Master of Public Administration

Admission Requirements

The applicant must meet the School of Graduate Studies’ current minimum general admission requirements as published in the graduate catalog.

  1. A four-year bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university.
  2. A cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.75 for all undergraduate work or a GPA of at least 3.0 for the junior and senior years of undergraduate work (based on A=4.00).
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores submitted for review. The GRE requirement may be waived at the discretion of the MPA Program Director in accordance with program criteria. The decision of the MPA Program Director is final. 
  4. A satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For the internet-based TOEFL (TOEFL iBT) an overall score of 79 is required.
  5. Minimum competence in public administration, administrative sciences, and methodology. This competence is normally demonstrated by at least one course in each of four fields (Political Science, Accounting, Economics, and Statistics), by special exams in the fields, or by practical experience. Accounting, Economics, and Statistics competencies may be met through the successful completion of self-paced boot camp courses on these topics from Ivy Software (
  6. Twenty credit hours in the social sciences, business administration, and related fields.
  7. Students who do not meet requirements, 5 and 6, will be given the opportunity to fulfill them.

Degree Requirements

Students seeking the Master degree at the University of North Dakota must satisfy all general requirements set forth by the School of Graduate Studies as well as particular requirements set forth by the Master of Public Administration Program.

  1. A minimum of 34 semester credits.
  2. A minimum of 27 credits in public administration and up to 9 credits in cognate fields to total 36 credits.
  3. At least one-half of the credits must be at the 500 level.
  4. A maximum of nine credits may be transferred to UND from other institutions.
  5. Required Courses:
    POLS 500Research Methods3
    POLS 501Political and Public Policy Analysis3
    POLS 531Foundations of Public Administration3
    POLS 532Public Policy3
    POLS 580Administrative Internship *3
    POLS 599Master of Public Administration Capstone1
    POLS 997Independent Study3
    General, Health Administration, or Social Entrepreneurship Track9
    POLS Electives or cognate/elective courses6
    Total Credits34

    Students with a minimum of one year relevant administrative experience may petition the Graduate Program Director to have requirement waived and to substitute a 3-credit elective in its place.

  6. General Track
    Select a total of 9 credits from the following list. Up to 6 credit hours of POLS 593 may be applied to the degree with consent of the MPA Program Director
    Problems in State and Local Governments
    Government and Business
    Administrative Ethics in the Public Sector
    Public Organizations
    Public Personnel Administration
    Program Evaluation
    Public Budgeting and Financial Administration
    Administrative Law
    Political Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship
    Problems in Political Science and Public Administration
    Health Administration Track
    Select a total of 9 credits from the following list.
    Health Administration and Organization
    Health Policy
    Advanced Special Topics
    Leading and Managing Public Health Systems *
    Social Entrepreneurship Track
    Select a total of 9 credits from the following list.
    Creation and Management of Social Enterprises
    Political Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship
    Special Topics (Sustainability) or approval from director
    Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship

Also offered as POLS 593 Problems in Political Science and Public Administration: Leading and Managing Health Systems

Residence Requirement

There is no residence requirement for the M.P.A. degree; however, at least one-half of the credits for the degree must be taken on campus or as an admitted distance degree student.

Independent Study

The independent study is designed to require the student to investigate independently a topic related to the field of public administration. The study need not be an original contribution to knowledge but may be a presentation, analysis, and discussion of information and ideas already in the literature of the field. The requirement is to ensure that a student can investigate a topic and organize a scholarly report on the investigation.

The topic for an independent study must be approved by the student’s advisor. Approval is effected by the student’s completing a form titled Proposal of Independent Study, available from the School of Graduate Studies, then submitting the proposal to the advisor for approval. The proposal, which should be approved no later than the beginning of the semester or session in which the student expects to graduate, must be filed in the School of Graduate Studies before a student is advanced to candidacy for a master’s degree.

Each student must prepare and secure the advisor’s approval of an independent study report. Three copies of the report (one each for the student, the advisor and the department) must be accepted by the advisor, who will certify completion of the report to the School of Graduate Studies by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar.

Candidacy for the Degree

Admission of a student to the School of Graduate Studies as a degree student in Approved Status implies only that the student has met minimum entrance requirements and will be permitted to take graduate courses, which normally may be expected to lead to a degree. The student has not been admitted as a candidate for a degree. Advancement to candidacy can be granted only after the student has met certain academic requirements in approximately the following sequence:

  1. Completion of 12 semester credits.
  2. A GPA of at least 3.00 for all work attempted.
  3. The appointment of an advisor. The advisor, who must be a member of the Graduate Faculty, will be appointed by the Dean upon the written recommendation of the M.P.A. program director. The advisor is responsible to the department and the School of Graduate Studies for the supervision of the student’s work.
  4. Approval of a Program of Study on a form available from the School of Graduate Studies. The program, which should be developed in consultation with the advisor, must carry the signature of the student, the advisor, and the program director and must be submitted to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for approval.
  5. Approval of a topic for the independent study by having the advisor sign the Proposal of Independent Study and submitting the Proposal and three copies to the School of Graduate Studies.

The student and the advisor will be notified in writing of the advancement to candidacy. Students must complete all requirements for advancement to candidacy prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.

Office of the Registrar

Tel: 701.777.2711
Fax: 701.777.2696

Twamley Hall Room 201
264 Centennial Drive Stop 8382
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8382