University of Vermont

Master of Public Administration

About Us MPA faculty and staff

Mission | Traditions | Vision

Our faculty include both accomplished scholars of public administration and experienced practitioners. And our students are a mix of part-time and full-time with varying levels of professional experience.

Being within the umbrella of the Community Development and Applied Economics Department provides the MPA program with an excellent opportunity for collaboration between program faculty and students, state and local government, and civic associations and non-profit organizations.


The Master of Public Administration at the University of Vermont 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.

Program Traditions

The MPA program at UVM capitalizes on these unique traditions that have direct implications to our state and beyond to the public administration needs of a changing nation and world.

  • The recognition and importance of community building
  • The tradition of grassroots democracy
  • A history of strong local governance with citizen input
  • A record of fiscal conservatism combined with "progressive" positive change
  • A citizen legislature with limited staff support
  • An emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and sustainability
  • Administrators serving their publics as "reflective practitioners"
  • A history of cooperation between private and public sectors for the public good
  • A vigorous non-profit sector, supported by citizens and organizations
  • A deep commitment to inclusion and cultural diversity

Vision: Community Engagement

To become the country's preeminent small, comprehensive MPA program.

UVM is a land grant institution, and as such has a long and rich history of serving the needs of the state's citizens. While the Land Grant colleges may have started out primarily as agricultural in nature, UVM, among many others, has grown into a large and diverse public university. As a symbol of that rich history of teaching, research, and public outreach, and as an example of modern education in practice, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UVM is an appropriate host for the MPA Program.

The placement of the MPA Program in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department (CDAE), a department with strong ties to UVM's Extension System, provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration between program faculty and students, state and local government, and civic associations and non-profit organizations. CDAE is home to the Center for Rural Studies, which houses and analyzes the state's census data, conducts program evaluation for state and local government and non-profits, promotes technology transfer issues for towns and organizations, and engages in a variety of applied research projects. The department also supports the development of the Office of Community-University Partnerships and Service-Learning (CUPS), initially funded through seed money from HUD, and sees it evolving into a comprehensive office for community partnership and service-learning for the entire campus. Drawing upon these resources, the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, and other UVM-based research and outreach centers of activity, the MPA Program is working to support the professional development and policy research needs of state and local government officials.

We draw upon the expertise of colleagues from across the campus and respond to the charge of our Provost to build a model interdisciplinary graduate program. In addition to the domestic and international community development focus of CDAE, we are working with colleagues in health care and environmental disciplines to further develop a bundle of high quality elective courses in these areas in an effort to provide our students with more opportunities to advance their expertise in one of these areas of concentration. We work with the Snelling Center for Government, a respected non-profit statewide, to support the growth and development of a high quality internship program grounded in service-learning principles and substantive policy research projects. This internship program compliments the emphasis that our core faculty have to bringing a measure of rigor to experiential learning opportunities and applied research.

Although practitioners comprise most of our student nucleus, we appeal to out-of-state students looking for an opportunity to study within the laboratory of the State of Vermont, a state known for its strong communities, high density of social capital, one of the largest concentrations of non-profit organizations per capita in the country, progressive state health care, advanced social service and environmental policies, and relatively easy access to state and local government officials and departments. We are in the process of establishing an identity as a "green" program, devoted to exposing students to the values of sustainable community development and social responsibility.

Last modified April 26 2010 10:54 AM

Contact UVM © 2016 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131