From its creation, the University of Utah Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program has been rigorous, requiring integrated core and elective coursework, practical administrative experience and a major research paper. The founders were firm in their vision: the MPA Program would prepare graduates to deal responsibly with the processes of democratic government. Although the MPA has been revised and updated regularly to respond to the changing environment, including the growth of the nonprofit sector, its foci and emphases have remained remarkably stable. The MPA program admits about 50 students each fall and maintains enrollment of around 150 students every year.
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 through the west.
The U's MPA Program, established in 1976, celebrates 40 years of success. The first MPA degree was awarded by the U 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.
In 2016 the MPA program became part of the Programs of Public Affairs and operates in conjunction with the Master of Public Policy and Master of International Affairs and Global Enterprise. MPA degrees are conferred by the College of Social and Behaviorial Science.
The MPA Program is also NASPAA Accredited.