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Master of Public Administration Program


 

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the primary professional degree in both the public and nonprofit sectors. WKU’s MPA program prepares graduate students from diverse backgrounds to be productive leaders and managers in the public service by sharing practical and theoretical knowledge, encouraging excellence in both research and practice, along with fostering an environment of professionalism. Upon graduation from the program, students will have the skills necessary to lead and engage with a wide range of public organizations, programs, and policy areas.

The Master of Public Administration program is offered through the Department of Political Science at Western Kentucky University. The MPA program believes in the importance of the quality of education and has trained professional public administrators since 1973. Thanks to the program’s history it has an excellent track record of job placements and providing career opportunities. The program is an accredited member of Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA is the recognized accrediting agency for MPA programs across the globe. Achieving accreditation requires the MPA program meet high standards of public service education that are recognized throughout the field of public administration.

 

Program Benefits 

MPA has provided partnerships with organizations such as Kentucky's area development districts, the Legislative Research Commission and the Center for Local Governments. Our program is:

Versatile Learning

Versatile

There are various opportunities for student engagement and networking in both a professional and academic settings. The program offer a variety of class including ones that are face-to-face, online, and via satellite campuses.

Diverse

Diverse 

The Program includes full-time student and it includes students who are also employed full-time in organizations including the military, law enforcement, other agencies of government, and nonprofits.

Practical People Working

Professional 

 

   

Program Courses & Requirements 

The degree requires 39 semester hours of course work including completion of 18 hours of core courses. An internship is required of all students. A final written comprehensive examination must be passed. Thesis is not required.

Required Core

PS 501 | Research Methods in Public Administration - 3 hours

PS 530 | Public Sector Organizations - 3 hours

PS 538 |Public Service Ethics - 3 hours

PS 541 | Human Resources Management in Public Administration- 3 hours

PS 542 | Public & Nonprofit Budgeting- 3 hours

PS 560 | Public Policy Theory- 3 hours or 
PS 562 | Public Policy Implementation & Evaluation- 3 hours

Electives

Select 18 hours 

PS 500 | Workshops in Public Administration (1.5 hours, may be repeated for credit)

PS 510 | Problems in National Government - 3 hours

PS 511 | Seminar in State Government - 3 hours

PS 512 | Kentucky Government and Politics - 3 hours

PS 520 | Elements of Public Administration - 3 hours

PS 524 | Administrative Law - 3 hours

PS 526 | Local Government Administration - 3 hours

PS 528 | Civic Engagement and E-Governance - 3 hours

PS 543 | Politics and Administration in Rural Communities - 3 hours

PS 549 | Special Problems in Public Administration - 3 hours

PS 550 | Cultural Competencies for Public Administrators - 3 hours

PS 554 | Cross-Sector Collaboration & Conflict - 3 hours

PS 564 | Nonprofits & Public Policy - 3 hours

PS 566 | Environmental Politics & Public Policy - 3 hours

PS 580 | Directed Study - 3 hours

PS 597 | Professional Seminar in Public Administration - 3 hours

Internship

The MPA degree at WKU requires an internship of all students.

Students entering the MPA program with relevant public sector experience may, upon approval, have the internship requirement of  PS 595 or PS 598 substituted with PS 597.

Additional Info

The total number of of hours need to complete the program is 39.

The MPA degree requires 39 semester hours of course work including the completion of 18 hours of core courses. The curriculum provides a balanced blend of both the practical and the theoretical approaches to the art and science of public administration. An internship is required of all students unless awarded credit based on previous professional experience. Additionally, each student must complete18 hours of elective courses. The goal of these courses is to help prepare students for a variety of professional positions. In order to make the MPA program more accessible to students, classes are taught on the main campus of Western Kentucky University and via interactive television (ITV) in Owensboro, Glasgow, and Ft. Knox/Elizabethtown.

  

 

Ready to get started? 

Apply to the Master of Public Administration Program at Western Kentucky University

Start your Application to Graduate School now!

 

  

The MPA program at WKU offers both online and face-to-face courses. All required course work is offered face-to-face and can be completed on-campus in Bowling Green or at the Fort Knox, and Owensboro regional campuses via onsite interactive television technology. To accommodate the schedules of busy professionals, most required classes and electives are offered in the evenings. Many elective courses are offered online during the fall and spring semesters. In addition, several elective courses are offered in the winter and summer terms. 

 

MPA Admission Requirements 

 

STEP 1: Complete the Online Application for Admission found on the Graduate Studies website.

 

STEP 2: Submit required application fee.

 

STEP 3: Request that official transcripts of the undergraduate and/any graduate work (from all undergraduate and/any graduate institutions attended) be sent directly to the WKU Graduate School. 

 

STEP 4: Achieve a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale).

 

STEP 5: Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and have scores sent directly to the WKU Graduate School. (Note: Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher from an accredited undergraduate institution and/or 3 years of relevant work experience in the public service are exempt from the GRE requirement.)

 

STEP 6: Send two (2) letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic or employment experience to mpa@wku.edu

 

STEP 7: Send Statement of Purpose outlining how the MPA degree will help accomplish career goals and objectives to mpa@wku.edu.

 

STEP 8: Send current resume to mpa@wku.edu

 

Priority Application Deadlines:

Fall Semester: June 15

Spring Semester: November 15

Summer Sessions: March 30

Winter Term: November 1

 

Program Options

Please click here to see the classes you can take as part of the MPA Program.

While in the MPA Program a you can earn two graduate level credentials at the same time - a Graduate Certificate in a specialized area and a Master’s Degree. Please click here to see what Graduate Certificates you can pursue while in the MPA Program!

 

Financial Aid

Graduate assistantships, as well as other forms of financial aid, are available to qualified applicants. Graduate assistants are required to work approximately 20 hours per week in the department during the academic semester. In this position, graduate students may assist department staff and faculty members in research, teaching, and service functions. Students interested in being an assistant are encouraged to contact the Director of the MPA Program.

  

Ready to get started? 

Apply to the Master of Public Administration Program at Western Kentucky University

Start your Application to Graduate School now!

 

The Master of Public Administration Joint Undergraduate-Masters Program (JUMP) offers highly qualified and motivated students the opportunity to complete a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in an accelerated time frame. The JUMP program allows students to count up to 12 graduate hours toward the completion of their undergraduate degree program as well as the graduate degree program.

 

Eligibility

To apply, students:

  • Must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.2.
  • Must have completed at least 60 but no more than 96 hours towards the undergraduate degree.
  • Must have a written recommendation from a WKU faculty member or academic adviser.
  • Must provide a writing sample to the director of Master of Public Administration program.

 

After admission to the JUMP program

  • Students must maintain a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 to remain in good standing.
  • Students who do not maintain the minimum GPA requirement may be denied graduate standing.
  • Students may take up to 18 hours of graduate courses and apply up to 12 credits toward both their undergraduate and their graduate degrees.
  • Students remain undergraduates until they meet all of the requirements for the undergraduate degree and are eligible for all rights and privileges granted undergraduate status including financial aid.

 

Admission to the Graduate School for JUMP students

  • In order to gain admittance to the graduate program, students must earn a minimum of 3.0 in each graduate course applied to the JUMP degree. Students who fail to maintain the GPA requirement may be denied graduate standing.
  • The GRE admission requirement for the MPA program is waived for JUMP students.
  • On admission to the Graduate School, the student is classified as a graduate student and granted all rights and privileges of WKU graduate students.
  • Students may count a maximum of 18 hours of graduate coursework toward the MPA prior to admission to the Graduate School.

 

Ready to get started?

Start your MPA JUMP Application now!

 

 

For information about the MPA JUMP Program, contact

Shannon Vaughan
Associate Professor
Director, MPA Program
Department of Political Science
Western Kentucky University
315 Grise Hall
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11060
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1060
270.745.2908

Graduate Degree Application - Program of Study Form (check JUMP at bottom)

MPA JUMP Application

Graduate Certificate Options

While pursuing a Masters of Public Administration, you can also work towards a Graudate Certificate! Click here to find out more. 

 

MPA Handbook:

Click here for a PDF version of the MPA Handbook

 

Program Content and Timetables

The following procedures are required in order to ensure that you are making progress toward your MPA degree.

Program of Study:

This form includes a listing of the MPA program curriculum courses which the MPA student agrees to complete in order to receive the MPA degree.

NOTE: All MPA students are strongly advised not to register for any course work without prior consultation with their MPA Advisor.

(a) The Program of Study must be completed in cooperation with their MPA Advisor during the first semester of enrollment in MPA course work (or before reaching 12 hours of credit).

(b) The Form must be filed with and accepted and approved by the Graduate School during the first semester of enrollment in MPA course work.

Course Change Form

It is possible that some elective courses listed on a student’s Program of Study may not always be offered at a time suitable for completion. Changes (substitutions) for courses already included on the Program of Study form must be requested and approved by the MPA Advisor prior to enrollment in any alternative course work. The course change form must be approved by the Graduate School as well.

Transfer Credit

Up to 12 semester hours of transfer credit from an accredited institution may be accepted toward meeting the course requirements for the MPA degree. These courses must be properly identified as graduate level courses. Courses accepted for transfer credit must fall within the 6 year limit for degree completion. Requests for transfer credit must be approved by the MPA Director and the Graduate School. All requests for transfer credit must include supporting documentation regarding course content and requirements. Course outlines, syllabi and reading lists are appropriate for this requirement. The Graduate School must approve all requests for transfer credits.

Program Completion

The completion of the MPA program includes the successful passing of all courses on the student's

Program of Study, the successful completion of the MPA Comprehensive Exam, and the filing of an application for degree form (along with the requisite fees) with The Graduate School.

(a) Students are expected to file for graduation either during the semester previous to the semester of graduation or early in the semester they expect to graduate. These forms may be obtained online on the Graduate School website.

(b) Students who have completed at least 27 semester hours of their MPA coursework (including all of the required core courses) are eligible to apply to take the written MPA Comprehensive Exam.

(c) Upon successful passage of the MPA Comprehensive Exam, a report on the Comprehensive Exam, will be filed by the MPA program with the Graduate School.

(d) All necessary course work must, of course, be completed, all "incompletes" removed, and all records be complete and on file before the MPA degree will be officially awarded.

 

MPA Newsletter Archive

 

WKU Important Links

 

 

 
The MPA seeks to prepare students for a career in a variety of public and non-governmental organizations. An MPA degree from WKU can help many professionals kick-start their careers whether they want to work in the government, for non-profits, or for a public organization. Possible career paths in these fields include: City/Town Manager, Economic Development Director, Marketing Coordinator, Communications Specialist, Director of Government/Community Relations, Policy Analyst, and Executive Director Positions at various institutions.

The WKU MPA Program is ideal for people who want to shape the future - both for themselves and their communities. It provides the knowledge and skills which are necessary in order to pursue a career in a variety of local, state, federal, and non-profit organizations.

 

WKU Recent and Past MPA Grads are Working as:

  • Director/Manager for non-profit agency
  • County Judge Executive (CJE's)
  • Director of Regional Airport
  • Manager of Area Development District
  • Public Health Department Manager
  • Public school administrator or college president
  • National and state campaign manager

 

MPA Alumni:

2015 Alumni Survey Results

2015 List of Respondents' Job Titles and Employers

2013 Alumni Survey Results

2013 Alumni Careers

2013 List of Respondents' Job Titles and Employers

2007 Alumni Careers

Post Graduate Employment by Sector

Graduation Rates

Let's get in touch

We welcome questions about the program and the requirements for admission into the MPA program, and would be happy to forward application materials to you. If you are interested in applying, please visit here.

Shannon Vaughan,
Director of Master of Public Administration Program
shannon.vaughan@wku.edu

Tel: (270) 745-2908
Fax: (270) 745-2945

Department of Political Science-- Grise Hall #315
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11060, Bowling Green, Ky. 42101-1060

 

Mission Statement of the MPA Program

The MPA program prepares graduate students from diverse backgrounds to be productive leaders and managers in public service by sharing knowledge, encouraging excellence in research and practice, and fostering an environment of professionalism within the communities we serve.

(Revised June 26, 2013)

 

 

 

 

Apply Now

Your Future Begins Here

The MPA program prepares graduate students from diverse backgrounds to be productive leaders and managers in public service by sharing knowledge, encouraging excellence in research and practice, and fostering an environment of professionalism within the communities we serve. 

Start your application now.

 

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Support our Program

We believe in the importance of the quality of education. The program has trained professional public administrators since 1973 and has an excellent track record of job placements and career advances. Show your support by gifting to our program and students. 

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 Last Modified 7/3/19