Master of Public Affairs

Degree Requirements


The Master of Public Affairs degree requires 43 semester hours if an internship is required, and 40 hours if a student has had relevant professional work experience and receives an internship waiver. All students must pass a comprehensive essay exam mid-way through the coursework and a written summary of learning paper at the end of their program. Full-time students graduate in less than two years, while most part-time students finish in three to four years. Classes are offered on campus in the evenings and on Saturdays to accommodate students' internships and full-time jobs. The program's flexibility in scheduling courses, the many networking opportunities, and the variety of students and specializations are viewed by our graduates as significant strengths of the MPA program.

Core courses

Eight courses are required for the core in the MPA program:

  • Public Administration and Management
  • Politics of Public Policy
  • Quantitative Analysis and Program Evaluation
  • Budgeting and Fiscal Administration
  • Public Personnel Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Leadership
  • Legal Issues in Public Administration (one hour) OR Nonprofit Law (one hour)
  • One applied research tools course* (see below)


Students design their programs by selecting either one of the three concentrations (Nonprofit Management, Community & Economic Development, or Local Government Administration), OR choosing several electives from courses in the MPA program. Other relevant electives are offered in other departments, such as geography, communication studies, conflict and peace studies, and business administration. Regularly offered MPA elective courses include:

  • Local Government Administration
  • Urban Political Systems
  • Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
  • Ethics in Public Policy
  • Public Management Information Systems*
  • Philanthropy and Resource Development
  • Human Resource Development and Evaluation
  • Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Program and Policy Evaluation*


Students not having approved prior work experience in a professional or managerial position complete a supervised internship in a public or nonprofit agency for 3 to 6 hours credit, beyond the 40 hour requirement.

The internship is usually designed as a paid, full-time professional position during the summer, from approximately May 15 to August 15, between the student's first and second year of academic work. A part-time position for a longer time period is sometimes used as a substitute for the full-time summer internship. (See Internships)

The Students

Students in UNCG's MPA program come from diverse educational, demographic, and employment backgrounds. Both full-time and part-time students are encouraged to develop areas of specialization within public affairs and to complete the program as their work and internship responsibilities permit--usually between two and three years of study. (See Student Profiles)

For More Information

If you would like to obtain more information about the MPA program, please contact:

  • Dr. Ruth H. DeHoog, MPA Director
  • Political Science, UNCG
  • P.O. Box 26170, Greensboro, N.C. 27402-6170
  • Phone: (336) 256-0511 or 334-5093
  • FAX: (336) 334-4315