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 – 30 students per year (see graduation rates). Classes are held in-person on campus with the vast majority held in the evening; no online program is currently offered. Our faculty are committed to excellence in both teaching and research.

The mission of the M.P.A. program at Wayne State University is to provide superior graduate education to students aspiring to or committed to public service careers. To that end, the program provides an academically rigorous, political science-based curriculum relevant to public policy and public management. The program serves a select group of academically capable pre-service and in-service students and is an integral part of a major urban university that affords unique opportunities for public affairs research and public service.

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.

View program competencies, grad rates, and objectives

Contact

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. Kyu-Nahm Jun, associate professor and director, graduate program in public administration, at mpa@wayne.edu.

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.

  • 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 successful—and in many cases 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 Research—now 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.