Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

This is an archived copy of the 2023-2024 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

The Master of Public Administration program is an online degree program designed to empower those seeking a career in public service as well as those already employed who desire to enhance their current career trajectory. The program prepares professionals for work in government at the local, state, or national level as well as nonprofit organizations. Those in the private sector may also find the curriculum valuable.

The MPA degree requires a total of 36 hours of coursework:

  • 24 hours of core coursework; and
  • 12 hours of concentration coursework.

Prior to graduation, all students must also complete and pass the comprehensive exams, which encompass key learning objectives from the core coursework. Students are expected to complete all core coursework prior to taking the comprehensive exams. Students with one core course remaining may take the comprehensive exams with the approval of the MPA Director. Comprehensive exams are administered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students must be enrolled in the university the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive exams are administered.

Additional information: Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit.

Applications to the online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program are reviewed on a rolling basis, with application deadlines of: August 1st for the fall semester; December 1st for the spring semester; and May 15th for the summer semester. The MPA Program’s admission considerations include the following:

  1. Graduate Admissions Application: The Graduate Studies Application is an institutional application required by SHSU. Students must provide biographical and educational information and information relevant to determining State of Texas residency.
  2. Application Fee: An application fee is required for all applications to graduate programs at SHSU.
  3. Transcripts documenting all prior degrees.1
  4. A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  5. A writing sample of scholarly or professional work.
  6. A statement of interest that summarizes the applicant’s professional goals, how an MPA degree will help the applicant obtain their professional goals, and how the applicant’s personal and professional experiences have prepared them for the MPA program. The statement of interest should be between one and two single-spaced pages.
  7. Names and contact information for at least two individuals who can speak to applicant’s academic and professional potential.
  8. Applicants who do not possess a graduate degree from an accredited institution, are expected to have earned a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from the accredited institution granting the undergraduate degree.  
  9. Applicants who do not possess a graduate degree and have an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 may submit additional information as evidence of their academic and professional potential. Additional information may include, but is not limited to: a narrative that provides an explanation for the applicant’s low GPA and why the GPA is not indicative of the applicant’s academic and professional potential or GRE scores. Applicants can submit the GPA narrative as part of their statement of interest.
  10. If the MPA Admissions Committee needs additional information for an admission decision, the MPA Admissions Committee Chair may schedule an interview with an applicant or request an applicant provide additional information via email.

Applicants must submit all application materials directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by the relevant deadline.  A holistic review of each applicant’s file will then be completed with admission to the MPA Program offered to applicants on a competitive basis.

1 Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts for review by the admissions committee. However, under university policy, admission decisions are contingent upon receipt of official transcripts.

MPA Core Courses

All MPA students must complete 24 credits of core courses. Select from the following:

MPA Core Courses
PADM 5001Independent Study3
PADM 5002Public Service Internship3
PADM 5301Scope & Methods Public Admin3
PADM 5381Dynamics of Public Administrtn3
PADM 5383Program Evaluation3
PADM 5384Organizational Theory & Behavr3
PADM 5386Human Resource Management3
PADM 5387Public Budgeting and Finance3
PADM 5388Ethics in Government3
PADM 5389Public Management3
PADM 5398Special Topics in Public Administration3

MPA Concentration Courses

All MPA students must complete 12 credits of concentration courses. Select from the following:

MPA Concentration Courses
PADM 5003Disaster Management Internship3
PADM 5390Global Disaster Politics3
PADM 5361Managing Complex Policy Problems3
PADM 5362Managing the Nonprofit Organization3
PADM 5391Emergency Management3
PADM 5392Decision Making in Pub Adm3
PADM 5393Disaster Resilience3
PADM 5399Special Topics in Disaster Management3

MPA Degree Plan

All MPA students must complete 36 credits of courses to graduate.

MPA in Public Administration
Required Core Courses
Complete Both Courses:
PADM 5301Scope & Methods Public Admin3
PADM 5381Dynamics of Public Administrtn3
Elective Core Courses
Complete any six of the following:18
Independent Study
Public Service Internship 1
Program Evaluation
Organizational Theory & Behavr
Human Resource Management
Public Budgeting and Finance
Ethics in Government
Public Management
Special Topics in Public Administration 2
Concentration Courses
Complete any four of the following:12
Disaster Management Internship 3
Managing Complex Policy Problems
Managing the Nonprofit Organization
Global Disaster Politics
Emergency Management
Decision Making in Pub Adm
Disaster Resilience
Special Topics in Disaster Management 2
Total Hours 336



Internships are not required; no more than 6 credit from PADM 5002 and PADM 5003 can apply to MPA degree plan.


Special topics courses are offered occasionally.


MPA students must complete and pass the comprehensive examinations to qualify for graduation.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The M.P.A. is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Develop students’ analytical and writing skills.
  • Develop students' ability to utilize technology to solve problems and accomplish goals.
  • Prepare students for professional careers in the 21st century.
  • Prepare students to make meaningful contributions to local, state, national, and global communities.