School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration
The master of public administration (MPA) program offers flexibility and innovation in curriculum design to meet the diverse educational needs of part-time and full-time students, including evening and weekend courses and workshops, and Internet enhanced learning.
Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 In addition, applicants must submit an application essay and three letters of recommendation. To ensure full consideration for fall admission, all application materials should be received by May 1. For further details on the admissions process, see the MPA admissions page. An online application is available through the GVSU admissions office.
Current Course Schedule
Most courses for the MPA are offered at The Pew Campus in Downtown Grand Rapids. Some courses are offered on-line, with three in-person meetings. To search the course offerings currently available, see:
The M.P.A. degree consists of a minimum of 39 credit hours for in-service students and 42 credit hours for pre-career students. For this purpose, in-service is defined as having three years of professional experience prior to being admitted into the program.
The program core includes 15 credit hours, as follows:
- PA 520 - Foundations of Public Management
- PA 611 - Research Methods
- PA 612 - Human Resources in Organizations
- PA 614 - Organization Theory
- PA 619 - Management Seminar (or PA 695 - Master's Thesis)
Students select one concentration of 15 credit hours. The choices of concentration are as follows. Click your concentration of interest for details.
- Public Management
- Urban and Regional Policy and Planning
- Health Administration
- Nonprofit Management and Leadership
- Criminal Justice
Pre-career students are required to take at least three internship credits (PA 690 - Public Administration Internship I). Three internship credits normally equates to 300 hours (20 hours per week for 15 weeks). Internships must be pre-approved by the SPNHA internship coordinator. An internship is a course jointly sponsored by SPNHA and a public or nonprofit agency. Through an internship, a student is able to earn graduate credit by serving as an assistant, aide, or apprentice. See the SPNA internship page for further details.
Students choose 9 credit hours from an array of electives.
PA-Related Course Works
Electives can be PA classes from other concentrations, classes from other graduate programs at GVSU, or relevant classes from graduate programs at other accredited universities.
Students may take up to three hours of workshop credit (PA 550..559 - Public Administration Workshops). Among workshop topics occasionally offered are:
- Career Development Seminar
- Communication Skills
- Financial Management
- Information Technology
- Management and Bench Marking
Students may take up to three hours of PA 699 - Directed Readings. Directed Readings allow a student to receive academic credit for a relevant, graduate-level course of study for which there is no graduate course available at GVSU. Before registration, the topic, amount of credit to be earned, reading list, assignments, and evaluation criteria are mutually agreed to by the initiating student and the assenting faculty member, consistent with standards of graduate scholarship.
Pre-career students may take three credits of internship (PA 691 - Public Administration Internship II) in addition to the three required . In-Service students may take internship credits only if approved by their adviser. Internships must be pre-approved by the SPNHA internship coordinator. See the SPNA internship page for further details.
Master's Thesis and Research Project
Students are not required to submit a Thesis or terminal project. Those pursuing policy expertise or those considering going on in doctoral studies are strongly encouraged to take up to six hours of Thesis (PA 695 - Master's Thesis). A Thesis can replace PA 619 as the required capstone course for the MPA. A Thesis must follow SPNA's Masters Thesis guidelines .
SPNHA offers about 40 graduate courses and workshops. See the Graduate Course Descriptions page.
The mission of the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration is to educate students for lives of active citizenship as contributing members of their local, regional, national, and global communities, and for professional careers in public, nonprofit and health care organizations. We are committed to developing in undergraduate and graduate students the capacities for ethical judgment, critical thinking, and the core competencies necessary to fulfill multiple roles as effective managers and public servants.
We aspire to be a pre-eminent source for public service education by providing an innovative professional curriculum with dedicated and inspired teaching, scholarship, and service to the community.
The School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration values:
- Liberal education and academic excellence in learning, teaching, and research
- Critical thinking and professional education
- A culture of collegiality and collaboration
- Diversity, civic discourse, and democratic communities
- Experiential learning
- International perspectives and experiences
- Management skills
- Ethical commitment
- Service to the local community
- Study of public/nonprofit relationships
- Diversity of ideas
- Attention to technological innovations
- Informed decision making
The SPNHA MPA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), an institutional membership organization which exists to promote excellence in public service education. The membership includes U.S. university programs in public affairs, public policy, public administration and nonprofit management
Page last modified December 5, 2012