Graduate Programs

Public Administration student standing on the staircase at Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware.

Public Administration: M.P.A., 4+1

The program in public administration is offered by the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration. The mission of the master of public administration (M.P.A.) program is to provide diverse, talented graduate students with specific competencies for leadership and management, including the knowledge, skills and values essential to accountable and effective practice.

The M.P.A. program contributes directly to solutions to public challenges of our times through research and public service projects that involve students in experiential learning. The program also seeks to develop relationships with practitioners, fostering a professional focus and approach to public administration and nonprofit management and furthering the values of the field.

The 36-credit curriculum is divided into core subjects, areas of specialization, an internship and a writing assignment. The core curriculum deals with ideas and concepts related to the field of public administration, human resources management, public financial management, management decision making, quantitative analysis, information technology for public managers, organizational leadership, administrative/employment law and public economics. Specialization areas include:

  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Management
  • Policy and Program Development

Within these broad specializations, students focus in a topic area such as state/local management, educational policy, environmental and energy management, planning and infrastructure, international affairs, public policy analysis, financial management and health policy and management. With the approval of their academic advisor and the M.P.A. program director, students may design their own area of specialization.

Students must research, write and defend a management or policy brief under the direction of a faculty committee. With the approval of the M.P.A. program director, qualified practitioners may also participate on these committees.

All M.P.A. candidates must complete a professional-level internship (unless waived by the internship coordinator). Typically, internships are with governmental agencies, community organizations, advocacy groups, nonprofit institutions, or for-profit organizations engaged in the public good. Upon approval of the faculty, students may pursue a thesis in lieu of an internship.

Traditional master’s degree students can complete the M.P.A. program in two years of full-time study. Part-time and online options are also available. Current UD undergraduates can be considered for admission to the 4+1 B.A. in public policy/M.P.A. or the 4+1 B.S. in organizational and community leadership/M.P.A. Learn more about the 4+1 program.

Application Deadlines



January 15: To be considered for departmental funding
August 15: Final deadline to apply

SPRING: February 13: Final deadeline to apply.

UD Tuition

The 2021-2022 UD graduate student tuition rate per credit hour is $950.