Master of Public Administration

Please note: The M.P.A. program will move courses from Lansing to Grand Rapids-Beltline location at 2333 E. Beltline Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, MI  69546  on May1, 2020.

The Master of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Western Michigan University is a national ranked, Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) accredited program that provides students with broad understanding of theories, best practices, and methodological skills needed to be effective leaders in public and nonprofit organizations. Experienced full- and part-time faculty of the program balance academic rigor and professional practice in curriculum design and delivery. The program  accommodates the needs of pre- and in-career, domestic and international students in career, professional development, and course sequencing. Students have a choice of four concentrations: Health Care, Human Resources, Nonprofit, and Public Management. The School has a history of offering innovative programs as a way to lead and manage change in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Careers after graduation

Typical careers include mid-to-upper level executive, leadership, or management positions at public and nonprofit organizations, including government agencies, hospitals, and foundations.

The program’s over 2,600 graduates have had impactful professional careers helping to improve the quality of public and nonprofit service at local, regional, national, and global levels.

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.


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.


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