Department of Political Science

Frequently Asked Questions about the MPA Program

What is the purpose of the MPA degree?
Our degree program is designed to prepare you for a rewarding career in public service or, if you have already made this important decision, to provide you with additional skills and knowledge necessary for public sector employment. The MPA program employs a problem-solving approach to public management issues and the analysis of public policy. It is designed to broaden your understanding of economic, political, methodological, legal, and social issues related to the management of public policy and management while also allowing you to develop expertise in an area of specialization.

How do I apply for the MPA Program?
In addition to the Graduate School's online application form itself, applicants need to submit GRE scores, three letters of reference, a statement of purpose, and official transcript from all undergraduate and graduate institutions which you have attended. The MPA Program also requests student complete a Personal Data Sheet (see attached) that gives us some additional information beyond the university's application form. The application for admission to the ECU Graduate School:

When are admissions decisions made?
Decisions about one's acceptance into the program are made by the MPA faculty on a rolling basis as soon as a complete application is received from the Graduate School. Official notification of admission decisions are made by the Graduate School. Notification of assistantships and out-of-state tuition remissions are made by the MPA Program Director.

How many hours are required for the MPA degree?
Our MPA program is a 45-semester hour degree program, with 27 hours of core courses, 12 hours in an area of emphasis of your choice, 3 hours of internship experience, and 3 hours devoted to an MPA Professional paper.

What topics can I focus on for my area of emphasis?
Students may choose from the two areas of emphases associated with the MPA Program, Management and Public Policy. Students who enroll in a graduate certificate program may count their courses for the certificate toward the Public Policy area of emphasis, but may need to take an additional 3 credit hours to meet the certificate requirements.

When are the classes offered?
The bulk of our classes are currently offered in a face-face format 6:30-9:30 pm Monday-Thursdays. Several courses are also offered each term online. We have six full-time and several part-time faculty members teaching in the program.

How many students are enrolled in the MPA Program?
We have approximately fifty students in the program each year, with a roughly even blend of part-time and full-time enrollees.

How long will it take to complete the MPA degree?
The MPA degree can be completed in two calendar years of full-time study if one enrolls as a full-time student. Since most the courses are offered in the evening or online, the MPA program is suited both for the part-time employed student and the full-time student. At this time, however, one cannot complete the degree wholly online.

Does the MPA Program offer any financial assistance to students?
The department offers several graduate assistantships and can offer an out-of-state tuition remission to exceptional non-North Carolina residents. The preferred application deadline for fall is June 1st, although if one is seeking a graduate assistantship then the application should be in by April 1st. A full-time graduate assistantship currently pays $9,000 for the fall and spring terms. Individuals seeking an assistantship or an out-of-state tuition remission should apply as early as possible.

Where can I find out about the faculty?
Check out the personal web pages of the MPA faculty; they contain information about the faculty's research, service, and teaching areas, including sample syllabi for courses each of us typically teach.

Who should I contact for more information?

Dr. Robert J Thompson
Director, Graduate Studies & Director, MPA Program
Department of Political Science
Brewster A101
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
252-328-5686 (office)
252-328-4134 (fax)

Overview of MPA Program (PPT)
Frequently Asked Questions
Admission to the MPA Program
MPA Graduation and Employment Rates
Out of State & International Students
MPA Personal Datasheet (PDF)
Financial Assistance
Getting Started in Your Graduate Program
Student Technology Resources
MPA Style Manual
Grad. Cert. in Community Health Admin.
Community Health Admin. Gainful Employment Info.

MPA Handbook (PDF)
Mission Statement & Objectives
Expected Student Competencies
Our Professional Values
Core Curriculum and Areas of Emphasis
Internship Requirements
Professional Paper
Post-Grad Intern & Fellowships
Grad. Cert. in Security Studies

Dept. of Political Science, Brewster A-124, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Phone (252) 328-6189
Fax (252) 328-4134