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About the Master of Public Policy Administration (MPPA) Degree

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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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 the advisor.

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Cordaryl PatrickWhy MPPA?

An MPPA from UMSL can help you change your community and the world by teaching you the skills needed to become an effective leader in the government and nonprofit sectors. Our graduates include city administrators, community development specialists, nonprofit executive directors, and directors of development.

As a NASPAA-accredited program, UMSL's MPPA is ranked in the top third of graduate public affairs programs by US News and World Report and is the highest ranked in St. Louis. The MPPA is a 40-credit-hour program led by 20 core faculty and adjunct instructors who are committed to your success. To fit your busy schedule, our courses are generally held in the evening or on the weekends and our program offers competitive tuition rates, internships and financial aid.

Contact us and learn more!

Exciting news! The website NoGRE.com recently named UMSL's MPPA degree to its list of the 30 Best NASPAA-Accredited MPA Programs for 2019-20. It was the only program from Missouri to make the list. Read all about it.


At UMSL, you can have it all. Our beautiful 470-acre campus in suburban St. Louis is an ideal setting for the region’s largest public research university. Our diverse student body has access to world-class researchers and scholars, top-ranked degree programs, and sought-after internship and experiential learning opportunities. It’s no wonder over 95,000 alumni chose UMSL for their degree. Our graduates can be found in all 50 states and 63 countries. But their greatest impact is felt right here in St. Louis where they drive the region’s economic and social well-being.

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.

In carrying out our mission, the Public Policy Administration embraces and enacts 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