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Political Science

Varner Hall, Room 418
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2352

Political Science

Varner Hall, Room 418
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2352

A woman standing under a bridge, holding a rolled poster and other papers, looking down at the camera.

Master of Public Administration

Lead. Drive change. Solve problems. With a  Master of Public Administration (MPA), you'll become an effective leader in public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Oakland University's MPA program propels you toward your goals with a rigorous curriculum, small class sizes, and your choice between five specializations:  Court Administration, Criminal Justice Leadership, Healthcare Administration, Local Government Management and Nonprofit Management.

Course RequirementsSee What You Can Do With an MPA Apply Now Visit MPA on Facebook

If you would like to receive information about this program, including updates on registration and newsletters, please complete our MPA Interest Form.

Mission

Mission Statement

The Master of Public Administration Program at Oakland University advances the excellence in public and nonprofit management through strengthening the leadership capacity, problem-solving skills, public service values, and community engagement of current and aspiring public and nonprofit  executives.  The program is designed to deliver outstanding service to our students, the communities we serve, and the public at large.

Diversity Philosophy

The OU MPA Program is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff. We will work to inculcate an awareness of the value of diversity and to impart the ability to interact respectfully and productively with all stakeholders in a variety of organizational settings, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, class, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, and/or veteran status.

Public Service Values

  • Improving organizational policy and procedure rooted in best practices
  • Sound decision-making based on technical expertise and analysis
  • Accountability to mission and stakeholders
  • Community engagement by contributing to public or nonprofit organizations
  • Obligation to promote and defend ethical administration

Accreditation

NASPAA logo: White text over a white triangle with a maroon background

The Oakland University Master of Public Administration
programs are fully accredited by NASPAA:

Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration
1029 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005

Description

The MPA program welcomes a wide variety of undergraduate degrees. There are no specific prerequisite requirements.

View the degree requirements for a full description of the program, curriculum, and all necessary MPA Program requirements.

Transcript

The Foundations course [PA 5100] is going to introduce you to all of the topics that you are going to cover, in more depth, throughout the program. Foundations is going to give you a quick introduction to budgeting, to planning, to personnel, to technology.

When I teach the Foundations course, I tell the students on the first night that I always think of the Foundations course as the icing on the cake — because we’re going to cover a wide swath of areas, but we’re going to do it very thinly. It’s not going to be a real in-depth look at things; it’s going to be a small look at things that you will get into in much more depth when you cover them in classes throughout the program.

But I love to teach Foundations. I mean, first of all, who doesn’t love the icing, right? That is always the best part of the cake! So, I think a lot of students feel that way about Foundations — because it is a quick look at what you’re going to get into in the program. It’s a wonderful course to take in the beginning of your program.

The other thing about Foundations that I enjoy, Foundations is going to introduce you to some of the theory, some of the history of public administration. You’re going to learn about some of the theorists and some of the people who have come before you in public administration, who have worked as public servants in the public sector. And when you find yourself in your position, in your employment, facing a tough time — and we all do, whether it’s a cutback, or new duties that you’re being asked to undertake, or you know if it’s a time of great political, a lot of political upheaval or some civil unrest — you’re going to find yourself in your job, in a time when you’re struggling. You don’t know what to do. And I like Foundations because Foundations let’s you, reminds you that there are people who have come before you who have been in the same position.

Maybe the time was different, but they were facing some of the same challenges. And you’re going to know what they did, you’re going to know how to research it even more, the things that worked for them, and the things that didn’t work for them. And I always find knowing that people have been there before me, and that have struggled through some of the things that I’m struggling with, and that they’ve come, they have ideas that have worked, I always find that very comforting. And I tell my students that. That this is a course that I hope will offer you some comfort when you find yourself in your job in a tough position.


Concentration Options

In addition to the 20 credits in the core curriculum, a student may take all 12 elective credits in one of five concentrations:

  • Court Administration
  • Criminal Justice leadership
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Local Government Management
  • Nonprofit Organization and Management

Each concentration has one course that is a “core course,” meaning that the student must take that course. Students who pursue a concentration may need an additional semester to complete elective requirements. Students may also choose not to concentrate in one area, and may take 12 electives from among any the program offers. All curriculum are listed in the addendum to the 2019-2021 graduate catalog.

Admission

Admission

Admission to the program is selective. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited undergraduate institution, and must have a transcript that indicates above-average work (generally, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater).

The program welcomes students with a wide variety of undergraduate preparations, and does not require prerequisites. Moreover, neither the GRE or GMAT are required to apply to the MPA program.

Please contact Jen Sikora via email at jsikora@oakland.edu with any questions or requests for an advising appointment.

Admission Procedure

U.S. Applicants Must:

  • Send an official transcript providing evidence of an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. institution, OR a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. baccalaureate degree from a college or university of government-recognized standing. The email address for official transcripts through National Clearinghouse is gradinfo@oakland.edu.
  • Complete the Application for Admission To Graduate Study
    • Upload Resume
    • Upload MPA Essay, explaining your reasons for applying to the MPA program, including your career goals and any relevant past experiences. This essay should be a maximum of 500 words, should be clearly and concisely written in 12-point standard font, and should be double-spaced.
    • Provide email addresses for two references who will be sent a form to complete that gives OU their opinion of student's ability to succeed as a graduate student. These should be undergraduate professors if possible, or people in supervisory roles.

If you are unable to upload your essay to the application portal, you can send a hard copy to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
O'Dowd Hall, Room 520
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester MI 48309-4401

For information and complete details on the graduate admissions process, please visit the graduate admission website. You will find application instructions, deadlines, contact information, and international student resources.

Visit the Tuition & Costs portion of the Student Financial Services webpage for details on costs to attend this program, as well as an estimated cost for books and living expenses.

Continuing Education
The Graduate Certificate program, offered by the Master of Public Administration program, is designed to provide students who have already earned a bachelor's degree with additional education and training in specialized areas of public management and administration.
 
Students will be required to take at least 12 hours of graduate work beyond the Master’s degree in one of the five post-master's program areas of:
  • Court Administration
  • Criminal Justice Leadership
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Local Government Management
  • Nonprofit Organization and Management

Students in the Graduate Certificate program will be required to earn a GPA of 3.0 or above in each course required for the certificate.

Outcomes

MPA Program Enrollment and Outcome Information

How many students are enrolled in the program, and do they have prior experience?

For the 2019-2020 cohort we had 27 admitted and enrolled students. 54% percent of total enrolled students were pre-service and had not worked in public or nonprofit organizations prior to their enrollment in the program. 46% percent were currently working, or had some experience, in public or nonprofit settings beforehand. 25% of the students in this cohort are currently considered full-time and enrolled in at least three classes.

How many enrolled students complete the program?

The program is designed for students to finish in five semesters. Full-time students complete the program in two years with continuous full-time enrollment, while part-time students have up to six years to complete the program. The data below show the completion rate for the cohort of 41 students who entered the program during the 2014-2015 academic year:

2014-2015:
Initially Enrolled: 31 (100%)
Graduated Within 2 Years: 7 (23%)
Graduated Within 3 Years: 22 (71%)
Graduated Within 4 Years: 26 (84%)

Of the 31 students who were newly enrolled in 2014-2015, 27 (87%) graduated within six years of starting the program. Students who did not graduate moved to other programs or had circumstances arise that otherwise prevented completion within the required time frame.

Where are our students after graduation?

Oakland University MPA graduates go on to hold a variety of positions in the public and nonprofit sectors, with a number of graduates also either moving on to utilize their skills in the private sector or opting to further their education. The list below presents job placement statistics for the 21 MPA graduates in the 2017-2018 cohort; employment categories were created by the Network of Schools for Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

  • National Government in Same Country as Program: 0 (0%)
  • State/Regional Government in Same Country as Program: 0 (0%)
  • City/County/Local Government in Same Country as Program: 7 (39%)
  • Nonprofit (Domestic-Oriented):  10 (56%)
  • Nonprofit (Internationally-Oriented): 0 (0%)
  • Private Sector (Research/Consulting): 0 (0%)
  • Private Sector (Not Research/Consulting): 0 (0%)
  • Unemployed (Seeking Employment): 1 (6%) 

Who Employs Oakland University’s MPA Graduates?

Alumni in the 2018-2019 cohort were working in the following jobs six months after graduation:

State & Local Government:
Administrative Assistant to the Clerk,  Charter Township of Bloomfield
Assistant to the City Manager, City of Troy
Deputy City Clerk, City of Rochester
Deputy Treasurer, Charter Township of Clinton
Finance Assistant, Charter Township of Royal Oak
Permit Coordinator, City of Rochester
Police Officer, City of Sterling Heights

Nonprofit/NGOs:
Administrator, Macomb County Community Mental Health
Analyst, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Assistant Director of International Students & Scholars, Oakland University
Chief Allocation & Resources Officer, MHP Salud
Custodian, Chippewa Valley School District
Director of It Services Alliance, Oakland University
Intern, Trinity Health
Orientation Coordinator, Wayne State University
Service to Armed Forces Regional Program Specialist, American Red Cross
Systems Specialist, Johns Hopkins Healthcare

To request the MPA Alumni Survey or the MPA Employer Survey, please contact mpa@oakland.edu.

Testimonials

Brandon Skopek

A headshot of Brandon Skopek.

Brandon Skopek is a 2017 graduate of the Oakland University Master of Public Administration program and currently serves as the Director of Authorities with the City of Auburn Hills.

Brandon recently transitioned to this position after serving as the Assistant to the City Manager / DDA Coordinator for the City of Brighton where he resided for the last two years while he attended graduate school full time. Brandon has spent his career in local government as a planning and economic development professional and received his Master of Public Administration with a concentration in local government management.

How the MPA Program has benefited him - “The MPA program has prepared me in unpredictable ways for my career and has made me a better professional. Through the support of classmates and professors, and the multiple networking opportunities with other professionals in the field, I have been able to expand my professional skills and use experiences from the MPA program to receive an exceptional career position with opportunity for growth.”

Michelle Leona Cecil

A headshot of Michelle Cecil.

My name is Michelle Leona Cecil and I graduated from the MPA program in Spring 2018 as a generalist. I am currently serving in an amazing role as a Residential Life Coordinator at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Since leaving OU I was placed on the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO) Campus Safety and Crisis Management committee in addition to serving as a representative at the Hemophilia Federation of America (HFA) Young Adult Summit in Washington DC.

How the MPA Program has benefitted her- Having an MPA degree is not the traditional degree for those working in higher education, but I can tell you that it has benefited me tremendously. Because of the skills, opportunities, and education I received from the OU MPA program I have been able to provide a unique perspective in my field on how we can help and serve the university students we work with every day. My advice to MPA students is to follow your heart on your capstone research/ project, I decided to go a non-traditional route with mine and questioned myself along every step of the way. However, taking a risk on my masters research paid off tremendously, leaving a lasting impact as well as benefiting me since I left. I am so thankful for the tremendously talented and supportive faculty that assisted in my research, trust the faculty and their input and you will succeed. I am so proud to be a Golden Grizzlies MPA graduate!