Master of Public Administration

Brian Williams MPA Director


Dr. Brian D. Williams, Director
Social and Behavioral Science Building, Room 201K
Tel: (409) 880-8110



Lamar University offers the master of public administration to graduate students interested in one of a broad spectrum of careers in public service - from management of public agencies to administration of non-profit organizations.  Available programs of study prepare Lamar students with the professional training, knowledge, skills and experience needed to successfully become an integral part of the efficient and responsive operation of the government. The program is designed so that practitioners can apply the knowledge gained to their daily activities of management and administration in a public organization as well as advising elected officials.

Many Lamar graduate students establish professional careers in federal, state, or local government agencies.  Alumni include City Managers, City Planners, Nonprofit Managers, Legislative staff and a wide range of other public service careers, while some have completed doctoral degrees in areas of Public Administration, Public Management, and Public Planning. 

Public Administration

A wide variety of career opportunities for those holding master's degrees is found in government and non-profit agencies as well as in private businesses and corporations, especially those subject to government regulation.  Employment in municipal government includes positions as city managers and assistant city managers, regional transportation and metropolitan planning agency directors and in water, drainage, hospital and housing district management positions.  Other career opportunities include those of legislative assistants at the state or national level and as representatives for private organizations in the state and national capitals.

Degree Delivery Methods

The Department of Political Science offers an On-Campus and On-Line delivery format. There is no difference in the quality of education that you receive, only the delivery format. We expect all students to perform at a level that employers highly respect and value regardless of the delivery method. The admission requirements and degree requirements are the same for both On-Campus and On-Line delivery methods.

Degree Requirements

To successfully earn the M.P.A. degree, students must complete 36 hours of graduate work. These hours include 15 hours of core coursework. The non-thesis track includes 21 hours of supporting coursework. The thesis track includes 15 hours of supporting coursework and 6 hours of thesis coursework.

Core Courses (15 Hours)
POLS 5330 Public Administration: Theory and Methods
POLS 5331 Public Organizations
POLS 5332 Ethics and Morality in Public Administration
POLS 5340 Public Policy
POLS 5355 Applied Research Methods

Supporting Courses (21 Hours)
POLS 5333 Leadership in Public Administration and Nonprofits
POLS 5334 Constitutional Law for Public Administration
POLS 5335 State Institutions
POLS 5336 Public – Private Partnerships
POLS 5337 Disaster and Hazard Management for Public Admin
POLS 5341 State Law and Policy
POLS 5342 Disaster Policy

Thesis Track (6 Hours plus 15 Hours of Supporting Courses)
POLS 5390 Thesis I
POLS 5391 Thesis II

* Students must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher for all core courses.
** Students must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the program to graduate.
*** Students must also successfully complete written comprehensive examinations after completing core course work but before completing 33 hours of course work.
**** No more than 6 hours of supporting course work may be transferred in and must be approved by the Department Chair. However, all core courses are mandatory as they will provide the base knowledge to pass the comprehensive examinations.

*See course descriptions.

Admission Requirements

All students seeking admission to the public administration degree program must first meet the required standards of the College of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also have the approval of the Department of Political Science.

To apply to the program, students must submit the following documents for the approval of the College of Graduate Studies:

completed application form
official transcript from each college or university attended
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
All applicants must meet the university's GRE and GPA standards according to the formula:
(GPA x 50) + (GRE Verbal + Quantitative) >/= 428
(Old (GPA x 200)+ (GRE Verbal + Quantitative) >/=1350)

A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in political science, public administration, emergency management, or the equivalent. Applicants with degrees in other fields are required to have taken the prerequisite American Government Course. Applicants who do not meet these requirements may be admitted but must complete POLS 2302 Introduction to American Government II during the first semester, alone or concurrently with up to 6 graduate credits, to continue in the program.

Academic Prerequisites

The following political science courses or their equivalents are prerequisites:
POLS 2301-2302 American Government and Politics
Students are not required to have completed these courses prior to gaining admittance to the graduate program but must complete the coursework concurrently with other required courses to successfully earn the graduate degree.

The following courses are not mandatory but are helpful:

POLS 3316 Introduction to Public Administration
POLS 2351 Statistics for Social Sciences
POLS 3340 Formulation of Public Policy
POLS 3390 Urban Politics
POLS 4341 Organizational Theory and Behavior

*See course descriptions.


Lamar University's graduate level political science faculty hold doctoral degrees and have extensive teaching experience. They are recognized in their profession and by their peers for publications, presentation and professional service.


Dr. Terri Davis
Dr. Bianca Easterly
Dr. James Nelson
Dr. Brian Williams

To discuss graduate opportunities in public administration or obtain additional information about degree requirements contact the Department of Political Science at (409) 880-8526 and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research at (409)880-8229. International students are recommended to contact International Student Services at (409)880-8356.