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Master of Public Administration


Prepare to be a successful public service administrators.


Master of Public Administration






40-43 Credit Hours

Course Requirements

What You'll Learn in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program

Gain knowledge in ethical reasoning, critical thinking, analytical problem-solving skills and objective decision-making to prepare for a lifelong career in the public sector.

What You Can Do with an MPA

Pursue careers in government, public service, education and nonprofit organizations. You can also continue your education through advanced social sciences degrees or apply for law school admission.

What makes morehead state's program different

Our MPA program offers four additional degree options, allowing you to tailor your degree to your passions, interests and career goals.

program Mission

The mission of the MPA program is to prepare students to be successful public service administrators. Driven by ethical reasoning, critical thinking, analytically oriented problem-solving skills and objective decision-making, the program will prepare students for lifelong careers in the public sector. By connecting theory and practice throughout the curriculum, the MPA program seeks to foster student and faculty research and outreach that benefits the local and regional communities throughout Eastern Kentucky.

Admission to the MPA program

  1. General admission to graduate study and a minimum GPA of 2.5 on the baccalaureate degree qualifies the student for conditional admission. (for criteria, refer to "Admission to Graduate Study"). 
  2. Unconditional admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the baccalaureate degree or an earned master's degree. Students who do not meet the requirements for unconditional admission may be admitted conditionally because the student earns a minimum GPA of 3.25 on the first 12 hours in the program. If a minimum GPA of 3.25 is not achieved, courses will need to be repeated until the minimum GPA of 3.25 is acquired. 
  3. Acceptable proficiency in social science, analytical skills and writing ability as determined by the MPA admissions committee from the following: undergraduate transcripts, writing sample, publication record and interview (required at the committee's request).
  4. Preferred TOEFL score of 525 or higher for international students; a lower score may be accepted with evidence of English speaking and writing proficiency.

program competencies

Through the core courses in our MPA program students will learn to:

  1. Learning Objectives: Students will understand the bureaucracy in such a way that they will be able to:
    1. Understand the purpose of bureaucracies and their function in a democracy,
    2. Describe how bureaucracies work in practical terms in helping administer the day
    3. analyze the role of elected officials, interest groups and individuals outside of government in trying to influence the bureaucracy, and
    4. describe and analyze the ethical issues individuals in the bureaucracy face in making decisions in a democratic system.

  1. Learning Objectives: Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of the core theoretical concepts and principles of public administration. Students will be able to:
    1. Understand and articulate the theoretical underpinnings of public administration;
    2. Describe and analyze the role of public administration in the American political process; and
    3. Analyze the role of public administration among the three branches of government at the federal, state, and local level, and how public administrators interact across various institutions.
  2. Learning Objectives: Students will gain an understanding of the concepts and principles of public policy, with a special focus on American institutions and political processes that are responsible for the formation and execution of public policy. Students will be able to:
    1. Understand public policy and its relationship to public administration and the American political system more fully;
    2. Analyze the formulation of public policy at the local, state and federal levels; and
    3. Identify the major actors and processes, and the roles of each in the formulation of public policy.

  1. Learning Objectives: Students will develop the intellectual capacity required in public service, law, and the academy, such that students are able to:
    1. Think clearly about the ends and purposes of political life in evaluating our state and federal constitutional structure;
    2. Analyze and identify legal and constitutional and administrative law principles and issues when supplied with a specific fact pattern; and
    3. Apply those principles to make and defend prudential judgments regarding constitutional and administrative outcomes in light of this broader context. 
  2. Learning Objectives: Students learn basic PA research methodologies and statistical analysis software and apply these to their own research questions. Students will:
    1. Understand research methodologies used in public administration;
    2. Possess foundational knowledge and skills in both quantitative and qualitative approaches assessed on book review summaries; and
    3. Gain hands-on experience using industry-standard statistical software to analyze datasets using advanced statistical techniques assessed on SPSS assignments.

  1. Learning Objectives: Students learn how to act and think ethically in a public service setting. Students will:
    1. Describe several major ethical theories;
    2. Apply major ethical theories to concrete situations and dilemmas in public administration; and
    3. Describe and evaluate strategies for encouraging ethical public service and for policing the bureaucracy.

  1. Learning Objectives: Students will gain practical knowledge in assessing and making public budgeting and financing decisions and recognize that such decisions reflect the priorities of local, state, and federal governments. Students will demonstrate that they:
    1. Understand diverse perspectives in public finance and budgeting processes, given that budgeting decisions involve allocating limited resources in ways that might advantage some while disadvantaging others;
    2. Can resolve often-conflicting priorities by recommending and applying best public financing and budgeting practices; and
    3. Communicate effectively in writing by compellingly explaining and justifying budgeting decisions. 

program Outcomes

Data recently collected for our 2016-17 Program Review indicates that the MPA program at MSU has high graduation rates. For instance, our 2010-11 cohort graduation rated is 77%, with 62% of the cohort graduating within two years, and 69% of the cohort graduating within four years.


  • Initially enrolled - 6
  • Graduated within two years - 0 (0%)
  • Graduated within three years -1 (17%)
  • Graduated within four years -1 (17%)
  • Total students who graduated and persisted to graduation - 1 (17%)

Graduation Employment Placement Rates


  • State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program – 1 (33%) 
  • Non-profit domestic-oriented – 1 (33%) 
  • Obtaining Further Education – 1 (33%) 


  • State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program – 1 (50%) 
  • Private Sector but not research/ consulting – 1 (50%) 


  • State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program – 1 (100%) 


  • Non-profit domestic-oriented – 1 (50%) 
  • City, County or local government in the same country as the program – 1 (50%) 

NOTE: There were no graduates during the 2017-18 academic year.

Over the last five years, we have placed interns in the following offices:

  • Churchill Downs (Louisville, KY)
  • Legislative Research Committee (Frankfort, KY)
  • Morehead City Mayor’s Office (Morehead, KY)
  • Rowan County Economic Development Office (Morehead, KY)
  • Montgomery County Clerk of Courts (Mt. Sterling, KY)
  • Montgomery County Judge Executive Office (Mt. Sterling, KY)
  • Eastern Kentucky University, International Student Office (Richmond, KY)
  • Frontier Housing (Morehead, KY)
  • Benchmark Family Services (Florence, KY)
  • Kentucky Christian University (Grayson, KY)
  • Legal Aid of the Bluegrass (Morehead, KY)

Data from our most recent MPA alumni survey indicates that 50% of our graduates seeking employment obtained a job, while 50% of our students went on to pursue further graduate education. Since 2016, the program has placed graduates in the following positions/programs:

  • US State Department International Visitors Bureau (Washington, DC)
  • Churchill Downs (Louisville, KY)
  • Moving Recovery Forward (Morehead, KY)
  • Westminster College (Fulton, MO)
  • Fletcher Group (London, KY)
  • Mercy Health (Cincinnati, OH)
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
  • Morehead State University (Morehead, KY)
  • Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC)
  • University of South Carolina PhD program (Columbia, SC)
  • University of Cincinnati PhD program (Cincinnati, OH)
  • University of Kentucky PhD program (Lexington, KY)
  • Northern Kentucky University JD program (Highland Heights, KY)

Overall, 82% of respondents in our recent alumni survey reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their education in the MPA program.

program options


Department of History, Philosophy, Politics, Global & Legal Studies

354 Rader Hall
Morehead, KY 40351

PHONE: 606-783-2655
FAX: 606-783-5096