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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  May 28, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Public Administration

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Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Public administration is a field practiced at the intersection of the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. GSPIA’s MPA program trains managers to balance the needs of each community with its resources, promoting neighborhood development, effective local government, ethical leadership, and responsible business practices. Students acquire an incredibly diverse and flexible set of professional skills appropriate for careers in nonprofit agencies, government offices, and private businesses worldwide.

The 48-credit MPA degree is designed to advance the core value of social equity fundamental to today’s public management. GSPIA’s programs in urban affairs and nonprofit management are consistently ranked among the very best in the country. Additionally, GSPIA’s Center for Metropolitan Studies and the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership bridge the gap between theory and practice, allowing students to work directly with local government and nonprofit leaders. In 2012 US News ranked GSPIA #19 among all MPA programs for “City Management and Urban Policy.” A major reason for this strength is GSPIA’s relationship with Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR), where students and faculty engage in scholarly analysis of urban and regional issues. UCSUR promotes a multidisciplinary research agenda centered on economic, demographic, and social change in cities and regions.

Degree Requirements and Majors

MPA students may choose one of five majors: Energy and Environment, Public & Nonprofit Management, Urban Affairs & Planning, Governance & International Public Management or Policy Research & Analysis. Students may also pursue a minor in any of these fields, or in any of the following fields offered by GSPIA’s other degree programs.

Prior to graduation, students must also complete a 300-hour internship with an approval from GSPIA career services.

Joint Degree Options

MPA students are eligible to pursue one of several joint degrees at the University of Pittsburgh, including a joint MPA/law degree (JD), MPA/Master of Public Health (MPH), MPA/Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS), and MPA/Master of Social Work (MSW). They may also pursue a joint master’s degree through the Graduate School of International Cooperative Studies at Kobe University in Japan. An accelerated, five-year bachelor’s/master’s degree program is available to select University of Pittsburgh undergraduates.

Area Studies Certificate Options

MPIA students are eligible to combine their master’s degree with a graduate certificate from the University Center for International Studies, specializing in Africa, Asia, western Europe, eastern Europe, the European Union, Latin America, or Russia.


GSPIA’s Master of Public Administration degree is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA accreditation recognizes that a master’s program in public affairs has gone through a rigorous process of voluntary peer review conducted by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) , and has met NASPAA’s Standards for Professional Master’s Degree Programs in Public Affairs, Policy, and Administration.


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