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Master of Public Administration

Master of Public Administration

The Great Reading Room in the OU Bizzell Libary.


The mission of OU’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is to equip students with knowledge and skills to adapt to changing public service environments and to work collaboratively to solve problems in the public and nonprofit sectors. We accomplish this mission through: offering a robust curriculum in a manner sensitive to the diverse perspectives present in Oklahoma, preparing our graduates to provide leadership and analytic skills within their communities, generating knowledge relevant to public service based on rigorous research, and engaging our community in teaching, research and service activities.

OU flag in front of the Bizzell Memorial Library.
Professor Alisa Fryar to the left talking with Associate Dean Kyncl.

The MPA is the preferred graduate degree for a career in public service, enabling our graduates to pursue a multitude of career paths in federal, tribal, state, local government, as well as the nonprofit, education and private sector.

Students graduate with an understanding and knowledge of government institutions, actors, and processes. As a professional program, emphasis is placed on learning the concepts, processes, and techniques associated with conducting society's business. The degree blends theoretical and practical dimensions while encouraging a broadened scholarly and professional perspective.  

The Department of Political Science, an academic unit of the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences, is the academic home of the MPA program. The OU Graduate College is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring academic quality and excellence with all aspects of graduate education at the University. All three units share a responsibility to guide, support, and enhance the educational experience of every MPA graduate student.

The MPA degree requires completion of 36 hours of graduate credit and is designed as a self-paced program giving both part-time and full-time students flexibility in completing the degree. Courses are scheduled in the evening, weekends, online, and during the day. The full degree can be completed on either the Norman or Tulsa campus.

Many prospective students inquire if our degree can be completed online. The OU-MPA program is not an online degree program. While our program does offer occasional online courses throughout the academic year, the degree cannot be completed online.


In order to be considered for admission to the MPA graduate program, students must first meet Graduate College admission requirements as described in the Graduate College Bulletin. To seek admission, students must apply directly to OU Graduate College Admissions by submitting the official online application form along with transcripts and the application fee. Students whose native language is not English are required to submit their scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL institutional code for the University of Oklahoma is 6879.

In addition, the MPA admissions committee requires all students to submit the following materials with their online application:

  • current résumé
  • statement of about 1,000 words or less articulating the applicant's specific preparation for graduate study, proposed fields of study and area of focus, and career aspirations. A compelling statement is a critical part of the application; the applicant should invest time in crafting the personal statement.
  • two letters of recommendation from persons in a position to speak knowledgeably about the applicant's academic ability. Typically, these would be academic references rather than personal acquaintances or employers. 

The GRE is not a requirement for admission.

Applications are accepted for summer, fall and spring admission terms during the academic year. To ensure your application is reviewed for the term you wish to enroll, the admissions committee strongly recommend that all applicants submit a completed application well in advance of the intended enrollment semester. Typically, the committee evaluates applications on a monthly basis to ensure that a recommendation is made expeditiously. The admissions committee reserves the right to defer a recommended application for another semester based on enrollment capacity.

All MPA students are required to select one of four concentrations when applying to the program. These concentrations are: General, Nonprofit Management, Public Management, or Public Policy.

Apply Here


The MPA degree requires the minimum completion of 36 hours of graduate credit.  Since we are certifying your competence to potential employers, we require that at least 24 of those hours be in Public Administration/Public Policy graduate coursework offered by the Department of Political Science. With the majority of your courses within the department, you will receive the high-quality education we have pledged to provide. Political science courses can be found in the OU catalog prefixed with "P SC."

The MPA degree program features great flexibility with course scheduling. However, your first six credit hours of coursework must be P SC-prefixed courses. To take non-P SC courses during your first six credit hours of coursework, you must petition the Director of Graduate Programs in Public Administration for permission; however, variances are unusual.

MPA Degree Structure
Required courses: 15 hours
Concentration courses: 9 hours
Electives: 12 hours

Total hours for MPA: 36 hours

Required Courses

  • P SC 5003 – Introduction to Public Administration (3 hours)
  • P SC 5143 – Program Evaluation & Applied Policy Analysis (3 hours)
  • P SC 5363 – Public Financial Management (3 hours)
  • P SC 5913 – Introduction to Analysis of Political & Administrative Data (3 hours)
  • P SC 5963 – Capstone in Public Administration (3 hours)

Total Required Courses: 15 hours

All students are required to select one concentration and complete nine hours within the concentration area. At the time of admission, students select one of four concentrations.

  1. General/Standard – Degree/Concentration Code M805/Q550
  2. Non-Profit Management - Degree/Concentration Code M805/Q471
  3. Public Management – Degree/Concentration Code M805/Q556
  4. Public Policy - Degree/Concentration Code M805/Q561

To complete a concentration, a student must have nine hours within the concentration area, with at least three of those hours being from political science. The general/standard concentration has no specific requirements concerning concentration electives and is the most popular concentration for our students. The nonprofit management concentration is designed for students who are interested in executive positions in nonprofit organizations and policy advocate groups. A concentration in public management is ideal for students currently in or seeking careers in managing federal, state, and local governmental programs. The public policy concentration is designed for students who are interested in policy analysis positions or political leadership roles.

MPA Program of Study (pdf)

American eagle statue.
Students walking on south oval sidewalk.

Dual Degree - OU offers dual master’s degree programs allowing students to pursue degrees simultaneously in two fields of study. To learn more about pursuing a dual degree consult the current Graduate College Bulletin or contact the OU-MPA program staff at


Student facing the front of a classroom.
Political science faculty member teaching.
Student facing forward in a classroom.
Student raising hand in a classroom.
Active Student Population45
Norman Campus30
Tulsa Campus15
Average Overall Graduate GPA3.80
Average Age30
Oklahoma Resident84%
Non-US Citizen
Hispanic Ethnicity, of any race14%
American Indian or Native Alaskan, alone
Asian, alone
Black or African American, alone
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, alone0%
Two or More Races21%
Race Unreported0%
White, alone55%


The MPA degree requires completion of 36 hours of graduate credit. A full-time student taking nine hours during the fall and spring semester can complete the degree in two years (less when taking coursework during the summer semester). A part-time student taking six hours during the fall and spring semester can complete the program in three years (less when taking coursework during the summer).  

The table below demonstrates the graduation rates during the Academic Year (AY) 2017-2018 for both the Norman and Tulsa campus cohorts combined. A total of 50 students enrolled in the program with more than two-thirds of the combined cohort graduating within three years.

Initially EnrolledGraduated within 2-YrsGraduated within 3-YrsGraduated within 4-YrsTotal Cohort Graduating
Photographer in foreground taking picture of a graduate and family.


Tuition (36 hours)$13,354$37,744$37,744
Fees (36 hours)$4,271$4,271$4,426
Estimated Total Cost of Degree (36 hours)

Cost of Degree Statement - All tuition and fees are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice. The total degree cost is an estimate based on completing 36 graduate credit hours and does not include discounted costs. Costs of housing, food, books, and other personal expenses are not included. All tuition and fees shown are in U.S. dollars. Course-specific fees are not included. Individual courses may have special fees associated. Late registration fees are applied to all students enrolling after first official day of classes. This is not a guarantee of future costs.


As the cost of higher education continues to rise across the nation, many students need financial assistance to pursue their education. OU Financial Aid Services awards and monitors all federal and need-based awards for students. For additional information on financial aid programs at OU, or to start your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) visit the Student Financial Center.

Financial Aid Services Contact Information

1000 Asp Ave., Buchanan Hall, Room 206
Norman, OK 73019-4078
(405) 325-4521

Types of Aid for Graduate Students
Below are a few select types of financial aid for eligible graduate students.

Federal Grants


Tribal Grants and Resources

Eligible American Indian/Alaska Native students are encouraged to contact their respective tribal agency for specific information and application materials for higher education grants, scholarships, and fellowships.  

Students may also contact the American Indian Programs and Services at the University.

Another resource of funding is through the Native FORWARD Scholars Fund, a national resource for nonprofit organization providing resources for American Indian students.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services connect eligible persons with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities by providing resources and other supportive services.

Department of Political Science-MPA Scholarships

MPA scholarships are available for enrolled students who meet scholarship eligibility requirements. Specific scholarships are the John Halvor Leek Memorial Scholarship, Walter F. Scheffer Scholarship and the Joyce and Edmond Peters Scholarship.

GI Bill

The OU Veteran Support Alliance is an excellent resource for GI Bill educational benefits available to students who are active-duty, reserve personnel, or veterans.

Graduate Assistantships

On occasion to support the teaching and research mission of the department of political science, graduate assistantships may be available to eligible MPA graduate students. To learn more about graduate assistantships with the department, please email


Direct Subsidized Loan

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Direct PLUS Loan

Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

OU Institutional Loan


The OU-MPA is comprised of seven nucleus faculty members pursuing active teaching and research portfolios. Many of our MPA faculty lead affiliated research units or hold leadership positions with the University.

Deven Carlson.

Deven Carlson*

Director of Graduate Programs
in Public Administration

Meg Myers Morgan.

Meg Myers Morgan*

Program Director - MPA Tulsa

Taylor Delaney

Aimee Franklin*

Alisa Fryar*

Hank Jenkins-Smith

Heyjie Jung*

Meeyoung Lamothe*

Scott Lamothe*

Joe Ripberger

Carol Silva

*NASPAA nucleus faculty members.


The career path of recent MPA graduates at OU is varied and reflective of students’ own interests and career aspirations. The majority of our graduates seek careers in the public sector; specifically, career tracks in federal, tribal, state, and local government. Other graduates are pursuing careers in the nonprofit or public sector.

Employment Sector# of Students
National or central gov't in the same country as program1
State, provincial or regional gov't in the same country as program7
City, county, or other local gov't in the same country as program4
Foreign government (all levels) or int'l quasi-governmental1
Nonprofit domestic-oriented8
Nonprofit/NGOs Int’l-oriented0
Private sector, research/consulting1
Private sector, not research/consulting1
Military Service0
Obtaining further education3
Unemployed, seeking employment0
Unemployed, not seeking employment0
Status unknown1
Total number of graduates27

MPA students are not required to complete an internship to obtain the degree, but many of our preservice students pursue internship opportunities.

  • U.S. Department of State, Office of Foreign Assistance, Washington, DC
  • Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, Norman OK