Jul 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Administration, Individualized Concentration, M.P.A.

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The M.P.A. degree is the recognized professional degree in public administration and is appropriate for students pursuing public service careers in government, nonprofit organizations and private sector firms providing services to governments. The MPA program welcomes applications from recent undergraduates and experienced professionals seeking to develop and strengthen a broad set of administrative skills.

To apply, applicants must submit:

  • Recent scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
  • A statement of purpose, outlining professional goals and motivation for pursing the M.P.A. degree.
  • A professional resume summarizing education, work and volunteer experiences.
  • Transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work.
  • Evidence of successful completion of previous course work in U.S. government and statistics.


Through engaged teaching, research, and service, the MPA program equips current and future public service professionals with the capacity to address complex local and global problems.


To offer a curriculum that allows public administration students to develop and strengthen technical competencies in the following areas: program design, implementation, and evaluation; human resources; budgeting and financial processes; information interpretation via quantitative and qualitative methods; and managerial strategies.

  • To improve student understanding of institutional dynamics in the following areas: legal; economical; social; organizational behavior; and political.
  • To strengthen student capacity for success in complex and rapidly changing organizations.
  • To promote the exercise of responsible leadership.
  • To cultivate cultural competency for work in diverse settings.
  • To provide outreach activities that engage students in regional communities and organizations.
  • To establish the MPA program as a community resource for current and emerging leaders of public service organizations.
  • To contribute to the fields of public policy and administration and the effective operation of public service organizations.
  • To develop a faculty that is prepared to meet the needs of an evolving and diverse student body and community.
  • To maximize the resources of the MPA program by demonstrating high levels of faculty involvement, stakeholder participation, innovative problem-solving and adaptability.

Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration degree requires 36-42 credit hours of course work. The internship is not required of “in-service” students, those presently employed or recently employed in a substantive position in the public sector. The curriculum consists of a common component, a concentration and a capstone course. The common curriculum enables students to function effectively in the public and nonprofit sectors. Students will learn concepts of organization, public management, human resource administration, program and policy evaluation, budgeting and administrative law.

There are four defined concentrations: international stabilization and recovery operations, management of international nongovernmental organizations, nonprofit management and public management. In addition, students may design an individualized concentration in consultation with the MPA director. The individualized concentration may draw upon courses in other graduate programs at JMU and graduate courses offered by other accredited institutions with approval from the MPA director.

In addition to a concentration, students who do not have a significant professional work background in administration are expected to complete a supervised internship with a public or nonprofit agency. The internship will support the student’s concentration. All students must take the program capstone course in their final semester of study. The capstone emphasizes professional and ethical application and documentation of core public management competencies.

Students admitted to the program must seek advice from the MPA director before registering for classes. The director will also assist students in planning a program of study.

Public Administration Core Curriculum

Internship: 6 Credit Hours

Choose one of the following:

The internship may not be required for students with significant prior public sector experience. Check with the program director to discuss this requirement. 

Concentration Course Work: 12 Credit Hours

Choose one of the following:

  • Management of International Nongovernmental Organizations 1
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Management
  • International Stabilization and Recovery
  • Individualized Concentration

1 This concentration is only available in summer session as part of the Management of International Nongovernmental Organizations Certificate Program. Students wishing to qualify for a certificate must complete all four courses and, if they have no experience working in nongovernmental organizations, PUAD 697 .

Capstone Course: 3 Credit Hours

Total: 36-42 Credit Hours

Concentration Requirements

Required Courses

  • Four graduate courses selected in consultation with the MPA director 12 Credit Hours

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