What will I learn?

Mission Statement

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at MSU provides students with professionally relevant, and theoretically grounded training, enabling them to become effective and ethically reflective practitioners, guided by values of integrity and service, as they pursue careers in the diverse settings of democratic governance.

Program Description

The MPA degree is a professional degree designed to prepare both pre- and mid-career professionals and administrators for supervisory, analytical support and policy-making positions in public sector agencies, and non-profit organizations, at local, state and federal levels. The program stresses sound preparation in wide range of administrative competencies. MPA coursework includes studies in public administration theory, human resource management, public budgeting, leadership, ethics, organization dynamics, and research methods for public administrators. Available courses support specialization in local government, non-profit management, administration of Native American affairs, education leadership, planning and other subspecialties. For early career students, practical experience is gained through a supervised internship with an agency of the student's choosing.

Upon graduation, MPA students are expected to have built their capacities in the following areas:

  • To lead and manage in public governance;
  • To participate in and contribute to the policy process;
  • To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
  • To articulate and apply a public service perspective;
  • To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Degree Requirements

The degree requirements given below are effective for students admitted to the program in the Fall Semester of 2016 or after. The curriculum is structured so that full time students (those taking 9 credits per semester) should be able to graduate in two academic years. Students taking 6 credits per semester can graduate in three years.

Electives (15-18 credits)

Students will select six elective courses that support both their intellectual interests as well as their professional and career objectives. We encourage students to explore the Political Science course catalog as well as course offerings from other departments to identify potential electives. Elective courses will be selected in cooperation with either the MPA Director or the student's Professional Paper Chairperson. Pre-career students (those entering the program with fewer than two years of progressively responsible professional work experience) will be required to complete a 3 credit, 300 work-hour internship as one of the two elective courses. Elective courses may be taken outside the Political Science Department and may include one 400 level course.

Which department am I in?

College of Letters and Science

Study options

Full Time (36 credit hours)

Tuition fees
US$17,692.00 per year
Start date

19 January 2022, 16 May 2022


College of Letters and Science

Montana State University,

2-205 Wilson Hall,



59717, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

In general, most graduate programs require: A bachelor's degree (or higher) or the equivalent from an accredited, government-recognized university. B average or higher from your undergraduate study (3.0/4.0 GPA, or equivalent).

For international students

Completion of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university

For International students who are not native English speakers, an English proficiency test such as the TOEFL or IELTS is required. For the TOEFL a score of 80; for the IELTS a score of 7.

Application for Admission Deadlines

Applications for the MPA program are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants need to submit all required materials by the week before classes start of the semester they wish to begin the program. All applications received after that date will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.