May 22, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at Kansas State University prepares both mid and pre-career students to serve the public interest and establish themselves as civic leaders. The program emphasizes a theoretically informed and research driven skills based approach to learning designed to insure that our students develop specific competencies which prepare them for the challenges of work in the public and nonprofit sectors immediately upon graduation. Students are given a broad exposure to policy systems, political environments, administrative principals and research methods. Additionally, students are required to think critically, apply knowledge and seek practical solutions to real world problems.

Degree requirements

For pre-career students lacking significant administrative experience, the degree requires 40 hours of graduate credit including a one credit hour internship involving at least 400 hours of employment in an appropriate public or nonprofit setting. The one credit hour internship is not required of mid-career students with administrative experience. Full-time students are normally able to complete the degree in two years- four semesters plus one summer course.

The curriculum of study for the Master of Public Administration program includes core, elective and area of emphasis courses.

All core and elective courses, and most area of emphasis courses, are taught on a regular basis- once per academic year or every other academic year. Students can obtain a projection of courses to be offered over the course of their program of study.

Core Curriculum 24 credit hours
Electives 9 credit hours
Area of Emphasis 6 credit hours
Internship 1 semester hour (pre-career students only)
Total 40 semester hours (39 for mid-career students)


Core Courses (24 Credit Hours)

The core curriculum is composed of eight required courses which focus upon subject matter that any administrator needs to master and use. Students are advised to take all core courses except POLSC 831 early in their degree programs. Please note that each of these courses is only offered once per academic year. 


MPA Elective Courses (9 Credit Hours)

These courses deal with specialized skills sets needed by 21st century administrators. Choose any three of the following five courses:

MPA Area of Emphasis (6 Credit Hours)

Each student must develop a particular emphasis. Below are several areas of emphasis which we highly recommend to our students. Students wishing to propose other emphases may do so with the advice and consent of the Director of Graduate Studies. 

  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Planning
  • Security Studies
  • State and Local Government

MPA Internship (1 Credit Hour)

Pre-Career Students

  • Pre-service students are required to complete an internship (POLSC 897). This entails serving in a full-time administrative position for a period of at least 10 weeks (400 hours) in the public sector, or in a not-for-profit agency.
  • Internship positions are coordinated by the Director of Graduate Studies.  Ideally the internship should occur after the second semester of full time coursework. All internships are competitive in nature and are available on a regular basis with state, county, and local governments. A student’s progress in the internship is monitored by the student’s immediate supervisor and by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Please note that the internship should not be done until most of the core courses are completed

Mid-Career Students

Mid-career students with significant employment experience may have the internship requirement waived. Students who wish an internship waiver, should send a request to the Director of Graduate Studies in writing during their first year of study.