About the Master of Public Administration Program
The program and services of the Department of Public Policy and Administration reflect the nature of the discipline of public administration, a mixture of theory and practice. The Department offers a professional graduate degree in public administration – Master of Public Administration (MPA) – and is involved in a wide range of consulting services for the public sector through the Public Policy Center. Recent research projects by MPA faculty include: the Idaho Public Policy Survey and the Mountain West Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute.
The Master of Public Administration Degree
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the most widely recognized educational degree focused on public and nonprofit management. Boise State University’s MPA is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NSPPAA, formerly known as NASPAA), and is designed to prepare individuals for positions of leadership in public service. The program provides the theoretical and practical dimensions of public management necessary to assist students who are seeking careers, and professionals who want to enhance their existing careers. Administrators and other staff members in all levels of government and nonprofit organizations take advantage of the general administrative and policy analysis skills offered in the MPA curriculum.
MPA graduates serve in all levels of government in a variety of administrative, research, and policy positions for such diverse agencies as: City of Boise, U.S. Forest Service, Boise State University, Idaho Department of Commerce, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ada County Department of Development Services, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ada County Highway District, Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho Attorney General’s Office, Idaho Human Rights Commission, Boise City Police, St. Alphonsus Hospital, Idaho Tax Commission, Legislative Budget Office, City of Myrtle Beach SC, and the Bureau of Land Management.
Taking MPA Classes Prior to Formal Admissions to the Program
Enrollment in up to nine credits of MPA courses is open to students with an undergraduate degree upon their acceptance to the Graduate College at Boise State and with permission of the instructor. The core classes, except for PUBADM 500, are restricted to admitted MPA students, students with negotiated projected schedules in MHLTHSCI and COBE on interdisciplinary Master degrees.
MPA Degree Requirements
Requirements for an MPA degree include the completion of 39 semester hours of approved graduate course work. This includes 21 hours of public administration core courses and 18 hours of elective graduate study. The program also requires students without public or nonprofit administrative experience to take an additional six credits of supervised internship in an administrative or policy analysis capacity. Internships are waived for those students with appropriate, documented public or nonprofit experience.
Transfer of Graduate Courses: Because of a cooperative agreement made with Idaho State University and the University of Idaho, the MPA credits earned at those institutions can, with approval, be accepted into the Boise State University program. Transfer of credit from all other institutions is limited to 9 semester credits.
Applicants must present an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in conjunction with a combined Graduate Record Examination (verbal and quantitative) of 1000 (for exams taken before August 2011) or 300 (for exams taken with the revised GRE testing pattern in 2011) to be considered for regular admission. In addition, three letters of recommendation, transcripts from all previous academic institutions, and a comprehensive career goals statement are required for admission. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply to our program. Boise State University and the Department of Public Policy and Administration are strong advocates of equal opportunity and diversity.
Core courses are intended to insure that each student acquires a broad range of policy analysis and management skills necessary for the changing public service working environment. These courses are based upon the core component requirements established by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. All students must take the following seven courses.
- PUBADM 500 Administration in the Public Sector
- PUBADM 501 Public Policy Process
- PUBADM 502 Organizational Theory
- PUBADM 503 Research Methods in Public Administration (will be replaced with the new FIVE one-credit, five-week MPA Methods Series courses Beginning Fall 2013)
- PUBADM 504 Public Budgeting and Financial Administration
- PUBADM 505 Public Personnel Administration
- PUBADM 692 Capstone
Areas of Emphasis
In addition to the core requirements, students must specialize in a selected area of public administration, completing 18 credits of elective courses (selected in consultation with the student’s academic advisor). The electives may include a six-credit research project. Students may study in one of three tracks: (1) general public administration, (2) environmental and natural resources policy and administration, or (3) state and local government policy and administration. The general emphasis allows students to construct their own specialty that serves their academic interests and career objectives. Elective courses typically taken by MPA students include:
- PUBADM 520 Community and Regional Planning
- PUBADM 530 Administrative Law and Regulation
- PUBADM 532 Grant Writing
- PUBADM 540 Contemporary Issues in Natural Resource & Environmental Policy & Administration
- PUBADM 541 Environmental and Regulatory Policy and Administration
- PUBADM 542 Science, Democracy and the Environment
- PUBADM 543 Public Land and Resource Policy and Administration
- PUBADM 550 The Executive and the Administrative Process
- PUBADM 560 State and Local Government Policy and Administration
- PUBADM 570 Public Management Skills and Techniques
- PUBADM 571 Ethics in the Public Sector
- PUBADM 596 Directed Research
Selected topics courses are offered on an irregular basis. Graduate courses from other disciplines may also be used as electives toward the MPA degree with approval of a student’s academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies per department policy.
Students may choose to include a six-credit directed research project in their 18 credits of electives. This advanced tutorial is a study in a specialized area according to the students’ needs and interests. The student conducts research, discusses the subject matter and procedures with a designated professor, and prepares a paper covering the subject.
The required internship for students without substantive administrative experience in the public or nonprofit sectors offers an opportunity to link academic experiences with professional practice. It can also be a valuable start to a professional career. Internships are served in local, state, or national offices or in appropriate governmental affairs departments, or in not-for-profit organizations. Six hours of academic credit are required. Internships are taken close to the end of the student’s course work. Admitted MPA students with substantive administrative experience in the public or nonprofit sector may petition to have the internship waived. Please review the department guidelines and contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Elizabeth Fredericksen
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83725-1935
Environmental Research Building
1295 University Drive
5th Floor, Room 5146A
Mail Stop 1935
Directions to the department
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed 12:00-1:00 PM