Master of Public Administration

What is Public Administration

Public Administration is Policy in Action

Public Administration is Government in Action

Public Administration is The Will of the People in Action


Why M.P.A. at Lamar

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 you 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 graduates can apply the knowledge gained to their daily activities of management and administration in a public organization as well as advising elected officials.

The program of study prepares LU students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to successfully become an integral part of the efficient and responsive operation of government on an environment that is becoming more and more diverse and global.

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.

Within the Department of Political Science at Lamar University, the Center for Public Policy Study works in conjunction with undergraduate research and the Fast Track B.S./M.P.A. degree to advance policy research that is of interest to the community and you in order to help solve the problems the community and local government faces through grant applications and internship coordination.

B.S./M.P.A. Fast Track Option

The fast track option allows exceptional undergraduate political science majors to earn dual credit for graduate courses taken during their senior year, and successful students will meet all department and university requirements for both degrees in 5 years. Prospective students will apply during their Junior year and must maintain a 3.3 GPA or better. High School Seniors may be eligible for conditional acceptance in the M.P.A. fast track program when accepted as a Political Science Major at Lamar University, but this must be requested through the department. Those High School Seniors accepted conditionally will be evaluated during their Junior year to ensure they still meet the requirements of the Fast Track option.

Political science majors interested in applying to the Fast Track Program should meet with the Department Chair or Department Academic Advisor early in their junior year to discuss the application requirements.

All Online Delivery

The all online option affords those that work in rural areas or are unable to attend courses on line to complete their educational goals. For example, the Game Warden or Emergency Services that must live and work remotely.

On Campus Hybrid Delivery

The on campus program operates through a hybrid function with some course work on campus and some on line. The benefits of the on campus program is access to scholarships, internships, and research assistantship opportunities. The world around us has become more global and diverse. With the introduction of COVID-19, we have found the need to work and live remotely and be able to communicate in a virtual world.

M.P.A. 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.


Qualifying Comprehensive Examinations

The qualifying written exams is constructed with a total of two examinations the cover the core portion of the program. These exams are conducted in the Fall and Spring semester. The student must successfully complete all portions of the exams to graduate from the program. The core will cover the general aspects of Public Administration, Public Organizations, Ethics in Public Administration, Public Policy, and Applied Research Methods. The purpose of the core is to demonstrate that the student has the ability to make connections between the core areas of study and properly apply research knowledge to solve the problems we face in the daily operations of government at all levels.

Milestones in The M.P.A. Program

1. Complete the core (15 hours)

2. Sit for the comprehensive exam

3. Complete all supporting Courses (21 hours)

4. Graduate from the M.P.A. Program

  • You may be enrolled in supporting courses while testing.
  • M.P.A. students will take POLS 5330 and POLS 5340 in their first semesters to lay the foundation for an understanding of public administration and policy implementation.

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