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Master of Public Administration

Our mission is to develop principled and skilled public service professionals who fulfill leadership roles within governmental and nonprofit organizations.

Program Overview

The MPA is a 42-hour program that focuses on practical and problem-solving skills and emphasizes public service values — including efficiency, effectiveness, equity and accountability.

Full-time students typically complete the degree in two years; part-time students take from three to five years depending on work and personal obligations. Most classes are taught in the evening to permit full-time students to participate in internships and to accommodate the schedules of part-time students who work in public policy or nonprofit fields.

Degree Requirements

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MPA students will complete 24 core hours and 18 elective hours. You will consult with your program advisor to choose electives that align with your interests and help you become a successful professional in the public or nonprofit sector.

Pre-service students are required to complete an internship as part of the 42 credit hour requirement. Find a detailed look at the program requirements in our student handbook.

  • PA 510: Public Administration Institutions and Values
  • PA 511: Public Policy Analysis
  • PA 512: The Budgetary Process
  • PA 513: Public Organization Behavior
  • PA 514: Management Systems
  • PA 515: Research Methods and Analysis
  • PA 516: Effective Communications for Public Administrators
  • PA 517: MPA Capstone
  • PA 507: Public Policy Process
  • PA 521: Government and Planning
  • PA 522: Intergovernmental Relations in the United States
  • PA 523: Municipal Law
  • PA 525: Organizational Development and Change Management
  • PA 530: Financial Management in the Public Sector
  • PA 531: Human Resource Management in Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 532: Contract Negotiation and Mediation in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • PA 535: Problem Solving for Public and Nonprofit Managers
  • PA 536: Management of Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 539: Fund Development
  • PA 540: Grant Writing for Public Administrators
  • PA 546: Seminar in Program Evaluation
  • PA 550: Environmental Policy
  • PA 553: Disaster, Crisis and Emergency Management and Policy
  • PA 598: Special Topics in Public Administration


The Master of Public Administration program at NC State does not offer formal specializations. Instead, the program affords students the opportunity to tailor individualized public service specialties consistent with their interests and abilities, the university’s strengths, and labor market needs.

The MPA program offers elective coursework in public management, nonprofit management, urban management, financial management, organizational leadership, policy analysis, and justice administration.

The department also offers two graduate certificates, one in nonprofit management and the other in policy analysis.

Inter-Institutional Program

MPA students may also take electives in other departments at NC State or, through the Inter-Institutional Registration Program, at other North Carolina Schools including UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, NC Central University, UNC Charlotte, or UNC-Greensboro.

Multiple Master’s Programs

University policies governing the transfer of courses into graduate programs require students to take a minimum of 48 credit hours to receive two unique degrees. (More credit hours may be required depending on the requirements of the degree programs.) Students pursuing two Master’s degrees must meet all Graduate School requirements and the requirements of each degree program. This memo outlines the general framework for pursuing two Master’s degrees conterminously.

Students interested in pursuing an MPA and a second master’s degree should contact the MPA director, who can help with the logistics and start laying out a plan. The process is easier than it looks.

  1. Send a memo to the MPA Director indicating that you want to pursue a second NC State University Master’s degree coterminous with your MPA degree. (Include the name of the degree in your memo.) Similar to the personal statement submitted with your MPA application, this memo should state your professional reasons for pursuing a second Master’s.
  2. After the MPA Director approves the request, the PA Graduate Services Coordinator will send the DGP of the second Master’s program: (1) a copy of your memo approved by the MPA Director, (2) copies of the relevant sections of your file (all transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation), and (3) a request that the second program consider you for admission. You are responsible for supplying the other program with any additional materials they required to make a decision.
  3. The second program’s admissions committee will review your file and inform you and the MPA Director if you have been recommended for admission. If you are denied admission by the second program your request will not be approved. If you are recommended for admission, the DGP of the second program will send the Change of Degree Status or Curriculum form to the Dean of the Graduate School indicating the recommendation.
  4. The Dean of the Graduate School will notify you and both Programs if your request for admission to the second program was approved.

University policies assume a 30 credit hour master’s degree. Because the MPA is a 42 credit hour degree, you may be able to include over the university minimum as part of both degree programs. The following policy will expedite approving your plans of work:

  1. Students must submit separate plans of work through the Student Information System (SIS). After your admission to the second program has been approved, the Graduate School will set up a second “career” (this is SIS language for degree program/plan of work) in SIS. Once both careers are established, you can add courses to the separate plans of work, both of which must meet the respective requirements of the specific degree programs.
  2. Once entered and submitted, the proposed plans of work will be routed electronically to the respective program advisors and Directors for approval.
  3. Multiple masters students must also submit two Patent Agreement Forms to the Graduate School, one for each degree program.
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Admission Info

Prospective students apply through the NC State Graduate School. Completed applications include a personal statement, resume, transcripts and three letters of recommendation. Additionally, international applicants must demonstrate proficiency of English.

Please note that we do not require the GRE.

Application Deadlines

Fall Admission 

  •  February 1 for full consideration for graduate assistantships 
  •  March 1 for international applicants
  •  May 15 for domestic applicants

Spring Admission

  •  July 15 for international applicants
  •  November 1 for domestic applicants

100% of MPA grads find jobs in the profession within 6 months

2018 Annual Accreditation Maintenance Report

Program Outcomes

You will be joining the proud ranks of over 2,000 alumni that have graduated from our MPA program since it was established in 1968.

You are part of a group committed to efficient, effective, equitable and accountable public service throughout North Carolina, across the country and around the globe.

Our program objectives include:

  1. Graduates are expected to be able to lead and manage in public governance.
  2. Graduates are expected to be able participate in and contribute to the policy process.
  3. Graduates are expected to be able analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions.
  4. Graduates are expected to be able to articulate and apply a public service perspective.
  5. Graduates are expected to be able to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.
  1. The MPA program includes a mix of pre-service and in-service students.
  2. The MPA program serves students from historically underrepresented groups.
  3. Graduates are satisfied with their elective specialty coursework.
  4. MPA internships develop students’ professional skills and prepare them for the job market.
  5. Graduating pre-service students are successful in job and internship placement.
  6. Graduating in-service students are able to apply concepts and skills from the MPA program to their public service job.