Public Administration – Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional course of study for individuals pursuing careers in government, public service, education and nonprofit organizations. Our MPA program actively engages students in a dynamic learning environment that combines coursework and research. 

The mission of the MPA program is to prepare students to be successful public service administrators. Driven by ethical reasoning, critical thinking, analytically oriented problem-solving skills and objective decision-making, the program will prepare students for lifelong careers in the public sector. By connecting theory and practice throughout the curriculum, the MPA program seeks to foster student and faculty research and outreach that benefits the local and regional communities throughout Eastern Kentucky.

The MPA is an excellent professional degree for working professionals in government and nonprofit organizations, as well as for preparation in advanced graduate study in the social sciences or preparation for careers in public law, or admission for law school.

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences also offers a graduate Certificate in Intelligence Studies as part of the Bluegrass Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence. For more information on the certificate, visit

Admission Requirements

  1. General admission to graduate study and a minimum GPA of 2.5 on the baccalaureate degree qualify the student for conditional admission. (for criteria, refer to “Admission to Graduate Study”). 
  2. Unconditional admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the baccalaureate degree or an earned master’s degree. Students who do not meet the requirements for unconditional admission may be admitted conditionally on the condition that the student earns a minimum GPA of 3.25 on the first 12 hours in the program. If a minimum GPA of 3.25 is not achieved, courses will need to be repeated until the minimum GPA of 3.25 is acquired. 
  3. Acceptable proficiency in social science, analytical skills and writing ability as determined by the MPA admissions committee from the following: undergraduate transcripts, writing sample, publication record and interview (required at committee's request).
  4. Preferred TOEFL score of 525 or higher for international students; a lower score may be accepted with evidence of English speaking and writing proficiency.

Program Competencies

1. To lead and manage in public governance

2. To participate in and contribute to the public policy process

3. To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions

4. To articulate and apply a public service perspective

5. To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry


  1. Competencies in public administration theory, methods, analytical thinking and professional report writing are assessed in each course in the curriculum.
  2. Students are systematically assessed by their thesis or applied research committee and undergo a defense of their research.
  3. Program assessment also takes place through alumni surveys in conjunction with program reviews.

Exit Requirements for Degree

  1. Satisfy University degree requirements.
  2. Complete a minimum of 40 credit hours including a core of 22 hours and a concentration (15 hours).
  3. Complete an approved thesis or capstone course, or approved practicum in chemical dependency (3-6 hours).
  4. Successfully complete a written or oral examination as determined by the student's advisory committee.
  5. Public presentation of thesis or research query, or practicum experience.
  6. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  7. Must be unconditionally admitted.

Maintaining Enrollment

All students pursuing the MPA must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students falling below a minimum 3.0 will be placed on a one semester period of probation. Students failing to achieve a GPA of 3.0 after one semester of probation will be dropped from the program. Any student who receives a grade of "C" or below in more than two courses taken for graduate credit will be immediately dropped from the program. This will be monitored by the MPA director.

MPA Concentrations

Security Studies, Intelligence and Theory Concentration

Economic Development and Intergovernmental Management Concentration

Counseling and Addiction Services Management Concentration

Public Affairs Communication Concentration