Frequently Asked Questions about the MPA Program

What is the purpose of the MPA degree? 

Our degree program is designed to prepare you for a rewarding career in public service or, if you have already made this important decision, to provide you with additional skills and knowledge necessary for public sector employment. The MPA program employs a problem-solving approach to public management issues and the analysis of public policy. It is designed to broaden your understanding of economic, political, methodological, legal, and social issues related to the management of public policy and management while also allowing you to develop expertise in an area of specialization. 


How do I apply for the MPA Program? 

In addition to the Graduate School’s online application, applicants need to submit three letters of reference, a statement of purpose, and an official transcript from all undergraduate and graduate institutions which you have attended. The MPA Program also requests students to complete a Personal Data Sheet that gives us some additional information beyond the university’s application form. 


When are admissions decisions made? 

Decisions about one’s acceptance into the program are made by the MPA faculty on a rolling basis as soon as a complete application is received from the Graduate School. Official notification of admission decisions is made by the Graduate School. Notification of assistantships and out-of-state tuition remissions are made by the MPA Program Director. 


How many hours are required for the MPA degree? 

The MPA program has 2 concentrations, traditional (T-MPA) and executive (E-MPA).  

  • The T-MPA program is designed for students who are not yet established in a related career field. It requires 42 semester hours to complete the degree. Core classes are generally taught face-to-face, 1 night a week from 6:30-9:00. Electives may be taken online or face-to-face. 
  • The E-MPA program is designed for people who are already well-established in a relevant career field. They have to have 5 years of related employment and at least 3 years of experience in mid- to upper-level management. The E-MPA requires 36 semester hours to complete the degree. Classes are all taught online. Core classes are generally taught via synchronous online, with students logging in 1 night a week from 6:30-9:00 to engage with the instructor and their classmates. 


When are the classes offered? 

Classes are offered in a variety of different formats: 

  • Face-to-face classes are taught 1 night a week from 6:30-9:00 pm. 
  • Synchronous online classes are taught 1 night a week from 6:30-9:00 pm. You will log in to engage with the instructor and your classmates for courses in this format. 
  • Asynchronous online classes do not require you to log in at any specific day or time. You log in at your convenience to complete class assignments, watch recorded lectures, engage with discussion boards, etc.  Most classes will require you to log on frequently throughout the semester, likely several times a week.  


How many students are enrolled in the MPA Program? 

We have approximately fifty students in the program each year, with a roughly even blend of part-time and full-time enrollees. 


How long will it take to complete the MPA degree? 

  • T-MPA students may not yet be working and decide to take a full time course load each semester, which is 9 semester hours (3 classes). At that rate, the degree can be completed in 2 calendar years, likely with a couple of summer classes. 
  • T-MPA students may also opt to take 3 or 6 semester hours (1-2 classes). You qualify for financial aid if you register for at least 6 semester hours a semester. Obviously, if you are taking fewer hours each semester it will take you longer to finish your MPA.  
  • E-MPA students will be in a cohort, taking their classes together. The plan for your program is for it to take 3 years. You’ll take 6 semester hours per semester and at least 3 hours each summer. If you have to take at least 6 hours per semester for financial aid purposes, you will take fewer summer classes so you finish in the spring, when the capstone class (PADM 6900) is offered. If you can take just 3 hours per semester, you can take more summer hours so that you can take just 3 hours a semester in the fall and spring of your last academic year, so you can focus on your capstone.  


Does the MPA Program offer any financial assistance to students? 

The department offers several graduate assistantships and can offer out-of-state tuition remission to exceptional non-North Carolina residents. If one is seeking a graduate assistantship then the application should be in by April 1st. Individuals seeking an assistantship, or an out-of-state tuition remission should apply as early as possible. 


Who should I contact for more information?
Please contact Dr. Casey Fleming through our Contact Us page.