UMSL's Master of Public Policy Administration (MPPA) program educates students to become leaders in improving our communities and society and to make informed policy decisions. We use an interdisciplinary approach to prepare students for careers in public policy, public administration, and nonprofit administration.

In carrying out our mission, we embrace and enact these core values (IDEAS):

  • Integrity We promote ethical, deliberate, and transparent decision making
  • Diversity – We promote inclusiveness and respect for a diversity of perspectives
  • Effectiveness We strive to create value in our communities and be good stewards of public and community resources
  • Accountability We strive to recognize and respond to the needs of our varied stakeholders
  • Service We promote the above values in order to exemplify the ideals of public service

The University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Public Policy Administration (P P ADM) program has four components: the Master of Public Policy Administration (MPPA) degree program, the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program (NPML), Local Government Management (LGM), and Policy and Program Evaluation (PPE).

In addition to the programs listed above, we offer noncredit professional development opportunities in planning and zoning, economic development, and nonprofit.

PPA blue box

MPPA blue boxNPML Blue BoxLGM infoPPE Blue Box

The Master of Public Policy Administration (MPPA) is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for managerial and policy analysis positions in the public and non-profit sectors or related organizations. The MPPA is part of the Public Policy Administration program, an independent unit of the UMSL Graduate School, and is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

A key strength of the program is the experienced faculty. We have 16 core faculty and adjunct instructors, all of whom are committed to the success of our students. Core faculty members hold joint appointments in public policy administration and related departments, such as economics, political science, and business administration. Adjunct instructors also have considerable professional, educational, and teaching experience and play an important role in connecting our students with the professional community.

The full facilities of Campus Computing, and the Laboratory for Quantitative Analysis are available. UMSL is a member of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the Association for Public Policy & Management (APPAM), Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) and NASPAA.

U.S. News and World Report ranks the program in the top third of graduate public affairs program and it is the highest ranked in the St. Louis region. Our courses are delivered primarily in person, encouraging faculty and student interaction. Tuition rates are competitive, and a limited number of graduate assistantships are available. To accommodate those who are working, MPPA courses are generally held in the evening (starting no earlier than 5:30 pm) or on weekends. The campus is located near I-170 and I-70 and has two onsite MetroLink stations. Full-time students are eligible for free Metro passes.

Degree Requirements

The MPPA degree consists of 40 credit hours, 25 of which are taken as part of the core curriculum and 15 that are electives.  Students who complete the degree must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Design, research, write, and defend analyses of substantive public policy problems and/or potential solutions
  • Use data and sophisticated analytic tools (qualitative and quantitative) to conduct research in public policy and administration
  • Understand the policy and internal/external environments of public and nonprofit organizations
  • Develop expertise in a substantive area of public policy administration

A thesis is not required to complete the program. However, writing is an important component of the degree, and students will complete written analyses as part of their coursework and/or internship. Top

Emphasis Areas

Students may select one of three emphasis areas in which to concentrate their advanced studies: (1) policy research and analysis, (2) local government management, (3) nonprofit organization management and leadership. Students may also select an individualized emphasis area in consultation with their advisor and with approval of the Director.

Prior to the completion of 15 hours in the MPPA program, students should identify an emphasis area. In each of the emphasis areas students may be able to substitute another course for a specified elective, with the MPPA Director’s approval.

The MPPA program has approximately 75 active students. A study of graduation rates showed that of the students who enrolled in the MPPA Program in 2008-2009, 68% graduated in 100% of the degree program length.  Of those students attending full-time, 71% graduated in 100% of the degree program length (4-5 semesters.)  Of those students attending part-time (1-2 courses per semester), 63% completed their programs in 100% of the degree program length. Top

Course Schedules

All course schedules can be seen through UMSL’s MyView system. Search by academic year, semester, subject, or course number. Top


An internship is required for students without substantial experience in the public or nonprofit sectors. The internship helps students gain field experience in a local government, state or national agency, a policy research organization, or a nonprofit organization. Students who have significant relevant experience in the public or nonprofit sector may request that the internship requirement be waived. Students who receive a waiver must take an additional 3 hours of electives in lieu of the internship. Top

Graduation rates 
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Many of our students are employed full time while they work toward the degree, and therefore attend classes part time. With continuous full-time enrollment, students are able to complete the course in two years. Students who attend continuously part time can complete the course in two and a half to four years depending on how many classes they take each semester.  Top

Employment Information

Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society

Pi Alpha Alpha is a national honor society for students of public affairs and administration. It recognizes outstanding scholarship in the field and encourages further accomplishment. Learn more about eligibility and past inductees by going to the link above. Top

Student Advising

Each student is assigned an advisor who is available as a program resource. Questions regarding course scheduling and career path questions can be directed to them. Top

Financial Aid

  • Graduate Research Assistantships: A limited number of positions for Graduate Research Assistants are periodically available through the PPA Program. These are competitive, paid, part-time positions in which students are provided a tuition waiver. Students will be notified when GRA positions are available, and application is made directly to the PPA Director. General information on GRA/GTA positions is available at GRA/GTA Positions.

  • Robert J. Baer Endowed Fellowship in Public Policy Administration: The Robert J. Baer Endowed Fellowship in Public Policy Administration is awarded Public Policy Administration students who display exceptional progress in their academic and career pursuits. This award honors the contribution of Robert Baer to the St. Louis community, and his commitment to excellence in public service.

    Public Policy Administration students can apply for the fellowship. Applicants must have at least a 3.3 GPA and must have completed 18 credit hours in the MPPA program. Applicants must submit a 250-word essay, and two letters of recommendation from MPPA faculty.

    See our recent award winners.

  • Other Financial Aid: You should contact the Financial Aid office for information on loans, grants and scholarships: UMSL Student Financial Aid Office , 278 Millennium Student Center, (314) 516-5526. Top

Social Media

The MPPA program communicates with its students using a variety of means, such as email, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. To stay updated on our latest news, like UMSL Masters Public Policy Administration Program on Facebook and follow PPA at UMSL, @umslppa on Twitter!

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