MPA Curriculum

Home Message from the Director MPA at a Glance Program Faculty

To earn the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, students must successfully complete 42 semester hours (SH) of credit in a prescribed curriculum, which may be accomplished in two calendar years. More detailed information on requirements and opportunities for MPA students can be found in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Graduate Programs booklet. Requirements and policies are subject to change.

MPA Suggested Course Sequence

The MPA Core

Nine core courses are required of all MPA students. These courses serve as a foundation and cover a wide array of public policy and management areas to prepare students for leadership and administrative careers in the public and nonprofit sectors. With the exception of PPUA 6500: Principles of Public Administration and PPUA 7673 Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs, which should be taken in the first and last semesters respectively, there is no required sequence to these courses. Each core course is offered at least once per year both on campus and online.

Beyond the Core

MPA students can choose from a wide array of electives offered by the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and by other programs in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and elsewhere in the University. Experiential learning is a key element of the program. Students new to the field of public affairs or changing careers are required to enroll in the internship course and complete a 300-hour placement. Students with relevant professional work experience can request a waiver of this requirement and take an additional elective course in its place.

The table below lists the courses required for the Master of Public Administration.

MPA Degree Requirements
Semester Hours
Core Courses (Required, 9 courses, 27 Semester Hours)
PPUA 6500 Principles of Public Administration
3 SH
LPSC 7305 Research and Statistical Methods
3 SH
PPUA 6502 Economic Institutions and Analysis
3 SH
PPUA 6503 Public Personnel Administration
3 SH
PPUA 6504 Organizational Theory and Management
3 SH
PPUA 6505 Public Budgeting and Financial Management
3 SH
PPUA 6506 Techniques of Policy Analysis
3 SH
PPUA 6507 Institutional Leadership and the Public Manager
3 SH
PPUA 7673 Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs
3 SH
Internship (Required unless waived, 3 Semester Hours)—300 hours required
PPUA 6407
3 SH
Open Electives (4 courses, 12 Semester Hours)—Approved by Program Director
View course descriptions through the Course Catalog

In total, the MPA degree requires 42 semester hours.


Internships offer students the opportunity to gain work and/or research experience that is relevant to their chosen fields.

During the 2015-16 academic year, students interned at the following institutions:

Aes World Languages and Cultures Institute

Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston

Building Impact

City of Medford, MA – Mayor’s Office

Collective Campaign for Peace-Nepal Monitor

Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development

EIC Education

Federal Highway Administration – Office of Civil Rights

Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women



Town of Dedham

US DOS Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor

• USDA – Food and Nutrition Services

For more information, visit our Internship Experiences page.

Certificates and Concentrations

MPA students can add a Graduate Certificate to their degree to demonstrate specialized training in the Nonprofit Sector, Urban Informatics, Urban Studies, or Public Policy Analysis. Courses taken to complete a certificate also count as MPA elective credits. Students with an interest in a specific field may work with their academic adviser to identify elective courses relevant to their area of interest.


Degree Outcomes and Tuition

Graduates of the MPA Program enter a wide variety of careers in the public and nonprofit sectors alike. A small percentage also enter the private sector. Graduates go on to careers as Town Administrators, Management Analysts, Research Analysts, and Program Directors.

A recent survey of MPA alumni concluded that 24 percent of 2014-2015 graduates are employed in the nonprofit sector; 38 percent in the public sector; and 21 percent in the private sector.

Data from the 2010-2011 cohort shows that of the 69 students initially enrolled in the MPA Program, 36 graduated within 100 percent of the program length, 51 graduated within 150 percent of the program length, and 55 graduated within 200 percent of the program length.

As of Fall 2016, the tuition rate for the MPA Program is $1,295 per credit hour for a total of approximately $54,390. Additional fees may apply.

Semester Summer Session
International Student Fee (one-time) $250
Student Center Fee (full-time students, per-term, Boston campus only) $70 $35
Student Center Fee (part-time students, per-term, Boston campus only) $10 $5
Student Recreation Fee (full-time students, per-term) $56 $33
Student Recreation Fee (part-time students, per-term) $25
Student Activities Fee (per-term) $14 $7
Resident Activity Fee (per-term) $33 $16.50

For a list of fee descriptions click here.

Additional Information

Requirements and policies subject to change. For up-to-date information, contact Louis DaRos or view the official graduate catalog for a full listing of graduate level courses.