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Public Administration


The Department of Urban Affairs & Geography offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. Wright State University’s MPA program is fully accredited by the National Assoication of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

The primary mission of the MPA degree program is to prepare students to be successful public and nonprofit administrators and managers in today's urban and global environment. The program is composed of both part-time and full-time students. Classes are offered by full-time faculty and distinguished practitioners from the greater Dayton region who serve as affiliated faculty.

Students may, in concert with their advisor, design their MPA curriculum to emphasize subfields, such as public and nonprofit management, community and economic development, or public planning. Other areas of emphasis may be developed with the careful selection of elective courses offered by other WSU departments. In addition, the MPA program offers a specialized concentration in communication, and offers a certificate in nonprofit administration sponsored by the American Humanics Association.

The majority of MPA students complete their program of study in two years. To accommodate the scheduling needs of all students, one-year and three-year programs of study are also available.

For further information, please visit the MPA program website at www.wright.edu/map/ or contact the MPA Program Director, Dr. Jerri Killian, at 937-775-4451.


Students interested in the MPA program must first present a baccalaureate degree, preferably in the social or behavioral sciences, with an overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Students who do not meet this grade point average requirement should review the policies of the School of Graduate Studies and the Department of Urban Affairs and Geography for other options.

Applicants must submit transcripts of all previous college work, three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with their academic achievements and/or ability to meet the rigorous requirements of graduate studies, and a 400-word written essay outlining professional and personal goals and how the MPA degree will help them achieve these goals.

Applications for the MPA program should be completed by June 30 for admission the following Fall to receive full consideration. However, the deadline for applicants requesting financial assistance through a Graduate Assistantship must submit the application for the MPA program and the application for the Graduate Assistantship by April 30.

Students begin the MPA program in the Fall quarter each year. Exceptions to this policy are rare, but may be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the MPA program.


Upon gaining acceptance into the MPA program, students attend the Department’s fall orientation session to become acquainted with each other, the MPA faculty, the MPA Advisory Board, the department Of Urban Affairs and Geography, and the MPA program. In addition, MPA students are assigned a faculty advisor upon acceptance into the program and must meet with their advisor to complete a program of study. The program of study identifies courses to be completed, the timing of these courses, and the planned date of graduation from the MPA program. Faculty advisors are available to MPA students throughout their enrollment in the program and beyond.

Degree Requirements

The MPA curriculum consists of 52 credit hours of approved course work. The curriculum requires: (A) 32 credit hours of core courses, (B) 4 credit hours of a culminating project, or 8 credit hours of thesis, (C) 4 to 8 credit hours of internship (may be waived for students with appropriate professional experience) and (D) elective courses approved by an advisor for the remainder of the required credit hours.

Internships are designed to meet the needs of students with no or limited prior experience in the public or nonprofit sectors and to assist with post-graduation job placement. In-service students may substitute an elective course for the internship requirement with advisor approval.

When completing the culminating project requirement, students have the option of participating in a capstone project or completing an applied research project that focuses on an approved topic relevant to public or nonprofit administration. The capstone project utilizes small student teams while the applied research project is performed independently. In both forms of the culminating project, students apply research methods to study and analyze ”real world” problems experienced by a local community, public agency, or nonprofit organization and make recommendations to improve or solve them. In lieu of these culminating project options, students may choose to complete a thesis. Advisors are available to help students choose the most appropriate option for their culminating project.


The teaching philosophy of the MPA faculty emphasizes analytical thinking, ethical conduct, public leadership, and critical administrative skills. MPA faculty are experienced in issues relevant to public and nonprofit administration within the region and beyond, and these experiences enliven the classroom. In addition to producing traditional and applied scholarship, the faculty also serve on governing and advisory boards of local, state, and national organizations.

The core MPA faculty and their specific areas of expertise are:
Jack Dustin, Ph.D. (Chair and Director of the Center for Urban and Public Affairs), city and regional administration, comparative administration, technology and environmental policy
Jerri Killian, Ph.D. (MPA Program Director), ethics, leadership, organizational theory, human resource management, administrative reform
Myron Levine, Ph.D., urban politics, public policy, quantitative analysis
Jennifer Subban, Ph.D., nonprofit management, social/welfare policy, race/ethnicity, comparative administration
Mary V. Wenning, Ph.D. (American Humanics Program Director), policy analysis, housing and land use policy, public planning, research methods
Enamul Choudhury, research methods, public budgeting

In addition to the core MPA faculty, distinguished managers and administrators from a wide range of public and nonprofit organizations serve as adjunct instructors and/or as guest speakers in many MPA courses. These experienced professionals enhance the learning experience by emphasizing "real world" applications of relevant theories, models, and concepts in attempts to solve public and organizational problems. Affiliated MPA faculty include, among others, city managers, county administrators, CEOs of nonprofit organizations, and community leaders.

Financial Assistance

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) are awarded annually to qualified students, based on the availability of funds and grants. Students in degree status and not employed in public/nonprofit administrative positions are encouraged to apply for a GRA/GTA position. Applications are available from the Department.

The Department grants a tuition waiver and pays a stipend to each GRA/GTA. GRAs and GTAs are required to work approximately 20 hours per week during the academic year. The department’s chair assigns GRAs to projects that will develop their analytical and problem solving skills, and knowledge of public or nonprofit administration. GTAs are assigned to undergraduate courses in which they may assist faculty or may teach the assigned courses.

Course of Study

MPA Credit hours
Core Courses 32

URS 700 Environment of Public Administration 4
URS 701 Statistics for Public Managers 4
URS 702 Organizational Theory/Management Behavior 4
URS 703 Public and Non-profit Budgeting 4
URS 704 Public Planning 4
URS 705 Public Human Resources Administration 4
URS 706 Research Methods in Public Administration 4
URS 707 Quantitative Analysis for Public Managers 4
Additional Requirements 4-16

URS 708 Capstone Project or URS 709 Research Project 4
URS 791 Internship (may be waived for in-service students) 4-8
URS 799 Thesis (in lieu of URS 708 or URS 709) 8
Elective Course Options 12-20

The following list reflects selected elective courses offered by the department. With approval from their advisor, MPA students may also select courses from other graduate programs
URS 612 Cities and Technology 4
URS 613 Legal Environment of Public Administration 4
URS 614 Public Fiscal Administration 4
URS 615 Community Development I 4
URS 616 Community Development II 4
URS 617 Urban Labor Relations 4
URS 618 Urban Public Works Administration 4
URS 621 Comparative Public Administration 4
URS 623 Issues in Urban Management (varied topics) 4
URS 624 Issues in Urban Planning (varied topics) 4
URS 625 Issues in Urban Development (varied topics) 4
URS 627 Urban Policy Analysis 4
URS 650 Ethics in Public Service 4
URS 655 Strategic Planning 4
URS 670 Public and Nonprofit Leadership 4
URS 675 Management of Nonprofit Organizations 4
URS 676 Fundraising/Grantwriting 4
URS 677 Philanthropy in Urban Development 4
URS 678 Management of Volunteer Organizations 4
GEO 565 Cartography 5
GEO 647 Geographic Information Science Principles 5
GEO 648 Advanced Geographic Information Science 5
GEO 655 Geography of Transportation 4
Total 52

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