Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Western Michigan University is a nationally ranked, Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) accredited program that provides a foundation in the principles of administration, addresses the practical responsibilities of managers and leaders, and trains students for program management and policy analyses. Experienced full-time faculty and professional instructors balance academic rigor and professional practice in curriculum design and delivery.

This program is offered in-person, online, or in combination.

For a brief video overview of the M.P.A. program from the SPAA Director, please click here.

Application instructions

WMU has an online graduate application system that allows all students (domestic and international) to submit required information into one system. General application for the University, as well as specific requirements for individual programs, are captured into this system.


Program components

The M.P.A. program requires 30-39 credit hours as described here:

  • M.P.A. core program (15 credit hours)
    • PADM 6000-Fundamentals and Ethics of Public Service
    • PADM 6010-Economic Principles for Public Service
    • PADM 6020-Public Policy and Politics
    • PADM 6060-Applied Research Methods
    • PADM 6070-Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Personalized Area of Emphasis (18 credit hours)
    • A typical area of emphasis includes a management course, a human resources or leadership course, a budgeting or finance course, and 9 hours of graduate-level elective courses.
  • Capstone portfolio (3 credit hours)
  • Internship (required for pre-career students) (3 credit hours)
  • Significant experience in the public sector, broadly defined, may be used to waive the internship and up to an additional 6 credit hours of coursework

Note: This description applies to students starting in and after fall 2024, or those who start earlier and opt for the new graduate catalog language. The requirements for earlier years are found in earlier archived graduate catalogs.

Capstone Portfolio Guidelines

The faculty-approved guidelines help to guide students in tracking their development throughout the MPA program and documenting their competency in the final Capstone Portfolio.

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 are already in a graduate program.


Contact us with any questions or comments and/or see our list of frequently asked questions.