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Why an MPA?

The objectives of this MPA program are to help students develop their abilities to:

  • Lead and manage in public governance and nonprofit administration in order to improve the quality of life in communities, states, and regions within the context of a globalized environment
  • Make substantive contributions to the public policy process through active and meaningful participation
  • Make effective and timely administrative decisions based on sound critical analysis
  • Articulate and apply ethically sound public service ideals and perspectives informed by credible theory and evidence-based research, and
  • Communicate and engage productively with a diverse and changing citizenry and public workforce.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Jan Hardt
Director of Political Science Graduate Studies (405) 974-5840

Dr. Brett S. Sharp
Public Administration Advisor (405) 974-5526

Master of Public Administration: A Degree for the 21st Century

Our Mission

The UCO MPA inspires public values by providing transformative learning experiences for ethical leaders striving to improve Oklahoma communities and the OKC metropolitan of students

Our Vision

As the flagship public service program for Oklahoma’s metropolitan university, the UCO MPA prepares students to advance to leadership positions in local, state, tribal, and federal governments, and nonprofit organizations. UCO MPA students inform public debate and address critical policy issues.

Our Values

  • Civic Engagement
  • Discipline Knowledge & Professional Competence
  • Diversity & Cultural Sensitivity
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Global Awareness
  • Pride in Public Service
  • Social Justice

What is a Master of Public Administration?

The MPA is an applied management and policy degree that prepares students for careers and positions of leadership in local, state, tribal, and federal governments; private firms doing business with governments; and nonprofit organizations. The MPA develops the skills necessary for today's public leaders to implement policies and programs that resolve important social problems by effectively addressing organizational and financial challenges. Public administration is an interdisciplinary field of study and this degree emphasizes key areas such as city management, human resources, nonprofit leadership, public policy, and international organization.

A New Degree with a 40-Year Tradition

UCO signals its emergence as a major, metropolitan university with the MPA, the most versatile and valuable degree for public service professionals. While among its newest offerings, the MPA continues UCO's longstanding tradition of educating students in public administration and public affairs.

The MPA program at UCO offers a convenient class schedule that includes evening and weekend offerings. It boasts a unique combination of liberal arts education and practical skills training and it offers personal attention from faculty who integrate academic excellence, rigorous research and professional experience. 

Commit to Yourself, Your Community and Your World by Earning the MPA

Career Prospects

The "graying" of the public sector workforce at all levels of government, especially among the mid-management and professional positions best served by an MPA education, ensure continued opportunity for career entry and promotional advancement for the next several years.

Growth in the nonprofit sector has increasing appeal for professionals desiring to pursue meaningful careers that really make a difference


Students are routinely placed in a variety of professional settings including local governments like the cities of Edmond, Harrah, Guthrie, and Oklahoma City; state agencies such as the Governor's Office, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, and the State Treasurer's Office; federal offices such as the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Secret Service; and the White House internship.

Prepare for a Career with Meaning

The MPA at UCO is a 36-credit hour program that is usually completed within two years of full-time study.

The MPA curriculum consists of:

  • six required courses (18 hours)
  • three guided electives (9 hours)
  • two general electives (6 hours), and a
  • capstone paper (3 hours).


Courses do not have to be taken in any particular order, but Public Administration Dynamics orients students (including those from other undergraduate majors and/or students who are returning to college after some time) to the discipline. Other core courses include Public Executive Leadership, Public Finance & Budgeting, Public Sector Human Resources, Public Policy Analysis, and Research Methods.

Admissions Criteria

Open to qualified students who have graduated with a bachelor's degree in any field. Paper or online application for admission is available at

A student may be admitted by one of the following three methods:

1. Minimum of 2.75 GPA overall or 3.00 GPA in last 60 hours attempted,
2. GRE Scores with a minimum score of 150 Verbal and 145 Quantitative. The Writing Assessment portion must be 4.0,
3. Possess a master's degree from an accredited university with an overall GPA of 3.00.