Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Western Michigan University is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).


The mission of the M.P.A. program is to improve the quality of public service by developing professionals and leaders equipped with knowledge and skills in theories, methodology, and innovative practice in the interdisciplinary field of public administration. Our graduates lead and manage a diverse range of government, nonprofit, and healthcare organizations and make positive impacts on the lives of citizens locally, nationally and globally.

(Revision approved by SPAA faculty March 15, 2016.)

Core values

The M.P.A. program is modeled around the following core values of public administration:

  1. Plurality of ideas and perspectives
  2. Common good, liberty, social justice for all, and democratic governance
  3. Ethical and competent leadership and decision-making
  4. Efficient, effective, equitable, and transparent practice of public service


The M.P.A. program goals (approved by SPAA faculty Jan. 27, 2017) are:

  1. Improve the quality of public service by promoting life-long learning, critical thinking and professional development that are grounded in our program values and NASPAA competencies.
  2. Enhance ethical and competent leadership and decision-making by integrating faculty teaching, research and service.
  3. Maintain and enhance the reputation and recognition of the program through innovation and continuous improvement.
  4. Use data-driven decision-making to maintain and enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, equity and transparency of our M.P.A. program.

Program components

The M.P.A. program includes three components:

  • M.P.A. core program (18 credit hours)
  • Area of concentration (18 credit hours)
  • Capstone: Project Paper Seminar (three credit hours)

Pre-career students must also satisfactorily complete PADM 7120: Professional Field Experience, an additional three-credit-hour internship (300 contact hours) in an agency or organization approved by the director of the graduate internship program.

The entire curriculum assumes that M.P.A. students have basic computer literacy skills and a working knowledge of the American political processes at local, state and national levels. Prospective students without these skills are encouraged to acquire them before they begin their M.P.A. coursework.


You are expected to meet with an advisor on a regular basis.


The M.P.A. handbook should be used in conjunction with the Western Michigan University Graduate Catalog.

Tuition and Scholarships

The updated tuition and fees page provides more complete information on the cost of attendance.

Various financial aid programs, scholarships and assistantships are available to students who are just entering or already in a graduate program.


M.P.A. courses are offered at the main campus in Kalamazoo and WMU's Lansing regional location.

NASPAA Transparency Reporting

M.P.A. program data

M.P.A. enrollment data

M.P.A. students and concentrations

Employment Data of M.P.A Graduates

School of Public Affairs and Administration career outcomes for graduates
Information from: The WMU Post-graduation Activity Report 2017-18 (Compiled by WMU Career and Student Employment Services.  Survey design, data collection and analysis, and report preparation: Ewa Urban, PhD, Associate Director; Christopher Shank, Doctoral Assistant; and Alexander Phillips, Graduate Student)

Quality in public affairs education


Visit the frequently asked questions page.