MPA Handbook : Program Description

Minimum Requirements for the Degree

There is a minimum of 36 credit hours required for a grant of the masters degree in public administration. The 36-hour minimum includes 21 credit-hours of core courses; 12 credit-hours of electives; and the three credit-hour capstone course, PA 697. Students with no significant experience in public or non-profit administration or management will take three credit-hour internships designed to provide administrative experience. The internship course is in addition to the 36 credit-hour minimum. All students must take and pass the seven core courses described elsewhere; the three-hour capstone course; and at least twelve hours of electives. Electives are chosen under the direction of the student advisor. Elective courses may be taken from public administration courses, political science courses, or other courses within the university. All electives must be designated 500 level courses or above.

MPA Capstone

Expectations:  The capstone requirement within the MPA program represents the culmination of two years of study within the field. The capstone project is expected to meet the high standards for master’s level scholarship set by the political science faculty and by the university.  The project will be representative of the education and training received throughout the course of MPA study at ISU. The faculty expects that, as such, each capstone project will contain original research and critical analysis, performed by the capstone student under the direction of their faculty mentors.

Students should start thinking about their capstone projects early in their programs.

Presentation:  Each capstone project will be formally presented in PowerPoint to political science faculty and students during a forum scheduled for that purpose.  The forum will be held toward the end of the student’s last semester in the program.

Project Direction:  Each capstone topic and paper will be approved and directed by a committee of faculty mentors, the students’ advisor and another member of the political science faculty.  The second mentor will usually be the director of the MPA program. A third faculty member may join the committee if the project’s topic is cognate to that person’s area of interest. 

If the MPA program director is the student’s advisor, another political science faculty member will be asked to join the committee. 

The committee will help to mentor the student through the capstone process to help ensure the quality and timely completion of the project.

Final Approval:  Acceptable projects fall into one of three categories:

1)      An original research paper that involves a research proposal, data collection, analysis, and final write-up;

2)      A comprehensive and systematic budget analysis; or

3)      A policy analysis that involves impact evaluation or other kind of analysis.

Faculty mentors should be notified as soon as the student is beginning the process that will culminate in a capstone project.  The student is ultimately responsible for defining a suitable topic, performing the research, and writing the final paper.

Time Limit for Degree Completion

Students must complete all requirements for the MPA degree within five years of initial registration as an MPA degree-seeking student. Under unusual circumstances, we may ask the Dean of Graduate Studies to extend the five-year period.

Transfer of Credit-Hours into the MPA

Graduate credits earned in related graduate level courses completed at another institution or program may be considered for up to twelve credit-hours. Courses transferred in must be substantially the same as the courses they replace, or, if accepted as electives, must be cognate to areas of study within public administration or political science.

Sample MPA Course Rotation

 MPA Contract of Study
Core Elective Other
2007 Spring 606 3
Spring 607 3
Spring 658 3
2007 Summer 1 606 or 607 3
2007 Fall 605 3
Fall 601 3
Fall 621 3
2008 Spring elective 3
Spring elective 3
Spring elective 3  
2008 Summer elective 3
2008 Fall 697 3
Fall 695 3
39 21 12 6
Grand Total total core total electives total required
We agree to the proposed course of study, outlined above, for
Rachelle Martin.  January 3, 2007.
Advisor:   Core and 
Required Courses
PA 601--Intro to PA
PA 605--Org Behavior
PA 606--Public Personnel Adm.
Student:  PA 607--Public Budgets
PA 695--Internship   N/A because this student is mid-career
PA 697--Capstone
PSCI 621--American Institutions
PSCI 655--Scope and Methods
PSCI 658--Empirical Theory

Back to Political Science: MPA Handbook

The Catalog of Indiana State University is the document of authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalog supersede information issued by any academic department, program, college, or school. The University reserves the right to change the requirements at any time.