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Department of Political Science

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Degree Programs and Funding

Embark on a transformative journey with our Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program, designed to empower you with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in today's dynamic public service landscape. 

Core MPA Program

MPA Curriculum Structure


Credit Hours 

Courses (3-hour course) 

Core MPA Courses 


Electives Courses 


Internship Course 

Capstone Course 




The MPA degree program encompasses a total of 39 credit hours. With a full-time commitment, students can complete the degree within 2 years. However, we prioritize flexibility, allowing you to tailor your pace to suit your individual needs and circumstances.

This comprehensive framework ensures a well-rounded education, combining essential core knowledge with opportunities for specialization and practical experience. 

Currently a USC Undergrad? Launch Your Career with Our Accelerated MPA Program

Undergraduate students may begin MPA coursework during their bachelor’s degree through our accelerated MPA program. Students can take up to 12 hours of MPA core courses that double-count toward both their MPA and bachelor’s degrees. Students can earn both degrees in about five years.

Apply to the Accelerated Program during the spring semester of your junior year (or at 90 earned credit hours) to kickstart your accelerated path. Apply to the full MPA program during your senior year (upon completion of your undergraduate degree), ensuring a seamless transition and an efficient progression toward your academic and professional goals.

Degree Details

Find more information academic bulletin and the MPA handbook [PDF].

Interested in a Joint Degree?

Students should apply for admission to the accelerated program in the spring semester of their junior year and then the regular MPA program in the last semester of their senior year. Find the initial application form through the Graduate School.

Do you want to earn two degrees at once? The university offers several dual degree options that allow you to complete both programs for fewer credit hours than if you pursued each degree independently.

  • MPA/JD This dual degree in public administration and law benefits prospective lawyers and other practitioners who wish to work at all levels of government and in nonprofit organizations or the private sector. Graduates gain skills to shape policies nationally and internationally.
  • MPA/MSW The MPA with a Master of Social Work equips graduates to promote the health and well-being of diverse and vulnerable populations by improving organization performance through teaching, research, advocacy, community development and policy analysis.
  • MPA/MPH An MPA with a Master of Public Health in Health Services Policy and Management prepares students to address policy issues and manage public and private healthcare agencies. Graduates are positioned to make valuable contributions in the field.

Be Prepared: Concentration in Emergency Management and Planning 

Select Emergency Management & Planning concentration for public service during crises. Enhance core skills with expertise in local, state, and national emergency planning, hazard mitigation, and response. 

You can also choose from one of our joint degree options, which allow you to earn two degrees at once for fewer credit hours than if you pursued each degree independently.  


We are able to offer students small scholarships on a competitive basis thanks to the Samuel H. Carter Fellowship Fund, Wriston Alonzo Hartsell Endowment Fund, and the Robert H. Stoudemire Endowed Fellowship Fund.

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