The Master of Public Administration degree program strives to provide a broadly focused professional degree in the essential management and analytical elements of public administration and public policy analysis. The program attracts a sizable number of both pre-career and mid-career students with a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Moreover, the program draws students who want to pursue a diverse range of professional careers in both the public and nonprofit sectors, as well as those who are interested in finding employment at the local level, in state agencies, in federal regional offices, and in Washington, D.C. The program gives students the requisite skills and knowledge to become more intelligent consumers of policy issues and more capable actors in their chosen professional careers.
The M.P.A. degree requires 39-48 semester hours of credit, depending on the prior preparation of the student. The program curriculum can be broken down into five components.
Students must possess a basic proficiency in statistics and a basic understanding of American government. Students who lack such skills/expertise are required to take prerequisite courses in one or both of these areas, preferably at the beginning of their program of study.
All students must take classes in organizational theory and practice, human resource management, public finance, public policy-making, public data analysis, and public ethics and accountability. Taken together, these courses give students a comprehensive overview of the major elements of public administration and public policy-making.
All students must take a set of elective courses that will further their knowledge of, and administrative competency in, a particular area. The electives must constitute a coherent set of courses. But this component of the curriculum is left flexible so that students can pursue more specialized interests in a variety of relevant fields of study.
An internship in a public organization or nonprofit agency is required of all students who lack significant administrative experience. The internship is an integral part of the curriculum, as it gives students an opportunity to experience the real world of public service.
The capstone seminar is taken by all students, preferably during their last semester in the program. In the capstone seminar, students complete a project in which they integrate the material from other M.P.A. courses in their analyses of contemporary public problems. The M.P.A. program participates in two dual-degree programs with other academic units at the University of South Carolina, and two joint degree programs with other institutions in the state.
Information on dual degree opportunities can be found at Graduate Dual Degree Programs.
Students have the option of declaring a concentration in Emergency Management and Planning. Courses taken as part of the concentration count toward program elective requirements.
Emergency Management and Planning Concentration Requirements (9 Hours):
Applicants to the M.P.A. program are expected to have combined GRE verbal and quantitative scores of 1000, an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00, and a TOEFL score of 600 (computer score of 250) or a comparable score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam, if applicable. The M.P.A. program admits new students for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Prospective students are encouraged to submit their applications early. This will enable the M.P.A. Admissions Committee and the USC Graduate School to process all materials in a timely fashion so that students can be considered for admittance during the requested academic terms. The deadlines for completed applicant files to be received at USC are:
For more detailed information on the M.P.A. program, visit http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/poli/welcome-mpa-program-usc
Applicants to the M.P.A. program are expected to have combined GRE verbal and quantitative scores of 300, an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00, and a TOEFL score of 600 (computer score of 250) or a comparable score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam, if applicable.
Applicants that meet all other requirements with five years or more of exemplary professional, managerial experience, as evidenced by letters of recommendation, may be granted a GRE exception at the discretion of the MPA admissions committee.
The M.P.A. program admits new students for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Prospective students are encouraged to submit their applications early. This will enable the M.P.A. Admissions Committee and the USC Graduate School to process all materials in a timely fashion so that students can be considered for admittance during the requested academic terms. The deadlines for completed applicant files to be received at USC are:
Thanks for your fine suggestions. We made the requested changes by using the term "exception" rather than "waiver", and listing the required core courses in the major program requirements section, along with the course numbers for the internship and required Capstone course.
We would like to have the option to waive the GRE requirement for those with five years of professional, managerial experience. For students who have been out of college for several years the GRE can be a major psychological hurdle preventing them from applying to the program. Also, since students with exemplary service have demonstrated that they are capable of succeeding in the professiona the GRE provides little additional information (though there are some ciricumstances where this is not the case, as discussed below). Finally, this program change is consistent with the fact that most high quality MPA programs do offer the possibility of GRE waivers for students with significant professional service (e.g. at the John Glenn School at Ohio State, SPEA's MPA degree at Indiana University).
At the same time, we do not want to grant a blanket waiver for anyone with five years of professional, managerial experience since there may be some circumstances where the GRE will be necessary to make an informed admission decision. For instance, with applicants who have graduated from foreign universities it can be difficult to make sense of the GRE and the cultural norms regarding letters of reccommendation vary, meaning that the GRE can provide valuable and even essential information for some applicants, and in these circumstances we would like to have the information available when making admission decisions.
I have discussed this proposal with Murray Mitchell (Grad Council). These comments reflect the outcome of our discussion.
There are a number of concerns about the "Existing Program Requirements".
Instead of saying the program requires 39-48 hours, say the minimum number of hours is 39. What determines whether a student needs 39 or 48 (or some other number of credits)?
The real concern is that, except for the Concentration there is no reference to the explicit courses that can be used to complete this degree. If there are no required courses, indicate the courses from which students can select - be as explicit as possible. This applies in other categories (Prerequisite, Core Courses, Electives).
We hope it will not be too difficult to make these adjustments. I'll be looking for a revision in the next few weeks, and will process it promptly, to ensure that it gets passed on to Graduate Council in time to be in effect for Fall 2017.
Made minor edits to formatting of list of courses and removed extraneous course description for POLI 754. (DBM, 21 Oct 2016)
Is the intention to remove section 6: "Concentration"?
The GRE language is outdated (no longer a scale of 1,000); comparable would be more likely (Verbal of 500 is now 153; Quantitative of 500 is now 144) a total of about 297.
There are multiple ways of demonstrating competence in English. Consder a rephrasing from:
a TOEFL score of 600 (computer score of 250) or a comparable score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam, if applicable.
Proficiency in English for non-native speakers is required on an approved formal format (e.g., IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, etc.).
The language for the GRE is fine.
The application deadlines are tight, given vacations, faculty off campus, and semester start times. Would you consider instead:
April 1 for all Fall applicants (financial aid or not)
October 1 for Spring applicants (November 30 is essentially into final exams--for faculty--then leaving campus for winter break for everyone else).
March 1 for Summer applicants.
With these dates, the introductory language might say something like: "The application deadine dates are provided for full consideration of materials. Applications after these dates are not guaranteed to receive timely attention."
While the proponent has not implemented all of the recommendations of the Grad Council's Humanities Comm Chair, these were only suggestions, not requirements. I find the current proposal acceptable, and don't want to interfere with the wishes of the department for this program.
GRE requirement changed approved by Grad Council, no BOT, CHE, or SACS notification required.