Take the next step in service with your master of public administration.

You have a deep commitment to public service and your community and are ready to step into a role where you can make an impact. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional degree that prepares you for a career in management of government and nonprofit organizations to do just that.  

Students have the option to complete a thesis or an internship within a non-profit or government setting to complete their capstone course, letting you customize the degree to your needs and interests. 

What You'll Do

You’ll develop skills to be a responsible and ethical leader, with the ability to make decisions strategically. More specifically, you’ll have the opportunity to: 

  • Engage in the development of leadership skills to successfully communicate with a range of individuals, communities and organizations. 
  • Develop the ability to organize information and ideas and to communicate them effectively, both in written reports and oral presentations. 
  • Analyze the ethical considerations confronting public and nonprofit organizations serving diverse communities in an evolving world. 

What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration?

Graduates of the Master of Public Administration program can look forward to rewarding careers in a wide variety of governmental and nonprofit organizations. Although an MPA is often considered a practitioner degree for those who will be doing public or nonprofit administration, a number of graduates go on to pursue doctorates to become college or university faculty. 

Career Opportunities 

  • Emergency Management Director 
  • Operations Research Analyst 
  • Human Resources Manager 
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator 

Online: Public Administration Degree Map

Explore the courses you'll need to complete your degree

Public Administration by the Numbers

  • $96K

    Operations Research Analyst

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary of operations research analysts is $95,820.

  • $89K

    Emergency Management Director

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the mean annual salary for emergency management directors is $88,890.

  • $146K

    Human Resources Managers

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the mean annual salary for human resource managers is $145,750.

Public Administration Curriculum

Degree Map

The Master of Public Administration degree requires the completion of 36 hours of coursework, consisting of 21 hours of core courses, 12 hours of elective courses, and a 3-credit-hour capstone, internship or thesis. A full-time student can often complete the program in two years, subject to appropriate planning for the internship.

In addition to the criteria established for general admission to graduate studies are the following departmental criteria. Application materials must demonstrate the student’s commitment to a career in governmental or nonprofit organizations. 

  • An undergraduate GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale 
  • Resume 
  • Two letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for a career in public or nonprofit service 
  • A letter of intent addressing professional goals and objectives. The letter should address what the applicant expects to achieve through graduate level study. The letter should be typed and a maximum of 750 words in length. 

GRE, LSAT, or GMAT scores are not required but may be submitted to strengthen application. 

Core Requirements:

  • PS502 Fundamentals of Public Administration (3)
  • PS505 Organizational Theory and Behavior (3)
  • PS518 Public Policy Analysis (3)
  • PS545 Research Methods for Public Administrators (3)
  • PS603 Public Personnel Administration (3)
  • PS615 Government Budgeting Process (3)
  • PS655 Federalism, State and Local Government (3)
  • PS697 Public Administration Internship (3)
    Thesis (3)

Choose one 12-hour track:

  • PS631 Nonprofit Management (3) 
  • PS632 Nonprofit Marketing (3) 
  • PS636 Grants and Fundraising (3) 
  • PS691-696 Topics in Political Science (3) 
State and Local Governance: 
  • PS621 Social Media and Politics (3) 
  • PS691-696 Topics in Political Science (3) 
  • PY571 Introductory Behavioral Statistics (3) 
  • SC560 Organizational Communication (3) 

Choose one with the advice of the program coordinator

  • GR698 Master’s Final Comprehensive Examination (0) 
  • GR699 Master’s Oral Examination (0) 

  • The capstone internship (PS 697) involves 120 hours of work with the host organization, and the writing and defense of a scholarly internship paper on the experience. 
  • Undergraduate students who apply for and meet the eligibility requirements of the Accelerated MPA Program can take as many as four of the 500-level core courses and have them count toward both their undergraduate and MPA degrees. 
  • The University requires that at least 18 credit hours of the 36- hour program must be at the 600 level. 
  • Students are also expected to comply with Graduate School general requirements, including continuous enrollment provisions, etc. 

Class of ‘18, Master of Public Administration

"I am learning about being a government employee and how to manage and work in a non-profit organization. I get excited when I think of the policies that need to be fixed to help more people and how I can change them with my education and experience. "

Amanda Rogers

Headshot of Amanda Rogers

College of Humanities and Social Sciences 

This degree is housed within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The College prepares students for lifelong careers. We boast programs that train students in problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, organization, and adaptability. Skills employers value, so we prepare you for basically any career field.

Online Learning at Southeast

When it comes to your success, we do whatever it takes. Online learning at Southeast takes the same reputable college courses taught by Southeast faculty and makes them available anytime, anywhere.

Earn Your Degree on Your Schedule.

Do more than dream about the future. Take the first steps to make it all happen.

Getting the Job

Your education is just one piece to launching an extraordinary career. Once you’ve mastered the material, you still have to find the job you want, make the right connections, sell your knowledge and experience—and if all this is giving you anxiety, don’t panic. SEMO’s Career Services office is here to help you with the next step. They’ll provide the expertise and support you need, so you’re landing your dream job in no time.

Accelerated MPA

You can take courses for your MPA as an undergraduate saving you time and money. The courses can count towards both your bachelor’s and master’s degree.

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Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 4610
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Take the Next Step