MPA Program - The Curriculum
The NASPAA accredited Master of Public Administration Program at Bridgewater State University provides rigorous graduate public education, developing core competencies in leadership and service in the public and nonprofit sectors. Consistent with the mission of the University, the Program also uses its resources to engage and advance the economic, cultural, civic, and political life of southeastern Massachusetts, other domestic communities, and our global community.
The MPA Program embraces three guiding principles:
The MPA program accommodates the needs of both pre-career students and in-career professionals by offering alternative program requirements that take into account students' academic and professional backgrounds. Students with bachelor's degrees and no professional work experience are expected to complete a 45-credit hour degree program (including six hours of professional internship), while in- career professionals are expected to complete a 39-credit hour program. Up to six hours of appropriate graduate course work taken elsewhere may be transferred into the degree program.
General Learning Objectives:
All students who successfully complete the MPA Program demonstrate that they:
Civic and Nonprofit Leadership and Administration Learning Objectives:
In addition to fulfilling the general learning objectives, students who successfully complete work in the MPA concentration in Civic and Nonprofit Leadership and Administration (CNLA) demonstrate that they:
Sustainable Community Development Learning Objectives:
In addition to fulfilling the general learning objectives, students who successfully complete work in the MPA concentration Sustainable Community Development (SCD) demonstrate that they:
Programs of Study
As part of the 15 credits required in electives, each student must take three one credit professional development modules (POLI 506 Public Administration Module). For the Generalist (no concentration) program of study, the remaining 12 credits in electives must be selected, with advisor approval, from the 500 level Political Science (POLI) course offerings.
For the Civic and Nonprofit Leadership and Administration (CNLA) concentration, the remaining 12 credits in electives must be selected from the courses listed below:
For the Sustainable Community Development (SCD) concentration, the remaining 12 credits in electives must be selected from the courses listed below:
Students with a bachelor's degree and no professional work experience must complete a 6 credit hour internship in addition to the requirements above.
NOTE: Internship (POLI 598), directed study or research (POLI 503 and POLI 502), and special topics (POLI 592) in political science credits may be applied to the four elective courses and other concentration requirements only if they are related to the student's concentration. This determination is made by the MPA Coordinator.
Please click on the link to see provisional 2006 - 08 course scheduling.
Students may pursue a generalist MPA track or select from one of two program concentrations. For students seeking to earn a degree in a concentration, a minimum of twelve elective credit hours must be taken in the substantive area. The program concentration areas are as follows:
Professional Development Modules
As part of the 15 elective credit hours, each student must take three one-credit professional development modules. Courses are scheduled each semester for either two Saturday sessions or for weekend "intensive" classes. Students must successfully pass any three modules, which cover a range of topics.
A six-hour internship experience at the local, state or federal level is required for all pre-professional students and will be available as an elective (three or six hours) for those professionals who wish to enhance their backgrounds.
MPA program faculty members believe that a public agency internship is an essential part of the public manager's education. An internship provides an opportunity to apply and test what has been learned in the classroom and allows students to develop professional skills. It also gives practitioners and faculty the chance to determine how well each student is able to function in a "real world" setting. Moreover, internships frequently provide students with entry into permanent positions.
Normally, students do not begin an internship until they have completed at least 12 hours of formal course work. Program faculty provide placement assistance for MPA students.
The MPA program offers some flexibility for its completion. Most students will be required to pass a written comprehensive examination. This one-day exam allows program faculty to test students' mastery of fundamental principles and issues covered in the core curriculum. Students must have completed at least 30 hours of the degree program to sit for the exam. In appropriate circumstances, a master's thesis may be substituted for the comprehensive exam. The master's thesis will be directed by a committee of three faculty members and be covered under graduate guidelines and regulations at Bridgewater State University.
Policy on Thesis Option
Students approved for this option must complete the 39-45 hour program, depending on their program admission category. The master's thesis will carry an additional six hours of graduate credit. Credit for a public service internship is granted under this option if the student completes both an internship and a thesis plus 39 hours of course work for a total of 51 hours of credit. The thesis option is especially appropriate for students wishing to pursue a doctorate after completing the MPA, but is open to all students who meet the criteria established by the department. Departmental standards require the student to work closely with his/her advisor and to phase the work so that the project proposal is carefully designed and approved before the student advances to the next stage.
To be admitted to the MPA program, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a four-year accredited college or university. Applicants must submit acceptable GRE scores and three letters of reference from professors or practitioners familiar with their academic abilities. They must also undergo an interview with the MPA program faculty. Students failing to meet the standard graduate admissions criteria may be considered on a conditional basis. Contact the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education at (508) 531-1300 to request application materials.
MPA Admissions Categories
Depending on the amount of managerial experience, students accepted into the MPA program are placed into one of the following three categories, which determines their exit requirements:
*Students requesting admission to these categories upon acceptance into the MPA program must work in consultation with their advisor to write a letter to the graduate committee at the time of application and provide a recent resume documenting work history and managerial experience and a letter from a supervisor with knowledge of that experience.
Last Modified: January 31, 2012