Public Administration, M.P.A.

Applicants to the M.P.A. program are expected to have combined GRE verbal and quantitative scores of 300, an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00, and a TOEFL score of 600 (computer score of 250) or a comparable score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam, if applicable. 

Applicants that meet all other requirements with five years or more of exemplary professional, managerial experience, as evidenced by letters of recommendation, may be granted a GRE exception at the discretion of the MPA admissions committee.  

The M.P.A. program admits new students for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Prospective students are encouraged to submit their applications early. This will enable the M.P.A. Admissions Committee and the UofSC Graduate School to process all materials in a timely fashion so that students can be considered for admittance during the requested academic terms. The deadlines for completed applicant files to be received at UofSC are:

  • May 1: Admittance for the summer semester
  • July 1: Admittance for the fall semester
  • December 1: Admittance for the spring semester

For more detailed information on the M.P.A. program, visit

Degree Requirements (39 Hours)

The M.P.A. degree requires 39-48 semester hours of credit, depending on the prior preparation of the student. The program curriculum can be broken down into five components.


Students must possess a basic proficiency in statistics and a basic understanding of American government. Students who lack such skills/expertise are required to take prerequisite courses in one or both of these areas, preferably at the beginning of their program of study.

Core Courses

All students must take classes in organizational theory and practice, human resource management, public finance, public policy-making, public data analysis, and public ethics and accountability. Taken together, these courses give students a comprehensive overview of the major elements of public administration and public policy-making.


All students must take a set of elective courses that will further their knowledge of, and administrative competency in, a particular area. The electives must constitute a coherent set of courses. But this component of the curriculum is left flexible so that students can pursue more specialized interests in a variety of relevant fields of study.


An internship in a public organization or nonprofit agency is required of all students who lack significant administrative experience. The internship is an integral part of the curriculum, as it gives students an opportunity to experience the real world of public service.

Capstone Seminar

The capstone seminar is taken by all students, preferably during their last semester in the program. In the capstone seminar, students complete a project in which they integrate the material from other M.P.A. courses in their analyses of contemporary public problems. The M.P.A. program participates in two dual-degree programs with other academic units at the University of South Carolina, and two joint degree programs with other institutions in the state.

Information on dual degree opportunities can be found at Graduate Dual Degree Programs.


Students have the option of declaring a concentration in Emergency Management and Planning. Courses taken as part of the concentration count toward program elective requirements.

Emergency Management and Planning Concentration Requirements (9 Hours)

Course Title Credits
GEOG 530Environmental Hazards3
GEOG 535Hazards Analysis and Planning3
GEOG 563Advanced Geographic Information Systems3
Total Credit Hours9

Dual Degrees

The M.P.A. program participates in three dual-degree programs with other academic units at the University of South Carolina, and two joint degree programs with other institutions in the state.

  • Health Services Policy and Management/Public Administration, M.P.H./M.P.A
  • Public Administration/Social Work, M.P.A/M.S.W
  • Public Administration/Law, M.P.A./J.D.