Why choose an MPA? Students come from a variety of backgrounds, with and without work experience, to our MPA program. However, all of them are interested in public service. Professionals with Master of Public Administration degrees often work in non-profits, government agencies, NGOs, and the political sphere. Some even apply their skills in the private sector. The MPA is designed to offer students the analytical and organizational tools to implement public policy to address complex social, economic, and political issues. If you already work in the public sector, an MPA can provide the tools you need to advance in your career; it also can equip those that are just starting their careers.
The 40-semester hour MPA program offers rigorous academic and practical training for persons pursuing management careers in public and non- profit organizations, building upon strong foundations in management, finance, and analysis. The program is classroom-based and taught on the University of Kentucky's main campus in Lexington. Full time, it takes four semesters (two years) to complete. You also have the option to study part-time, taking fewer courses per semester. It will take correspondingly longer to complete the degree.
In the Martin School's MPA program you can expect:
- An outstanding multidisciplinary approach that encourages broad-based understanding for a successful public and non-profit career;
- An innovative learning environment, with strong commitment to public service values, strategic thinking, and integrity;
- Interaction with faculty members engaged in cutting edge research who are also dedicated to student success.
You will be provided with tools that:
- Prepare you for a career addressing complex social, political, and economic issues;
- Foster the analytical ability to clarify problems, identify alternatives, and formulate solutions;
- Cultivate leadership skills and the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
The MPA program is taught by Martin School’s core faculty members and professionally qualified adjunct faculty members, with additional electives being offered by joint faculty members from various departments on campus.
Full-time vs. Part-time
Trying to decide which flavor of the MPA is right for you? Below is a comparison of different options:
|Program Length||2 years (9-12 credit hours per semester)||3-8 years (less than 9 credit hours per semester)|
|Time of Day||Evening||Evening|
|Cost||4 semesters' graduate student tuition||Per credit|
|Class Size||~30 students||
|Things to Consider||
In preparation for the program, students should have taken a microeconomics (ECO 201 at UK or equivalent) course. This may be completed in the first semester of the program; however, it will not count towards your MPA degree. It is recommended to complete a college algebra course prior to the program.
The MPA curriculum consists of four major components: (1) the policy core (2) an area of concentration, (3) an internship or equivalent experience, and (4) Capstone Project. More information about the Capstone and internships can be found here and here.
All students take 31 hours of policy core courses. The core provides the analytic and conceptual foundations necessary for successful entry into and advancement within public and nonprofit agencies. The core covers the areas of economics, finance, budgeting, accounting, management, statistics, research methods, policy formulation and analysis, and the political and legal environments of public administration.
|Fall (Year 1)||Spring (Year 1)||Fall (Year 2)||Spring (Year 2)|
PA 621: Quantitative Methods of Research
PA 631: Public Financial Management
PA 651: Policy Process
PA 691: Ethics in Public Policy (1 hour)
Total: 10 credit hours
PA 622: Program Evaluation
PA 632: Public Funds Management
PA 652: Public Policy Economics
Total: 9 credit hours
PA 602: Organization Change & Strategic Planning in the Public Sector
PA 623: Decision Analysis
PA 642: Public Organization, Theory, and Behavior
Total: 9 credit hours
PA 681: Capstone
Total: 9 credit hours
Note: Doesn't include 3 hours credit for summer internship
Areas of Concentration
The area of concentration consists of two related courses that apply the concepts of the policy core to a particular subject or policy area. The following areas of concentration are available to MPA students.
- Economic Development
- Education Policy
- Environmental Policy
- Health Policy
- International Policy and Management
- Non-Profit Management
- Policy Analysis
- Public Financial Management
- Transportation Systems Management (certificate program offered through the Kentucky Transportation Center)