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Department of Political Science


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Master in Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration program (MPA) at the University of South Carolina seeks to educate students to meet the growing demand for professionally-trained public administrators in the public and non-profit sectors. Graduates from our NASPAA-accredited program work in prominent positions at all levels of government and the non-profit sector.

The MPA Mission

The mission of the Masters of Public Administration (MPA) Program within the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina is to provide graduate and professional education that imparts the managerial and analytical skills necessary for pre-service and in-service students to ethically and effectively serve in the public service, non-profit sector or other public affairs organizations in an increasingly diverse society and world; and to improve the understanding and practice of public affairs in the state, nationally and internationally, through our teaching, research, service activities and other initiatives.

 

Why the MPA degree?

The MPA program enables students to:

  • Develop the knowledge and skills sought by employers in the public and non-profit sectors.
  • Gain valuable professional experience through internships and capstone projects.
  • Build a professional network in the public and non-profit sectors.
  • Learn from leading scholars in the fields of public policy and administration.

Who should consider the MPA degree?

  • Good students from any major who are motivated to serve the public by working in public affairs are encouraged to apply for admission to our program.
  • Working professionals who wish to enhance their skills and abilities, advance in their organization, or transition into public service from another career path.  All of our classes are in the evenings, making it possible to pursue a graduate degree while working full-time.


Admissions

Admissions Requirements

Typical Admission Requirements

  • An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • Two strong letters of recommendation
  • Combined GRE score of approximately 300 (verbal and quant)
  • Strength in one area of the application can compensate for weakness in another area to some degree
  • But all students must have a passion for public service!
Financial Aid Opportunities
  • MPA program applicants are eligible for a variety of university fellowships, assistantships and, of course, student loans.  Please see the USC Office of Student Aid website for some more information.
  • All out-of-state applicants are automatically considered for the Sam Carter Fellowship, which comes with a $250 award, and more importantly, in-state tuition benefits. 

 

MPA Concentration

Students enrolled in the MPA program can concentrate their studies in Emergency Management and Planning. Operating in conjunction with the highly-ranked Geography Department, this program is designed to provide knowledge to practitioners regarding emergency planning, hazard mitigation and responses to emergencies in the state of South Carolina and beyond.

In addition to the management and analytic skill studies gained in the core courses, students in the EMP concentration will gain an understanding of the substance of natural and man-made disasters and technical skills like GIS mapping that are highly valued by employers. Beyond basic course requirements, students will be able to choose elective courses in the MPA program and other graduate programs that will enhance their knowledge of hazards and emergency management and their skills in planning for and responding to natural and man made disasters. 

 

Joint Degree Options

MPA/JD

Through special arrangement, the university offers dual degree programs in certain areas to permit a student to work on two degrees concurrently by combining credits, resulting in the student's taking fewer courses than the total required if each degree were pursued independently.

This program, offered by the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Law, culminates in a master of public administration and a Juris Doctor.

Application information for this degree is available through our Graduate School.

MPA/MSW

Through special arrangement, the university offers dual degree programs in certain areas to permit a student to work on two degrees concurrently by combining credits, resulting in the student's taking fewer courses than the total required if each degree were pursued independently.

This program, offered by the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Social Work, culminates in a master of public administration and a master of social work.

Application information for this degree is available through our Graduate School.


Career Placement

Graduates from our program currently work in all levels of government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. Recent graduates work all around the country, in offices such as:

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • The U.S. Department of Justice
  • The South Carolina Energy Office
  • The South Carolina Department of Public Safety
  • The South Carolina Medical Association
  • Fulton County (GA)
  • The City of Cayce (SC) 
  • The City of Springdale (SC)

 

Cohort Data

Data for the 2011-2012 cohort is available below.

Graduation Rates

Percentage of students entering in 2010-11 who graduated within: 

  • 2 years: 25%
  • 3 years: 42%
  • 4 years: 50%
Job Placement Within Six Months of Graduation
  • State/Regional Governments: 5
  • Local Government: 1
  • Non-profit Sector: 1
  • Private Sector: 3
  • Status Unknown: 1