IntroductionThe Department of Urban Affairs & Geography offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. Wright State Universitys MPA program is fully accredited by the National Association 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. While the majority of MPA students complete their program of study in two years, one-year and three-year programs of study are also available..
Students may, in concert with their advisor, design their MPA curriculum to emphasize subfields, such as public management, nonprofit management, community development, or public planning. Other areas of emphasis may be developed with the careful selection of elective courses. The MPA program additionally offers a certificate in nonprofit administration sponsored by the American Humanics Association. A dual degree option offered in concert with the Master of International and Comparative Politics is also available to all MPA students.
For further information, please visit the MPA program website at www.wright.edu/mpa or contact the MPA Program Director, Dr. Jerri Killian, at 937-775-4451.
AdmissionStudents 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 Graduate School 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 or professional achievements and their 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.
AdvisingUpon gaining acceptance into the MPA program, students attend the departments 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 RequirementsThe 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 credit hours of internship (students with appropriate professional experience may substitute an elective course with advisor approval) 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 individually. In both forms of the culminating project, students apply research methods and qualitative and /or quantitative techniques 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.
FacultyThe 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, quantitative analysis
- Jerri Killian, Ph.D. (MPA Program Director), ethical leadership, organizational theory, human resource management, comparative administrative reform
- Myron Levine, Ph.D., urban politics, public policy analysis, local and regional government
- Jennifer Subban, Ph.D. (American Humanics Program Director),, nonprofit management, social/welfare policy, strategic planning
- Mary V. Wenning, Ph.D. policy analysis, housing and land use policy, public planning
- Enamul Choudhury, Ph.D., research methods, public budgeting, ethics
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 AssistanceGraduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) are awarded on a competitive basis to a limited number of qualified students each year, based on the availability of funding. Students accepted in degree-seeking status who are not employed are encouraged to apply for a GRA position. Applications are available on the MPA website (www.wright.edu/mpa) and from the department.
Recipients of GRA positions receive tuition assistance and a stipend is also awarded to each GRA. In return, GRAs work approximately 20 hours per week in the departments Center for Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA) during the academic year, on CUPA projects that will develop or enhance their analytical and problem solving skills, and knowledge of public service.
Please contact the WSU Office of Financial Aid for additional information concerning financial assistance.
Course of Study
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