The program requires a residency of 12 to 18 months. All students begin the program in early July, and those who carry full course loads throughout their residency will complete the program the following June.
The degree requires 40 credits of coursework, 34 of which must be in public administration and international affairs courses. Twenty-five of these credits satisfy core area requirements. Core requirements include three or more credits in each of several areas, including economics, quantitative analysis, organization and management theory, public budgeting, and political context. Additional work in related electives satisfies the remaining 15 credits. Courses may be selected from those of the public administration and international affairs department, other departments in the Maxwell School, or elsewhere in the University.
Degree requirements are flexible enough to allow a student to design a program in an area such as state and local government, financial management and analysis, public and non-profit management, technology and information policy, international and development administration, environmental policy and administration, international and national security policy, or social policy (health, aging, education, social welfare) and still complete the core courses required of all M.P.A. students.
Students may petition to have a maximum of six credits of relevant graduate work earned elsewhere counted toward degree requirements. Students are expected to complete at least 34 credits while in residence at the University.