Thank you for your interest in the MPA Program. The information that follows has been prepared to address questions frequently asked by applicants to the MPA Program. If you have additional questions, please contact us at email@example.com or (610) 436-2438.
Yes, this program is specifically structured to accommodate professionals who work full-time and want to enhance their professional credentials on a part-time basis. All classes are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening hours. Students employed full-time usually take one or two courses a semester. The program is designed to allow a part-time student to earn the MPA degree in two to three years (including summer sessions).
Yes, although most students in the program work full-time and attend part-time, a number of students are enrolled on a full-time basis and complete the program in one and a half to two years.
No, the vast majority of students in the program have already gained full-time professional work experience prior to entering the program and are currently working full-time.
While both degrees focus on developing an administrative skill set, the MPA is more oriented toward enhancing the practice of these skills within the field of public service. The MPA program is most suitable for those whose interests primarily lie with operating in the area of public service, organizational development and "people management."
Individuals who are currently in the private sector will find the skills learned in the MPA program to be applicable and highly valuable especially for those in the area of "people management."
While the MPA degree is intended to be a "terminal" degree for professionals desiring to enhance their administrative skills, a growing number of individuals have gone on to pursue their PhD after completing a MPA.
No, the MPA degree is not meant for persons who want to earn a state recognized principal or superintendent's certificate. However, for a variety of other reasons, we do have a number of educators enrolled in our program who find the curriculum useful for their career development.
Individuals with graduate degrees in other areas have gone on to also attain an MPA degree and are required to fulfill our admissions criteria. Upon admittance to the program, the student will complete a minimum of twenty-four credits in order to earn the MPA degree. The specific number of credits required will vary depending on the student's background and intended concentration.
Absolutely. Students wishing to attain a second master's degree from WCU will meet all admissions requirements set by the Office of Graduate Studies and the MPA program and must earn a minimum of twenty-four credits beyond the credits applied toward the first master's degree.
International students should follow the same application procedures on the Admissions page. Additionally, applicants whose native language is not English must submit evidence of satisfactory performance on either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS–academic version).
Satisfactory TOEFL scores are:
Satisfactory IELTS scores are at the sixth band.
An official transcript evaluation by World Educational Services (WES) or any other NACES participating organization is also required.
This is a critical part of the MPA application. This question must be answered in essay form (your goal statement) and explain the applicant's undergraduate area of study, relevant professional experiences since receiving the undergraduate degree, and motivation for pursuing graduate study at this time. In addition, the statement must cover short-term career objectives (the next 3-5 years) as well as long-term objectives (10-15 years out). Please be specific about career goals as this information will be used for advisement purposes. Further, the applicant must include a recent resume.
Besides the full MPA degree, the MPA Program does offer a Certificate in Public Administration. Applicants must meet the same entrance requirements as for the MPA degree and complete the six administrative core courses, for a total of eighteen credits.
Yes, students majoring in other graduate degree programs may, under advisement, enroll in MPA courses on a space available basis. Approval is needed both from the student's adviser and the MPA director. Class priority is given to MPA degree and certificate students.
Non-degree students may, with approval from the MPA director, take up to nine credits without formally applying to the MPA Program. To be considered, potential non-degree students must submit copies of their undergraduate transcripts from all colleges attended as well as a resume.
An adviser is assigned to each area of concentration from among the faculty teaching in that particular area. Advisors are available during office hours and by phone, email and appointment.
MPA students often have their undergraduate degree in an area related to their concentration area; however, such is not a requirement for admission. Indeed, many applicants are routinely admitted whose academic credentials are in an area different than their intended MPA concentration. The career goal statement in the graduate application should address this change in direction (from an applicant's undergraduate major).
Many students in the program are already employed in the same field as their concentration, but this is not an admission's requirement. The MPA Program is designed to serve those seeking a career change, as well as those hoping to enhance their present employment. Along with earning a formal degree, students are advised to also "build a resume" to support their intended career change and to plan to take an internship or otherwise acquire appropriate experience in the career area into which they intend to transition.
No, even though the course titles may be similar, courses at the graduate level are qualitatively and quantitatively different from those offered at the undergraduate level. However, students with an especially strong background in a particular area are encouraged to discuss alternative concentration courses with their concentration adviser. Students have been able to broaden their backgrounds by substituting alternative concentration courses for those required in the concentration; approval to do so must be granted by a student's concentration adviser.
All Public Administration (PPA) core courses are offered every semester and some in the summer. The schedule for concentration courses varies by concentration, but most are offered at least once a year.
Possibly, but this is decided on a case-by-case basis and should be discussed with your adviser.
Yes, if approved, up to six credits may be transferred. The credits submitted for possible transfer must have been earned at an accredited institution and completed within the previous six years. A grade of "B" or better must have been earned in the course(s). Requests for transfer credits to substitute for PPA core courses will not be approved once a student starts the MPA program.
No, WCU policy does not permit the granting of graduate-level academic credit for life experience. However, students should confer with their concentration adviser regarding which courses to take that will enhance their background and not merely duplicate their previous experiences.
No, this program is not designed to grant credit by examination. However, students are encouraged to discuss their competencies with their concentration advisers and, with adviser approval, substitute alternative concentration courses for those which would merely duplicate past learning.
No, these courses do not focus heavily on "technical" matters but rather are designed to introduce the future administrator to these technical areas from a manager's perspective and, hence, are intended to give individuals the opportunity to become knowledgeable about these fields from a management perspective. No prerequisites are required.
The research requirements are all contained within the respective concentration areas and differ for each concentration. To gain a better understanding of research requirements, consult the curriculum advising sheet (available from the MPA Office) for the concentration or the concentration adviser.
The Bursar's Office will send a tuition bill after the student has properly registered for classes. All deadlines stated in the registration materials must be observed or the student risks cancellation of all scheduled courses.
WCU does offer payment plans for full and part-time students. Students should contact the Bursar's Office and the Financial Aid Office directly for more information. WCU does permit students to charge tuition fees on VISA, Mastercard, or American Express. If you have questions about this option, please call the Bursar's Office at (610) 436-2552.