University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Program Details

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a two-year program intended for individuals who are interested in a rigorous curriculum related to leadership in public service. This mission-based program highlights innovation and public service values. One of the objectives is to prepare students for leadership positions in public service organizations. This program equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to apply practical scholarship to helping public officials and citizens understand and improve government.

The MPA program helps students acquire a variety of key competencies to better prepare them to meet the challenges of leadership. Students will learn how to lead, manage and engage their peers and others in public service. Individuals will understand social, economic and political context in order to make better informed decisions. Business-related competencies such as overseeing financial resources, managing human capital and managing work in order to meet the goals of public purposes are all covered in this program. Communication skills such as how to articulate and apply public service values are also emphasized.



The program integrates three different kinds of learning in order to best service their online students. Students participate in live online classes, which are delivered face-to-face once a week and are taught by UNC School of Government faculty. Self-paced coursework via multimedia formats prepares students for richer discussion, interaction and learning. Finally, hands-on learning is required through a professional experience component, as well as curating a portfolio that conveys a student’s progression through the program.

The program requires students to complete 44 credit hours of coursework. Of those credit hours, 29 are core courses and 15 are electives. The core courses include: Public Administration Institutions and Values, Public Administration Analysis I and II, Professional Communications, Human Resource Management, Public Financial Management, Organizational Theory, Law for Public Administration, and Public Service Leadership. Students then choose 15 hours of additional elective courses that align with their career goals or personal interests. Students are required to complete their portfolio, which serves as a thesis substitute. This portfolio should convey the skills and competencies a student has learned over the course of the program in relation to developing as a public service leader.

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    Program Overview

    • Degree Level:
    • Delivery Format:
      100% Online
    • Completion Time:


    Successful applicants for the MPA degree at UNC must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university or internationally equivalent bachelor’s degree. Academic performance is evaluated by grade point average (GPA), typically requiring a 3.0 or higher, and standardized test scores on either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

    Accreditation & Licensing

    Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    The MPA at UNC is part of the University’s MPA program, which is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the accreditor of public administration, public policy, and public affairs master’s degree programs in the United States since 1970.

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