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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.

MPA Faculty

Susan Miller, Ph.D.

Xuhong Su, Ph.D.

Neal Woods, Ph.D.

Christopher Witko, Ph.D.

Affiliated Faculty

Todd Shaw, Ph.D.

Susan L. Cutter, Ph.D. 

Diansheng Guo, Ph.D. 

Kelli Kenison, Ph.D. 

Monique Lyle, Ph.D

Admissions

Tuition

Tuition rates apply to the 2017-2018 academic year:

  • Resident Tuition: $6,627 per full-time semester or $552.25 per credit hour
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $14,184 per full-time semester or $1,182 per credit hour
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.


Program Details

  • All courses offered as traditional, in-person classroom courses
  • 39 credit hours and four semesters (for full-time student) to earn degree
  • 34 students currently enrolled in the program (as of Spring 2018)
  • Currently 9 faculty teach in the program

Accelerated MPA Program

 

The accelerated MPA program is designed for USC undergraduates who wish to complete a bachelor degree and an MPA degree. This program enables students to earn both degrees within approximately 5 years. Completion of the MPA degree is accelerated because up to 12 credits can double count toward the bachelor and MPA degrees. Initially, a student completes a simple form to begin taking MPA classes while still an undergraduate student. Students should apply for admission to the accelerated program in the spring semester of their junior year and then the regular MPA program in the last semester of their senior year. All other degree requirements are the same for accelerated and regular MPA students. 

The initial form to apply to the accelerated program (the Accelerated Bachelor's/Graduate Study Plan, G-ABGSP) can be found here on the Graduate School web page.

 

MPA Concentration 

Emergency Management and Planning

 

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.

MPA/MPH

The Department of Health Services Policy and Management in the Arnold School of Public Health and Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences offer a coordinated program that leads to the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Services Policy and Management and the Master of Public Administration (MPA). Some courses fulfill requirements for both portions of the dual degree.  Through academic advisement, specific courses are chosen for each individual student to satisfy both sets of program requirements. The MPA requires 18 credit hours in core courses completed in the first year of study; the MPH has no required sequencing of courses. 

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)

 

Graduate Data

Graduation Rates

Percentage of students entering program who graduated within 2 and 4 years (most recent data available):

  • 2 years: 50%
  • 4 years: 83%
Job Placement Within Six Months of Graduation
  •  State government - 4

  • Local government - 3

  • Federal government - 1

  • Private sector for-profit - 1

  • Non-profit - 1

  • Consulting - 1

Data for calendar Year 2017