Dec 10, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog

Public Administration, M.P.A.

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CIP Code:  44.0401

I. Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Public Administration Program is based upon the standards set by the Department of Public Administration.  The traditional MPA program track admits students for the fall and spring semesters.  The Executive MPA program track historically admits only in the summer sessions.

Candidates for admissions into the MPA program are required to hold a Baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment into the MPA program.  Applications from students anticipating graduation are acceptance contingent upon his/her graduating from an undergraduate program accredited by a regional accrediting association.

There are no courses that are a prerequisite for admission into the MPA program.  However, students admitted with certain course deficiencies are subject to admissions conditions that must be met before they are able to proceed through the full program.

  1. Applicants who have not completed an American Government course are eligible for admission but are required to take PADG 5050 The American Governmental System  before the end of the second semester.
  2. Applicants who did not complete a course in statistics as an undergraduate or the applicant earned a grade of C or less in math or math intensive courses must complete an undergraduate course in statistics prior to enrollment in PADG 5600 .

MPA Two-Prong Admission Criteria

The two prong admissions criteria are designed to identify those applicants who:

  1. Demonstrate the academic undergraduate or professional preparation necessary to meet the challenges of graduate level study and
  2. Demonstrate a potential to contribute and ethically lead or manage public sector organizations or organizations closely associated with the public sector.

Thus the applicants are divided into two categories, Traditional applicants and Mid-Career/Executive applicants.  The admission criteria are divided into two groups. The Traditional Applicants Requirements, and Mid-Career/Executive Admission Criteria.  Admission into the MPA program is based on a holistic approach.  Thus no one factor will determine the status of a candidate’s application.  All of the following factors are considered in rendering an admission decision.

General MPA Admissions Requirements

Both traditional and Mid-Career/Executive applicants must satisfy the general MPA admission requirements listed below:

Personal Statement

The personal statement is critical to the application review process.  All applicants must present a statement, which describes how their professional and academic background has influenced the decision to pursue a career in the field of public affairs.  The statement must further discuss how and why the pursuit of this degree at North Carolina Central University assists the student in achieving his/her professional goals.

The statement must demonstrate:

  1. A relatively clear expression of ideas in writing; includes grammar, organization, and structure.
  2. An understanding of personal career objectives or a desire to address public sector issues or an understanding of the need to develop a career plan.
Letters of Evaluation for Master of Public Administration (MPA)

A minimum of two letters of evaluation is required of applicants.  These letters should be from individuals, such as employers, capable of commenting on an applicant’s professional achievement and ability to benefit from graduate study in the field of public policy and management.  Letters are encouraged from former professors, and others who can address issues that may appear in a student’s background.  The letters are evaluated on:

  1. The nature of the relationship with the recommending party.  Supervisors, professors, or recommenders, who have, based on the relationship, evaluated the applicant.
  2. The strength of the recommendation - has the writer had an opportunity to observe the applicant.  What type of wording was used to recommend?
Resume or C.V.

It is recommended that all applicants send a C.V. or resume in hardcopy with the main application package.  Work related experience in the public sector enriches class discussions.  Thus student with experience, even experience short of that required for admission standard 2, are encourage to provide a resume or C.V.  Public sector work is a positive factor in determining admission.  Student professional credentials are evaluated to observe:

  1. The pattern of progressive growth or career advancement
  2. Any public sector issues, advocacy or community involvement
  3. Leadership positions held
Prong 1:  Traditional Applicant Admission Criteria
Undergraduate GPA

MPA Candidates must have an academic record that demonstrates the ability to understand and apply complex concepts.  Thus candidates are evaluated based on their undergraduate grade point average.  In light of the maturing nature of students over the undergraduate years, more weight is given to the last 62 credit hours.  Students from every major are admitted into the MPA program.

The holistic admission criterion means that the program does not place undue weight on the undergraduate grade point average.  However, applicants with overall GPAs of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in the laboratory sciences or business administration with the appropriate GRE score are given serious consideration.  Applicants with an overall GPA or 2.7 on a 4.0 scale in other majors are also encouraged.  However, the holistic admission criterion means that the university examines the entire transcript to determine whether a candidate can meet the academic challenge of the program.

Prong 2:  Mid-Career/Executive Admission Criteria
Standardized Test

It is not required that applicants submit standardized test scores.


Candidate considered for admission under prong two (2) must participate in an interview process.  The process will examine a candidate’s ability to present ideas in a clear, concise, organized, and persuasive manner.  These interviews are highly important to student under consideration for conditional admission.  The interview is evaluated to observe:

  1. The candidate’s ability to express ideas effectively in individual and including nonverbal communication and
  2. An understanding of personal career objectives or a desire to address public sector issues or an understanding of the need to develop a career plan.
Types of Admissions

Student admissions are separated into 4 different categories:

  1. Unconditional Admission - This student is admitted into the Master of Public Administration Program without condition or deficiencies and should be able to enroll in any course for which there is no unmet prerequisite.
  2. Unconditional Admission with only a minor course deficiency - This student is admitted into the Master of Public Administration Program without condition.  However, based on a review of the student’s undergraduate transcript, he/she has not completed an American Government course.  Thus the student must complete PADG 5050 The American Governmental System .
  3. Conditional Admission - This student has been admitted into the Master of Public Administration Program on a conditional basis.  The student’s academic background merited admissions but that review also indicates that assistance may be needed to help the student adjust to the rigors of the MPA program.  A student is admitted on a conditional basis generally when the applicant’s undergraduate transcript indicates a B or better in English and other writing intensive courses but the applicant scored 3.5 on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE.  In that instance the applicant is required to completion of PADG 5000 Professional Skills I.  Students who have not completed an American Government course will also be required to complete PADG 5050 The American Governmental System .
  4. Probationary Admission - This student is admitted into the Master of Public Administration Program on a probationary basis.  This means that the student has demonstrated some potential to be successful in the MPA program but there are significant indicators in his/her record to justify limiting the student course load and providing the student with regular advisory sessions.  A student is admitted on a probationary basis in the following instance:

II. Program Requirements

Conditional Courses (If required)

Electives/Cognate Courses - 9 hours

Select courses listed below in General Electives or area of specialization

Capstone Courses - 6 hours

(7/9 core courses must be completed prior to enrollment)

Total Credit Hours - 42 hours

III. Exit Requirements

  1. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Students must pass the Mastery Case Study in order to meet graduation eligibility.
  3. Student Learning Portfolio:  All students must submit a Student Learning Portfolio in order to graduate.  The Student Learning Portfolio takes the place of the Master’s Written Examination in the North Carolina Central University Master’s of Public Administration Program requirements.  Consistent with the program’s mission to develop in students the knowledge and skills necessary to lead or manage a public sector organization, the portfolio measures individual student growth against each student’s personal goals as well as standard programmatic professional competencies and expectations.  The Portfolio is comprised of materials that are representative of a student’s learning, growth and development, both educationally and professionally.

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