Next Generation's Leaders: The University of Michigan-Dearborn MPA degree

This particular program is no longer accepting new applications. Beginning Fall 2019, students interested in the Master of Public Administration program should consider our new Master of Public Administration and Policy program.


The program is designed to serve a diverse student body representative of a variety of human service organizations. MPA students are mainly mid-career administrators committed to learning and developing as individuals and professionals. Seminars are conveniently offered in evenings or online to accommodate working administrators. The seminars are designed to promote extensive sharing of professional experiences and the examination of issues important to contemporary administration.

The MPA curriculum emphasizes practical skills and information from a range of governmental, nonprofit and educational organizations. The classes are designed to develop technical administrative skills and competencies in leadership, finance, personnel, planning, and evaluation. Given the diversity of candidate backgrounds and the agencies represented, MPA candidates are encouraged to develop their ability to work in a variety of organizational settings and with a diverse group of individuals.

Michigan Nonprofit Association Scholarship: Provides a scholarship valued at 20% of tuition and fees for the employees of Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) member organizations.  This scholarship is available for degree-seeking students and can be used for undergraduate and graduate programs.

Master of Public Administration
It is a program where you could bring a real life example from your work into the classroom, talk about it with your peers and with the instructor, and really have a fruitful and meaningful conversation.
Harry Gaggos, MPA '09

Degree Requirements & Advising

The MPA program requires successful completion of: 36 credit hours, including (1) a 15-credit hour core; (2) specialty courses approved by the candidate's program advisor, and (3) an Assessment Seminar at the conclusion of the degree.  Several areas of specialization are offered, each with specific requirements.  Some require additional credit hours. 

Required Core Courses (15 Credit Hours)
  • PADM 505 Intro to Pub & Non-Prof Admin
  • PADM 520 Leadership and Administration
  • PADM 540 Admin of Financial Resources
  • PADM 560 Admin of Human Resources
  • PADM 580 Info Sys and Stats for Admin
Specialty Courses (18 Credit Hours)

Graduate candidates, with the approval of their program advisor, must complete specialty course work. Specialty courses are offered in the areas of finance, human resources, leadership, and in educational, nonprofit, and governmental administration.

Assessment (3 Credit Hours)

At or near the conclusion of their program of study, candidates must complete PADM 650 Assessment Seminar.  An internship (additive credit only) is required unless specifically waived by the student's adviser or director of the MPA program.


The full-time faculty of the Master of Public Administration and Policy (MPA) program provides academic advising regarding program requirements, the student's coursework, and educational interests. They ensure that the student experiences a smooth transition to the university, and the opportunity to have a productive graduate experience.

Upon admission, each student is assigned to a specific advisor. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor after admission to discuss the sequencing of courses and other matters that will help ensure success in the MPA program. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor regularly and consult with him or her in the planning of coursework and career plans.

Master of Public Administration (MPA) Requirements and Advising Form

Program Goals


to apply critical thinking skills to make decisions that enhance performance of governmental and nonprofit organizations or improve public policy and reflect awareness of key elements in these organizations’ external and internal environments


Human Resource Management

to effectively manage human resources within governmental and nonprofit organizations


Financial Resource Management

to effectively manage financial resources of governmental and nonprofit organizations



to understand and exhibit behaviors that enable effective leadership of governmental and nonprofit organizations


Effective  Communication

to communicate proficiently orally and in writing in a manner that facilitates shared understanding, growth, and high performance


Ethical Standards

to act in a manner that exemplifies professional ethical standards for governmental and nonprofit administration


Appreciation for Diversity

to demonstrate respect for the diverse cultures, values, and perspectives in society in the development, administration, and provision of public services



to uphold professional standards of equity in the development, administration, and provision of public services


Theory-Practice Links

to appreciate the role of political, administrative, policy, and organization theory in understanding and structuring practice in public and nonprofit administration and a continuously strive to improve practice through the application of theory


An internship (additive credit only) is required unless specifically waived by the student's adviser or director of the MPA program.

The internship process

Congratulations! You have reached a point in your academic career in which you will experience the world of public administration through the internship program. 

Please take a few minutes to read and follow the instructions below.  If you should have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact the internship coordinator or your advisor.

1.  Meet with your academic advisor

Determine whether or not you need to complete and internship as part of your degree and how many internship credits you need to register for (this should be done during your initial advising meeting when you complete your plan of study).

2.  Meet with the internship director 

About midway through the semester prior to your planned internship, you will need to complete the online application form which will also enable you to attach your resume. After your application is received, the director will contact you about possible placement options. 

If necessary, you will make plans to meet with the internship director to discuss internship expectations and placement opportunities and provide information that is required for placement.

Internship Director: Dr. Nancy Kursman
Phone: 313-593-5164    Fax: 313-593-5645

3.  Secure your internship position  

This will be done with the assistance of the internship director.

4. Complete the Internship Agreement

Internship Agreement: word doc (to be downloaded and completed)

  • Discuss, and agree upon, with the on-site mentor, specific responsibilities and experiences associated with the internship.
  • Document the agreed upon responsibilities and experiences on the Internship Agreement.
  • Forward the agreement to the internship director for review and sign-off.
    • If changes are needed, the internship director will explain them to you, and you will need to negotiate changes with the on-site mentor.
    • If approved by the internship director, the director will sign the agreement and return it to you to secure your signature and the signature of the on-site mentor.

5. Forward the signed copies of the agreement to the internship director

Who will forward it to the CASL Graduate Programs office for your file and notify the Graduate Program Office of her approval for you to register for the internship credits.

6. Contact the CASL Graduate Programs office

Arrange pick up or emailing of your registration authorization form. Go to the Registrar’s Office with the authorization form to register for the internship credits.

Past placement locations

City of Ann Arbor

City of Dexter

City of Dearborn Heights

City of Phoenix

City of Royal Oak

City of Grosse Pointe

City of Lincoln Park

City of Highland Park

Wayne County

Washtenaw County

MPA Program News

CASL graduate Nyeeyah Waldron wants to promote inclusive practices, workplaces

The Master of Public Administration graduate advocates for inclusion through educational and awareness programs.

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