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A Master of Public Administration, or MPA, is an interdisciplinary degree that builds professional knowledge and operating competence for managers of public and nonprofit agencies. The MPA program is designed for the working adult. Students are able to select their own concentration and set their own schedule from courses offered during the evenings, generally from 6-9 p.m. This allows students to take as many classes each semester as their personal and professional life permits. Depending on how many courses a student takes per semester, this degree can be completed in two years, but might take as long as four years.The MPA benefits both experienced public administrators and those seeking to start a career in public or nonprofit management. Our graduates enter the workforce with both enhanced general public management skills and a special depth in a particular administrative area, policy field, or level of government

The University of Utah Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program is a rigorous program that consists of integrated core and elective coursework, practical administrative experience and a major research paper. 

The MPA was built upon a graduate certificate program established in 1946 that had been offered through the Institute of Government and which required one and a half years of full-time effort. During the 1940s and 1950s, the certificate program was quite active, influencing public administration in Utah and throughout the west.

The University of Utah's MPA Program, established in 1976, celebrates over 40 years of success. The first MPA degree was awarded by the university in 1977. Since then, the program has established a strong local, regional and national reputation, producing alumni in all fields of public and nonprofit administration.

The MPA degree is conferred by the College of Social and Behavioral Science.


NASPAA Accredited

The MPA program at the University of Utah is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, the membership association of graduate programs in public administration, public policy and public affairs. NASPAA’s twofold mission is to ensure excellence in education and training for public service and to promote the ideal of public service.  NASPAA accreditation signifies that a master's program in public affairs and administration has gone through a rigorous process of voluntary peer review conducted by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA), and has met NASPAA's Standards for Professional Master's Degree Programs in Public Affairs, Policy and Administration.


Earn an MPA at the University of Utah

Flexible Class Schedules

We understand that life does not stop for school. We help students achieve a balance between work, family, and graduate school. The MPA program is designed for working students who wish to have the flexibility of evening , weekend, hybrid, or online classes.  Many pursue their degree while working full-time, volunteering, or completing an internship.

Pursue Your Academic & Professional Interests

We understand that MPA students have a wide array of academic & professional interests. That is why we give MPA students* the opportunity to take elective courses in other colleges & departments of the university, as long as the courses have a direct relationship with public administration. You can pursue your interests and passions, while still learning fundamental interdisciplinary skills in public policy, law, ethics, and leadership. 

Professional Experience in the Classroom

The MPA student body consists of both those that are seeking to enter a public sector career, and those who already have professional experience in the public sector. These working students bring professional experience into the classroom that enriches the MPA curriculum and benefits students that are new to the world of public administration. The wide array of professional talent also allows students to make meaningful contacts and increase professional networking opportunities.

Affordable, High-Quality Education 

 In 2016, Value Colleges ranked the Top 50 Best Value MPA Programs that "will pay off in the long and short run, with strong job market prospects and high ROI." The University of Utah MPA program was ranked 4th in the nation!


Primary Program Components

The Master of Public Administration program consists of the following three elements:


The University of Utah

The University of Utah is a Research 1 public university in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the flagship institution of the Utah System of Higher Education, and it provides its students with countless opportunities for learning, development, and fun. Check out the following videos to see more of our campus and Salt Lake City.



Life in Utah

In addition to a first-class education, students in the Master of Science and International Affairs program have access to some of the world's most spectacular views. Whether you like to ski in winter, hike in summer, or spend time out on the town, Utah has something for everyone!



Explore the Program

Last Updated: 10/6/21