The MPA program offered by the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs is ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, a recent study published in the Journal of Public Administration Education ranked the university’s faculty as first in the nation in research. The University of Georgia MPA program was started in 1966 in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and was moved to the School of Public and International Affairs (also known as SPIA) when it became a standalone entity in 2001. The University of Georgia is located in Athens, which is approximately 65 miles northeast of Atlanta. Courses for the MPA program are held on the Athens campus as well as on the Gwinnett campus in nearby Lawrenceville, Georgia. Classes offered on the Gwinnett campus are offered during evening hours to accommodate working professionals.
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The program can be completed in as few as 24 months. A bachelor’s degree is required to apply.
University of Georgia MPA Curriculum
The central goal of the University of Georgia MPA program is to educate students for professional careers in public service, specifically in policy analysis and management in government and non-profit organizations. The MPA program requires 41 semester hours for completion. Students begin with core courses that introduce the various public administration fields. Two courses in research methods are also required to familiarize students with quantitative techniques used for public decision-making. Students then complete six elective courses from a group of specializations to earn their degree. Before completing the MPA program, students must complete a public service internship of at least 300 hours with a non-profit organization or public-sector government agency. The purpose of the internship is to demonstrate that the student is able to serve responsibly in a professional or managerial capacity. It also gives students an opportunity to transfer their coursework to a professional setting. Following completion of the internship, students must submit a paper that describes their experience.
University of Georgia MPA Specializations
The University of Georgia MPA program features eight areas of specialization. Students are required to choose an area of specialization or a generalist degree option. These are the areas of specialization:
- Local Government Administration
- Nonprofit Administration
- Higher Education Administration
- Health Policy and Administration
- Public Management/Organization Theory
- Public Budgeting and Finance Administration
- Public Personnel Administration
- Public Policy
Students who choose an area of specialization must complete a minimum of four electives in that area. For the generalist option, students must complete at least two courses from two of the areas of specialization.
University of Georgia MPA Tuition
The standard tuition for University of Georgia graduate students is calculated per semester (assuming 12 credit hours or more), and varies for in and out-of-state residents. Students must also pay an additional mandatory fee which varies between campuses.
University of Georgia MPA Admissions
The University of Georgia MPA program welcomes students who have no previous work experience in the public sector as well as mid-career public sector professionals who want to advance their careers. Prospective students should apply for admission online at the University of Georgia graduate school website.