Graduate Overview

The Department of Political Science offers the following graduate degree:

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

Dr. Terri Davis, Director
Social and Behavioral Science Building, Room 201
Tel: (409) 880-8533


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.

Many Lamar graduate students establish professional careers in federal, state, or local government agencies.  Others earn master's and doctoral degrees in political science and teach in colleges and universities.

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 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, 15  hours of coursework in a supporting area and six hours, either from an internship in a public agency or non-profit organization, or from additional coursework. The core comprises the following courses:

POLS 5350 Administrative Theory
POLS 5351 Personnel Administration
POLS 5352 Financial Administration
POLS 5353 Public Policy Formulation
POLS 5354 Special Studies in Public Administration

*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 (US or international)
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 200)+ (GRE Verbal + Quantitative) >/=1350.

Academic Prerequisites

The following political science courses or their equivalents are prerequisites:

POLS 2301-2302 American Government and Politics
POLS 3316 Introduction to Public Administration
POLS 3319 Statistics for Social Sciences
POLS 3390 Urban Politics

*See course descriptions.

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.


Internships with area city, county and state government offices and in private non-profit organizations are available for qualified students to gain work experience.


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.
To discuss graduate opportunities in political science 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.