Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

Degree Requirements

    Department of Public Administration
    Oglethorpe Hall, Room 219

    Telephone: (404) 880-6650

Degree Requirements

Program of Study

A total of forty-two (42) semester hours is required for the Master of Public Administration degree. The program of study leading to the degree is developed around a group of core courses designed to provide the student with a general background in the field of public administration. The core group of courses consists of twenty-four (24) semester hours. Students may elect to specialize in one of five areas: Urban Administration, Public Policy, Human Resources Management, International Administration, and Community and Economic Development. An internship is required of all students. Three semester hours of credit toward the degree are awarded upon completion of the internship.

The MPA is a professional degree. It is designed to prepare preservice students for positions in the public sector, nonprofit organizations and to improve the managerial capabilities of those individuals already employed in the public service and in nonprofit organizations.

The MPA degree prepares individuals for employment in all levels of government. The curriculum is designed to accomplish three objectives. First, it is designed to enhance the student's values, knowledge and skills to act ethically and effectively in the management of public and nonprofit organizations. It includes knowledge of human resources, budgeting and financial processes, and the acquisition of information, including computer literacy and applications. Second, it is designed to develop skills in the application of quantitative and qualitative techniques of analysis in policy and program formulation, implementation, and evaluation. Third, the curriculum helps students to develop an understanding of the public policy and organizational environment including the political and legal institutions and processes, economic and social institutions and processes, and organization and management concepts.


The minimum requirements for the Master of Public Administration degree are as follows:

  • Completion of thirty-nine (39) semester hours of course work in Public Administration and other special areas as approved by the Department, plus an internship worth three (3) hours of credit. A total of forty-two (42) semester hours is required for the degree.
  • Completion of a twelve (12)-week internship selected and supervised by faculty of the Department, with a longer period desirable.
  • Completion and oral defense of an Exit Paper approved by the faculty.

Exit Paper

All students are required to write an exit paper, which focuses on a problem area or issue identified during the internship experience. Students who have the internship waived due to previous work experience may select topics within their specialization in consultation with their advisors. The Guide for the Preparation of the Exit Paper is available in the Public Administration Department.

Time Limit for Completion of the Degree

Those students who have not completed all requirements for the degree within the five (5)-year period as designated by University policy for all Master degree programs, may petition the Department for readmission. Readmission forms may be obtained from the Public Administration Department.

Readmission to the Program

The Public Administration faculty will review all petitions for readmission and will advise the petitioner of the action taken on the petition. Those individuals who are readmitted must comply with the following:

  • Enrollment and completion of the requirements in six (6) courses;
  • Preparation and defense of the Exit Paper; and
  • Completion of all of the above requirements within three continuous semesters, not including the summer session that comes in between the regular semesters.

Program for In-Service Persons and Persons with Significant Professional Experience

The Public Administration Department provides a modified program for in-service persons or for persons with significant professional service that reduces the required hours from forty-two (42) hours to thirty-six (36) semester hours. Included in the reduced requirements is the elimination of the three (3)-credit-hour internship required of all preservice students and one (1) regular course. An exit paper, based on a topic related to the in-service student's chosen specialization is required. The student's advisor must approve the topic of the paper.

Admission Requirements for the In-Service Program

Admission to the in-service program requires the following:

  • An earned Bachelor's degree from an accredited college;
  • A grade point average of not less than 2.5 on a 4.0 scale at the undergraduate level; and
  • At least five (5) years of substantive experiences in a Public/Non-Profit organization in the areas of management, supervision or significant technical assistance. *

*Documented proof must be provided as evidence of the applicant's experience as set forth in the third bullet above.