DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > School of Public Service > Graduate > Public Administration (MPA)

Public Administration (MPA)

The Master of Public Administration​ (MPA) educates ethical leaders to work in local, state and federal government. Through our cross-sectorial approach to learning, research and service, we help government leaders to:

  • Connect domestic and global issues
  • Alleviate poverty
  • Build responsive government 

We promote compassion for marginalized communities and service to all people with accountability, justice, professionalism, sensitivity and transparency.

Real-World Experience

Substantial professional experience in a government setting is required. If you have such experience before entering the MPA program, you may request a waiver by submitting a letter describing the extent of your work in a government organization. Otherwise, you'll be required to complete an internship as part of your studies.

Program Specializations

Students in the MPA program are required to choose a specialization​ from the following:

Emergency Management. For students seeking both theoretical and practical knowledge that will prepare them for private or public sector employment in the area of emergency preparedness for both security and non-security related incidents. This concentration tackles a critical concern for the public, private and non-profit sectors. Both the conceptual and practical implementation sides of homeland security and emergency preparedness rest at the intersection of national defense, law enforcement, and emergency preparedness. 

Public Management. For those who aspire to become city managers, chief administrative officers, department directors and senior project managers, this specialization focuses on the roles, requirements, challenges and processes of running a public organization. Students gain the knowledge and skills needed to work successfully with professional staff, an elected governing board, consultants and the public in the implementation of broad policy decisions.

Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs. This specialization is for students wanting to work in land use, transportation, economic development, zoning, housing and other areas of community development. Coursework emphasizes the technical skills of public administration and the tools of analyses and development as applied in a broad public setting. Students study best practices to illustrate the effectiveness of alternative designs and models.

International Public Management. Students intending to work in international organizations require a special understanding of how public and non-profit institutional structures and managerial processes vary around the world. This concentration emphasizes the interdependence of government and non-government organizations (NGOs), while addressing a variety of management, ethics and policy issues.

Flexible Locations and Times

Both the public management and international public management specializations are offered online as well as on-site.

Program Length

You must successfully complete a minimum of 52 credit hours of graduate credit to complete the program. Each course carries four credit hours. Required core courses account for 40 credit hours and electives account for 12 credit hours.

Pre-service students (those without at least 12 months of continuous paid work experience in government or government-related activities) are required to take an additional four credit hour internship as part of their program.

Some students pursuing the degree full-time (2 courses per quarter) finish in two years; others take one course a quarter and complete their program requirements in three to four years.

Program Participants

The program is designed for:

  • Government professionals
  • Those looking to transition into government careers

Certificate Options

The MPA program may also be expanded to include select graduate certificates. The combined programs require either the competition of additional coursework or careful elective selection to fulfill all requirements. Certificates are available in:

  • Community Development
  • Metro Planning and Development

If you're interested in a certificate combination with MPA, a separate application process is required. Contact the program office for additional information.