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The Master of Public Administration Program at the University of Vermont joins vigorous study of the foundations of public administration with the practice of public administration in the real world. 

Vermont's small size, open local and state government, and wealth of nonprofit organizations make for an ideal environment in which to directly engage with the public administration field. Our MPA program is a professional interdisciplinary degree that prepares pre and in-service leaders, managers and policy analysts by combining the theoretical and practical foundations of public administration focusing on the complexity of governance systems and the democratic, collaborative traditions that are a hallmark of Vermont communities.  

Read more about the MPA Program's mission, traditions, and vision.

Current UVM undergrad interested in the MPA Program? 

Check out the Accelerated MPA Program

 

Curriculum

Core Courses

PA301 Foundations of Public Administration (Fall)
This course is an analysis of major elements of management in the public sector (organization, personnel, budgeting) with special attention to problems arising from political imperatives generated by a democratic society.

PA302 Organizational Theory and Behavior (Spring)
(Formerly titled "Public Sector Organizations.") This course focuses on organizational culture, organizational learning, conflict resolution, leadership-followership, and motivation in decision making and brainstorming for alternative solutions by a competent and diverse work force. Specific skill sets are included for each topic, as well as outcomes assessment.

PA303 Research and Evaluation Methods (Fall) 
Data analyses and communication of statistical information for management decision making. Methods of modeling relationships, comparing strategies, and assessing probabilities. Instruction in computer use. Additional lab required.

PA305 Public and Non-Profit Financial Budgeting (Fall)
(Financial Resource Management) This course is an introductory survey of public budgeting and financial management. The purpose of this course is to explore fundamental ideas, concepts, and theories that contribute to understanding public sector revenue and expenditure decisions and to examine basic practices and techniques of modern financial administration, budget preparation, and performance measurement. The course will rely on readings, discussions and case studies that focus on state and local governments and non-profit organizations as examples. An effort will be made to cover federal budget systems as well.

PA306 Policy Systems (Spring)
(Formerly titled "Introduction to Public Policy.") This course helps students develop an understanding of the stages in the policy process and an understanding of the development of public policy in the intergovernmental system. Participants also study the analytical methods of effective policy in complex political and bureaucratic environments. Students become more sensitive to the analytical, political and substantive complexities of policy issues, develop methods of coping with these complexities, and become acquainted with the basic areas of policy formulation, implementation, and analysis.

PA 326 Community and Economic Development (Fall)
This course looks at how rural and urban communities address poverty, unemployment and other economic problems through job creation and retention, workforce training and support and other development strategies. We look at local economic development constituencies and goal-setting, economic analysis and planning, strategies and projects, resident participation and organizational collaboration, and implementation and evaluation. We address the links among community economic, social and physical development and issues of sustainable development. Burlington, Vermont will serve as the principal case study.

PA380 Internship (Fall, Spring, Summer)
The Internship experience is a key opportunity to put into practice the concepts and theories of public administration. It is critical in gaining experience, building credentials and networking for future professional opportunities. A three-credit internship is required of all students, and students may apply up to 6 credits of internship experience toward the degree. Students who work full time may do an "internship in place." 

PA375 Capstone (Spring)
The Capstone is designed to provide MPA students with a summative experience, achieved through the development of a final portfolio, that ties learning competencies to evidence drawn from their course of study. Students in their final spring semester of the program are eligible to take this. This course counts as the “comprehensive exam” for the Master of Public Administration at UVM. Examples of final learning portfolios:PDF icon Naa Aku Addo Portfolio.pdf

Additional 12 credits of advisor-approved electives. 

Elective Courses

         PA 307 Administrative Ethics

         PA 308 Decision Making Models

         PA 311 Policy Analysis

         PA 317 Systems Analysis & Strategic Management

         PA 319 State Administration

         PA 320 Local Government Administration

         PA 323 Nonprofit Administration

         PA 395 Human Resources Management

         PA 395 Resilient Communities: Designing Food, Energy, Water Systems

         PA 395 Multicultural Leadership

         PA 395 Sustainable Resources for Nonprofits

         PA 395 Housing Policy

Internships

Current Internship Openings

To prepare students for a career in public service, the MPA program requires a three-credit internship as part of the core curriculum (students can pursue up to six internship credits).   

Students have interned with nonprofits and NGOs, at the state legislature and with state representatives, in state government working on policy with various agencies, and with town or city office working on municipal issues. 

The MPA program created and administers the Governor’s Cabinet Level Graduate Internship program to provide students the opportunity to gain high-level experience working in a state agency.

Student Internship Placements

  • UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Swanton Enhancement Project, Town of Swanton, VT
  • UVM Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security
  • VT Housing Finance Agency
  • Department of Vermont Health Access
  • Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS)
  • Government Restructuring and Operations Review Commission
  • UVM Office of University Relations
  • VT State Dental Society
  • Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Mobile Home Program
  • VT Department of Environmental Conservation
  • VT Businesses for Social Responsibility
  • VT Agency of Human Services, Medicaid Policy Unit

Graduate Funding

CDAE offers a variety of funding opportunities for qualified students. 
Application deadline for fall funding is January 15 each year.

Types of available funding:

  • Graduate Assistantships
  • Hourly Teaching and Research Assistant Positions
  • Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowships
    Coverdell Fellows are eligible to receive six tuition-free credits toward their degree through the Peace Corps Analysis course, in which they prepare a paper reflecting on their Peace Corps service and the UVM studies. Coverdell Fellows will also be considered for additional financial aid on an individual basis. Reflecting the Peace Corps’ “Bring the Lessons Home” focus, they also commit to undertake 150 hours of community service over the course of their studies with local organizations of their choice.

 

Alumni in the World

As an alum of the MPA graduate program, you will be well-positioned for a career in an array of community development-related fields:

One hundred percent of our 2015 graduates are employed within the public administration field.  See chart of UVM's MPA 2015 graduates by employment sector.

  • Environmental Scientist
  • Social Media Strategist
  • Director of Planning & Development
  • Town Administrator
  • Development Coordinator
  • Manager of Organizational Initiatives and Planning
  • Outreach Assistant
  • Development Consultant
  • Director of Community Engagement
  • Director of Policy & Administration
  • School Program Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Mobility Management Coordinator
  • Program Coordinator
  • Department Administrator
  • Program Specialist
  • Deputy Director for Economic Development
  • Town Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Assistant Director of Projects and Engineering
  • Community Tobacco Specialist
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Admissions Requirements

UVM's MPA program is the only nationally accredited public administration program in Vermont. The program appeals to and accommodates the demands of both full-time students and professionals. To be considered for funding, applications must be submitted by January 15 each year. All other admissions are rolling.  

Admissions Requirements

Faculty Expertise

  • Public Aministration
  • Governance and Local Goverment Administration
  • Complex Systems
  • Nonprofit Administration
  • Public Policy and Policy Systems
  • Budgeting and Financial Management

Meet the Students

MPA Candidates have vast experience in public policy, governance, nonprofit administration, startups, and more.

Meet the MPA Cohort