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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Policies

What are the requirements to complete an MPA degree?

1.  Complete or have waived American Government Pre-requisite

2.  Complete nine core courses (listed below)

3.  Complete five elective courses

4.  Complete internship or file internship waiver request

5.  Complete major research paper (MRP)

6.  Fulfill graduation requirements at least two semesters before graduation 


MPA Degree Requirements


How can I receive academic advising?
The MPA Program realizes many of its students work full-time and have other commitments, and therefore has tried to include the majority of information students need to know on the main MPA website. Students should also note the MPA Program Manager serves as the academic advisor for the Program. Students are welcome to contact the Program Manager for an advising appointment as often as needed to discuss academic planning, internship and career options, and Major Research Paper (MRP) topics. E-mailing the Program Manager is another option for students who have difficulty fitting meetings into their schedule.

Do evening students have to take core courses in any particular order?
There are no formal requirements other than for Capstone, but the following order and suggestions are strongly recommended:

Administrative Theory (PADMN 6300) *should be taken during the first or second semester of study
Nonprofit/Non-governmental Organizations (PADMN 6550) *should be taken during the first or second semester of study
Research Design (PADMN 6289)
Public Human Resource Management (PADMN 6360)
Public Administration & Law (PADMN 6210)
Governance & the Economy (PADMN 6335)
Public Budgeting & Finance (PaDMN 6380)
Seminar, Public Administration & Ethics (PADMN 6870) *should be one of the last core classes taken
Seminar, Capstone in Public Administration (PADMN 6890) *should be one of the last core classes taken

• In order to register for the Capstone course, students will need to have completed the following items:

  1. Turned in the University graduation application and the MPA graduation form by the posted deadline.
  2. Completed seven core courses.
  3. Turned in an outline or rough draft of MRP to adviser.


Am I able to take elective classes outside the Public Administration (PADMN) designation?
Yes. Elective courses may be drawn from various departments and colleges. Approval of the courses must come first from the program manager (before the course begins) to ensure the course has a tie to public administration. Students must also submit a hard copy of the first page of the syllabus for their student file to the MPA office--these must be received before a student is cleared to graduate.

If I take a 5000 level class, will it count towards my MPA?
Sometimes. If a class is offered at the 6000 level, MPA students must register at the 6000 level. Some 5000 level courses are acceptable as elective classes if they are not offered at the 6000 level. Please email the program manager the course title and description or a copy of the syllabus for review. The program manager will decide if the course is acceptable. Please note 3000/5000 level courses will not be accepted, and unless the circumstance is unusual, only one 5000 level course will be accepted.

Do I have to maintain a minimum GPA?
You must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA in your graduate work with no individual grade lower than a “C.”  You must also maintain a 3.0 GPA in core courses. Students whose GPAs fall below a 3.0, or who accumulate more than 3 incompletes, will be placed on probation.  Probation may carry specific requirements that the student must meet in order for probation to be removed.  

Do I have to write my Major Research Paper (MRP) in the context of a class?
Preferably. Once the course Research Design has been completed, the MRP may be written in any remaining course and should be completed by the Capstone Course. If the instructor agrees to supervise, s/he will set expectations for progress on the MRP that will be included in the final grade. If the MRP is not completed during the class, it can be finished in subsequent semesters. Please remember students must be registered the semester they graduate--independent faculty consultation (3 credits) is available for registration if students do not get their MRP's done during course work. Major Research Paper Guidelines

Who can supervise my Major Research Paper (MRP)?
Any regular faculty member and some adjunct instructors. Please see the list of MRP Approved Faculty. Faculty denoted with an asterisk (*) are MRP professors/instructors.

When do I have to complete my graduation application?

The graduation application is due two semesters before graduation and no earlier than one year before graduation.  

Deadlines for Graduation Application:

Springsubmit application for MPA by October 1, for the Registrar by November 1
Summersubmit application for MPA by March 1, for the Registrar by April 1
Fallsubmit application for the MPA June 1, for the Registrar by July 1

Graduation Requirements

When do I walk for graduation?
The University of Utah holds graduation and commencement ceremonies only in the spring. However, all MPA graduates are encouraged to walk. Please remember you are welcome to walk even if graduating in the fall or summer. Caps and gowns must be ordered ahead of time, but only sign up to walk the day of.  College Graduation Information

What happens if I do not enroll in any classes for a semester?

The University of Utah requires all students maintain continuous enrollment by registering for a minimum of three credits during every fall and spring semester from matriculation through completion of all classes. Students are required to be enrolled in at least three semester credits the semester they graduate. If students complete class work, but not their MRP, then they must enroll in three credits of faculty consultation the semester they finish their MRP and wish to graduate. Summer semester is only considered part of continuous registration if it is a semester a student wishes to graduate, otherwise students do not need to register for summer though many do.

If a fall or spring semester needs to be missed, please fill out a Leave of Absence Form from the Registrar's Office and return it to the MPA Office- a Leave of Absense (LOA) form cannot be filled out for a final semester when a student wishes to graduate. The form should be submitted as early in the semester as possible, with the cut off date being the final day of classes for the semester the student is not attending. The staff will obtain the required signatures and forward copies to the Registrar's Office.

What happens if I fail to complete a course?
Students are encouraged to attend classes regularly and fulfill requirements for each course. If an unusual circumstance arises, students can work with the professor to take an Incomplete (I) in the course (T in some instances is given rather than an I). Please be advised the University requires I's only be allowed if 80% of the course work is completed.

Students have one year to complete the course. If the course is not completed within a year, the I or T will turn into an E, which constitutes as a failing grade. Students will then be required to re-take the course. Students with three I's will be placed on academic probation.


Last Updated: 3/21/17