Mar 01, 2024  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Public Administration, M.P.A.

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University of Houston  > College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences  > Public Administration Program  > Public Administration, M.P.A.

The Master of Public Administration Program (MPA) provides higher levels of training and education for pre-service and in-service public managers, public policy analysts and public officials to address major public policy issues in a metropolitan scenario.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MPA program at the University of Houston requires an undergraduate degree* from an accredited college or university with a 3.0 (B) or better grade point average in the last 60 hours of course work. Successful applicants to the MPA program generally score in the range of 500 or better on the verbal and 500 or better on quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

*An applicant (domestic or international) has to be awarded his or her undergraduate degree by the end of the prior Spring semester for Fall application.

Application Deadline

All required application materials including official GRE Score report should be sent by

Spring application deadline: October 15th**

Fall application deadline: June 15th

**Due to the recent change in GRE and its test date schedule, we accommodate the application deadline for Spring 2012.  If you submit all required application materials EXCEPT official GRE score report by October 15th, we will extend the deadline for the arrival of your GRE score up to November 30th.

How to apply

Applicants should submit the following required material online:

  1. A statement of purpose for pursuing an MPA degree
  2. Three letters of reference (there is no specific form)
  3. Two hard copies of official transcripts from each university attended
  4. A completed application form (apply to our program through the online system)
  5. Official copy of scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)*
  • Requesting your official score: ETS GRE website*
  • Exam Schedule: Please check The University of Houston Testing Center or any college near you.

*The GRE score must be sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the University of Houston (UH Code for the GMAT/GRE is R6870).  GRE Scores older than 5 years will not be accepted.

International Applicants

To apply to the MPA program, students should submit the following online:

Application materials common for all applicants

  • A statement of purpose for pursuing an MPA degree
  • Three letters of reference (there is no specific form)
  • Two hard copies of official transcripts from each university attended
  • A completed application form (apply to our program through online application)
  • Official copy of scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Application materials and requirements specific to International applicants

All application materials should be submitted to Office of International Admissions. Your application materials will be processed at Office of International Admissions prior to our review.

Please consult the Office of International Admissions webpage for additional application materials and criteria including TOEFL.

  • How to apply (International Admissions)
    Steps in applying
    Residency Requirements
    Dates and Deadlines
  • Admission Criteria
  • Admissions Forms
  • International graduate tuition and fees

UH MPA Curriculum

12 courses - 38 hours for administrative track and 39 hours for policy track

Universal Core (4 courses required)

Study Track Core

The UH MPA program offers students a choice of two study tracks – administrative or policy – allowing students to take courses most beneficial to their career goals and community needs. The administrative track is more public administration oriented and the policy track more analytical. Both tracks require a total core curriculum of eight courses of which four are universal. The remaining four core courses are oriented to the study tracks. The required Capstone Problem Project is counted as one course. Three elective courses are required for an overall total of 12 courses or 38 hours for the administrative track and 39 hours for the policy track. The electives are tailored to the students’ specialty needs.


Three courses are required and chosen in consultation with advisor. Electives will be tailored to the students’ specialty needs and career goals using an inter-disciplinary approach across UH departments.

The elective curriculum is complemented by nine hours (three courses) in the students’ area of specialization. The specialization courses are chosen by the student and must be approved by the program director.

Early in the second year of the program students are required to submit a formal statement of specialization to the MPA Director. This statement should describe the specialization and the three courses, which will be used to fulfill the requirements. Electives will be tailored to the students’ specialty needs and career goals using an inter-disciplinary approach across UH departments such as:


Elective courses can be taken from UT health science center and Rice University through inter-institutional arrangements.

Examples of specializations include: personnel management; city management; environmental policy; and management for non-profits. Specialization courses can be taken in a variety of colleges throughout the University including Business, Social Work, Psychology, Economics, Political Science, Computer Sciences, Architecture, and Law Center.

Final Universal Requirements

(Required course)

This course represents the culmination of graduate work in the MPA program. This course permits the student to demonstrate mastery of the skills and knowledge acquired in their core and specialization courses. Each student is expected to formulate and analyze a real issue of public administration, organization, or policy; to examine alternative solutions or procedures; and to make independent and specific recommendations dealing with the issue.

Students should submit project proposal to the Director prior to commencing his or her project, as projects are subject to approval by the Director.

Certified Public Manager Program

Six elective credit hours will be given for new students graduating from the CPM Program.

For more inforamtion about the CPM Program, please visit the program website:

MPA Comprehensive Exam

At or near the completion of course work, students are asked to demonstrate their familiarity with the literature in the field and their ability to apply it to problems of public administration in a one-day exam. This exam is typically taken during, or immediately following, the last semester of course work.


Determined in consultation with advisor. The internship requirement is designed for those who have not had a full time work experience in private, public, or non-profit sector.

(No credit)

Visit the Master of Public Administration website.

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