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Program & Curriculum

MPA Curriculum Guide
– MPA Catalog listing
– Morehead State Graduate Catalogs

Program Description

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional course of study for individuals pursuing careers in government, public service, education, and nonprofit organizations. Our MPA program actively engages students in a dynamic learning environment that combines coursework and research. It develops a comprehensive understanding of the concepts and principles of public administration while continuing our students’ liberal education. As a result, graduates of the program will possess both the administrative skills and leadership abilities necessary to deal with the myriad of demands placed upon professional administrators. Specializations are available in (1) Non-Profit Management and Community Development; (2) Federalism and Public Affairs; and (3) Homeland Security and Political Theory. The MPA is an excellent professional degree for working professionals in government and non-profit organizations as well as for preparation in advanced graduate study in the social sciences or preparation for careers in public law or admission for law school.

Senator Rogers and the MPA Class

Congressman Rogers and the MPA Class


The MPA program is currently pursuing the multi-year accreditation process through the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). We are members of NASPAA and the American Political Science Association (APSA) Department Program.

Cost of the MPA Degree

Expected Cost for In-State Students Based on 2011-12 Tuition:  $16,214.00 for the entire two-year degree.  For more details, please see the Tuition and Fee Schedule at:


Students are required to complete at least 40 semester hours of graduate coursework, including the completion and defense of an approved thesis (PA 699), or the completion of an applied research project (PA 695).

Core Classes (25 hrs)
PA 610 Public and Administrative Law (3 hrs)
PA 620 Bureaucracy and Public Management (3 hrs)
PA 625 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 hrs)
PA 635 Organizational Theory (3 hrs)
PA 640 Theoretical Foundations of Public Administration (3 hrs)
PA 641 Ethics in Public Administration (3 hrs)
PA 660 Intergovernmental Relations (3 hrs)
PA 605 Epistemology & Research Methodology (3 hrs)
PA 690 Public Administration Internship (1 hr)

MPA Degree Candidates must complete one of the following three areas of specialization (9 hrs):

1) Option in Non-Profit Management and Community Development
PA 655 Community Development (3 hrs)

Two of the following:
PA 656 Non-Profit Organizations (3 hrs)
RAPP 610 Ideology and Policy Development in Appalachia (3 hrs)
RAPP 611 Spatial Analysis (3 hrs)
RAPP 620 Economic Development (3 hrs)
RAPP 630 Graduate Seminar in Regional Analysis and Policy (3 hrs)
RAPP 637 Environmental Policy and Management (3 hrs)
RAPP 670 Directed Research (3 hrs)
RAPP 685 Environmental Education (3 hrs)
CIS 650 Innovation, Technology, and Organizational Change (3 hrs)
SOC 620 Sociology of Education (3 hrs)
SOC 635 Organizations in Contemporary Society (3 hrs)
MNGT 612 Organizational Theory (3 hrs)

2) Option in Federalism and Public Affairs
PA 650 Federalism Theory and Constitutional Law (3 hrs)

Two of the following:
PA 611 Jurisprudence (3 hrs)
PA 630 Politics of Public Policy (3 hrs)
PA 645 Seminar in Founding Fathers & American Thought (3 hrs)
PA 655 Community Development (3 hrs)
PS 600 Political Science Seminar (3 hrs)
RAPP 610 Ideology and Policy Development in Appalachia (3 hrs)
RAPP 630 Graduate Seminar in Regional Analysis and Policy (3 hrs)
RAPP 670 Directed Research (3 hrs)
GOVT 600 Seminar: State and Local Government (3 hrs)
SOC 615 Research Methods (3 hrs)
SOC 620 Sociology of Education (3 hrs)

3) Option in Homeland Security and Political Theory
PA 680 Homeland Security Policy (3 hrs)

Two of the following:
PA 630 Politics of Public Policy (3 hrs)
PA 642 Western Political Theory I (3 hrs)
PA 643 Western Political Theory II (3 hrs)
PA 645 Seminar in Founding Fathers & Political Thought (3 hrs)
PA 681 American Diplomatic History (3 hrs)
PS 600 Political Science Seminar (3 hrs)
RAPP 670 Directed Research (3 hrs)

MPA Degree Candidates must complete one of two research options (6 hrs):

1) Completion and defense of an approved thesis PA 699 Thesis (6 hrs)
2) Completion of a capstone course (PA 695 Research Query [3 hrs]) and an applied research project (RAPP 670 or 3 hours of additional coursework approved by student’s advisory committee).

The Internship Placement Form must be completed in the semester prior to enrolling in PA 690. The director of the MPA program will coordinate internships in consultation with each student and his advisor. Internship placements will coincide as closely as possible with each student’s intellectual interests and career goals. Internships may be unpaid or paid, depending upon the placement organization.

Comprehensive Examination
All MPA students must successfully complete comprehensive exams in core fields. This exam will be administered twice a year on the MSU campus, after the Fall or Spring semester in which core coursework is completed. The specific date upon which all students will write will be determined annually. Students are expected to write the exam at the end of the semester in which they complete their core coursework. The exam is a prerequisite for the thesis or applied research project. Students must sign-up before or during the review meeting prior to the exam date. The examination will be written. No computers or electronic devices of any kind (including cell phones) are allowed. Students caught cheating will be expelled from the MPA program and perhaps the university.

Review Meeting
A meeting will be held each semester for students who expect to write comprehensive examinations at the end of that semester. This is an informational meeting to explain the format of the exams, the material to be covered, and faculty expectations.

Thesis or Applied Research Project
Each student will select a topic with the advice and consent of his adviser. The student and adviser will agree on the scope of the thesis (PA 699) or project (PA 695), the methodology, the extent of the research, the form of presentation of findings, and a schedule. Students are free to consult their other committee members for input. The entire committee will read the thesis/project, may ask for corrections or revisions, and will be responsible for approving the final thesis or project.

Thesis (PA 699)
Thesis prospectus must be approved by the student’s advisor and committee by the end of the third semester (assuming full-time) in the program. Prior to beginning work on a thesis, the student should obtain a copy of the official guidelines from the Graduate Office or by accessing the following URL: ( Guidelines(4).doc). The final approved copy of the thesis, signed by the students committee, must be submitted to the Graduate Office at least two weeks prior to the end of the term in which the student anticipates completing all degree requirements” (MSU Graduate Catalog). The committee must have read the thesis, all changes must have been completed, and the committee must have signed the relevant forms before the thesis can be submitted to the Graduate Office (701 Ginger Hall). Consult your advisor to discuss the timing of each of these steps.
Upon completion of the thesis, the student will make a public presentation and defense.

Applied Research Query (PA 695)
Upon completion of the project, the student will present the research to the MPA faculty. Projects are graded as pass or fail. A project may be repeated one time should a student fail.

Students must submit the required form to establish a committee, and then works with the committee chair (advisor) to develop, research, and write the project.

Degree Requirements

1. Satisfy University degree requirements. Refer to MSU Graduate Catalog.
2. Complete a minimum of 40 credit hours, including a core of 25 hours and a specialization of 9 hours.
3. Complete an approved thesis or applied research project (6 hours).
4. Successfully complete a written or oral examination as determined by the student’s advisory committee.
5. Public presentation of applied research project or thesis research.
6. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
7. Must be unconditionally admitted.

MPA Students Must Apply for Completion of a Degree or Non-Degree

MPA Degree Completion

To apply for completion of a degree program, log into your student account. Please follow the instructions below:

1. Click on the “WebAdvisor” icon towards the bottom of the screen
2. Click on “Students” in the left side menu
3. Click on “Academic Profile
4. Click on “Application for Graduation
5. Choose the appropriate Academic Program for which you are applying
6. Fill out appropriate information on the application for graduation then click submit
7. Students will be redirected to a payment page where information will be needed for payment
8. Students should receive a confirmation email at their MSU email account and the registrar’s office will receive notification that the student has applied for graduation

Security Studies Certificate – Non-degree Program/Certification Completion

If you are completing a non-degree/certification program, please click on the appropriate program completion card link below. (There is no graduation fee required for non-degrees or certifications.):
Please visit Completion FAQs: ( for the most commonly asked questions regarding completion of a degree or non-degree.