Sep 28, 2023  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Public Administration

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Department of Political Science
418 Varner Hall   (map)
(248) 370-2352 • Fax (248) 370-4299

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Program director:
Patrick Piskulich

Director of internships:
Diane Hartmus 

Program coordinator:
Suzanne Rossi
457 Varner Hall
(248) 370-4117


Program description

The Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree program at Oakland University provides a challenging education for individuals seeking professional careers and for those already employed in governmental or other public agencies. The need for professionals holding M.P.A. degrees is recognized due to the complexity of agencies at the state and local levels and the continued concerns for responsive and effective public service at all levels. The M.P.A. program offers a generalist foundation through a set of core courses that is bolstered with opportunities for specialization through its electives and the directed capstone project/internship option.


The Oakland University M.P.A. program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

Admission terms and application deadlines

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the semester deadlines listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:

  2. Additional department application requirements
  • Two essays (Forms are downloadable from
  • Applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater in their undergraduate degree.

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate study at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.

  • Undergraduate grade record that indicates above-average work (generally a GPA of 3.0 or greater)
  • The program welcomes students with a wide variety of undergraduate preparations, provided that certain courses have been taken and skills acquired as part of those programs. Applicants must meet the university’s general requirements for admission to graduate studies. Limited standing admission status may be granted to students who need minor improvements to their records, subject to approval by Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning. Detailed application information can be found at

Undergraduate preparation for the M.P.A.

Degrees in a wide variety of majors will prepare the student for admission, providing that the record includes:

  • Basic courses in political science, government, or public administration
  • Principles of macroeconomics (or an equivalent course approved by the director)
  • Principles of financial accounting (or an equivalent course approved by the director)
  • Basic statistics (or an equivalent course approved by the director).

Students otherwise qualified for admission to the program but lacking in these areas may be admitted with the requirement that the deficiency be corrected during the first year of the program by appropriate coursework. A departmental adviser will plan with the student an appropriate way of addressing these deficiencies. Credits earned to meet these standards will not be counted toward the total credits needed for the degree.

Related links

Degree requirements

The Master of Public Administration degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 40 credits in an approved program of study.

Course requirements

a. Foundation requirements

The program coordinator will review undergraduate transcripts to determine if these courses are needed. They are not required of all students entering the program and are not included in the 40-credit program total.

c. Concentration or electives (12 credits)

In addition to the 24 credits in the core curriculum, a student may take all 12 elective credits in one of five concentrations: court administration, health care administration, non-profit organization and management, local government management or criminal justice leadership. Each concentration has one course that is a “core course” meaning that the student must take that course. Students who pursue a concentration may need an additional semester to complete elective requirements. Students may also choose not to concentrate in one area, and may take 12 electives from among any the program offers.

1. Court Administration concentration

2. Criminal Justice Leadership concentration

3. Health Care Administration concentration

4. Local Government Management concentration

5. Nonprofit Organization and Management concentration

6. Electives option

M.P.A. students do not need to choose a concentration. Any 12 credits from the list below will serve toward degree completion:

d. Exit (4 credits)

Students will do either an internship or a master’s project. A student who has not had significant public service experience may choose to do an internship; others will be expected to complete a project.

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Department requirements:  Although credit for completion of a course in the M.P.A. program will be given for grades of 2.0 or above, the minimum satisfactory grade for graduate work is 3.0. A student’s academic progress is monitored by the director of the M.P.A. program. If a student receives a grade for any M.P.A. course below 3.0, an academic warning letter is sent to the student. With a second grade below a 3.0, the student receives written notification that he or she is on academic probation. A student placed on probation may be required to meet new standards to remain in the M.P.A. program. With a third grade below a 3.0, the student is notified in writing that he or she is subject to dismissal pending a review of the student’s entire record by the M.P.A. director and the Executive Director of Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning. Regardless of their standing, all M.P.A. students are encouraged to consult with their individual instructors and the M.P.A. program coordinator concerning their academic progress.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with the program coordinator, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the faculty program adviser and submitted by the student to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.

Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Doctoral students must submit an approved plan of study prior to completion of the first year of coursework. (See the Graduate Student Responsibility  section of this catalog.)

Note:  Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved.

Limited standing and special graduate status

Students who are admitted with limited standing to the program must have the condition removed before undertaking the second year of the program. Students who have special graduate status may take up to three courses in the program without formal admission to the program; to proceed further in the course sequence requires admission to the program. Upon attaining full graduate status, the student will receive credit toward the program for the work done as a special graduate student.



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