Public Administration (MPA)

Master of Public Administration 
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Urban and Public Affairs 
Program Website 
Academic Plan Code(s): PADMMPA

Program Information

General Information

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program at the University of Louisville is central to the University's urban/metropolitan mission. The academic curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in public and nonprofit administration and prepares graduates for placement and advancement in public, private and nonprofit sector careers. The MPA faculty also advances knowledge in the field of public administration through their theoretical and applied research. The MPA is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

The MPA requires 42 credit hours for completion. A student can enroll on either a part-time or full-time basis. Classes are offered in formats and at times that accommodate students who work full time. Traditional classes are offered Monday through Thursday, one evening a week, from 5:30 until 8:15 PM. Hybrid-distance courses have fewer classroom meetings. Some courses are offered entirely online.

The program includes faculty from various disciplines and is aimed at providing recent college graduates, public sector practitioners, and persons in related fields with a mix of theoretical knowledge and applied skills. The degree program is available to qualified individuals holding a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. No specific undergraduate major is required; however, coursework in economics and political science at the undergraduate level is helpful.

MUP/MA Programs

The Master in Public Administration Program offers joint degree programs with the Master in Urban Planning and the Master of Arts in Art (Creative) and Art History (Concentration in Critical and Curatorial Studies). For more information about the two dual programs please go to the program webpage.

Admission Requirements

The procedures for admission to the MPA program are as follows:

  1. Submit a completed online graduate application to the University of Louisville, Graduate School, Graduate Admissions. Program candidates may be admitted for fall, spring or summer semesters.
  2. Official transcripts verifying the receipt of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution must be submitted to the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions.
  3. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. An admission decision will not be made without the GRE scores. See for further information about the GRE or call (800) GRE-CALL, (800) 473-2255.
  4. A written personal statement is required. The statement should indicate why the applicant wishes to pursue the MPA degree.
  5. Two letters of recommendation are required. Normally, at least one letter should be from someone who can comment on the applicant's academic performance.
  6. International applicants are required to take the TOEFL examination if English is not their native language. Applicants who have not scored 550 or higher on the TOEFL (210 or higher on the computer-based version) may choose to apply to the Intensive English as a Second Language (IESL) Program. Successful completion of this program or passing the Exit Examination in the advanced level of IESL will constitute proof of English proficiency.

Program Requirements

The MPA requires 42 credit hours for completion: a core curriculum of 24 credit hours, including six (6) credit hours of practicum internship or thesis; 12 credit hours from one of the three areas of emphasis; and six (6) credit hours of electives.

PADM 600Foundations of Public Administration3
PADM 601Research Methods for Public Affairs3
PADM 603Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation3
or PADM 606 Urban Policy and Administration
PADM 604Public Budgeting and Finance3
or PADM 611 Financial Management of Nonprofits
PADM 621Urban Demography and GIS3
or PADM 623 Urban Data Analysis
PADM 642Human Resources Management3
PADM 682Practicum/Internship6
or PADM 695 Thesis
Area of Emphasis (see below)12
Minimum Total Hours42

MPA students may choose six (6) credit hours of elective credits from among all PADM (Public Administration) or PLAN (Planning) courses. Students in dual degree programs requiring a thesis or internship may only be required to take three (3) credit hours of PADM 682 Practicum/Internship.

MPA Areas of Emphasis

MPA Students complete 12 credit hours from one of the three areas of emphasis below:

Urban Governance 

Twelve hours selected from the following:12
Public Management
Urban Policy and Administration
Ethics in Public Administration
Urban Economics
Economic Development
Mediation and Dispute Resolution
Social Equity and the Public Sector
Sustainable Development & Planning
Sustainable Urbanism
Minimum Total Hours12

Nonprofit Management

Twelve hours selected from the following:12
Nonprofit Management
Grantsmanship and Fundraising
Nonprofit Leadership and Community Engagement
Ethics in Public Administration
Mediation and Dispute Resolution
Social Equity and the Public Sector
Cultural Competency and Action
Introduction to Sustainability
Minimum Total Hours12

Sustainable Urban Development 

Twelve hours selected from the following:12
Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
Planning Theory and History
Organizational Behavior
Housing and Community Development
Economic Development
Sustainable Development & Planning
Behavioral Dimensions of Urban Sustainabilty
Sustainable Urbanism
Introduction to Sustainability
Minimum Total Hours12