Five-Year Two Degree Program


As you start making plans for your future career, you might want to consider the possibility of pursuing a Masters degree in Public Administration at the University of Miami. You might not be aware that an option exists for UM students to complete in five years both their Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Public Administration. Below are some details on how this can be done.

1. Degree Requirements. The MPA program at the University of Miami is typically a two-year, 48 credit program. Current UM undergraduate students who choose the five-year, two degree option can earn up to 12 of these credits with course work in their senior year. The remaining 36 graduate credits could be earned through full-time study in one year and a summer.

The 12 credits must be earned in classes selected from the following two lists. No substitutes are permitted. A grade of at least a “B” is required in any undergraduate course that will be counted for MPA credit.

Required MPA core courses:

  • POL 501 – Budgeting and Financial Management and Administration*
  • POL 510 – Political Analysis
  • POL 521 – Public Affairs Internship*
  • POL 522 – Introduction to Graduate Public Administration
  • POL 551 – Productivity in the Public and Non-Profit Sectors

The MPA degree requires a six credit internship experience. We strongly recommend that students wait until the end of the graduate program to do the internship. The greater the skills that students can offer to the agency, the more challenging the work they are asked to do. Also, internships often lead to full-time jobs after graduation. For these reasons, we suggest waiting to do the internship until the fifth year. However, if a student does elect to do an internship while an undergraduate the three credits will count toward the MPA degree, but another three credit of graduate internship experience also will be required.

Up to six of your 12 credits can be earned in MPA elective courses. Electives should be relevant to the student’s expected area of specialization. The following courses are ones the Political Science Department anticipates offering in the 1998-99 academic year that could be accepted for MPA credit.

  • POL 543 – Urban Politics
  • POL 553 – The Environmental Movement: Groups, Beliefs and Values
  • POL 554 – Social Welfare Policy
  • POL 555 – Total Quality Public Service Management: Achieving High Performance Government
  • POL 599 – Directed Reading*

* NOTE: These three courses (POL 501, 521 and 599) do not fulfill the requirements for “senior seminars.” POL majors must complete two senior seminars as part of their 24-credits. All other courses listed above do meet this requirement.

2. Proposed Student Schedule. Typically, seniors would take two 500-level courses each semester for credit toward the MPA degree. One course could be taken during intersession and counted toward the 12 credits. Students would officially be admitted to the MPA program in the last semester of their senior year.

Students graduating in spring would take two graduate classes during the summer between their fourth and fifth years, and five graduate classes in the fall and spring semesters of their fifth year. One class during the fifth year intersession could also be used to reduce the course load in one of the semesters.

Students graduating in fall could begin graduate work in the spring semester, with an expected five course load. One graduate course during intersession could be used to reduced the regular semester load. Two graduate courses during the summer and five in the fall semester would complete the degree requirements.

3. Student Admissions Requirements. Students need to apply before the start of their senior year. Test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a current transcript, three letters of recommendation and a career goal statement are needed for the application. Admission to the MPA program would be provisional; regular admissions would be confirmed in the second semester of the student’s senior year. Regular admission is dependent upon successfully completing all bachelor degree requirements and an acceptable application packet.

When undergraduate students take courses that will be counted toward the MPA degree, the course instructors will be notified that these students are MPA candidates. Additional work or different grading expectations may be applied by the instructor. Again, a grade of at least a “B” will be needed for a course to be accepted toward the graduate degree requirements.

4. Attractiveness of the 5-Year, 2-Degree Program. With only 36 credits and one additional year of work, the five year program at UM is a financially competitive alternative to other two year MPA programs where tuition may be less. Students who choose to stay at the University of Miami will complete the graduate degree in significantly less time, would not have the disruption of relocating, and would already be familiar with the school resources and many of the faculty members.

If you would like more information about the five year BA/MPA program, please stop by the Department’s office at 314 Jenkins Building or call us at 284-2401.