Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Requirements and Details


Complete admission and program requirements are found in the University Catalog.

Admission Requirements

Students may be granted admission if the following requirements are met:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Minimum grade point average of 2.75. 
  • International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • An essay is required with an application that describes educational and career goals that shows how the applicant fits the mission and goals of the St. Cloud State MPA program.
  • A resume of educational and professional experiences.
  • Pre-service students must submit three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources that describe and evaluate probabilities of graduate education success and sincerity of commitment to an interest in a career in public service and public administration.
  • In-service students must submit three letters of recommendation from professional sources that describe probabilities of graduate education success and sincerity of commitment to an interest in a career or career advancement in public administration.

In-Service or Pre-Service

Potential students who have not held a managerial or analytic position in the public, nonprofit or private sectors are considered pre-service students.

Potential students who have held a managerial or analytic position in the private, public or nonprofit sectors for a minimum of two years are considered in-service students.


Each new student is assigned an advisor from their specialization, e.g., city and county leadership and management, nonprofit leadership and management, international development leadership and management, and health care leadership and management. 

Capstone Project

You will enroll in a capstone project course your final semester of the program. The capstone project is intended to tie together everything you’ve learned in the courses you’ve taken. The project is conducted on an individual basis. You will present your final report to the faculty, staff, and students of the MPA program. You should consult your adviser for more information.


The program abides by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) statement on Internships and considers:

“Internships an integral part of the public service (pre-career) student's professional education and are conducted in such a way that it is indeed a true learning experience:

  1. work experience to give him/her a realistic exposure to an organizational-bureaucratic environment;
  2. develop the student's awareness of the internal dynamics of an organization and of the value and attitudes of public employees to both their citizenry and their administrative-political superior.”

Pre-service students who are concentrating in City and County Government and Nonprofit Organizational Leadership and Management are required to complete an internship.

Students concentrating in Health Care Leadership and Management who are planning to take the Minnesota State Board of Nursing Home Administrators State and National Licensure Examinations are also required to complete an approved internship.

The internship may be taken one semester or over two semesters. Students should see their advisers for details. Some internship placements are paid but most are not.