May 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Public Administration, Master of Public Administration

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree Programs and Graduate Certificates

Department of Political Science
211 Anibal House
(248) 370-2352 • Fax (248) 370-4299

► Apply Online

► Class Schedule Search

Graduate Catalog Addendum   

MPA program director:
Douglas Carr
205 Anibal House
(248) 370-2972
Director of internships:
Diane Hartmus 
Program coordinator:
Jim Bilinski
(248) 370-4117

Program description

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) 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 MPA 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 MPA 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 MPA 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 Oakland University Graduate School by the semester deadlines listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.

  • February 15 (early) April 15 (regular) and July 15 (late) for fall semester
  • October 1 (early) and November 15 (regular) for winter semester
  • March 1 (regular) for summer semester
  • International applicants  

Application requirements

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

  1. Graduate Application Requirements  
  2. Additional department application requirements
  • MPA essay (Instructions 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 school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Oakland University Graduate School, 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.

The program welcomes students with a wide variety of undergraduate preparations. 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 Oakland University Graduate School. Detailed application information can be found at

Undergraduate preparation for the MPA

  • Degrees in a wide variety of majors will prepare the student for admission, providing that the record includes the minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Students lacking in this area may be admitted to OU as a post-bachelor student for graduate prerequisites with the requirement that the deficiency be corrected by completing appropriate coursework. A departmental adviser will plan with the student an appropriate way of addressing the deficiency. 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 36 credits in an approved program of study.

Course requirements

b. Concentration or electives (12 credits)

In addition to the 20 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 required “core” course which the student must complete. 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

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

c. Exit (4 credits)

Students must complete 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 MPA. program will be given for grades of C or above, the minimum satisfactory grade for graduate work is B. A student’s academic progress is monitored by the MPA program director. If a student receives a grade for any MPA course below C, an academic warning letter is sent to the student. With a second grade below a B, 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 MPA program. With a third grade below a B, 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 MPA director and the assistant dean of the Oakland University Graduate School. Regardless of their standing, all MPA students are encouraged to consult with their individual instructors and the MPA 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 Oakland University Graduate School.

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.

4 + 1 BS to MPA

The 4 + 1 Bachelor of Public Administration and Public Policy to Master of Public Administration (BS to MPA) option is designed for high achieving undergraduate students pursuing a Bachelor of Public Administration and Public Policy at Oakland University and wishing to complete a Master of Public Administration degree directly following. Students admitted to this accelerated program can graduate with a Master of Public Administration degree in five years.  Students wishing to acquire a specialized concentration may need extra semesters to complete the concentration.

The 4 + 1 BS to MPA allows students to take three graduate-level courses, PA 5100PA 5200, and PA 5300, and one 5000-level PA elective (excluding PA 5030), while still an undergraduate and pay undergraduate tuition rates. Within the BS requirements, PA 5100 replaces PS 3305; PA 5200 replaces PS 3320, and PA 5300 replaces PS 3325. 

To be eligible for the 4 + 1 BS to MPA option, students must

  • Have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher and;
  • Completed at least six classes of the undergraduate program major courses;
  • Apply for and receive delayed admission to the MPA program in order to substitute the graduate courses PA 5100, PA 5200, and PA 5300 for three undergraduate courses, PS 3305, PS 3320, and PS 3325. 
    Note: Students must receive formal delayed admission into the MPA program to be eligible to register for PA 5100, PA 5200, and PA 5300.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree Programs and Graduate Certificates