Master of Public Administration

Transform your passion for public service into a rewarding career in national, state, and local government, nonprofit, or health care organizations, with a Master’s degree in public administration!

MPA Program's Purpose

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program combines a commitment to academic excellence with a concern for the applied aspects of public administration. It integrates theory, research, and practice in public administration in a manner that develops and enhances leadership skills, administrative capabilities, and management practices.

UW Oshkosh students gain advanced knowledge and top-notch training in managing governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, healthcare organizations, and other public service organizations. The program content will strengthen analytic skills, ethics, accountability, responsiveness, and public service leadership capacity.


MPA Program Goals

  • Students will demonstrate broad-based knowledge of theory, research, and practice in public administration, management, leadership, and policy directly applicable at professional levels in public, non-profit, and health care organizations.
  • Students will demonstrate well-developed critical thinking, problem-solving, and research skills in addressing contemporary problems or issues in the public interest.
  • Students will demonstrate strong, positive interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively with a diverse constituency both individually and in group settings.

MPA Students

The MPA program is the only graduate program in the state that is geared toward mid-career working professionals who are seeking graduate degrees or raise, or who are seeking cross-training to advance in the current fields, or who are seeking graduate degree to move into new fields. 

The MPA program is also open for pre-career students (recent graduates seeking professional degree before entering the workforce).

Diversity best describes our students’ backgrounds. Students range in age from 22-60, have a variety of undergraduate majors, and work in a variety of different settings in Wisconsin and beyond. Most students work full-time and take one or two courses per semester. Many also balance family and community commitments in addition to work and school. 

The MPA program is proud with its veteran students who have served in the military, or are currently in, or transitioning out of, military service. 

Many of our students come mostly from the Northeastern, Northern, Southern, and Southeastern part of Wisconsin. We have also had students from out-of-state mostly through the online MPA program (e.g., Michigan, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota) and international students from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Canada. 

Career-Oriented Curriculum

The MPA curriculum is composed of three parts for a total of 36 credits: Core Program, Professional Emphasis, and Capstone Experience.

Core Courses (27 Credits)

  • The Core Program includes coursework in public administration, leadership and ethics, organization theory and practice, analytic methods, human resources management, public policy analysis, public budgeting and financial management, applied economics, and a capstone experience.

Professional Emphasis Electives (9 Credits)

  • Students will select one of four professional emphases to complete the program of study: General Public Administration, Health Agency Administration, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, or Fire and Emergency Administration and Management. Each consists of three courses selected from a list of courses approved by the faculty adviser.

For complete curriculum requirements, please see MPA Curriculum.

Experienced Faculty

All MPA core courses are taught by full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members. Some have served as managers of public service organizations and leaders in non-profits. All hold doctoral degrees in their fields and have strong publication and service records.
During their time at UW Oshkosh, students will have the opportunity to work closely with faculty, drawing on their special skills, practical experience, and areas of expertise.


Small Class Sizes

Classes are small (capped at 20 students each). Small class sizes allow students to get to know their colleagues as well as to get personalized attention from faculty. Students also develop professional networks throughout the program that will help them in their career.   


State-of-the-Art Classrooms

All courses are scheduled in the newly renovated Clow Social Science Building.


Innovative Instruction with Technology

Whether on-campus or online, MPA faculty integrate technology-based and innovative pedagogy in a myriad of ways, creating a lively, modern approach to teaching, learning, and assessment.

Diverse Delivery Formats & Fast Completion

  • Students can select to complete the MPA program on-campus or 100 percent completely online, which allows students to find the option that works best with their schedule.
  • Classes in the on-campus program are also delivered in diverse formats: on-campus, hybrid, and 100 percent online, 
  • When on-campus or completely online, the MPA program can be completed in as few as two years.