College of Arts & Sciences

Office of Dean - College of Arts & Sciences
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
cas@ship.edu  
www.ship.edu/cas
(717) 477-1151

Department of Political Science

424 Grove Hall
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 
(717) 477-1718
Department Website

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Contact Information:

Graduate Admissions:

Graduate Admissions Office
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
Phone: 717-477-1213
Fax: 717-477-4016
GradAdmiss@ship.edu

Graduate Dean's Office:

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA  17257
Phone: 717-477-1148
GradSchool@ship.edu

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Master of Public Administration

The MPA Program

Well-trained public administrators are needed today at all levels of government. Fiscal constraints and public demands for responsive government make effective management a necessity. MPA graduates hold policy-making positions with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the national and state government. Graduates of Shippensburg University’s master’s program in Public Administration use their managerial skills working for local government, not-for-profit agencies, and in the private sector.

MPA Admission Requirements

For almost 40 years, Shippensburg University has offered a master’s degree in public administration. To be eligible for admission to the master’s program, a student must:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Present an official transcript showing at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average for his or her undergraduate studies; applicants with an undergraduate GPA of less than a 2.75 must take either the GRE General Test or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) and achieve scores equivalent to or exceeding the mean
  • Have taken at least six (6) semester credits in political science or public administration at the undergraduate level; applicants who have not completed the required course work may be admitted on a conditional basis
  • Provide a current resume
  • A two to three-page writing sample, double-spaced. The writing sample should be academic in nature, demonstrating the applicant’s ability to communicate in a professionally appropriate manner necessary for graduate study. Previous research papers or samples of a work assignment would be appropriate for submission.  This should be emailed as a PDF or Word Document to GradAdmiss@ship.edu.

Visit the Graduate Admissions page for more information about deadlines, fees and other important details. Learn about admission and entry into the Public Administration Master’s program at PA’s Shippensburg University.

MPA Locations

The MPA program is offered both on campus in Shippensburg and at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg (DUC). We typically offer three courses per semester on campus and two at the DUC. Students can take courses one night per week at the DUC and finish their coursework in two years. Students who take courses at both locations can graduate in one and a half years or in one year by taking courses during the summer.

MPA Degree Requirements

This program has an 8-week course structure, which means students can take two courses within a typical semester without the courses overlapping. To earn an MPA, students must complete 30 credits. Students have the option of completing either an internship, or writing a master’s thesis if they wish to pursue further graduate study.

MPA Courses

Required Core (18 credits)

  • PLS 501 Organization Theory and Behavior
  • PLS 502 Human Resources Management
  • PLS 503 Foundations of Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PLS 601 Research Methods
  • PLS 603 Public Policy Analysis
  • PLS 605 Applied Management Techniques in Public Administration

Electives (12 credits)

  • PLS 431 Pennsylvania Local Government
  • PLS 491 Selected Topics
  • PLS 504 Ethics for Public Service Managers
  • PLS 511 State Government
  • PLS 512 Intergovernmental Relations and Programs
  • PLS 521 Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations in the Public Sector
  • PLS 551 Planning and Public Policy
  • PLS 561 Administrative Law
  • PLS 591 Selected Topics

Students may take one three-credit course from another department or accredited graduate institution for elective credit with prior approval of the MPA Coordinator.

Internship or Thesis (6 credits)

  • PLS 611 Internship I
  • PLS 612 Internship II
  • PLS 621 Thesis I
  • PLS 622 Thesis II

With a close proximity to the state capital and a wealth of internship opportunities, Shippensburg University is an ideal place to earn a Master’s of Public Administration in PA.

MPA Faculty

Throughout the program, graduate students work with Political Science faculty on applied research projects, primarily focusing on state and local government and the implementation of public policy. Our experienced faculty consists of public policy experts who deliver a curriculum rooted in contemporary theory and the practical issues today’s employees face. Class sizes are small to promote group interaction and ensure each student can benefit equally from the insights of their professors and peers.

MPA Career Paths and Opportunities

The Public Administration Master’s program is a popular choice for anyone with a passion for public policy or a strong desire to work in civil service. Students also develop valuable management skills and other tools useful for influencing policy decisions from the nonprofit/non-governmental sector. They learn how to advocate for change and raise the profile of community stakeholders through effective, action-oriented discourse.

Shippensburg University is located just 40 minutes from the Harrisburg state capitol. Optional course content focuses on Pennsylvania-specific issues in state and local governance — giving students an important advantage when entering the public service job market. Students remain close to the Capital Region and within a short drive of Philadelphia, New York and other major East Coast cities.