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Public Administration, MPA

Earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Seattle University. Gain skills for a rewarding public service career in government or the not-for-profit sector.

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About this Program

Holistic Education to Advance Your Public Sector Career

Our Master of Public Administration (MPA) educates public service professionals seeking to advance their careers in local, state or federal government or the nonprofit sector. 

Our holistic education prepares you with knowledge and skills in critical thinking, analysis, administration, management, policy and research. In our program, you learn:

  • Practical skills to address organizational problems.
  • Management and leadership skills that incorporate collaboration, teamwork and self- reflection.
  • Oral and written communication skills that emphasize cogency and professionalism.
  • Critical thinking skills to competently develop and design empirical research and engage in logical analysis.
  • Skills and expertise to be more effective participants and advocates in the public policy.

Strong Community Connections

You’ll work closely with government and community mentors as you earn your master’s degree in public administration.

  • Join a network of experienced students, faculty, alumni and community leaders.
  • Advance public policy research working with faculty who are active scholars and practitioners and experienced professionals in their field.
  • Focus on social justice and engagement with diverse communities.
  • Benefit from small class sizes and personal relationships for comparable cost to larger programs.

Designed for Your Career

Perfect for current or future leaders in the public or nonprofit sectors:

  • 85% of our 70 students work full-time during their time in the program
  • Hands-on learning and service opportunities in the heart of an urban community
  • Government and nonprofit tracks
  • Evening and weekend classes (on campus)
  • Can be completed in 2.5 years, faster than many programs
  • Start any quarter

Master of Public Administration Degree At A Glance

Learn how this degree from the Department of Public Affairs and Nonprofit Leadership will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

Our Mission:

Seattle University’s Master of Public Administration program educates public service professionals primarily in the Pacific Northwest. We develop our students’ leadership and administrative potential to address public problems in the government and nonprofit sectors.

Our Values:

  • Social justice and the engagement of diverse communities through policy and service 
  • Ethical standards of accountability, integrity and transparency in pursuing the public interest
  • Positive relationships that foster respect and fairness for colleagues and community members

Degree Requirements

MPA tuition for the 2024-2025 academic year is $849 per credit and is subject to change annually by the Seattle University Board of Trustees.

The MPA is a 57-credit program, so the cost for the degree based on the 2024-2025 tuition is $48,393. This number does not include fees, materials, books, etc.

Seattle University graduate public administration students should be able to: 

  • Effectively utilize established concepts of management and organization to frame and interpret organizational issues.    
  • Utilize reflective action to improve management skills.    
  • Apply, analyze, and evaluate theories of the policy process and economics.    
  • Ability to define and describe public problems and develop plans of action.    
  • Create appropriate research methods and design to support empirical research objectives.    
  • Develop analytical skills in the conduct of original research for the purpose of furthering social justice.    
  • Identify and explain public service theories, analyze public sector issues, and offer prescriptions for change.    
  • Demonstrate an understanding of equity issues in public service.    
  • Effectively communicate written research findings on public issues to diverse populations.    
  • Effectively communicate oral research findings on public issues to diverse populations.    

Below is data for MPA employment rates by sector for the 2022-2023 graduating class six months after graduation:

Sector Number of respondents who reported employment status six months after graduation
Nonprofit domestic-oriented 1
City, county or other local government in the same country as the program 8
National or central government in the same country as the program 0
Nonprofit/NGOs internationally-oriented 0
Employed-selected "Other" as their sector of employment 1
Obtaining further education 0
Unemployed, not seeking employment 0
Unemployed, seeking employment 2
Foreign government (all levels) or international quasi-governmental 0
Military Service 0
Private sector-research/consulting 1
Private sector-not researcher/consulting 2
State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program 4
Status unknown (did not respond to survey) 2
Total number of respondents 21
Total number of graduates 21

Our program operates on the quarter system; classes are offered Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring and take place weekday evenings or on Saturdays.

Most students take two courses per quarter; at that rate, the MPA can be completed in two and a half years.

Completion rates for the 45 MPA students who started the program in 2017-2018 admissions cycle:

Time to Graduation Number Graduated
Graduated within 2 years 8
Graduated within 3 years 27
Graduated within 4 years 37

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Support for Your Success

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Internships: Experiential Learning

Gain practical skills and forge connections with practitioners in the field. Some examples of past internship sites include City of Seattle, King County, Sound Transit, City of Bellevue and Enterprise Community Partners, King County Metro, State of Washington, City of Mercer Island and Seattle Public Schools. 

A student dicussion

Department of Public Affairs and Nonprofit Leadership

The Department of Public Affairs and Nonprofit Leadership educates students for positions of responsibility and leadership in local, state, federal government and the nonprofit sectors. The Department of Public Affairs and Nonprofit Leadership, consistent with the mission of Seattle University, is ‘dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.'

Thriving Public Administration Careers in the Seattle Area

Nearly 75 percent of our graduates continue to live and work in the Puget Sound region in a variety of careers, such as: 

  • Executive Director, Compass Housing Alliance  
  • Community Engagement Director, Swedish Medical Center  
  • Budget Analyst, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services 
  • Executive Director, SkillUp Washington 
  • Research Analyst, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 

Several of our MPA graduates join the U.S. Presidential Management Fellows program, a prestigious two-year training and development program at a United States government agency. Placements include Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Labor and National Institutes of Health. 

From Our Alumni

Derrick Belgarde, ‘13, ‘15 MPA

“The MPA program gave me connections and relationships formed through alumni and the Seattle University community that have broadened my network and provided the opportunity to serve on several boards.”

Master's of Public Administration

Featured Faculty

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about the program or application, we’re here to help.

Destiny Ledesma

Senior Admissions Counselor

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