Master of Public Administration

Degree Requirements  |  Fields of Interest  |  Internship  |  Research Projects  |  Sample Curriculum Outline | Frequently Asked Questions

Application Available: After October 1, the preceding year

Application Deadline: The priority deadline is February 1, 2024. Applications received by that date will be eligible for financial support. Applications received after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Application Decision: The admissions committee meets soon after the application deadline to evaluate application materials. Applicants will be notified by mail of their admission status. Students typically begin the program in the fall term but, under certain exceptional circumstances, may start mid-year.

Contact Us

Contact Bob Choquette ( with questions about admissions procedures and Associate Professor Nicole Ngo (, program director of the Master of Public Administration Program, with questions about the curriculum.

Degree Overview: Master of Public Administration

Columbia Gorge

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Oregon promotes a hands-on approach that gives students experience doing the work they will do as professionals in the public and nonprofit sectors. We work with public and nonprofit organizations across the state to create an immersive and hands-on approach that allows students to start making a difference in the community while they are still in the program. We support this purpose by training a diverse cohort of students from the U.S. and abroad to be effective administrators, analysts, and advocates in their communities. The curriculum offers a close connection between multidisciplinary, policy-oriented research and opportunities for real-world applications. Students are supported in creating a customized course plan that allows for the most effective use of their time as full- or part-time students. Our program combines a rigorous academic approach to developing analytical and managerial skills with highly experiential learning opportunities.

The Master of Public Administration program prepares students by putting hands-on training across the curriculum, creating a closer connection between the practice and the research. On the one hand, it requires future managers and leaders to ask policy-relevant questions and conduct meaningful and timely analyses that can support the policy process. On the other hand, future managers and leaders are required to think critically about research and integrate appropriate evidence in implementing and formulating policy and administrative practice. The curriculum has been developed to train students in hands-on learning by providing opportunities across the curriculum for real-world, community-based engagement. The faculty strives to support this approach to improved management and decision-making through our research, community outreach activities, and teaching.

Recent program graduates work as managers, leaders, analysts, and strategic planners at all levels of government in Oregon, throughout the U.S., and worldwide. Their work addresses the full range of social, economic, environmental, and development issues of the day—from improving healthcare access and increasing government efficiency and responsiveness to creating new governmental structures in developing democracies. Alumni work in a broad range of nonprofit organizations as executive staff in social service, arts, and environmental organizations and in for-profit companies serving the public sector.

Oregon is an exciting place to study public administration. As a “laboratory of democracy” it has a long and distinguished record of policy innovation. Most recently, Oregon has been on the forefront of land use, healthcare, social, and environmental policy innovations. Oregon is also a beautiful place to live and be a graduate student. The University of Oregon is located in the Willamette Valley, with easy access to snow-capped mountains and scenic coastlines.

The Master of Public Administration Program at the University of Oregon was recently featured by the Emerging Leaders in Local Government Network (ELGL), and by the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM).

Learn more about our graduates:
Employment Statistics | Recent Positions | Graduation Data


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Unique Aspects of the Master of Public Administration Program

  • We are proud of our supportive learning environment, where class sizes are small and students are on a first-name basis with faculty members.
  • Our curriculum emphasizes hands-on classroom projects that tackle real-world policy and management issues. Students participate in a short term, 48-Hour Policy Analysis Project and an in-depth, two-term Capstone project examining issues affecting public and nonprofit agencies.
  • Students interested in a career in the nonprofit sector can earn a Certificate in Nonprofit Management concurrently with their MPA. The Certificate program offers innovative classes including one in philanthropy, in which students award a $15,000 grant to a local agency.
  • The University of Oregon is a leading public research university. MPA students have the flexibility to customize their field of interest work to take advantage of offerings throughout the university, including the highly ranked School of Law, the College of Business, and other departments.
  • Oregon is an exciting place to study public policy. Oregon is known for its policy innovation, from the Bottle Bill and voting by mail to current efforts to reform the health care system. Policymakers and public managers in Oregon are remarkably accessible.
  • Research options include working with the Sustainable Cities Institute, the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, and ongoing research projects headed by our PPPM faculty.

Master of Public Administration Degree Requirements (72 credits)

The 72-credit program (equivalent to 48 semester credits) prepares students to become effective and creative leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors. The curriculum provides students with a combination of substantive knowledge, analytic skills, and professional experience that prepares students for careers as evidence-based policymakers, analysts, or managers. The program comprises four components:

  • Core courses: 33 credits
  • An elective Field of Interest: 24 credits
  • Internship and professional development training: 4 credits
  • Synthesizing applied research and policy analysis projects: 11 credits

Master of Public Administration Required Courses

Core Courses (33 credits)

The eight core courses provide students with the theoretical foundation and analytic skills to be effective leaders in the public or nonprofit sector.

  • PPPM 618 Public Sector Theory (4 credits)
  • PPPM 628 Public Sector Economics (4 credits)
  • PPPM 656 Quantitative Methods (5 credits)
  • PPPM 636 Public Policy Analysis (1 credit)
  • PPPM 657 Research Methods in Public Policy and Management (4 credits)
  • PPPM 633 Public Management (4 credits)
  • PPPM 684 Public and Nonprofit Financial Management (4 credits)
  • PPPM 629 Public Budget Administration (4 credits)

Course Descriptions

Fields of Interest (24 credits)

In consultation with a faculty advisor, students develop a substantive area of expertise by taking a minimum of 24 credits of coursework in a field of interest. Students may develop their own field of interest in consultation with the faculty advisor, or model their choice on an established field of interest.

To see a description and sample list of elective courses for each field of interest, click on the links below. Course offerings change, so sample course lists provided may not include courses of interest to you or may include courses that are unavailable in the coming year. Courses marked with an * indicate a special course designation. This may indicate that instructor approval is needed to register for the course, the schedule is irregular, or course fees apply. Check the UO Course Catalog for more specific information.

Students should set their field of interest by filling out the Master of Public Administration field of interest form.

*Students wanting to complete a nonprofit management field of interest, specifically, may complete the 24-credit Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management as their field of interest, with no additional credits.

Internship (3 credits)

There are two components of the Master of Public Administration internship requirement. The first is enrollment in the PPPM 623 Professional Development (1 credit). Students begin the course during orientation week and continue through the fall term of their first year. Through this course, students identify their career goals and develop a plan to prepare themselves to meet the goals. Students identify summer internship and post-graduation fellowship opportunities and develop polished résumé and cover letters.

The second component is the completion of an internship. Internships offer students opportunities to explore and clarify career goals, apply academic learning, enhance and learn new skills, gain experience, and network with professionals. Unlike jobs, internships are supervised training experiences with the explicit intent of developing skills. Internships are highly recommended for all Master of Public Administration students, and three credits of PPPM 604 Internship are required for those with fewer than two years of relevant professional experience.

In collaboration with the internship site supervisor and the Career Services Director, students identify learning goals and outline specific tasks and responsibilities that support these goals. By achieving their learning goals, students acquire a set of transferable skills and real-world experiences that prepare them for professional positions, fellowships, or further academic study.

Students have completed a wide range of internships in the public sector and nonprofit sector. They have also interned in the private sector with consulting firms, research institutes, and energy companies. For more information, see the Internships and Career Services page.

Master of Public Administration Policy Analysis and Applied Research Projects (11 Credits)

The Master of Public Administration curriculum provides students with two key opportunities to synthesize classroom learning and apply their research skills to current policy and management issues:

48-Hour Master of Public Administration Project

At the start of the second year, students engage in a 48-hour project. It is intended to simulate the real-world environment where analysts and managers are given short time frames to research a topic they know little about.

In 48 hours, the groups of three to five students read relevant policy and research documents, write a memo detailing the evidence base and policy recommendations, and give an oral presentation to an audience of invited professionals and faculty. The 48-hour project takes place the week before fall classes begin, and incoming first-year students will have the opportunity to view the presentations as part of their orientation to the program. This component of the MPA curriculum has become a signature event and rite of passage each fall.

The Capstone Applied Research Project

In their second year of MPA study, students enroll in a two-term terminal project sequence that serves as the synthesizing Capstone of the curriculum. Working as student consultant groups, students conduct real-world, hands-on policy or management research for public or nonprofit organizations. A faculty member works closely with each student group on these projects.

Students have worked on hands-on research projects for federal, state, and local governments and nonprofit organizations. The type of projects the students conducted included evaluations, needs assessments, and a review of other regional governments' policy approaches.

In the Capstone, students not only carry out the hands-on research for a client but also develop teamwork and project management skills. They develop a larger professional network and put the "public" in public universities through their service to the community.

Sample Curriculum Outline

Fall Term, First Year

14 Credits

PPPM 618 Public Sector Theory

4 Credits

PPPM 628 Public Sector Economics

4 Credits

PPPM 656 Quantitative Methods

5 Credits

PPPM 623 Professional Development

1 Credit

Winter Term, First Year

12 Credits

PPPM 636 Public Policy Analysis

4 Credits

PPPM 657 Research Methods in Public Policy and Management

4 Credits

Elective Course

4 Credits

Spring Term, First Year

12 Credits

PPPM 633 Public Management

4 Credits

PPPM 684 Public and Nonprofit Financial Management

4 Credits

Elective Course

4 Credits

Summer Term

3 Credits


3 Credits

Fall Term, Second Year

13 Credits

PPPM 629 Public Budget Administration

4 Credits

Elective Course

4 Credits

Elective Course

4 Credits

PPPM 637 48 Hour Policy Project

1 Credit

Winter Term, Second Year

9 Credits

Elective Course

4 Credits

PPPM 638 Applied Research Project

5 Credits

Spring Term, Second Year

9 Credits

Elective Course

4 Credits

PPPM 639 Applied Research Project

5 Credits


Frequently Asked Questions about the MPA Program


  1. How do I learn more about the MPA program and who is eligible to apply? 

    We encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career in the public sector to apply! We have small cohorts up to 20 students with various backgrounds, ranging from those with no public sector experience looking to make a career change to those who have worked in the public sector for years. If you want to learn more about the program, we recommend you review this webpage first. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact Nicole Ngo, MPA director ( If you have questions about the application process or want to attend an information session, you can contact Bob Choquette, our graduate program coordinator (  


  1. Are scholarships and/or financial aid available? 

    Yes, and information about scholarships, graduate employment, and financial aid for graduate students enrolled in the School of PPPM is available here. We offer students merit-based scholarships (between $5,000 and $10,000) upon admission. No additional application is required to qualify. There are additional scholarship opportunities available to currently enrolled MPA students. We also strongly encourage students to apply for competitive graduate employment opportunities (GEs) within the School of PPPM and across campus once they are enrolled since students with GEs can get their tuition waived and receive a small stipend during the terms of their GE. Need-based financial aid is also available. 


  1. Can I work while in the MPA program? 

    Yes. Many of our students work part-time (and occasionally full-time) positions while pursuing their MPA. Depending on their schedule, students who work may take longer to graduate, but they can remain in the program for up to 7 years after admission. 


  1. Is this a hybrid or online degree program? 

    No, we are an in-person program, though we offer some remote courses. 


  1. Do you offer application fee waivers? 

    Currently, we do not offer application fee waivers. 


  1. Can I pursue a dual (concurrent) masters degree program? 

    Yes. We’ve had students pursue concurrent degrees within the School of PPPM and across campus. 


  1. Are there opportunities for professional development? 

    Yes. Our fantastic internship and careers services director is dedicated to supporting our MPA students. 


  1. Do I need to have an adviser before applying? 

    No, this is not required. Upon enrollment, you will be assigned an adviser. 

See also: MPA Program Study Plan and Division of Graduate Studies Summary of Master's Degree Minimum Requirements


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