The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the professional degree for students seeking a career in public service or non-profit management and will prepare you as a leader or manager in the public or non-profit sector.
You will develop skills and techniques used by public and non-profit managers to implement policies, projects, and programs that resolve important problems within your organization or community. You will study a common set of core courses and choose elective courses in your concentration of interest.
The program will serve your needs, whether you are a pre-service student or already working in the field and seeking to advance your career with greater responsibilities as a leader or manager.
Most classes offered in the evenings to accommodate working students. Courses are offered on the St. Cloud State main campus, Plymouth campus, and online.
Full-time students can complete the program in two years and part-time students can complete the program in three years.
The cost of completing is about $15,000 or $400 per credit for students enrolled in on-ground courses. The cost of online courses is higher.
Concentrations are offered in leadership and management of city and county governments, non-profit organizations, international development, and health care administration.
The curriculum is comprised of 25 common or core curriculum credit hours consisting of eight three-credit courses and a one-credit capstone course. Students also take four courses in their chosen concentration and, if a pre-service student, an internship.
©St Cloud State
Curriculum created with the consultation of non-profit organization leaders, city and county managers from Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities.
All faculty have doctorates, public administration experience, and their research interests include non-profit leadership, government, budgeting, and international development.
What to Expect
You will complete 37-40 course credit hours to earn your degree. Twenty-four of the credits come from core management courses. Students can choose from among four concentrations and range from 12-13 credits. All students take a one-credit capstone course.
If you don't have professional experience, you will be required to complete an additional one- or two-credit internship.
A typical full-time, pre-services student can usually complete the program in two years. This includes:
3 courses (9-10 credits) per semester the first year, along with a 1-2 credit internship in the first or second year.
1 course (3 credits) during a summer session.
3 courses (9-10 credits) during the fall semester of the second year.
2 courses (6-7 credits) during the spring semester of the second year and the 1 credit capstone course.
A typical part-time, in-career student can usually complete the program in three years. This includes:
2 courses (6 credits) each semester for three years.
The spring semester of the third year would include a 1 credit capstone course.
Summer course enrollment would decrease the time for degree completion.
Normally, all core courses are offered each year. All electives are offered at least once over a two-year period and some are offered every year.
Courses are generally held between the hours of 6-9 p.m. during the academic year. Occasionally, a six-hour block from 3- 9:00 p.m. is used to offer two, back-to-back courses.
Summer courses are held online or from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Courses are held:
At the St. Cloud State campus in St. Cloud State University
At the St. Cloud State at Plymouth campus
Depending on interest, alternative course delivery formats can be made available.
Each new student is assigned an adviser from their concentration.
Course of Study
The MPA Program is divided into two parts — a core curriculum shared by all students in the program and electives that fulfill one of four concentrations. You will be required to complete 37-40 total semester credit hours depending on whether you take an internship and which concentration you follow.
Twenty-four of those credits come from three-credit core course work and one credit is covered through your capstone course. You will be required to take an additional two required courses and two elective courses in your concentration. See a full list of all available courses.
The common core courses are designed to meet the NASPAA Core Curriculum Competencies, which has all students in the program demonstrate their ability to:
Lead and manage in public government;
Participate in and contribute to the policy process;
Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
Articulate and apply a public service perspective;
Communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.
The curriculum allows students to choose a concentration. You may choose from a concentration in:
City and County Leadership and Management
Non-profit Leadership and Management
International Development Leadership and Management
Health Care Leadership and Management
Additional concentrations may be created depending on demand and faculty availability and expertise. Each concentration accounts for 12-13 course credits and, if necessary, a one- to a two-credit internship.
Human resources manager
President/CEO nonprofit organization
Students may be granted admission if the following requirements are met:
Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Minimum grade point average of 2.75.
International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
An essay is required with an application that describes educational and career goals that shows how the applicant fits the mission and goals of the St. Cloud State MPA Program.
A resume of educational and professional experiences.
Pre-service students must submit three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources that describe and evaluate probabilities of graduate education success and sincerity of commitment to an interest in a career in public service and public administration.
In-service students must submit three letters of recommendation from professional sources that describe probabilities of graduate education success and sincerity of commitment to an interest in a career or career advancement in public administration.