Master of Public Administration

On-Campus MPA Program

The on-campus MPA program introduces students to the fundamental elements of public administration and policy. These elements include disciplinary knowledge of public administration and public policy, public service, and technology learning and applications. Our emphasis on applied learning helps students to think critically and creatively, while engaged in problem solving activities that address both real and theoretical situations.

Click below to view short videos on MPA student experiences:

Requirements for the on-campus program are:

  • 18 credit hours of Core Competencies
  • 3 credit hours of Professional Competencies/Applied Learning
  • 15 credit hours of approved Electives
  • Completion of a Portfolio or Thesis
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0


Core Competencies (18 Hours)

The MPA Core consists of 6 courses:

  • MPA 6200: Introduction to Public Administration
  • MPA 6010: Research Methods I
  • MPA 6020 Quantitative Methods -OR- MPA 6030: Qualitative Methods
  • MPA 5140: Organizational Theory
  • MPA 5860: Public Budgeting
  • MPA 6800: Seminar in Public Administration

Students entering the MPA program who have taken one or more of the core competency courses as an undergraduate or graduate at Ohio University or another institution may substitute another course in the place of that already taken.

Requests for permission to substitute a core competency course are submitted to the MPA Director. Forms are in the back of the student handbook, and are also available from the Office of Student Services. If a core competency course is not offered during a student's program, then a substitute course to fulfill the requirement will be provided.

Professional Competencies/Applied Learning (5 Hours)

All students are required to take a 2 credit hour graduate writing seminar to sharpen the academic writing skills they need to succeed in their studies.

Pre-service, full-time students seeking an MPA degree at Ohio University on the Athens campus will engage in an applied learning experience that weaves together academic concepts with actual work in the public and nonprofit sector. This requirement can be met through the Practicum, and approved internship, or through a consulting experience with project teams at the Voinovich School.

Students admitted to the OEMPA do not complete an applied learning experience. One additional elective is substituted to meet this requirement.

Electives (15 Hours)

To assure that the MPA degree is delivering on the distinctive, public service mission of the GVS, students have the option of taking a wide range of elective courses or focusing their attention in a specific area of specialization. The curricular content matches the profile in the overall mission of the School and demonstrates consistency and coherence in academic offerings. Specific details about electives can be found in the student handbook.

Portfolio/Thesis Capstone Project

Most MPA students choose to complete a portfolio of superior quality demonstrating a mastery of professional skills, research, writing. Some students, however, choose the research oriented thesis option if it seems more appropriate to their career plans or academic interests.

Ohio Executive Master of Public Administration (OEMPA)

The OEMPA is an off-campus program for individuals that have been in the workplace for at least three years. The program is a unique opportunity for professionals to earn a degree in two years by taking classes online and attending residential class meetings. Like the traditional MPA program, the OEMPA program introduces students to the fundamental elements of public policy and administration. These elements include disciplinary knowledge of public policy and administration, public service and leadership, and data management and applications. Our emphasis on combining theory and practice helps students to think critically and creatively, while engaging in problem solving activities that address both real and theoretical situations.

Requirements for the OEMPA program are 36 credit hours completed in two years consisting of:

  • 10 seminars (3 credits each)
  • 4 public management skill workshops (1 credit each)
  • A graduate writing seminar (2 credits)


Course Sequence:

Seminars are scheduled two per semester during the academic year. Regular face-to-face class meetings are held at monthly weekend residences at the Athens or regional campus, with the remainder of the coursework completed online. At the residencies, seminar meetings are held at 6:00 PM Friday, 8:30 AM and 1:30 PM Saturday and 8:30 AM Sunday. Guest speakers from the public sector are occasionally invited to join as a guest speaker or for lunch/dinner over the course of the program.

Although actual course offerings and the sequencing of course is depended on a number of factors, the schedule below is a representative of a typical two-year program.

Summer Session:

  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Graduate Writing

Fall Semester:

  • Research Methods in Leadership and Public Affairs
  • Program Evaluations

Spring Semester:

  • Outcomes in the Public Sector
  • Policy Analysis for Leadership and Public Affairs

Summer Session:

  • Ethics and Public Policy
  • Public Management Skill Workshop

Fall Semester:

  • Public Budgeting
  • Organizational Theory and Politics

Spring Semester:

  • Nonprofit Management
  • Seminar in Public Administration


The culminating experience requires students to complete a writing portfolio of superior quality. Materials for the portfolio are assembled throughout the student's period of graduate study in consultation with their advisors and individuals faculty members for whom they do course work. The completed portfolio is reviewed by a faculty committee.

The portfolio is designed to accomplish several purposes for the student. First, it indicates students are capable of Master's level research and writing. Second, it indicates mastery of important professional skills (e.g., quantitative analysis or strategic management). Third, the portfolio demonstrates students' professional growth and development over the span of the MPA program.

Admission Requirements

Those wishing to apply to either the traditional on-campus program or the Executive program can begin the application process online here.

The Voinovich School gives priority acceptance and funding consideration to applications received by February 15. Note: There are no graduate assistantships offered for students enrolled in the OEMPA program.

Applications received between February 15 and June 1 will be considered, but applications will not be eligible for funding (other types of financial aid might be available).

Prospective students applying after June 1 will be considered for fall admission on a case-by-case basis.

The on-campus MPA program begins in the fall semester, while students seeking to enroll in the OEMPA will start their cohort program in the summer. A new cohort enrolls every summer.

Requirements to apply include a letter of intent, names, and contact information for three people who can provide professional or academic letters of recommendations, a resume, a personal statement, and transcripts from previous academic institutions.

Note: Ohio University requires candidates for admission to have a 3.0 undergraduate grade-point average for unconditional admission to the University's graduate programs. Applicants with a lower average may be admitted on a conditional basis. The department may require students receiving conditional admission to take additional preparatory course work and/or maintain a 3.0 GPA for their first 15 hours of graduate study.

NOTE: OEMPA applicants are considered for admission if they have earned a bachelor's degree. A minimum of three years experience working in the public or nonprofit sector is expected. An overall minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for unconditional admission into the program. Applicants with less than a 3.0 overall GPA can be admitted only on a conditional basis. Conditionally admitted students must maintain at least a B average during the first 15 hours of coursework to be retained in the program and are not eligible for financial assistance during the time. Courses taken in this status do not count toward the degree, but can be used to provide the necessary background for admission and to demonstrate the ability to handle graduate-level work. In certain cases, an applicant who lacks the necessary background may be admitted as a special non-degree student.


Online MPA Program

Designed for working professionals, the online MPA makes it possible for students across the country to participate in a career-advancing program with limited interruption to personal and professional responsibilities. OHIO’s online MPA offers a curriculum that’s built for the real challenges of public administration. Courses explore topics like data analysis, public-private partnerships, and measuring outcomes. Additionally, students in the program can specialize their expertise by choosing from concentrations that reflect the current landscape of public affairs: public management, nonprofit management, and environmental and energy policy.

To learn more about the Online MPA Program, click here.

 To request information on the program contact either:

Dr. Jason Jolley, MPA Director
Building 21, room 211
phone: 740-593-9797

Cheryl Hanzel, Student Success Advisor
Building 22, The Ridges
phone: 740-593-9358