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

The Master of Public Administration program offers professional training to provide competencies needed for a wide variety of public service positions and to build the foundation for long-term individual development and advancement in a public service career. The M.P.A. program provides training for work in local, state and federal agencies; private, nonprofit agencies and voluntary organizations; public affairs offices in private businesses; and legislative staff positions.

Typically the M.P.A. program brings in 20 to 30 students per year (see graduation rates). Courses are offered through a variety of in-person and virtual options, with a vast majority held in the evenings. Our faculty are committed to excellence in both teaching and research.

View program competencies, grad rates and objectives

The mission of the M.P.A. program at Wayne State University is to provide the highest quality graduate education to students committed to public service. The program provides an academically rigorous curriculum relevant to public and nonprofit policy and management. The program serves academically capable pre-service and in-service students and is an integral part of a major urban research university improving local and global communities.

Located in the Department of Political Science, Wayne State's M.P.A. program is NASPAA accredited and the oldest in the state of Michigan. Get connected and learn more through our M.P.A LinkedIn group!

What is public administration?

Public administration encompasses various types of work in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Traditionally, the field works to advance management and policies so that government can run more effectively and efficiently. The field has now expanded to include the private and nonprofit sectors; from local to federal government, HR departments and budget offices to program managers and donor relations officers, public administrators work to administer programs that directly benefit the public.

Jobs in public administration

The M.P.A. program manages a jobs listserv to share notices about job and internship opportunities with students and alumni. If you are interested in receiving these job alerts, you can click the link below to subscribe. Some recent job postings for M.P.A. students and graduates can be seen on our career planning page.

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If you have questions about the program or want to make an appointment to discuss your academic and career interests and goals, please contact Dr. Brady Baybeck, associate professor and director of the graduate program in public administration, at

  • Admissions

    Visit Master of Public Administration admissions for specific program admission criteria and requirements.

  • Program focus areas

    A multidisciplinary field, public administration allows practitioners to explore several sub-fields such as human resources, organizational theory, budgeting, policy analysis, and statistics.

    We offer concentrations in the following areas:

    • Health and human services policy and management
    • Economic development policy and management
    • Human and fiscal resource management
    • Nonprofit policy and management
    • Organizational behavior and management
    • Urban and metropolitan policy and management
    • Individually tailored to your interests
  • Accelerated Graduate Enrollment (AGRADE)

    The AGRADE program provides the opportunity for high-achieving undergraduate students to enroll simultaneously in our undergraduate and graduate programs. Students can apply a maximum of 16 credits towards both an undergraduate and a graduate degree in the student's major field. Students who choose the AGRADE program may expect to complete their bachelor's and master's degrees in five years of full-time study.

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  • About the program

    We are one of the oldest public administration graduate programs in the nation. Since its founding, the program has produced hundreds of graduates who have gone on to distinguished public service careers.

    Dr. Lent Upson was one of the pioneers in the study of public administration. He founded the program in 1935 and was the dean of the School of Public Affairs and Social Work. Dr. Upson also served as the first director of the Detroit Bureau of Municipal Researchnow the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

    Picture of Lent D. Upson
    Lent D. Upson, Ph.D.

    Along with the Division of Social Work, the program was part of a School of Public Affairs until 1950, when the social work program became a separate college. In 1951 the Public Administration Division merged with the Department of Government and became the Department of Political Science.

    The Wayne State graduate program in public administration has been a part of this department ever since. Reflecting its long and distinguished history, the Wayne State graduate program in public administration became the first such program in Michigan to gain accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) in 1985.

    To be accredited by NASPAA, a program must meet numerous standards for faculty size and quality, content and structure of its curriculum, internship opportunities, and educational support resources such as libraries, computing facilities and placement services. The Wayne State graduate program in public administration was reaccredited in 1992, 1999, 2006, and 2012.


The M.P.A. program is accredited by the NASPAA Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation and listed on the Annual Roster of Accredited Programs in conformity with NASPAA standards.

NASPAA Accredited - The Commission on Peer Review & Accreditation

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.