Eastern Michigan University
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Public Administration

Mission Statement

The mission of the M.P.A. program is to prepare students for leadership roles and careers in public and nonprofit organizations. In pursuing this mission, the M.P.A. program will (1) offer a professional, terminal degree grounded in political science; (2) combine a foundation in general public administration with the specialized knowledge and skills associated with one of the program’s concentrations with focused attention to the needs of professionals in local government and nonprofit agencies; and (3) serve the community by expanding and applying knowledge and providing leadership in addressing public service needs.


The M.P.A. program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. This accreditation indicates that EMU’s M.P.A. program meets all national standards for such programs.

Department Activities

The department offers special opportunities to M.P.A. students by its involvement and leadership roles in EMU’s applied research institutes, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance program on campus, the Detroit Metropolitan Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), the Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA) and other professional associations.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis to M.P.A. students. Graduate assistants support faculty members in instructional, research, service and administrative projects. Placements are also available outside the department with other University offices.

Degree Admissions:

Applicants must have:

  1. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or 3.25 in the last half of the undergraduate program; the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required.
  2. A 250-word description of the applicant’s academic and professional history and professional goals in public administration.
  3. A personal interview with the program director is recommended if there are any questions about admission under the criteria above.
  4. One political science course in the fundamentals of American government, public law, state and local government or public administration, with a C or better if taken as a part of a bachelor’s degree or a B- or better if taken after the bachelor’s degree.
  5. Applicants whose native language is not English must achieve EMU Graduate School minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS, or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). Students with scores below the minimum must take English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at EMU to raise their English proficiency to a satisfactory level before beginning courses in the MPA program. These students may be admitted on a conditional basis, subject to successful completion of the ESL requirements. See the Admissions website for minimum scores.

Conditional Admission:

An applicant deficient in the above prerequisites may be granted admission on a conditional basis, subject to completion of the prerequisite(s). In lieu of the above prerequisite course, documentation of acquired proficiency and/or appropriate experience may be accepted at the discretion of the MPA director.

Promising applicants with a minimum of five years of administrative experience that do not meet the GPA requirements for regular degree admission, and who have a GPA between 2.75 and 3.0, may be granted conditional admission. Such applicants must arrange for an admission interview with the program director and submit two letters of recommendation from employers or others who can testify to the applicant’s suitability for the program. Applicants may be granted degree admission after completing at least four courses approved by the program director, with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each course.

Application information and materials can be obtained from EMU’s Office of Admissions or at graduate.admissions@emich.edu, or international.admissions@emich.edu. Applications will be processed for Fall (February 15 deadline) and Winter (October 15 deadline) admission, but desired classes may not be available for students and delays in securing official transcripts may also delay admission decisions. As noted above, separate applications must be filed for the M.P.A. program and any certificate programs that a student may be interested in pursing, even if done concurrently.

Degree Requirements:

The M.P.A. degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 17 courses with at least 40 hours of appropriate credit. This includes 9 required courses, four electives in political science, and a four course concentration. All pre-service students without substantial work experience in public administration must complete a 15-week equivalent internship experience and enroll in PLSC 688 - Practicum in Public Affairs . The director of internships in the Department of Political Science will work with students to identify and supervise an appropriate internship.

The minimum acceptable grade in each of the nine required courses is a B. Students scoring less than a B may repeat a course once before being dismissed from the program. All students must have a B average overall to graduate.

Department Information:

Political Science - College of Arts & Sciences

Arnold Fleischmann, Ph.D.
Department Head

601 Pray Harrold
(734) 487-3113

Department Website

Advisor Information:

M.P.A. Director:

Gregory Plagens, Ph.D.

601J Pray-Harrold
(734) 487-2522


Program Advisor:

Barbara Patrick, Ph.D.

601 Pray Harrold
(734) 487-3113


Required Courses: 24 hours

  • PLSC 510 - Public Administration Concepts 3 hrs
  • PLSC 515 - Public and Nonprofit Personnel Administration 3 hrs
  • PLSC 540 - Public and Nonprofit Budgeting 3 hrs
  • PLSC 610 - Public Organization Theory 3 hrs
  • PLSC 615 - Public and Nonprofit Financial Management 3 hrs
  • PLSC 630 - Public Bureaucracies and Policy Formation 3 hrs
  • PLSC 578 - Research Methods in Public Administration 3 hrs
  • PLSC 678 - Quantitative Methods in Public Administration 3 hrs
  • PLSC 695 - Capstone Seminar in Public Administration 3 hrs

Restricted Elective Courses: 8-12 hours

Select four courses from the following:

  • PLSC 565 - Local Government and Politics 3 hrs
  • PLSC 587 - Cooperative Education in Political Science 3 hrs
  • PLSC 590 - Special Topics 1 hr
  • PLSC 591 - Special Topics 2 hr
  • PLSC 592 - Special Topics 3 hrs
  • PLSC 597 - Independent Study 1 hr
  • PLSC 598 - Independent Study 2 hrs
  • PLSC 599 - Independent Study 3 hrs
  • PLSC 544 - Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector 3 hrs
  • PLSC 605 - Leadership and Nonprofit Management 3 hrs
  • PLSC 606 - Fundraising for Nonprofits 3 hrs
  • PLSC 525 - Administrative Law 3 hrs
  • PLSC 625 - Local Government Management 3 hrs
  • PLSC 635 - Strategic Management in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors 2 hrs
  • PLSC 640 - Modern County Government 2 hrs
  • PLSC 645 - Intergovernmental and Nonprofit Collaborations 3 hrs
  • PLSC 580 - Local Development Policy 3 hrs
  • PLSC 655 - Politics of Local Planning 3 hrs
  • PLSC 660 - Public Health Care Policy 3 hrs
  • PLSC 665 - Basic Arbitration Training for Professionals 3 hrs
  • PLSC 688 - Practicum in Public Affairs 3 hrs
  • PLSC 697 - Independent Study 1 hr
  • PLSC 698 - Independent Study 2 hrs
  • PLSC 699 - Independent Study 3 hrs

Concentration Courses: 8-12 hours

Select one of the following six concentration areas:

Local Government Leadership and Management: 8-12 hours

Select four courses total with at least one course each from area A and area B:

A.) Communication and Human Interaction

  • One graduate course in CTAC selected in consultation with the M.P.A. Director.

    B.) Techniques

    • EDPS 660 - Grantwriting and Management 3 hrs
    • GEOG 579 - Geographic Information Systems 3 hrs
    • SOCL 678 - Methods in Social Program Evaluation 3 hrs
    • STS 502 - Microcomputer Applications in Administration 3 hrs
    • SWRK 662 - Grant Writing and Resource Development 3 hrs


    Students concentrating in public management will be required to enroll in PLSC 625 - Local Government Management  as one of their restricted electives listed above.

    Nonprofit Leadership and Administration: 11-12 hours

    • ACC 646 - Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations 3 hrs
    • LAW 603 - Legal Environment of Nonprofit Organizations 3 hrs

    Two courses from the following:

    • MGMT 570 - New Venture Creation 3 hrs
    • MGMT 628 - Human Resource Development 3 hrs
    • SWRK 662 - Grant Writing and Resource Development 3 hrs
    • SWRK 663 - Supervising Staff and Volunteers 3 hrs
    • SWRK 694 - Community Action Seminar 2 hrs


    Students concentrating in nonprofit management will be required to enroll in PLSC 645 - Intergovernmental and Nonprofit Collaborations  as an elective in the M.P.A. curriculum.

    Program Total: 44 hours