Widener University’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program provides graduate education and training for individuals whose careers are in or closely associated with government and public affairs. Open to practicing professionals, as well as those anticipating careers in public service, the program develops and refines the skills that enhance job performance, create new job opportunities, and strengthen prospects for professional advancement. Based in the College of Arts and Sciences and administered by the MPA Faculty Advisory Committee, the program is part time and all courses are offered in the evening. Students seeking to enroll in more than two classes in a semester must submit a petition through the director to the MPA Faculty Advisory Committee for permission.
Widener MPA students are able to establish long-term professional competencies and achieve immediate gains in work effectiveness by completing course work that blends theory with practical applications and experience. The program includes a core curriculum combining course work in basic administrative and leadership skill areas with courses emphasizing the institutional, political, and ethical environments within which public administration takes place. Flexibility in the choice of electives allows students to tailor studies to their own interests and professional needs. In addition, specialized classes are taught by prominent practitioners with substantial knowledge and experience in their respective fields. Many courses periodically feature guest lecturers from the legal, governmental, and nonprofit sectors to add expertise and perspective to a wide variety of topics.
The instructional philosophy of the MPA program is to promote learning through discussion. To this end, we feature small, seminar-style classes and a diverse enrollment representing a variety of age groups, occupations, and educational backgrounds. Most students are employed professionals in the public or nonprofit sectors and bring varied experiences and perspectives to class discussions of policy and management topics.
The program works closely with Widener’s Career Design and Development Office for information and support relating to internship and job placement opportunities in the Delaware Valley region. Faculty networks and contacts through fellow students also enhance prospects for such opportunities. Graduates of the MPA program have prospered in a range of career fields, while delivering valued public service for nonprofit organizations and at all levels of government.
In recognition for its commitment to promoting excellence in education and training for public service, the program obtained institutional membership status in the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) in 2001.
An applicant for admission to the Master of Public Administration program must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Applicants with GPAs below 3.0 or limited academic course work in related fields may be admitted on a probationary basis if they provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate competence to perform graduate-level work. Probationary students must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or better in their first six credit hours of course work to continue in the program. Candidates are considered for admission after submitting:
- A completed application form.
- The nonrefundable application fee ($25).
- Two letters of recommendation. One of these letters must be from someone who is familiar with the applicant’s ability to undertake graduate-level academic work, such as a former professor. If no such person is available to make an evaluation, such as for students who completed their undergraduate work more than four years prior to the application date, the applicant must submit a third letter of recommendation.
- Transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
- A one-page statement describing reasons and expectations for study in the program.
GRE scores will be considered as part of an application but are not required.
All inquiries and submissions should be addressed to:
Master of Public Administration
One University Place
Chester, PA 19013
International students should consult the International Student Services web page at www.widener.edu for international graduate student guidelines or contact the Office of International Student Services at Widener University, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013; phone: 610-499-4499.
Students accepted for admission to the Master of Public Administration program may transfer a maximum of 6 semester hours of previous graduate course work. To be accepted for transfer credit, graduate course work must be recent (within 5 calendar years); indicate a high degree of scholarship (a grade of A or B); and conform to the curricular philosophy established by the MPA Advisory Committee. When petitioning to have transfer credits applied toward the MPA degree, students must file official transcripts and course descriptions from all relevant graduate institutions.
Matriculating—A student who meets all entrance requirements and is working in a program toward a graduate degree is said to be matriculated.
Auditing—Students are permitted to audit courses with the approval of both the director and the instructor. No grade or credit is given. Full tuition and fees for the course must be paid.
Visiting—Individuals seeking to enhance their knowledge in a distinct topic area may complete up to two core or elective courses (6 credits maximum) without formally matriculating into the program. Interested individuals must provide evidence of a bachelor’s degree to the program director prior to registering as a visiting student. All course requirements must be completed and a grade received. A change in status to degree candidate must follow the regular admissions process.
ProgramsMaster of Public Administration