Welcome to the BGSU Master of Public Administration program

The mission of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program at Bowling Green State University is to educate students, preparing them to assume leadership roles in public service.  The program aims to provide the public and nonprofit sectors with talented and rigorously-trained graduates equipped to address problems and challenges now and in the years ahead.  It strives to promote intellectual development, scholarship, leadership, ethics and training in basic and applied research relevant to the public and nonprofit sectors at various levels. The program trains students in the theory, methods, and practice of public administration through a combination of coursework, research, and experiential learning via public service and client-based projects. The program serves its students, BGSU, the state of Ohio, the US, and the international community by promoting innovative and effective solutions in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Why Choose BGSU for your Degree?

The BGSU MPA program offers a number of unique advantages for prospective graduate students. The MPA degree develops the skills and techniques used by leaders and managers to implement policies, projects, and programs that resolve important societal problems while addressing organizational, human resource, and budgetary challenges. MPA graduates work in a wide variety of fields including all levels of government (international, federal, state, local and regional), non-profit organizations, international NGOs, academia and the private sector.


  • The faculty at BGSU are committed to teaching and research in their fields. Courses provide a blend of theoretical learning with practical experience. To facilitate learning, our faculty use a variety of teaching methods in the classroom. Case studies, conference sessions, simulations, debates and applied community projects are just a few of the classroom experiences that are typical of our program. As part of their course work students have written grants and strategic management plans for local community organizations, developed surveys to assess transportation needs and evaluate the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation programs and participated in a semester long labor negotiation simulation.


  • Many of our students receive funding either as Teaching/Research Assistants with Political Science faculty, or in other centers or programs at the University. Past assistantships have been held by students at the Center for Regional Development, Environmental Studies, COSMOS, Student Affairs, Facilities, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.


  • Interested students have had the opportunity to publish research with faculty and participate in academic conferences.


  • We require the following application materials: transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, three letters of reference and a 250-500 word essay explaining way you are interested in the MPA.
  • Information about tuition and fees is available at www.bgsu.edu/offices/bursar.

Further Graduate Education

  • For students who are interested in education beyond the MPA, a number of our students each year go on to pursue Ph.D. or other advanced degrees. BGSU MPA graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs at a number of universities including the University of Pittsburgh, University of Liverpool, University of Tennessee, Howard University, Wayne State University, etc...

The City of Bowling Green

  • Bowling Green is among 60 U.S. cities on a Forbes magazine list of "best towns and cities where your dollar will go far." It was included in the category of "Porch Swing" communities, which were defined as "vintage Americana suffused with parades, county fairs, and summer evenings playing kick-the-can. . . "This rural Ohio town is a downright friendly place with low-key charm and exciting educational opportunities." Figures on crime, unemployment, and stress levels were among the factors used to make the list.
  • There are extensive housing options within easy walking distance of campus, and shuttles run throughout the day to off campus locations such as grocery stores and the local hospital.
  • Toledo is located 25 miles away, and is home to a regional airport and train station.

Computer Lab/Office Space

  • Graduate students have access to the MPA computer lab in Williams Hall which has 10 computers and a laser printer, as well as a study/office area shared with graduate students in History and Sociology in the basement of Williams Hall.


 Click here to apply online

For more information please contact:

Dr. Shannon Orr
email:    skorr@bgsu.edu
phone:    (419) 372-7593

MPA Facebook Page


All courses numbered 500 and above are graduate courses.  If a 500-level courses is cross-listed with a 400-level undergraduate course, graduate students must register for the 500-level section of the course.  Of the 36 semester hours of course work, at least 30 hours must be graduate level courses at the 600 level or above.

No more than 9 credits may be taken as independent study and/or workshops.

Students must take a minimum of 33 semester hours of course work and either

  • three credit hours of credit for either a thesis and oral defense OR
  • three credit hours for the Capstone Course.

All students are required to complete 15 hours of core courses and 12 hours of specialization courses. The remaining six hours are electives.

Core Courses (15 hours)

Required of all students

The five required courses in the MPA “core,” each worth 3 credit hours, are:

  • POLS 6210 Public Administration Theory and Behavior
  • POLS 6260 Public Management I: Personnel Management and Leadership
  • POLS 6280 Public Management II: Budgeting, Fiscal Policy, and Decision-making
  • POLS 6200 Public Administration and Public Policy
  • POLS 6750 Research Methods

Students must receive at least a 'B' grade in all core classes.

Program Specialization (12 hours)

Our MPA program will offer students three specializations:  Politics and Public Policy, International Development Administration, and Environmental Management and Sustainability. In addition, a “planned program” option is available for students wishing to craft their own specialization.  Students choosing this option work closely with our Graduate Coordinator to ensure that the crafted specialization has sufficient focus and direction.

Students will complete 12 credit hours of coursework in their chosen specialization.  Each specializations has one required course, additional courses are chosen in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator.

I.  The Politics and Public Policy specialization prepares students to work in the local, state, or federal government or non-profit sector in the United States.  This specialization will be of interest to both newly-minted college graduates and mid-career professionals. It is geared toward individuals wishing to pursue careers in legislative politics, executive politics, campaign politics, polling, and/or political consulting, among others.  In addition this will be a track of particular interest for students wishing to do a Ph.D. in public administration.  Required Course for Politics and Public Policy:  POLS 6310 Seminar in American Government

II. The International Development specialization will prepare students to work for international non-governmental organizations or inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations and the United States Agency for International Development. Required Course for International Development:  POLS 6710 Seminar in International Development

III.  The Environmental Management and Sustainability specialization prepares students for work in the emerging “green sector” and builds on the BGSU Center of Excellence “Sustainability and the Environment.”  As an interdisciplinary specialization, students will be uniquely qualified to take on a variety of jobs and will be broadly trained in environmental management and sustainability.  Required Course for Environmental Management and Sustainability:  POLS 6450 Environmental Management

IV. The Leadership and Management Specialization prepares students to work in management positions in the public or non-profit sector.  Required course for Management and Leadership: Either POLS6540 Non-Profit Management OR POLS6410 Management in Small Local Government.

Program Electives (6 hours)

Many courses are available throughout the university for each area of specialization. Electives must be at the graduate level. 

Independent Studies/Reading Courses

Students with specialized interests in a topic may do an independent study course with a faculty member to supplement their regular MPA coursework. No more than 9 hours of independent study can be counted towards the degree.

Internship/Experiential Paper and Thesis

As part of the program requirements students are required to complete either an internship and capstone project, or thesis. Most of our students pursue the internship option as a means to gain meaningful work experience prior to graduation. Internships may be either paid or unpaid placements in the public sector, and may be completed either during the school year or the summer. Students with prior work experience may be waived out of the internship, but must still complete the capstone. 

Students should begin searching for an internship early in the school year as placements are competitive. Some suggested web sites for internship searches are available on the news and links page.

Recent Graduates have held internships at:

• United Way
• Alaska Coalition
• Center for Regional Development
• Defiance Environmental Services Office
• Wood County Economic Development Office
• Defiance County Commissioner Office
• Ohio Senate Office
• Art Institute of Toledo
• Federal Conciliation and Mediation Service
• United Nations – New York
• Canadian Embassy
• Bowling Green Parks and Recreation
• United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

For information on these writing requirements please click the following link:

Graduate Certificates

Students may also pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with the MPA degree. Students interested in graduate certificates should consult with the MPA coordinator as some certificate courses may also be counted as requirements or electives. Graduate certificates available at BGSU include:

  • Ethnic Studies
  • Quality Systems
  • Women's Studies
  • Geospatial
  • Organizational Change
  • International Scientific and Technical Information 
  • Public History


The Graduate Student Enhancement Program is designed to help the careers of graduate students, before, during, and after earning their degrees. Prior to the fall semester, a one-week GradSTEP seminar is held for incoming graduate assistants. This program is generally acknowledged to be one of the top professional development programs for higher education in the nation. Because a primary goal of GradSTEP is to improve the performance of teaching assistants and research assistants, the one-week seminar is required as a contractual condition for new graduate assistants.

MPA Students Association (MPASA)

The MPASA organizes professional workshops and social events for all MPA students.  Recent events have included: a grant writing workshop, a lunchtime research presentation series, a trip to Columbus to meet with the Governor and regular social gatherings.

Program Activities

The MPA program has a number of ongoing programs to support our graduate students.  The MPA International Student Mentoring Program pairs incoming international students with returning American students to help ease the transition to the U.S. and graduate school.  A series of professional workshops are organizes each year covering topics such as job searches, technology resources, applying for Ph.D. programs and advanced statistics.

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the graduate degree, students in Public Administration are expected to be able to:

  • Capacity to understand accountability/democratic theory
  • Capacity to understand the governance structures of government, non-profits, and for-profits
  • Capacity to identify and eventually manage public, private, non-profit collaboration/overcome conflicts
  • Capacity to understand and apply administrative authority (top down/bottom up/lateral)
  • Capacity to apply knowledge of system dynamics and network structures in PA practice
  • Capacity to understand political theory and practice
  • Capacity to understand and apply policy streams, cycles, systems foci upon past, present, and future policy issues
  • Capacity to understand how problem identification impacts public administration
  • Capacity to understand and carry out effective policy implementation
  • Capacity to directly or indirectly undertake policy analysis/evaluation
  • Capacity to directly or indirectly employ quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Capacity to directly or indirectly undertake program evaluation/action research
  • Capacity to engage in and eventually lead strategic planning
  • Capacity to understand and apply sound performance measurement and management practices
  • Capacity to understand and apply sound financial planning and fiscal management practices
  • Capacity to understand and apply organizational learning and development principles in practice
  • Capacity to understand the value of authentic citizen participation and engagement in PA practice
  • Capacity to understand the value of social and economic equity in PA practice
  • Capacity to understand the value of professional integrity/ethics in PA practice
  • Capacity to understand and eventually demonstrate the value of leadership to PA practice
  • Capacity to be or become a reflective practitioner
  • Capacity to undertake high quality oral and written communication
  • Capacity to understand and appreciate the value of pluralism, multiculturalism and cultural diversity
  • Capacity to be or become an active listener and responsive practitioner
  • Capacity to understand the value of and carry out coalition and team building
  • Capacity to understand and carry out effective human resource management
  • Capacity to directly or indirectly utilize information systems/technology in PA practice
  • Capacity to understand the role of media and public relations in PA practice

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review
Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Public Administration program is accredited by Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and is in good standing.

Professional Licensure (If applicable)
Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The Public Administration program does not lead to professional licensure.

Gainful Employment (If applicable)
Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The Public Administration program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.

Updated: 03/04/2021 03:53PM