The MPA program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, housed within the Department of Public and International Affairs, offers critical skill courses for effective public and nonprofit policy and management, a flexible curriculum that allows students to fully prepare for career goals, outstanding faculty with academic and professional experience, full-time and part-time tracks, afternoon and evening courses to meet almost everyone's scheduling needs, and great internship opportunities. Most students can finish in two to three years. For example, students who want to graduate within two academic years, we suggest they take nine credit hours for four semesters and six credit hours during their first summer enrolled in the program. As of our current reports, 82.6% of students completed the program within the desired timeframe. 77.7% of part-time students finished the degree in under the designed program length, primarily due to summer course offerings. For a detailed report of our fall 2006 cohort rates, see Program Completion Rates (pdf).
The program requires the satisfactory completion of 42 credit hours of approved graduate level courses, 18 core requirements, 3 applied skill-based, 12 concentration requirements, 6 concentration electives, and 3 internship or practicum. A minimum of 39 credit hours is required if the internship or practicum requirement is waived. These core courses are designed to develop student learning competencies as outlined by NASPAA:
- To lead and manage in public governance
- To participate in and contribute to the policy process
- To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions
- To articulate and apply a public values perspective
- To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citzenry
Accordingly, we have detailed our Learning Competencies (pdf) to collectively assess the progress students make toward the reaching them by using a variety of methods including but not limited to case analyses, internship reports, student learning portfolios, and the capstone projects.