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The College of Liberal and Applied Arts

Department of Government:
Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Program

Admission Requirements

In order to apply for the M.P.A. graduate program, the applicant must meet these requirements:

  • Submit official transcripts from each college/university attended to the Graduate office at least 30 days before entering.
  • The Graduate School requires prospective students to have an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and a 2.8 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work (exclusive of freshman-level courses).
  • Submit GRE scores to the graduate office. SFA does not have a minimum GRE score, but the score is evaluated when making admission decisions.
  • Complete the application available at An application fee of $50 is required when applying.
  • Submit the following items to the M.P.A. program director:
    • A professional résumé
    • Two letters of reference
    • An essay between 500-1500 words describing professional and/or educational accomplishments and motivation to earn a professional M.P.A. degree
Clear Admission

The acceptance decision is based on a combination of undergraduate GPA and GRE score. Clear admission will be granted to any applicant who scores at least 600 points using the formula: overall undergraduate GPA x 100 + GRE verbal score + GRE quantitative score.

Conditional Admission

Conditional admission may be granted at the discretion of the department’s graduate selection committee to any applicant who fails to score at least 600 points using the aforementioned formula. The graduate selection committee will consider as a whole all of the required materials submitted by the applicant. Conditional admission will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Applicants admitted conditionally are required to enroll in six hours of graduate coursework during their first semester and will be granted clear admission only upon achieving final grades of “B” or better in each course. Failure to obtain a “B” or better in each course will result in termination.

Admission for Participants in Five-Year Overlap Program

Admission requirements vary for applicants who are participating in the five-year overlap program. For more information, please contact the M.P.A. program director.

Special Requirements for Students Transferring from Other Graduate Programs

Students seeking to enter the M.P.A. program with clear admission from other graduate programs (whether at this institution or not) are generally required to have a graduate GPA of 3.0, with no grade below C in any graduate-level coursework, for clear admission to the M.P.A. program. If these conditions are met, transfer students will not have to take the GRE.

Program Requirements

The course of study requires 36 hours of coursework, with 33 hours from PBA 500, 505, 507, 510, 515, 520, 525, 535, 540, 545, and 575. The final three hours can be selected from PBA 599 (Public Administration Internship) or PBA 530 (Topics in Public Administration).

Before completing 12 graduate hours, students must file a degree plan and have it approved by the program director and the department chair. The degree plan is an agreement between the university and the student that a specific completion of a set of courses will partially fulfill the M.P.A. degree requirements.

Before completing 18 graduate hours, each student must identify an M.P.A. faculty member to serve as chair of the capstone committee. The committee chair will direct and facilitate the preparation and completion of a capstone project and paper. The student will work with his or her chair in selecting appropriate faculty members to serve on the capstone committee. There must be a minimum of two additional tenured/tenure-track faculty members serving with the chair on the capstone committee. At least one additional committee member must be part of the M.P.A. program faculty. The student with consent of the chair may select one faculty member from outside the M.P.A. program faculty.

Each M.P.A. student is required to successfully complete a comprehensive oral examination. This examination must be completed after a student has completed all courses or is enrolled and past the mid-term in all courses. The student’s capstone chair will serve as the chair of the student’s examination panel for oral comprehensive exams. The student will work with his or her chair in selecting two other M.P.A. program faculty members to serve on the student’s oral comprehensive examination panel.

Students wishing to register for any graduate courses offered in the Department of Government must be advised by the assigned faculty adviser or the M.P.A. program director. The faculty adviser or the M.P.A. program director will notify the Department of Government’s administrative assistant of the advised selections, who will permit the student to take the courses approved during advising. Self-registration is not available for graduate courses.