Master of Public Administration

Ohio University’s Master of Public Administration Program is an interdisciplinary two-year program offered through the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. This degree can be earned traditionally on-campus, in a hybrid format through our executive MPA program, or online.

Whether you are beginning your career or looking to enhance your skills as a mid-career public service professional, the MPA program is designed to be responsive to your career goals no matter where you live or where you are employed. The program equips graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to address difficult social problems, meet complex challenges, and enhance public value.

Executive Master of Public Administration 

The Executive MPA is a program for individuals that have been in the workplace for at least three years. The program is an opportunity for professionals to earn a degree in just two years using a unique combination of residency-based learning with a cohort of your peers, along with online interaction. 

Like the traditional MPA program, the EMPA program introduces students to the fundamental elements of public policy and administration. These elements include disciplinary knowledge of public policy and administration, public service, leadership and data management. Our emphasis on combining theory and practice helps students learn 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)
  • 6 public management skills workshops (1 credit each)

Course Sequence

Regular face-to-face class meetings are held at residences 10 Saturdays per year at the Ohio University Dublin Campus in Central Ohio, with the remainder of the coursework completed online in between sessions. All courses are led by Ohio University faculty and a strong core of adjuncts, who are professionals working in a variety of public service positions. Guest speakers from the public sector are also occasionally invited to join monthly seminar meetings.

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 Semester:
    •    Policy Analysis for Leadership and Public Affairs
    •    Special Topics: E-Government
    •    Special Topics: Public Communication
    •    Special Topics: Social Justice
Fall Semester:
    •    Research Methods in Leadership and Public Affairs  
    •    Public Sector Program Evaluation
Spring Semester:
    •    Measuring Outcomes in the Public Sector
    •    Public Budgeting
Summer Session:
    •    Policy Analysis for Leadership and Public Affairs
    •    Special Topics: Grant Writing
    •    Special Topics: HR Fundamentals
    •    Special Topics: Crisis Management
Fall Semester:
    •    Public Private Partnerships
    •    Organization 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.

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 leadership and management, nonprofit management, and state and local government.

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

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 include:

    •    18 credit hours of core competencies
    •    5 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 six 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 Success. 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 two 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.

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.

To request information on the MPA program contact either:

Dr. Jason Jolley, MPA Director
Building 21, room 211
phone: 740.593.9797

Joe Wakeman, Manager of Enrollment and Student Success
Building 22, The Ridges
phone: 740.593.2133