College of Arts and Sciences
Master Of Public Administration

Public Administration

Is the Seattle University MPA program the right fit for me?

The Seattle University Master of Public Administration (MPA) program educates public service professionals seeking to advance their careers in local, state, or federal government or the nonprofit sector. Our graduates receive a holistic education that promotes service to diverse communities, and prepares them with knowledge and skills in critical thinking, analysis, administration, management, policy, and research.

What types of students are in the MPA program?

  • 85% of our students work full-time.
  • For students not employed or seeking to explore another field or sector of interest, the Seattle University MPA offers hands on learning and service opportunities in the heart of an urban community. Internships include: The Washington State Budget & Policy Center, United Way of King County, King County Council,  Swedish Health Services, and more.

What makes the Seattle University MPA program unique?

  • We are one of two NASPAA accredited MPA programs in the State of Washington.
  • We focus on social justice and the empowerment of diverse communities.
  • Service and research with faculty who are active scholars and practitioners.
  • We collaborate with a network of experienced students, faculty, alumni, and community leaders.

Are graduate degrees worth the investment?

  • Tuition currently is $674 per credit and the total cost for the degree is $36,396 (AY 2015-16).
  • The salary benefits of a graduate degree are exponential! Our graduates on average increase their annual salary by almost  $17,000 within three years of graduation. This means an approximate gain of $500,000 in additional income over a career compared to only having a bachelor’s degree.

How long will it take for me to graduate?

  • Our program operates on the quarter system (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer); most of our students take two courses per quarter, with an average completion date of two years.
  • All of our MPA classes are conveniently offered during the evening or on Saturdays.

What types of careers do graduates of the MPA program go onto?

  • Nearly 3/4 of our graduates continue to live and work in the Puget Sound region.
  • About 50% of our graduates work for government, and about 40% work for nonprofit organizations.
  • Specific examples include: Executive Director, Compass Housing Alliance, Community Engagement Director, Swedish Medical Center,  Budget Analyst, WA 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.

Are scholarships available?

  • The Collins Scholarship is a need-based scholarship awarded to new MPA students in their first academic year. Newly admitted MPA students are eligible to apply in their first quarter; recipients may receive up to $5,000 toward the MPA degree. Access the MPA Collins Scholarship Application.
  • The Excellence in Public Service Scholarship recognizes students with outstanding commitment to public service. Recipients are working in public or nonprofit organizations and are ready to take the next step to advance their career with an MPA degree. Access the Excellence in Public Service Scholarship Application.

Faculty-Student Research: Influencing Public Opinion on Climate Change

Although most scientists and policymakers believe that climate change is real and is caused by human activities, almost 30% of the electorate are not convinced. Institute of Public Service Professor Jonathan Pierce used a form of storytelling called “policy narratives” to determine best ways to explain climate change. Watch the video, and read the article and  here.

Alumni Profile: David Wilbrecht, City Manager, Blaine, WA

Blaine, Washington, a city of 5,000 people, is bounded by Puget Sound to the west, the Cascades to the east, and Canada to the north. As the third largest US-Canada border crossing, City Manager Dave Wilbrecht, MPA ’89, not only serves the community but serves the people of the United States. Watch the video and read the article here.


Student Resources