The Master of Public Administration degree requires 36 credit hours of course work and six credits of internship. The internship is not required of "in-service" students, those presently employed or recently employed in a substantive position in the public sector.The curriculum consists of a common component, a concentration and a capstone course. The common curriculum enables students to function effectively in the public and nonprofit sectors. Students will learn concepts of organization, public management, human resource administration, program and policy evaluation, budgeting and administrative law.

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There are three defined concentrations:

In addition, students may design an individualized concentration in consultation with the MPA director. The individualized concentration may draw upon courses in other graduate programs at JMU and graduate courses offered by other accredited institutions with approval from the MPA director.

Students who do not have a significant professional work background in administration are expected to complete a supervised internship with a public or nonprofit agency. The internship will support the student's concentration. All students must take the program capstone course in their final semester of study. The capstone emphasizes professional and ethical application and documentation of core public management competencies.

Students admitted to the program must seek advice from the MPA director before registering for classes. The director will also assist students in planning a program of study.

Current JMU undergraduate students can apply to participate in the five-year format of the MPA program. In the five-year program, JMU undergraduates may complete their undergraduate degree and the MPA program in five years by meeting admissions requirements of the MPA program and carefully planning their program of study with the MPA director. The five-year MPA program requires 36 graduate credits in academic course work and a professional internship. Students interested in the five-year MPA should meet with the MPA director early in their sophomore year to officially declare their intent to pursue the program. 

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