Apr 19, 2021  
2017-2018 General Catalog 

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

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Program Information

Director: Angela Pool-Funai, DPA
Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice
GC 406 ~ (435) 865-8153

MPA Administrative Assistant: Deena Marchal
GC 406 ~ (435) 865-8150

Website: http://suu.edu/hss/polscj/mpa/

Degrees Offered

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) 
Master of Public Administration (M.P.A) - State and Local Government Emphasis 
Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) - Higher Education Administration  

Overview of Program

The 36 semester hour MPA program is a professional degree suitable to all students interested in pursuing a career in management within the public or non-profit sectors. The MPA program provides an intellectual, collaborative and engaged learning environment where practical and theoretical concepts of public administration are applied within historical, political, social, cultural and economic contexts. Students learn to act as facilitators in defining and pursuing the public interest.

Classes focus on developing the ability to reason critically, to analyze important dimensions of public service, and to take coherent positions on key public administration and policy issues. Upon graduation, students in the program should be able to think critically, communicate effectively through written and oral means, advocate public sector values, apply analytic tools to policies and decisions-making, and demonstrate leadership skills, while serving a diverse workforce and citizenry.

Versatile in its design, students may customize the program to suit their personal interests and career objectives. A variety of electives are available within the MPA program and through other graduate programs at Southern Utah University (SUU).


The Master of Public Administration degree program builds upon Southern Utah University’s individualized, experiential learning through our mission and goals.

Our Mission is to:

  • Prepare pre-service and in-service students to meet the challenges of public and nonprofit service.
  • Develop student knowledge and competencies through scholarly activity, experiential learning, and applied research.
  • Offer coursework that presents a framework of understanding based on academic literature and skill development through activities, projects, and assignments.
  • Promote public service values, a culture of democratic administration, leadership and managements skills, and ethical decision-making in all aspects of public and nonprofit sector organizations.
  • Provide on-campus and online students with comparable academic experiences that develop knowledge and skills for public service.

Our Core Values:

  1. Lead through Change.
  2. Engage the community.
  3. Base decisions on data, reliable information and analysis.
  4. Protect public resources and ensure they are used in the most efficient and effective manner.
  5. Model ethical behaviors.
  6. Partner with students for lifelong learning.

Our Goals:

  1. Educate and train students to be innovative leaders in public and nonprofit organizations.
  2. Enhance the field of public administration regionally, nationally, and internationally through the academic and service contributions of our faculty and students.
  3. Create a learning environment where our students develop public service values and thoughtful and ethical decision-making skills.
  4. Assess student learning and use assessment research to continuously enhance the program offerings.
  5. Embrace and partner with a diverse student body, faculty, workforce, and public to enhance public policy and administration.

Department/Program Learning Outcomes

The program competencies are:

  1. To lead, manage and apply effective public governance.
  2. To participate and contribute to the public, fiscal and economic policy process.
  3. Solve problems using analytics, critical thinking and conceptualize and apply best practices.
  4. To articulate and apply public service perspectives norms, and legal standards.
  5. To communicate orally and in writing and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Other Information

Application and Degree Requirements for Master of Public Administration.

Prospective MPA students must follow all of the Graduate Application procedures outlined below. The MPA does not require prospective applicants to submit any entrance exams as part of their application or conditions of admission. The MPA program does not accept electronic reference forms. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation through SUU’s Graduate Admissions Office. The reference letters can be emailed to the Graduate Admissions office.

In addition to SUU’s graduate application requirements, prospective students must submit a Letter of Intent and a professional resume to the admissions committee. The Letter of Intent is an opportunity for the prospective student to introduce him/herself to the MPA faculty and is closely reviewed during the admissions process. The Letter of Intent should include information such as prior volunteer activities, work or academic experiences, career interests, and why the applicant would like to pursue an MPA at SUU.

The applicant must also research and respond to the following question: Should a government be run like a business? The response needs to be in APA format and no longer than two pages. The response should also include at least three citations. The response must be attached to the applicant’s Letter of Intent.

Experiential Learning

As a terminal degree, the MPA develops practical skills in an applied setting, as well as in the classroom. The experiential learning courses offer students the opportunity to further develop their competencies in a professional setting. The content of these courses is unique to each student and specially designed around the student’s needs and interests.

PADM 6890 - MPA Internship  is a required elective for all students who have less than one year of full-time time experience in a public or nonprofit organization (pre-service). Responsibility for seeking an internship falls upon the student. However, the Director and MPA faculty regularly facilitate internship opportunities and internship announcements are often sent to all current MPA students. Students with more than one year experience can request a waiver of the internship and substitute the 3 credit hours with another elective. Students must submit a written request for a waiver of the internship requirement.

All students must complete PADM 6950 - Professional Project  or PADM 6900 - MPA Thesis  to earn the MPA degree. The professional project offers students a unique opportunity to create a specialized learning environment in which to develop and apply competencies in a realistic setting. Under the supervision of an MPA faculty member, students partner with a host organization to develop and complete a project. Projects help students develop specific competencies in a safe, practical setting.

The thesis option creates a mentoring relationship between the student and MPA faculty for those students who anticipate pursuit of a doctoral program. If students elect a thesis option, the supervising faculty serves as a thesis committee chair, along with another MPA Faculty and one committee member from outside the MPA.

Admission to the MPA Program

Applications for admission must be received by the following deadlines:
July 15 - Fall semester
November 15 - Spring semester
April 15 -Summer semester

The following are required when seeking admission to the MPA Program:

  1. SUU Graduate Admissions application
  2. Payment of the non-refundable application fee
  3. A Letter of Intent written by the applicant, including the specific attachment
  4. A complete resume
  5. Receipt of three (3) letters of recommendation
  6. Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  7. Writing sample: The applicant must research and respond to the following question: Should a government be run like a business? The response needs to be in APA format and no longer than two pages. The response should also include at least three citations.

Minimum Admission Requirements

Applicants should meet the following criteria:

  1. Achieved and awarded a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university or college;
  2. Achieve and overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher;
  3. International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate competency in the English language. A minimum score of (550: Paper based test, 213: Computer based test, or 79: Internet based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) taken within the past two years satisfies this requirement.
  4. Online Out-of-State only applicants must have at least 1 year of professional work experience. Experience will be evaluated by the admission committee in consideration with the full application.

After all of the above are received, the materials will be reviewed by the MPA admissions committee. Applicants meeting the minimum requirements may be interviewed by the Program Director. The admissions committee views each application in its entirety to ensure all applicants receive an appropriate opportunity for consideration.

All admitted graduate students are expected to understand and follow APA writing standards prior to their first day of class.

National Standards and Academic Endeavor

SUU’s Master of Public Administration program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), which is the global standard for public service education. Additionally, SUU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

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