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M.P.A. Degree Requirements

The 39 hour MPA is a general-purpose public management degree for individuals interested in careers in government or nonprofit organizations. Our curriculum focuses on developing critical thinking and analytical skills necessary to effectively manage and lead in today's public and nonprofit sectors with a special emphasis on the policy issues and challenges facing Memphis and the greater Mid-South region.

A Flexible Program Designed with the Working Professional in Mind

Many of our MPA students are working full-time and earning their MPA degree at the same time. 

  • All traditional classroom-based courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate working professionals
  • About 25 percent of our courses are also offered in online formats 


We have no prerequisite courses. All students are required to take Contemporary Perspectives. This is an introductory course that examines concepts, terms, ideas and theories that are common to our field (Course Plan Worksheet). 


Core Courses (21 credit hours)

Students must complete 21 credit hours of core courses (each course is 3 credits).

  • PADM 7661 Contemporary Perspectives
  • PADM 7663 Issues in Policy and Management
  • PADM 7601 Research Methods
  • PADM 7602 Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PADM 7605 Public Human Resources
  • PADM 7213 Seminar in Policy Analysis or PADM 7612 Program Evaluation
  • PADM 7607 Public Management Leadership (Capstone)

Concentrations (15 credit hours)

Students must complete 15 credit hours of courses in one of two MPA degree concentrations:

  • Nonprofit Administration
  • Public Management and Policy

Internship (3 credit hours)

Each student who does not have public service experience must complete an internship. See the internship handbook  for specific information.

Capstone Experience

All students seeking the Master of Public Administration Degree must produce a satisfactory capstone e-portfolio. The e-portfolio is introduced at the beginning of the program and students add to it throughout their experience. The completion phase of the e-portfolio is incorporated into PADM 7607: Public Management Leadership (Capstone Course). Students must intend to graduate in the calendar year in which they enroll in PADM 7607.

Two and Three Year Student Course Plans

Most of our students follow a two or three-year course plan to complete their MPA degree. Of course, a few of our students do take longer than three years to complete their degrees and we work with them to ensure progress toward degree.

Two year course plan

Three year course plan



Graduate Certificates

Local Government
Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership

Undergraduate Programs

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Last Updated: 11/13/14