At the University of Pennsylvania, the Fels Institute of Government provides students with the opportunity to earn an MPA. This advanced degree is the perfect option for students who wish to work in nonprofits, run for government office, or even head government organizations. The MPA program at Fels provides students with a solid foundation in all the necessary areas, including finance, politics, management, and analysis to ensure each student is prepared for work in any area they choose. With the rich political history found in Philadelphia, the Fels Institute of Government is the perfect place for students to learn the skills they need to serve in the public sector to create policies and improve the quality of life for citizens. When students begin their journey at Fels, they are admitted into a cohort that consists of 30 to 35 students with diverse backgrounds so students can learn from each other, as well as the professors. This setup creates a sense of community among students to ensure success for each member of the cohort.
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Fels MPA Curriculum
Students who join the MPA program at Fels will complete a series of six required courses over four areas. Courses are required in the areas of finance, management, quantitative analysis, and politics. Each area offers two required courses with the exception of the area of finance in which students must choose a finance elective course. Students must then complete four elective courses available in a variety of areas, allowing students to customize their degree to meet their future career goals. Some of the areas from which students may choose electives include social welfare, public finance, and education policy, along with other relevant courses found in the other graduate schools at the University of Pennsylvania. MPA students who must continue to work through their degree program may benefit from the Executive MPA program at Fels. This program spans two years and requires students to spread their 12 courses over three semesters per year, with two courses in each semester. These classes are held on nights and weekends to provide greater flexibility for working professionals. All core classes are available on Saturdays with many electives offered on weekday evenings. Executive MPA students must fulfill the same course requirements as the traditional MPA students.
Fels MPA Specialties
At Fels, students may choose to specialize in specific areas of public service to create a degree program that meets their career goals. While students aren’t required to specialize in a certificate program to obtain an MPA, it can be useful for those students who have specific career options in mind after graduation. Fels offers the following specialties:
Politics – Learn how to have an impact in the political world, whether running for office or helping with a political campaign or serving as a lobbyist to help create policies for the future.
Economic Growth and Development – Find out how government action has an impact on the economy and how to play a role in the creation and execution of policies to generate positive economic growth and development.
Nonprofit Administration – Discover how nonprofit organizations have accepted a larger role in government to create policy and improve quality of life.
Public Finance – Experience the role of budget, treasury, and audit in the government and learn how private firms play a role in the finances of the government.
In addition to the cost of tuition (calculated on the website per credit hour, assuming a 3-credit-per-semester course load), full-time students are also responsible for general fees, health insurance, and living expenses during their time in the program. Students who attend Fels in the Executive MPA pay by semester (tuition information is available on the website), and these students do not have associated living expenses or mandatory health insurance, but they must pay general fees. Fels offers several options for students who need assistance in funding their education. The school offers various merit-based scholarships to students, as well as living stipends and assistance in obtaining federal and private student loans. They can also help students seek part-time internships to gain additional financing and valuable experience. Executive MBA students may qualify for aid as long as they are enrolled in at least two courses per semester.
Both full-time and Executive MPA candidates must complete the online application process for consideration in the Fels MPA program. In addition to completing the online application, candidates must also submit the appropriate supporting documentation, including a 1,000-word personal statement; current resume; transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate programs with proof of earned degrees; three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from an academic perspective; GRE, LSAT or GMAT scores; TOEFL or IELTS scores for non-English-speaking candidates; and an application fee (available on the website). Candidates applying to the Executive MPA program must also complete an interview process.