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FAQ

Q: What undergraduate degrees are commonly held by MPA students?

A: Students in the MPA program come from a variety of undergraduate degree programs, for example, recent graduates of the program have undergraduate degrees in criminal justice, health-related fields, economics, social work, political science, English, paralegal programs, and chemistry. Most BA and BS programs provide the critical thinking, writing, and analysis skills emphasized in the program. Our students’ interest in a public service career is more important than any specific undergraduate program. Admission decisions are based on an overall assessment of a student's application and ability to meet admission criteria of the program. For admission to the program, students must meet both the general requirements of the Graduate School and the requirements of the MPA program.

Q: What kind of job will the MPA program prepare me for?

A: MPA alumni are working in federal government agencies, in state agencies, and in regional and local government and nonprofit organizations. Our graduates serve as policy analysts, program managers, budget analysts, researchers, elected officials, program evaluators, grant writers, community and economic development specialists, and government liaison specialists, to name but a few of the many jobs for which the MPA program prepares students.

Q: How long will it take me to complete my degree?

A: The MPA program is 39 hours and includes 27 hours of core required classes and 12 hours of electives. Full-time students – those who take at least 3 courses each semester – generally finish the program in 2 years (this includes at least one course completed during the summer).

Q: What skills and knowledge are important for me to be successful in the MPA program?

A: The MPA is a practitioner-focused degree. Through the core curriculum, students gain experience and knowledge in public management and human resources, public finance, research and policy analysis, program evaluation, and administrative or municipal law. Elective classes allow students to fine tune the skills and knowledge they will need in their chosen subfield. Our students enter the program at varying levels of familiarity with these areas. That is why the MPA faculty takes a hands-on approach to working with students to enhance student success.

Q: What level of academic performance will be expected of me in the MPA Program?

A: All graduate students at Eastern Kentucky University must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 (B average) on a 4.0 scale to be considered “in good standing”. Students who have a probationary admission status must maintain a 3.0 in their first twelve hours of classes or they will be dismissed from the program. Students with a clear admission status whose GPA falls below a 3.0 will be placed on probation and will have one semester to raise their GPA to 3.0 or above.

Q: Do most MPA students enter the program directly after college?

A: Our graduate students are about equally divided between pre-service individuals who have little or no work experience, and in-service individuals who are currently working. In the academic year 2008 – 2009, 36% of our enrolled students were in-service students. In 2009 – 2010, 40% of our students were working in public or nonprofit administration.

Q: Are most MPA students enrolled full-time in classes?

A: Full-time students are those who take at least 3 courses (9 credit hours) in the fall and spring semesters. In the academic year 2008 – 2009, 61% of our enrolled students were taking classes full-time. In 2009 – 2010, 73% were full-time students.

Q: What will the MPA program cost to complete?

A: The MPA program is a 39 hour program. All tuition will be based on a per-credit hour rate as set by the University.

Q: What kind of financial aid is available to students in the MPA program?

A: The department typically offers five graduate assistantships a year. These positions are very competitive and are offered to students with outstanding academic records. Graduate Assistants earn a stipend of $5,425 per semester, and also receive a tuition waiver of six credit hours per semester (fall and spring semesters only -- we don't offer GA positions that extend into the summer semester). Once students are selected as a GA, they are eligible to keep the position for two years. This brings the total value of the GA position to $31,252 for in-state students and $40,828 for out of state students, over two years. Loans are available through the Federal Perkins Student Loan and Federal Stafford Student Loan Programs. Contact the EKU Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Q: How are MPA classes delivered?

A: The MPA has 2 variants, a fully on-campus version that meets predominantly at night for 16 weeks per semester, and a fully online version that generally uses 8-week modules through the EKU E-Campus.  For more information on the E-Campus variant of the course, see the program page.

Q: How many students are enrolled in the program?

A: As of the 2014-15 academic year, there were 64 students in the MPA program enrolled in courses on-campus.  That year also saw the first full cohort of 14 E-Campus students.  The initial count for the 2016-17 is that there will be 27 MPA students taking classes on campus and 73 taking classes E-Campus.

Q: How Many students complete our program?

A: We look at the 2, 3, and 4 year graduation rates for our cohorts.  The last four cohorts we have full information on were

Cohort Initially Enrolled Graduated in 100% of Program Length Graduated in 150% of Program Length Graduated in 200% of Program Length
2010-2011 32 6 16 18
2009-2010 24 8 15 19
2008-2009 27 5 7 11
2007-2008 18 3 6 10

Q: Where do our students go to work?

A: In 2012 we began systematically surveying students about their job placements six months after graduation.  The response for 2012 was low, but has improved, giving us a better idea of where are students go.  Their answers for 2012-2014 are:

Graduating Cohort 2015 2014 2013 2012
National or Central Government (US) 1 1 2 0
State, Provincial, or Regional Government (US) 4 6 3 2
City, County, or other local government (US) 0 0 0 0
Government (non-US) 0 0 0 0
Nonprofit, domestic-oriented 1 3 1 2
Nonprofit/NGO internationally oriented 0 0 0 0
Private Sector - Research/Consulting 0 0 2 0
Private Sector - Not research/consulting 3 0 0 0
Further Education 0 1 0 0
Military Service 0 0 0 0
Unemployed (not seeking employment) 0 0 2 0
Unemployed (seeking employment) 0 2 4 0
Unknown 2 11 11 10
Total 11 24 25 14
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