The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Wichita State University's Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs is a two year full-time or three year part-time program that offers a professional education designed to prepare students to make important management and policy contributions in public and nonprofit organizations.
Instruction in public management, public finance and public policy prepares students for positions of leadership. The degree is structured to respond to the unique student body of an urban university.
Applicants for the Master of Public Administration degree program must meet the following requirements for admission to the Wichita State University Graduate School: *Faculty will consider exceptions to the minimum grade point requirement (3.0 in the last 60 hours) based on a student's academic record, career plans, work and volunteer experience, and letters of reference. In reviewing requests for exceptions, faculty give consideration to achieving a diverse student body, racially and culturally, and a balance of pre-service and in-service students.
- Completion of undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- Grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) in the last 60 hours, including any post-graduate work.*
- International students must attain a minimum score of 575 paper-based, or 88 Internet-based on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or an overall band score of 7.0 on the IELTS.
*Faculty will consider exceptions to the minimum grade point requirement (3.0 in the last 60 hours) based on a student's academic record, career plans, work and volunteer experience, and letters of reference. In reviewing requests for exceptions, faculty give consideration to achieving a diverse student body, racially and culturally, and a balance of pre-service and in-service students.
Complete the Wichita State Graduate School application and submit to WSU Graduate School. Application will include the following:
- Letter of application outlining your career plans and how the MPA degree would further those plans
- A resume including your work and volunteer experience
- Two letters of reference from individuals with direct knowledge of your work experience or academic performance
The Master of Public Administration degree consists of 39 graduate hours, 24 of those hours being required core courses. The degree is available both in-person and online. The core courses include:
- Public Administration 701: Public and Nonprofit Governance
- Public Administration 702: Research Methods in Public Administration
- Public Administration 710: Public Sector Organizational Theory and Behavior
- Public Administration 725: Public Management of Human Resources
- Public Administration 765: Public Sector Economics
- Public Administration 802: Quantitative Methods for Public Sector Professionals
- Public Administration 865: Public and Nonprofit Financial Management
- Public Administration 895: Public Decision Making
There are no prerequisites for the MPA program. Students develop a Plan of Study in consultation with and approval by their faculty advisor and the graduate coordinator. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the 15 hours of electives to tailor educational experiences to career goals. Common choices for electives emphasize public management, public finance or public policy.
A fast-track option does not exist in which a student can complete both a bachelor's degree and a Master of Public Administration degree. An undergraduate student, within 10 hours of completing their degree and with 3.0 GPA or greater, may take graduate courses during their final semester under the University's Senior Rule option.
- A typical full-time student taking 3 courses (9 credit hours) per semester can obtain
the Master of Public Administration degree in 2 years.
→ Year 1: Fall - 3 courses; Spring - 3 courses; Summer - 1 course
→ Year 2: Fall - 3 courses; Spring - 3 courses
- A typical part-time student taking 2 courses (6 credit hours) per semester can obtain the Master of Public Administration degree in 3 years.
- A part-time student taking 1 course (3 credit hours) per semester can obtain the Master of Public Administration degree in 5 years.
Students with limited work experience in the public sector are encouraged to consider an internship as part of their MPA program. Intern positions are remunerative and awarded on a competitive basis.
- The Master of Public Administration degree is designed for students to begin study in the fall semester.
- The deadline for departmental financial aid is February 15.
- The preferred deadline for MPA degree/certificate applications for fall semester admission is August 1.
- The preferred deadline for MPA degree/certificate applications for spring semester admission is December 1.
- The preferred deadline for MPA degree/certificate applications for summer semester admission is May 1.
The Master of Public Administration degree draws upon the methods and perspectives of the social and behavioral sciences, economics and the humanities. The link between these disciplines and the challenges of public management are emphasized through the use of practitioners in the classroom, policy-relevant research assignments, public affairs seminars and internships.
Teaching faculty have significant professional experience in state and local government and are engaged in cutting-edge research relevant to public and nonprofit organizations in Kansas. This experience allows faculty to bring pertinent perspectives on public management into the classroom.
Hugo Wall Graduate Assistants and Fellowships
Each year the Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs awards eight to ten graduate assistantships to outstanding students pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at Wichita State University. Graduate assistants work directly with faculty and staff on research and community service projects through the Kansas Public Finance Center and Environmental Finance Center.
Graduate assistantships are awarded primarily on the basis of a student's academic record, demonstrated leadership abilities and potential for success in the field of public and nonprofit management. To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, a student must be admitted to the Master of Public Administration in full standing meeting minimum 3.0 GPA requirements.
Assistants are expected to work 20 hours per week and pursue their graduate degree on a full-time basis. Currently, assistants earn a stipend of $10,500 for a nine-month appointment. Graduate assistants are also eligible to apply for fellowships which are awarded competitively.
Four endowed fellowships in the Hugo Wall School provide financial assistance to students enrolled in the Master of Public Administration degree. These fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis with preference given to graduate assistants showing exemplary records and specific career interests in the field of public administration. Applications are due Febuary 15 for Hugo Wall graduate research assistantships and fellowships that begin in the fall.
The following fellowships are available:
- The Hugo Wall Fellowship was established in 1973 to honor the contributions made to community service and the field of public administration by the late Professor Hugo Wall. Hugo Wall fellowships are awarded to outstanding students with a career interest in public administration.
- The George Pyle Fellowship was initiated in 1990 by members of the Wichita State University Managers Association (WSUMA), to honor George Pyle's thirty-nine years of service in the field of city management, the last twenty-two years as city manager of Hutchinson, Kansas. George Pyle Fellowships are awarded to graduate students planning careers as city or county managers.
- The George Van Riper Fellowship was established in 1997 from an endowment honoring the late George Van Riper, a graduate of the MPA degree program and practitioner in the field of public finance. Van Riper fellowships are awarded to graduate students planning careers in public finance. Van Riper Fellows work primarily on research and community service projects through the Kansas Public Finance Center.
- The Mike Hill Fellowship was initiated in 2001 to honor Mike Hill's 37 years of public service in behalf of the citizens of Wichita and Sedgwick County. The Mike Hill Fellowship is intended to provide financial assistance to graduate students with education and experience in law enforcement who seek to advance in the field of public management.
- The Donna Urbom-McClure Fellowship was initiated in 2020 to honor Donna Urbom-McClure's dedication to public service. The Donna Urbom-McClure Fellowship is intended to provide financial assistance to graduate students who hold a undergraduate degree from Wichita State University with preference given to those who are committed to giving back to their community through public service. U.S. Military Veterans are given highest preference.
There are a variety of external scholarship opportunities available to students with public administration research interests. Check back for updates and additions to current scholarship opportunities.
The MPA degree program is made up of 13 courses at 3 credit hours each. 39 total credit hours are needed to graduate.
In fiscal year 2023, Wichita State University graduate tuition is $307.98 per credit hour for residents and $756.38 per credit hour for nonresidents. Fees vary depending on credit hour enrollment. The total cost of the MPA degree for a full time student is $16,007.18 for residents and $33,494.78 for nonresidents.
Public Sector and Nonprofit Career Paths
Nearly 600 graduates of the Hugo Wall School's Master of Public Administration (MPA) program hold positions of leadership in state and local government and in nonprofit agencies throughout the United States. Although the majority are employed in public service, some graduates work in the private sector, while others have pursued additional study in law, doctoral education or other specializations.
An MPA degree offers many potential career paths and opens the doors to a range of careers. Hugo Wall School graduates hold a variety of public and private sector jobs both in Kansas, across the nation and internationally.
Total MPA Students Enrolled in Fall 2021: 74
|National or central government in the same country as the program||0|
|State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program||8|
|City, County, or other local government in the same country as the program||7|
|Obtaining further education||1|
|Private Sector but not research/consulting||2|
|Unemployed (seeking employment)||0|
|Total AY 2019-2020 Graduates||25|
|Total Students Graduated and Persisting to Graduation|
|Total Number of Students||33||10||19||22||24|
|City of Andover||Paid||Part-Time||1|
|City of Sterling||Paid||Full-Time||1|
|Saline County Kansas||Paid||Ful-Time||1|
|Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization||Paid||Part-Time/Full Time||2|
|Greater Wichita Partnership||Paid||Part-Time||1|
|Great Plains Nature Center||Unpaid||Part-Time||1|
An MPA degree offers a variety of employment possibilities such as:
- City Manager
- Finance Director
- Budget Analyst
- Economic Development Director
- City Clerk
- Management Analyst
- Public Works Director
- Policy Analyst
- Utility Director
- County Manager
- Program Director
- City Administrator
- Project Manager
- Program Coordinator
- Budget Director
- Risk Manager
- Contract Administrator
- Research Analyst
- Director of Development
- Associate Director of Philanthropy
- Chief Financial Officer
See our Employment page for current public sector and nonprofit job openings in Kansas.