will be completed prior to admission into the MPA program. However, students who opt for the arts administration concentration after being admitted to the MPA program will have to complete these prerequisites prior to admission into MPAD 6316 , MPAD 6187 , or MPAD 6188 . Substantive professional experience in the arts field can be used as a substitute or partial substitute (e.g., students may be required to take less than 4 arts courses) for the undergraduate prerequisites at the discretion of the MPA Program Director.

The arts administration concentration consists of fifteen credit hours within the MPA curriculum. Students must fulfill the following requirements:

a) Students are required to take the following two courses:


b) Students must complete at least one of the following courses:


d) Students must complete an additional three credit hours of MPAD electives.


Appropriate non-MPAD courses may be taken within this concentration upon approval of the student’s advisor and the MPA Director.

2) Emergency Management


The Emergency Management concentration consists of fifteen credit hours within the MPA curriculum. Students must fulfill the following requirements:

a) Students are required to take the following two courses:


d) Students must complete an additional three credit hours of MPAD electives.


Appropriate non-MPAD courses may be taken within this concentration upon approval of the student’s advisor and the MPA Director.

3) Nonprofit Management


The nonprofit management concentration consists of fifteen credit hours within the MPA curriculum. Students must fulfill the following requirements.

c) Students must complete an additional three credit hours of MPAD electives.


Appropriate non-MPAD courses may be taken within this concentration upon approval of the student’s advisor and the MPA Program Director.

4) Public Finance


The public finance concentration consists of fifteen credit hours within the MPA curriculum. Students must fulfill the following requirements:

Note:


Appropriate non-MPAD courses may be taken within this concentration upon approval of the student’s advisor and the MPA Director.

5) Urban Management and Policy


The urban management and policy concentration consists of fifteen credit hours within the MPA curriculum. Students must fulfill the following requirements:

a) Students are required to take the following two courses:


c) Students must complete an additional three credit hours of MPAD electives.


Appropriate non-MPAD courses may be taken within this concentration upon approval of the student’s advisor and the MPA Program Director.

Advising


Each student is assigned an advisor and given access to the MPA Program Handbook when admitted to the program. The advisor is a member of the MPA Program faculty. Students should meet with their advisors each semester to develop a schedule before registering. Students are also encouraged to meet with the Program Director for additional advising when necessary.

Transfer Credit


Up to six credit hours taken at another university can be transferred to the MPA Program on the recommendation of the Director and the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Scholarships


  1. The North Carolina City and County Management Association funds a scholarship for an MPA student to help train students for careers in North Carolina local government. The MPA Program selection committee nominates the eligible recipient each fall.
  2. Burkhalter-Rassel Alumni Scholarship - the MPA Alumni Association has established a scholarship fund to honor a former Charlotte City Manager.
  3. Brown-Dorton MPA Scholarship - the MPA selection committee nominates eligible recipients each fall.
  4. Susan Burgess Scholarship - the MPA selection committee nominates eligible recipients
  5. Gerald G. Fox Scholarship - the MPA selection committee nominates eligible recipients
  6. Other awards are available on a competitive basis through the Graduate School.
  7. Other professional associations occasionally offer scholarships for which MPA students have competed successfully.

Public Service Fellowships


The department works with local area government and nonprofit agencies to provide fellowships to students on a competitive basis. Host agencies employ fellows on a part-time basis (20 hours per week) for a period of one to two years. In exchange for their services, agencies pay fellows a small stipend and tuition expenses for Fall and Spring semesters.

Assistantships


The department offers a number of graduate assistantships each academic year. To apply for an assistantship, students must check the appropriate box on the Graduate Admissions form. Graduate assistantships are also available in several administrative units on campus. The application form is available online from the Graduate School website.

Tuition Waivers


Out-of-state tuition waivers are available to students appointed to graduate assistantships. These are awarded on a competitive basis. Partial waivers of in-state tuition are also awarded competitively to students who are residents of North Carolina. A limited number of partial tuition awards are made available through the Graduate School.

Financial Assistance


Other forms of financial aid, such as loans, are available. Students should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information. Several administrative units on campus also employ graduate students.