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Graduate Programs

Master of Public Administration – Great Learning for Challenging Careers

People in public service careers help make the world better for us all. Whether their careers are in the nonprofit sector, in government at any level, or in a for-profit firm working closely with the public sector, today’s professionals in public service confront civic responsibilities head on — and they do so on a daily basis.

Possibly you plan to be one of those people. Likely you already are. If public service will be a major part of your life, consider the fundamental knowledge, the intellectual tools, and the practical skills that can make you more capable and confident in your chosen field.

Consider earning a graduate degree tailored especially for your career.

Consider the Master of Public Administration program offered by the University of Maine and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. UMaine’s MPA courses are taught both in Orono and Augusta.

The Master of Public Administration is an accredited professional degree designed to prepare people for administrative and policy careers in government and nonprofit organizations. It also provides opportunities for those already in the public sector to expand their skills and rejuvenate their commitment. The MPA program prepares public administrators who can make decisions on the basis of their analytic and creative abilities while appreciating the constraints of high standards of public service ethics and political realities. Topics encompass many areas:

  • The ethics and environment of public administration
  • Human resources and personnel management
  • Budgeting and financial management
  • Organization theory, behavior, development, and management
  • Regional, state, and local management
  • Managing technology and managing with technology
  • Public policy analysis
  • Planning and community development
  • Health policy and management
  • Environmental policy and management

Each MPA student develops a personal Program of Study (PDF) with assistance from an academic advisor — a faculty member available for consultation and guidance as the student tailors a program of courses offered through the Department of Public Administration and through other academic units across the University.

The MPA program, established in 1968, has been built upon the nation’s oldest undergraduate public management program, founded in 1945. The MPA program is designed for both full-time and part-time students. The part-time program is available both from the Orono campus and from sites in Augusta.

A Faculty Dedicated to Public Service

Department faculty are nationally recognized for their contributions to research in public service and to improving government and nonprofit institutions. The faculty regularly assist government and nonprofit agencies in a variety of areas.

The full-time faculty are joined by select cooperating and adjunct faculty. Cooperating faculty are members of other academic departments in the University who teach in the MPA program and take part in research and public service activities. Adjunct faculty are exceptional practitioners from public and nonprofit organizations throughout Maine who bring to the curriculum years of experience in top-level and management positions.

A Program that Works for Students

The program has unique strength in the areas of state and local government administration, which is an outgrowth of the Department’s commitment of service to Maine state government and to the communities of Maine. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the MPA program prepares administrators for careers in all levels of government as well as in nonprofit organizations.

MPA students are members of the University’s Graduate Association of Public Administrators (GAPA), an organization run by and for students in the program. Students who distinguish themselves in their studies may qualify for induction into Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA), the national honor society for public affairs and administration. All students are also encouraged to join the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

Interested full-time students may compete for the graduate teaching assistantship available within the Department. Other scholarship opportunities are available, as well.

Many MPA graduates came into the program as career administrators and have since continued advancing within their organizations. Other graduates have launched careers in local, state, regional, and federal government; in highly-valued nonprofit organizations; in academic institutions such as the University of Southern Maine and Harvard University; and in fine organizations in the private sector. Recent MPA graduates have also been selected for competitive internships programs such as the Presidential Management Internship and internships with the State of New York; Phoenix, Arizona; and Miami-Dade County, Florida.

MPA Degree Requirements

The MPA program can be completed in 36 credit hours for students with significant experience in public management (PDF) or 42 credit hours for students new to the field. In addition, students must satisfy three prerequisite requirements: Having passed introductory courses in economics, statistics, and American government.

Students have as many as six years to complete the program, though full-time students may earn an MPA degree within two calendar years. Students may construct their own areas of academic concentration; alternatively, they may elect a concentration in Planning, Development, and Environmental Sustainability, in Healthcare Policy and Nonprofit Management, in State and Local Administration or in Public Policy.

The MPA curriculum includes these components:

  • Six required 3-credit-hour courses (information technology and public policy; accountability in public policy and administration; administrative theory; public financial management; public personnel management; and methods of analysis);
  • At least one course in each of two required areas (management of states and localities, public policy analysis);
  • Four elective courses (including the student’s chosen concentration);
    For students in the 42-hour program, internship experience of up to 6 credit hours.

These courses are typically drawn from more than two dozen wide-ranging graduate courses in public administration.

Applying for Admission

To apply for admission to the University of Maine’s Master of Public Administration Program, contact the Department of Public Administration for a complete application package and instructions. Before applying, it is useful to arrange an in-person or telephone conference with the Director of Graduate Programs in Public Administration, whose telephone number is 207 581-1872.

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Submission materials:

  • Complete the on-line application through the Graduate School.
    $65 nonrefundable application fee (applications not submitted on-line will be charged a $75 nonrefundable application fee).
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably from academic and professional references.
  • Two copies of official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate work; these must be sent from the originating academic institution.
  • Test results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test including verbal, analytical, and quantitative scores; or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

For international students:

  • A Certificate of Finances, including a Statement of Financial Resources.
  • A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), with a score of 550 or higher.

In terms of society, how might you help leverage public institutions to help change our world for the better? In terms of your personal goals, what are you doing to enrich your public service career?

Professional development is a life-long venture. The Master of Public Administration degree program offered through the University of Maine is one step — an extremely meaningful step — along that learning path.

To find out more, contact the Department of Public Administration and explore the opportunities. You have a role in making a better world — in fact, you won’t believe what you can do!

Department of Public Administration
5723 DP Corbett Business Building, Room 209
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-1973 | Fax: (207) 581-1930
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469