Public Administration, M.P.A.
The Master of Public Administration degree program strives to provide a broadly focused professional degree in the essential management and analytical elements of public administration and public policy analysis. The program attracts a sizable number of both pre-career and mid-career students with a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Moreover, the program draws students who want to pursue a diverse range of professional careers in both the public and nonprofit sectors, as well as those who are interested in finding employment at the local level, in state agencies, in federal regional offices, and in Washington, D.C. The program gives students the requisite skills and knowledge to become more intelligent consumers of policy issues and more capable actors in their chosen professional careers.
- Students will believe that the program has improved their ability to lead and manage in public organizations.
- Internship supervisor/Capstone client rating of student ability to lead and manage in organizations like theirs.
- Students will be familiar with major theories and dilemmas of public management.
- Students will be familiar with legal environment and theories of human resource management.
- Students understand and apply theoretical and analytical tools to assess different tax profiles and financial health in different governmental agencies; students identify the potential challenges in managing public budgeting and evaluate the strength and weakness of different budgeting approaches.
- Students will be able to communicate effectively with colleagues and external actors.
- Students will believe that the program has improved their ability to participate in and contribute to the policy process.
- Internship Supervisor/Capstone client will believe that the student has the ability to participate in and contribute to the policy process.
- Students will demonstrate an ability to analyze policy alternatives and recommend policy changes to address social problems.
- Students will believe that the program has improved their ability to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions.
- Students will be able to provide reports demonstrating critical thinking and problem solving to colleagues and external stakeholders.
- Students will be able to use qualitative and quantitative reasoning when making decisions.
- Students will be able to produce and present original data analysis.
- Students will believe that their interest in/willingness to serve the public has improved in the program.
- Internship Supervisor/Capstone client will believe that the student has an interest/willingness to serve the public.
- Students will understand the ethical requirements and implications of public service.
- Students will understand the role of bureaucracy in a democracy.
- Students will see the significant of both the public and private solutions to the problems (as well as hybrid approaches to solving the wicked problems) and propose/apply choices with a distinct public service perspective.
- Students will pursue careers that allow them to serve the public.
- Students will believe that their ability to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry has improved in the program.
- Internship Supervisor/Capstone client will believe that the student has the ability to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.
- Students will be able to communicate within diverse public organizations.
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:
April 1: Admittance for the summer semester
April 15: Admittance for the fall semester
November 15: Admittance for the spring semester
For more detailed information on the M.P.A. program, visit http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/poli/welcome-mpa-program-usc
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.
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.
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)
|GEOG 530||Environmental Hazards||3|
|GEOG 535||Hazards Analysis and Planning||3|
|GEOG 563||Advanced Geographic Information Systems||3|
|Total Credit Hours||9|
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.