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Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Student at capitol

The program and services of Public Policy and Administration reflect the nature of the discipline of public administration, a mixture of theory and practice. The School offers a professional graduate degree in public administration – Master of Public Administration (MPA) – and is involved in a wide range of consulting services for the public sector through the Public Policy Center. Recent projects by MPA faculty include: the Idaho Public Policy Survey and the Mountain West Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute.

naspaa - the global standard in public service educationThe Master of Public Administration Degree

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the most widely recognized educational degree focused on public and nonprofit management. Boise State University’s MPA is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).  The mission of the MPA is to prepare pre-service students and in-service professionals for positions of leadership in public service. Administrators and other staff members in all levels of government, non-profit organizations and private sector governmental affairs departments take advantage of the general administrative and policy analysis curriculum offered. The MPA provides the theoretical and practical dimensions of public management necessary to assist students seeking public service careers.  Please visit the NASPAA website to view data on accredited Programs.

NASPAA Accredited - the commission on peer review and accreditation


Volume 1

What Can I do with My Boise State MPA?

Volume #2

What Can I Do with My Boise State MPA

MPA graduates serve in all levels of government in a variety of administrative, research, and policy positions for such diverse agencies as: City of Boise, U.S. Forest Service, Boise State University, Idaho Department of Commerce, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ada County Department of Development Services, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ada County Highway District, Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho Attorney General’s Office, Idaho Human Rights Commission, Boise City Police, St. Alphonsus Hospital, Idaho Tax Commission, Legislative Budget Office, City of Myrtle Beach SC, and the Bureau of Land Management.

Taking MPA classes prior to formal admission to the program

Students who have not yet been admitted to the program but who have been accepted into the Graduate College at Boise State may take up to 9-credit hours for one semester prior to admission (PUBADM 500 or PUBADM 501 are recommended). Pending approval by the student’s advisor and the Program Director, these credits may be used toward the student’s total required credit hours for the MPA program once admitted. These classes may be any combination of 500-level credits when space is available on the roster and with instructor permission.

MPA Degree Requirements

Requirements for an MPA degree entail 39 semester hours of approved graduate course work that includes 18 hours of public administration core courses,  a 12 credit hour emphasis, 3 credits of elective coursework and a 3-credit culminating activity.  In addition, students without administrative experience in the public or nonprofit sectors will complete a 3-credit internship.  The internship requirement is waived for those students with appropriate, documented public or nonprofit experience.

Graduate, full-time enrollment at Boise State is 9 credits per semester.  Thus, a pre-service student, required to complete the 36 credits and 3-credit internship, could complete the program in 5 semesters.  Per graduate college policy, students have up to 7 years to complete the MPA.

Transfer of Graduate Courses: Because of a cooperative agreement made with Idaho State University and the University of Idaho, the MPA credits earned at those institutions can, with approval, be accepted into the Boise State University program. Transfer of credit from all other institutions is limited to 9 semester credits.

Most classes are offered in the evenings from 6 to 8:45p. Some classes may be offered in a mix of traditional, face-to-face sessions with alternating online assignments. Students can expect a combination of seminar discussions, case study analyses, exercises/quizzes/tests, projects, papers, guest speakers or lectures in a small class setting (between 10 and 20 students).

Admission Requirements

Interested students should apply through the Boise State University Graduate College.  Admission requires three letters of recommendation, transcripts from all previous academic institutions, a personal statement, a resume and GRE scores (unless waived due to a 3.20 undergraduate aggregate GPA or a previous graduate degree). Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply to our program.  Boise State University and Public Policy and Administration are strong advocates of equal opportunity and diversity.

Curriculum Requirements

Core Courses

Core courses are intended to insure that each student acquires a broad range of policy analysis and management skills necessary for the changing public service working environment. These courses are based upon the core component requirements established by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.  All MPA students must take the core courses.

Areas of Emphasis

In addition to the core requirements, students must specialize in a selected area of public administration, completing 12 emphasis credits plus 3 credits of electives (selected in consultation with the student’s academic advisor). The electives may include a research project.  Students may emphasize one of three tracks: (1) general public administration, (2) environmental, natural resource and energy policy and administration, or (3) state and local government policy and administration. The general emphasis allows students to construct their own specialty that serves their academic interests and career objectives.

Check the Graduate Catalog for a complete listing of courses offered.  Selected topics courses are offered on an irregular basis.  Graduate courses from other disciplines may also be used as electives toward the MPA degree with approval of a student’s academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies per program policy.


The required 3-credit internship for students without substantive administrative experience in the public or nonprofit sectors offers an opportunity to link academic experiences with professional practice.  It can also be a valuable start to a professional career.  Internships are served in local, state, or national offices or in appropriate governmental affairs departments, or in not-for-profit organizations.  Internships are taken close to the end of the student’s course work.  Admitted MPA students with substantive administrative experience in the public or nonprofit sector may petition to have the internship waived.  Please review the program guidelines and contact the MPA Director or Internship Director with questions.

Public Policy and Administration delivers a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Administration. This certificate creates an opportunity for students who are in process on the MPA. View advising notice that outlines information of specific interest to anyone who might like to add the nonprofit certificate to their credentials BEFORE completing the MPA.

Contact Information

Program Director: Dr. Luke Fowler

Mailing Address:
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83725-1935
(208) 426-1476
(208) 426-4370 (Fax)

Physical Location:
Environmental Research Building
1295 University Drive
5th Floor, ERB 5146F
Mail Stop 1935