Saint Louis University

Political Science

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Mission of the MPA Program

Inspired by the Jesuit educational mission and its conviction that creation is good and human beings participate in its ongoing development toward a place where all can achieve their full potential, the Master of Public Administration at Saint Louis University prepares students for public service who are ethically grounded, technically competent, and empathetic to the culturally diverse needs of all community members. Reflecting the values and mission statement of its home department, Political Science, the MPA degree also educates students to assess the root causes of political phenomena, developing the skill of thinking globally while acting locally.

(Adopted in October 2013)


Brief Description

This program is designed for public service professionals and pre-service students interested in preparing themselves for careers in the public or nonprofit sectors at the national, state and local levels.

The program's primary objective is to provide its graduates with proficiency in management principles and techniques, research and evaluation skills, and the identification and analysis of individual and institutional values as they relate to social, economic and political behavior.

The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Public Administration (NASPAA). The program's content, therefore, reflects the current trends in professional education towards training experts in the field.

On average, the number of students in the program in any given year is around 10. So class sizes are typically small, which allows for a great deal of interaction with the professors and among students. Another benefit of the program is nearly all the professors are full-time faculty members.

For updated information on the MPA Program, check the revised Guide to the Masters in Public Administration.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MPA depends on the applicant fulfilling certain requirements. These include:

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Professional Statement (250 words)
  • Resume
  • Official Transcript from Undergraduate Program 
  • TOEFL (if foreign student)

Overall, applicants should have a B average or better in their undergraduate coursework and some evidence of previous administrative experience (as indicated in the resume) to be considered for the MPA. If you have any questions regarding the requirements, please contact the Program Director.

Recommended GRE scores are Verbal (151 or higher), Quantitative (152 or higher), and Analytical Writing (4.0 or higher).

However, we allow two exceptions to the above criteria. The exceptions to the rule requiring standardized tests are the students we admit from the Bridge Program with SLU's School for Professional Studies (SPS) and the students in the MSW program in the School of Social Work. In the case of the Bridge Program and the MSW-MPA, students may be admitted without standardized tests. However, these students must have at least a 3.0 GPA (preferably higher. In the case of the MSW students they must have graduated with at least a B or higher). In addition, they must submit all the other application materials listed above:  3 letters of recommendation, resume, official transcript, and professional statement.



The MPA program is comprised of course work totaling 36 hours: 18 hours of core (required) courses and 18 hours of concentration courses and electives. In addition, the program requires an Internship (3 credit hours) for students with limited professional experience in the public sector.

In order to complete the program, students must choose between taking comprehensive exams (joint degree JD-MPA) or completing a Capstone Project .

Required Courses


POLS 5020 - Advanced Topics in Research Methods
POLS 5310 - Issues in American Public Administration
POLS 5325 - Introduction to Public Sector Budgeting 
POLS 5330 - Economics of the Public Sector 
POLS 6320 - Organizational Theory and Behavior
POLS 5300 - Administrative Law


Elective Courses


Elective course work is available in a variety of areas. Students have taken classes in business, social work, American studies, communication and more. Of course, many also take classes offered by Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, and Public and Social Policy Analysis. Typical focus areas for Public Administration students include:

  • Nonprofit Management
  • Community Development
  • Housing Policy
  • Criminal Justice Policy
  • The Policy Process
  • Finance
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Health Care Policy
  • Social Work




The internship program has been developed in cooperation with numerous governmental, nonprofit and private sector agencies, serving both the St. Louis region and various governmental units throughout the country. Interns have worked with organizations such as:

  • The Bi-State Development Agency
  • City of Chesterfield, MO
  • City of Kirkwood, MO
  • City of Rockhill
  • Bellerive Neighborhood Association
  • East-West Gateway Coordinating Council
  • City of St. Louis Community Development Agency
  • St. Louis County Department of Planning
  • St. Louis County Floodplain Management Program
  • The Contemporary Art Museum - St. Louis
  • St. Louis County World Trade Center
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • East-West Gateway Coordinating Council
  • Beyond Housing 
  • Citizens for Missouri's Children
  • Grand Rock Community Economic Development Corp.

Candidacy Procedures for Non Research Masters Degrees

Employment Statistics for MPA Graduates 2014

National or central government in the same country as the program..................1
City, county, or other local government in the same country as the program......1
Nonprofit domestic-oriented organizations...........................................................2
Total Number of Graduates..................................................................................4



Time to Degree

Typically, students finish their MPA degree within 2-3 years of admission to the program and enrollment. The length of time to complete the degree depends on whether the student is in the program full-time (9 credit hours per semester) or part-time (3-6 credit hours per semester). Part-time students typically take between 3-4 years to finish the program depending on factors related to employment and family situations, health issues, etc. The Program works closely with every student to make sure that they can graduate within the time period that is most feasible for them.

Students Who've Entered the MPA Program in the Year 2010:

Total Number: 11
Graduated within two years: 6
Graduated within five years: 8


Paying for the MPA

Information on paying for the MPA can be found here.  Information on tuition and fees for the MPA can be found on the previous link as well. A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Individuals must be accepted into the program or already an MPA student to apply. These are awarded on a highly competitive basis and typically there is only one per year but occasionally additional graduate assistantships are made available so it is always a good idea to check with the Program Director. More information about graduate assistantships can be found here


Higher purpose. Greater good.
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