Frequently Asked Questions

The MPA degree is a multitool for working in leadership capacity in many public and private sector jobs, as well as in nonprofits. Careers that utilize the MPA are often in management, logistics, administration, policymaking, and in the federal, state, and local governments. In addition, it makes a solid foundation for those who wish to continue their education in the political science field, as it is the applied science of the discipline. Below are a few links providing detailed information on the degree as a whole:

Yes, the MPA program here at JSU has been NASPAA accredited since 2013. To learn more, please visit the NASPAA website.

The MPA takes 39 credit hours (13 courses) to complete. These are divided into three parts: The core curriculum of 24 credit hours (8 courses), concentration coursework of 12 hours (4 courses), and a 3-credit hour internship (1 course).

The coursework of the MPA program teaches effective, ethical leadership, policy analysis skills, research skills, and hands-on experience in the public sector through an internship program. The coursework of each concentration allows for students to reach a greater understanding of those areas in relation to public administration.

Take Political Science Methods (PSC 301) as an undergraduate. This will prepare you for how to engage with empirical research that you will find is the basis of graduate studies. During your junior and senior year, start to make the transition from a consumer of information into a producer of information. This does not mean that you must start publishing. A core purpose of graduate programs, however, is to assist students from becoming consumers of information into producers of information. If you can start practicing this as an undergraduate, then you will start graduate studies on a good foundation. Finally, take advantage of opportunities. An undergraduate publication, participation at a conference, a research fellowship, engaging in department events, and more will not only provide you with meaningful experience but help to set you apart from others that are pursuing graduate studies.

Make a reverse timeline to complete your application. You should give all letter writers at least two weeks, if not a month, to compose a letter of recommendation. You need time to put together your application. Do not plan to apply for the program in a weekend. Make a plan of how to complete the application over a couple months so you can write a meaningful statement of purpose, get quality letters of recommendation, and break up the process into small chunks. Not only will this improve the quality of your packet, it will also develop a skill set that will increase your success in graduate studies.

The MPA program at JSU has connections to the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA, which has a state chapter), NASPAA, and the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society.