Master of Public Administration (MPA)

What to Expect


Your MPA program faculty embrace the perspectives of New Public Service, Refounding Public Administration, and Appreciative Democracy. Students are intellectually challenged to master conceptual lenses at the praxis level of understanding. Morally obligated by their Oath to the Constitution to use their administrative discretion to serve the Public Interest and defend democratic regime values.

You will have the opportunity to participate as a part of our tight-knit MPA program community in various ways such as being a part of our International City and County Management (ICMA) Student Group (the first chapter in Minnesota!), attending Madeira Hours, Coaching with Compassion sessions, peer-mentoring, Fireside Chats, Virtual Tabletop Role-Playing Games, and more! You have the opportunity to conduct and present applied research with faculty as well as receive faculty mentoring if you are interested in continuing on to a doctoral program once you graduate. Pedagogical strategies you will experience include: case studies, movies, games and simulations, experiential learning, service learning, and other innovative, research-based approaches.

You will complete 36 course credit hours to earn your degree. Twenty-four of the credits come from eight core public administration courses. Students can choose between several concentrations to complete an additional twelve credit hours.

Time commitment

A typical full-time, pre-service student can usually complete the program in two years. This includes:
  • 3 courses per semester, fall and spring, the first year.
  • 3 courses per semester, fall and spring, the second year.
  • Students complete their comprehensive examination the last semester of the second year.
A typical part-time, in-service, student can usually complete the program in three years. This includes:
  • 2 courses each semester, fall and spring, for three years.
  • Students complete their comprehensive examination the last semester of coursework.


Normally, all core courses are offered each academic year. All electives are offered at least once over a two-year period and some are offered every year. Courses are generally held between the hours of 5:30-8:20 p.m. during the academic year. Occasionally, a six-hour block from 2:30-8:20 p.m. is used to offer two, back-to-back courses.

Courses are held:
  • At the St. Cloud State University main campus.
  • Online.
Alternative course delivery formats may be made available depending on interest.


Each new student is assigned an adviser from their MPA concentration who they will meet with before completing 15 credit hours to complete their Plan-of-Study.