May 21, 2024  
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG] See drop-down menu above to access other catalogs.

Public Administration, MPA

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Department: Political Science 

The MPA program accommodates the needs of both precareer students and in-career professionals by offering alternative program requirements that take into account the student’s academic and professional background. Students with a bachelor’s degree and no professional work experience are expected to complete a 45-credit-hour degree program (including six hours of professional internship). Students with some professional experience, but less than three years’ full-time managerial experience are expected to complete a 42-credit-hour degree program (including an additional three-credit elective or a three-credit internship), while in-career professionals are expected to complete a 39-credit-hour program. Up to six hours of appropriate graduate course work taken elsewhere may be transferred into the degree program.

Admission Requirements

Detailed information about admission is provided in the Admission-Graduate  section of the catalog.

  • A bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited college or university; if the degree has not yet been awarded at the time of application, the successful applicant must be nearing completion of the bachelor’s degree
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75, an acceptable GRE score and an interview with the MPA program faculty. To receive a clear admit status, MPA applicants must have a composite score of 290 or greater on the quantitative and verbal parts of the GRE General Test if taken on or after August 1, 2011 or a composite score of 900 on the quantitative and verbal parts of the GRE General Test if taken before August 1, 2011. To receive a conditional acceptance, MPA applicants must have a composite score of 700-899 on the quantitative and verbal parts of the GRE General Test if taken before August 1, 2011 or a comparable composite score on the quantitative and verbal parts of the GRE General Test if taken on or after August 1, 2011.
  • A résumé
  • Three letters of recommendation should come from professors or practitioners familiar with the student’s academic ability
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work

The MPA graduate coordinator may waive the GRE requirement for qualified political science majors in their senior year who meet the following criteria: 

  • graduation at the end of the term from BSU or another college or university that has an articulation agreement with the BSU Political Science Department;
  • a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher and a GPA in the Political Science major of 3.50 or higher; and
  • successful completion of   (or equivalent) with a grade of “B” or higher.

Applicants with five or more years of public administration supervisory experience AND a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5 from an accredited institution may request a waiver of the GRE requirement for application to the Master of Public Administration program.

Students failing to meet the standard graduate admission criteria may also be considered on a conditional basis of acceptance. Students who are admitted to the MPA program on a conditional basis will work with the Writing Fellows Program until writing proficiency is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the graduate program coordinator. Students with a score of less than 450 on the quantitative portion of the GREs will successfully complete the quantitative skills module before enrolling in POLI 521 - Public Finance . With consent of instructor and graduate coordinator, students may take the quantitative skills module in the same term as POLI 521. 

Contact the Office of Graduate Admission to receive application materials.

Orientation program

All MPA students must attend a department sponsored orientation program before the first fall term they enroll in classes as a matriculated student.

Grade Requirement

Students in the MPA program must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students in the MPA program may not repeat courses which they have already completed, regardless of the grade they have earned for that course. Students who successfully graduate in the program may earn no more than one grade for a course that is less than a “B-” — that is,  a “C” or better. Students who earn more than one grade lower than a “B-” will be subject to separation from the program.

Program of Study

Students follow one of three tracks when meeting MPA requirements.

  • Pre-Career I students have no professional work experience and are required to complete a 45-credit program, including six hours of professional internship.
  • Pre-Career II students have some professional work experience, but less than three years’ full-time management experience and are required to complete a 42-credit program.
  • In-Career professionals are required to complete a 39-credit program.

Additional requirements for Pre-Career I students (18 credits)

POLI 598 - Internship: Public Administration   (6 credits)

Select an additional 12 credits of electives*.

Additional requirements for Pre-Career II students (15 credits)

Select 15 credits of electives*

Additional requirements for In-Career professionals (12 credits)

Select 12 credits of electives*


As part of the required credits in electives, each student must take three one-credit professional development modules (POLI 506 ). At least two of the three modules must address elements of information management, technology applications, and policy.

The remaining elective credits must be selected, with advisor approval, from the 500-level political science (POLI) course offerings.

Exit Requirement

The MPA program offers some degree of flexibility for exit from this program. All students are required to fulfill an exit requirement, which in most cases will require passing a written comprehensive examination. This one-day examination allows program faculty to test students’ mastery of fundamental principles and issues covered in the core curriculum. To sit for the examination, students must have completed at least 30 hours of the degree program, including all core courses except POLI 591 - Capstone Seminar in Public Administration , which may be taken in the same semester as the examination. Students will have two opportunities to pass the examination.

In appropriate circumstances, such as a student interested in pursuing further graduate work at the doctoral level, a master’s thesis (POLI 588 ) may be substituted for the comprehensive examination. Students approved for this option must complete the 39- to 45-credit program, depending on their program admission category. The master’s thesis will carry an additional six hours of graduate credit. Credit for a public service internship is granted under this option if the student completes both an internship and a thesis plus 39 hours of course work for a total of 51 hours of credit. The thesis option is especially appropriate for students wishing to pursue a doctorate after completing the MPA, but is open to all students who meet the criteria established by the department. Departmental standards require the student to work closely with his/her advisor and to phase the work so that the project proposal is carefully designed and approved before the student advances to the next stage.

Total minimum credits:

Pre-Career I    45
Pre-Career II   42
In-Career         39

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