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Master of Public Administration Program


The Master of Public Administration program is offered through the Department of Political Science at Western Kentucky University. The MPA program has trained professional public administrators since 1973 and has an excellent track record of job placements and career advances. The program is an accredited member of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration(NASPAA). The MPA program believes in the importance of the quality of education.


"It is providing me with the skills and knowledge to be confident in working in the public sector." - Teran Ransom, Hardin County Extension Agent


The MPA degree requires 39 semester hours of course work including the completion of 18 hours of core courses. The curriculum provides a balanced blend of both the practical and the theoretical approaches to the art and science of public administration. An internship is required of all students unless awarded credit based on previous professional experience. Additionally, each student must complete18 hours of elective courses. The goal of these courses is to help prepare students for a variety of professional positions. In order to make the MPA program more accessible to students, classes are taught on the main campus of Western Kentucky University and via interactive television (ITV) in Owensboro, Glasgow, and Ft. Knox/Elizabethtown.


"Open doors to new possibilities that I have yet to consider or that I knew were available." - Bobbie Harris, Child Support Enforcement/Caseworker


The strength of the WKU MPA Program is its versatility. It is a diverse program which includes full-time as well as students who are also employed full-time in organizations including the military, law enforcement, other agencies of government, and nonprofits. Additionally, there are various opportunities for student engagement such as internships, networking opportunities, and professional conferences.



The MPA program prepares graduate students from diverse backgrounds to be productive leaders and managers in public service by sharing knowledge, encouraging excellence in research and practice, and fostering an environment of professionalism within the communities we serve. We have a long history of providing quality education and practical experience to our students through community partnerships with organizations such as Kentucky's area development districts, the Legislative Research Commission, and the Center for Local Governments. Graduates go on to serve in a variety of local, state, federal, and nonprofit organizations, and many have successfully pursued doctoral degrees upon graduation from the MPA program.

Joint Undergraduate Master's Program (JUMP)

This degree offers a Joint Undergraduate Master's Program (JUMP) which provides academically outstanding students the opportunity to complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree in approximately five years.  Contact the graduate program coordinator for additional information.

Program Requirements 

The degree requires 39 semester hours of course work including completion of 18 hours of core courses. An internship is required of all students. A final written comprehensive examination must be passed. Thesis is not required.





Required Core


PS 501

Methods of Political Inquiry


PS 538

Ethics and Bureaucracy


PS 540

Seminar in Public Sector Organization


PS 541

Public Personnel Administration


PS 542

Government Financial Administration


PS 545

Seminar in Public Policy Analysis


or PS 546

Public Policy Evaluation



Select 18 hours 1




Select one course with approval by MPA academic advisor from the following:


PS 505

Washington Internship and Seminar


PS 597

Professional Seminar in Public Administration


PS 598

Internship in Public Administration


Total Hours





Apply to the Master of Public Administration Program at Western Kentucky University




Mission Statement of the MPA Program

Revised June 26, 2013

The MPA program prepares graduate students from diverse backgrounds to be productive leaders and managers in public service by sharing knowledge, encouraging excellence in research and practice, and fostering an environment of professionalism within the communities we serve.




MPA Admission Requirements

(1) Complete the Online Application for Admission found on Graduate Studies website (https://acsapps.wku.edu/pls/prod/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=wkumenu.P_AdmUnsecMnu)


(2) Submit required application fee.


(3) Request that official transcripts of the undergraduate and/any graduate work (from all undergraduate and/any graduate institutions attended) be sent directly to the WKU Graduate School.


(4) Achieve a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale).


(5) Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and have scores sent directly to the WKU Graduate School. (Note: Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher from an accredited undergraduate institution and/or 3 years of relevant work experience in the public service are exempt from the GRE requirement.)


(6) Send two (2) letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic or employment experience to mpa@wku.edu


(7) Send Statement of Purpose outlining how the MPA degree will help accomplish career goals and objectives to mpa@wku.edu


(8) Send current resume to mpa@wku.edu

Priority Application Deadlines:

Fall Semester: June 15

Spring Semester: November 15

Summer Sessions: March 30

Winter Term: November 1



Financial Aid

Graduate assistantships, as well as other forms of financial aid, are available to qualified applicants. Graduate assistants are required to work approximately 20 hours per week in the department during the academic semester. In this position, graduate students may assist department staff and faculty members in research, teaching, and service functions. Students interested in being an assistant are encouraged to contact the Director of the MPA Program.


WKU Important Links:

Letter from the Director

The Graduate School

Current Graduate Catalog

Student Financial Assistance

Graduate Record Exam

Tuition & Fee Schedules- Previous Years

Current Tuition Rates

Examples of Internship Placement Sites


MPA Handbook:

Click here for a PDF version of the MPA Handbook


MPA Newsletter:

Fall 2017 MPA Program Newsletter

Winter 2017 MPA Program Newsletter

Summer 2016 MPA Program Newsletter

Winter 2016 MPA Program Newsletter

Summer 2015 MPA Program Newsletter

Winter 2015 MPA Program Newsletter

Summer 2014 MPA Program Newsletter

Winter 2014 MPA Program Newsletter

Summer 2013 MPA Program Newsletter



MPA Alumni:

2015 Alumni Survey Results

2013 Alumni Survey Results

2015 List of Respondents' Job Titles and Employers

2013 List of Respondents' Job Titles and Employers

Graduation Rates


The MPA program is designed to prepare students for careers in the management of public and nonprofit organizations through a curriculum that emphasizes the study of organizational dynamics, the legal, ethical, and political context of public management, management techniques, and the analysis of public policies. In addition to completing 39 credit hours, students must pass a comprehensive examination which is offered each semester, including summer.


Required Core Courses: 18 hours

1) PS 501 - Methods of Political Inquiry Analysis descriptions of the logic and procedures necessary for valid political inquiry.

2) PS 538 - Ethics and Bureaucracy examines the ethical side of public decision making and the values the American political system is designed to promote and protect.

3) PS 540 - Seminar in Public Sector Organizations explores the behavior and problems of public organizations in democratic environments, and links societal values to administration structure and behavior.

4) PS 541 - Public Personnel Management provides a systematic survey of public personnel administration in the U.S., and discusses the development of modern personnel systems in the public sector while emphasizing contemporary trends at the national, state, and local levels of government.

5) PS 542 - Governmental Financial Management provides a study of the financial administration process of government, with emphasis on local government; subjects covered range from budgeting to risk management.

6) PS 545 - Seminar in Public Policy Analysis Theoretical approaches to the analysis of public policy, policy-making, and policy implementations and to such topics as health and welfare, poverty, education, and urban affairs.


PS 546 - Public Policy Evaluation examines the various approaches and techniques for evaluating public problems.


Electives: 18 credit hours plus 3 hours internship

PS 510 - Problems in National Government includes research, reports, and discussion of selected aspects of national government.

PS 511 - Seminar in State Government explores selected problems of state governments and their sub-units.

PS 512- Kentucky Government and Politics Traces the government and political development of the state from its constitutional beginning to the present. Primary focus is on the major factors and issues in the state's political development within the context of the national government setting.

PS 520- Elements of Public Administration is an introductory survey of governmental administration; emphasizes relationships between political issues and the practice of administration in areas such as organizational structures, personnel and financial management, control and accountability, and ethical issues.

PS 524- Administrative Law involves the study of the development of and trends in administrative law with emphasis on the problems caused by the exercise of quasi legislative judicial powers by administrative agencies, including the rights, duties and liabilities of public officials, relief against administrative action, jurisdiction, conclusiveness and judicial control.

PS 543 - Politics and Administration in Rural Communities is a study of political and administrative institutions, processes and issued associated with local governments in rural communities.

PS 549 - Special Problems in Public Administration provides a seminar approach to contemporary problems in public organizations reflecting political/managerial developments; topics reflect both student and professional needs.

PS 580 - Directed Study allows for  faculty guidance of student research in one or more selected fields of political science.

Effective Spring 2014

Internship requirement can be satisfied by one of the following options with consent of MPA academic advisor:


PS 597 - Professional Seminar in Public Administration incorporates principles and techniques in the practice of public administration. Case studies and contact with field professional will be emphasized.

PS 598 - Internship in Public Administration Work experience in a public sector or non-profit agency combined with faculty direction.

PS 505 - Washington Internship and Academic Seminars An individualized internship and/or seminar experience in Washington, D.C. tailored to the student's area of interest. Placement is determined by the department academic advisor in collaboration with Washington professionals.

The Master of Public Administration Joint Undergraduate-Masters Program (JUMP) offers highly qualified and motivated students the opportunity to complete a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in an accelerated time frame. The JUMP program allows students to count up to 12 graduate hours toward the completion of their undergraduate degree program as well as the graduate degree program.


To apply, students:

  • Must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.2.
  • Must have completed at least 60 but no more than 96 hours towards the undergraduate degree.
  • Must have a written recommendation from a WKU faculty member or academic advisor.
  • Must provide a writing sample to the director of Master of Public Administration program.

 After admission to the JUMP program.

  • Students must maintain a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 to remain in good standing.
  • Students who do not maintain the minimum GPA requirement may be denied graduate standing.
  • Students may take up to 18 hours of graduate courses and apply up to 12 credits toward both their undergraduate and their graduate degrees.
  • Students remain undergraduates until they meet all of the requirements for the undergraduate degree and are eligible for all rights and privileges granted undergraduate status including financial aid.

 Admission to the Graduate School for JUMP students.

  • In order to gain admittance to the graduate program, students must earn a minimum of 3.0 in each graduate course applied to the JUMP degree. Students who fail to maintain the GPA requirement may be denied graduate standing.
  • The GRE admission requirement for the MPA program is waived for JUMP students.
  • On admission to the Graduate School, the student is classified as a graduate student and granted all rights and privileges of WKU graduate students.
  • Students may count a maximum of 18 hours of graduate coursework toward the MPA prior to admission to the Graduate School.

For information about the MPA JUMP Program, contact

Daniel Boden, Ph.D., MPA
Assistant Professor
Director, MPA Program
Department of Political Science
Western Kentucky University
313 Grise Hall
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11060
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1060

Graduate Degree Application - Program of Study Form (check JUMP at bottom)

MPA JUMP Application


The WKU MPA Program is ideal for people who want to shape the future - both for themselves and their communities. It provides the knowledge and skills which are necessary in order to pursue a career in a variety of local, state, federal, and non-profit organizations.


WKU Recent and Past MPA Grads are Working as:


* Director/Manager for non-profit agency

* County Judge Executive (CJE's)

* Director of Regional Airport

* Manager of Area Development District

* Public Health Department Manager

* Public school administrator or college president

* National and state campaign manager


For a complete list of WKU Recent and Past MPA Employment, click below:

2007 Alumni Careers

2013 Alumni Careers

Post Graduate Employment by Sector

Director of Master of Public Administration Program

Department of Political Science-- Grise Hall #313

Western Kentucky University

1906 College Heights Blvd. #11060, Bowling Green, Ky. 42101-1060

Tel: (270) 745-6357

Fax: (270) 745-2945






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 Last Modified 5/7/18