Master of Public Administration

Admission Requirements

The student must apply to and meet all criteria for admission to the Graduate School. In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, the student must comply with departmental requirements. Students may enroll in the MPA program by applying to one of the participating universities. Acceptance by any one of the three universities admits a student into the MPA program. A matriculated student should complete graduate studies at the institution that offers the area of specialization that she/he wishes to emphasize. Each student’s program will be established by an advisory committee consisting of three faculty members. It is anticipated that students will come from widely differing academic preparations, since no specific undergraduate program is required in preparation for the MPA program. However, some course work in humanities and social sciences is essential to the foundation of the MPA program for all students.

In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, students seeking admission must have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, demonstrate satisfactory academic competency by attaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in upper-division undergraduate course work, or a 3.5 GPA in previous graduate courses, submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who are qualified to evaluate the applicant’s academic potential, and submit a statement of the student’s personal goals. The letters and statement of goals will be weighted equally with the applicant’s GPA. Please contact the Department for specific guidelines for letters of recommendation and statement of goals.

The program employs an admission scoring system that awards MPA applicants points based on the evaluation and scoring of four components:

  1. upper-division undergraduate GPA or GPA in an M.A. program;
  2. the quality of letters of recommendation; and
  3. the quality of the applicant’s goal statement.

General Requirements

The MPA degree may be achieved through the completion of at least 36 semester credit hours of approved course work with an additional 3 credits of public service internship for students who are not mid-career. The internship requirement may be waived for students who have substantial professional work experience in public service or the not-for-profit sector. The MPA director will determine if a student’s experience is substantial, and if so, can approve waiver of the internship requirement. Twenty-four credit hours must be completed in courses selected from prescribed “core areas” with 12 additional credit hours completed in designated optional areas of emphasis. Students may follow a thesis or non-thesis option in pursuing the MPA. Students choosing to write a thesis (POLS 6650 - 6 credits) do so in addition to normal MPA course work and internship requirements. Students must have completed 21 credit hours of core course work before taking the Capstone in Public Administration course. Those following the thesis option will complete an oral examination covering the thesis and program course work. The academic program of each student must satisfy the general requirements of an integrated program designed to meet career objectives of the student in public administration.

Core and Optional Area Requirements

The specific course requirements of the MPA program are set forth in a list of courses that has been approved by the inter-university committee.

This list is available through each of the cooperating universities. Courses are available at each institution in the “core areas.” The optional “areas of emphasis” may vary among the universities according to the resources and competence that exist in the respective departments. A description of those areas of emphasis that are presently operational at each institution and admission forms to the MPA program are available through the Political Science Department at Idaho State University or the Departments of Political Science at Boise State University or the University of Idaho.

Interdisciplinary Specialized Area in Criminal Justice

For the specialized area in Criminal Justice, students need to take the 9 core courses (27 credits) and three credits of internship (for students without career experience) required for the MPA program and take an additional 12 credits from the courses listed below to fulfill the elective requirements. The specialized area is an interdisciplinary curriculum shared between the Dearptment of Political Science and the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice. Other courses appropriate to the Criminal Justice emphasis may be offered by both departments and can be taken by the student with permission of the MPA advisor. 

SOC 5531Criminology3
SOC 5592Topics in Criminology3
SOC 5536Elite Deviance and Crime3
SOC 5538Sexual Crimes3
POLS 5542Constitutional Law3
POLS 5543Civil Rights and Liberties3
Other courses with variable topics such as SOC 6601, SOC 6621, SOC 6613, or SOC 6605 may be taken if these courses are offering a Criminal Justice theme.

I. Core Area Requirements

All students must take 24 credit hours of core area courses. Students must choose courses in each of the following categories, including POLS 6680 Capstone in Public Administration.

Methods/Assessment (take 1 course for 3 credits)

POLS 6622Advanced Topics in Research3
POLS 5519Political Research Methods3
POLS 6623Program Assessment3

Organizations, Management, and Analysis (take 2 courses for 6 credits)

POLS 5551Public Organizational Theory3
POLS 5553Public Policy Analysis3
POLS 5554Public Personnel Management3

Public Finance, Budgeting, and Planning (take 2 courses for 6 credits)

POLS 5552Public Budgeting and Finance3
POLS 5509Community and Regional Planning3

Administrative Overview (take 2 courses for 6 credits)

POLS 5505Introduction to Public Administration3
POLS 5558Public Administration Ethics3

 Capstone (take 1 class for 3 credits)

POLS 6680Capstone in Public Administration3
Total Hours24

II. Specialized Areas

All students must take 12 credit hours from the list below. Courses used to fulfill a core requirement cannot also be counted here.

Specialized Area #1: State, Local, and Non-Profit Administration (Take 4 courses)
State and Local Administration
Introduction to Public Administration
POLS 5506Intergovernmental Relations3
Urban Spaces
Community and Regional Planning
Administrative Law
Public Budgeting and Finance
Public Policy Analysis
Public Personnel Management
Public Administration Ethics
Nonprofit Management
International Sustainable Development
Public-Private Partnerships
Disaster Policy and Administration
Public Lands Policy
Federal Indian Law
Tribal Government
Seminar State and Local Politics
Seminar Public Administration and Public Policy
Program Assessment
Grantwriting
Conflict Management
Economic Development
State and Local Finance
Community Networking: Cultivating the Sociological Imagination
Specialized Area #2: Environmental Administration (Take 4 courses)
Environmental Politics and Policy
Environmental Law and Regulation
Introduction to Public Administration
Intergovernmental Relations
Urban Spaces
Community and Regional Planning
Public Policy Analysis
Public Administration Ethics
Nonprofit Management
International Sustainable Development
Public-Private Partnerships
Disaster Policy and Administration
Public Lands Policy
Program Assessment
Grantwriting
Conflict Management
Specialized Area #3: Public Health Administration (Take 4 courses)
Seminar in Public and Community Health (required)
Ethics in Health Care
Introduction to Public Administration
Intergovernmental Relations
Community and Regional Planning
Public Policy Analysis
Public Administration Ethics
Nonprofit Management
International Sustainable Development
Public-Private Partnerships
Disaster Policy and Administration
Program Assessment
Grantwriting
Specialized Area #4: Criminology (Take 4 courses)
Criminology
Topics in Criminology
Elite Deviance and Crime
Sexual Crimes
Constitutional Law
Civil Rights and Liberties
Grantwriting
Internship (3 Credits - waived for mid-career)

Appropriate courses in the Master of Public Health program may be substituted with consent of the Master of Public Administration program director.

III. Public Administration Internship

Each student must complete at least 3 and no more than 9 credit hours of an approved internship. Three credit hours of internship are equal to 200 hours of work as an intern. The MPA director may waive the internship requirement for students with substantial professional work experience in public service of the not-for-profit sector.