Fels students cheer on the Penn Quakers

MPA Program

If you want to lead a nonprofit, run for public office, or head a government agency, Fels can give you the tools to achieve your goals.

Our broad-based MPA (Master of Public Administration) curriculum in analysis, management, finance, and politics provides the framework for understanding today's challenges and allows you the flexibility to move between sectors.  Seven core classes cover the fundamental competencies needed for effective public leadership, a capstone will grant you the opportunity to apply the knowledge, skills, and perspectives you have mastered in the program, and four electives provide you the opportunity to study a particular policy topic or sector.

The Foundation (3 courses)

  • Economic Analysis in the Public Sector
  • Statistics for Public Leadership
  • Public Management

The Core Competencies (4 courses)

  • Politics and Public Leadership
  • Politics and Management Requirement (Select one: Policy Development or Performance Management) 
  • Public Financial Management
  • Finance and Analysis Requirement (Select
    one: Advanced Budgeting, Public Investment Banking, Infrastructure,
    Contracting, Nonprofit Financial Management or Quantitative Tools for
    Consulting)

The Capstone (1 course)

The Fels Capstone will take the form of a portfolio of student work that includes:

  • Four previously completed assignments, revised
  • One new piece that may take the form of a short research paper, case study, or policy brief
  • One executive summary that explains how each piece demonstrates mastery of certain learning objectives
  • A "What's Next" presentation that highlights how the student will apply what they have learned in their future career.
The Electives (4 courses)

Students can use their four electives to specialize in public finance, politics, nonprofit administration, or economic development and growth and complete the requirements for a Fels Certificate in one of these areas or can take an array of classes covering different topics. Students may also take advantage of courses offered at other Penn programs, such as public finance courses at Wharton, social welfare courses at the School of Social Policy and Practice, education policy courses at the Graduate School of Education, or any other relevant courses offered in one of Penn's twelve graduate schools.  In some cases, students may be able to import graduate level courses taken during previous graduate study.

The Experience

Full-time students are admitted into a cohort of 30-35 individuals with
diverse interests and experiences. The intimate size of the cohort
quickly fosters a sense of community between classmates and allows
students maximum access to Fels staff and faculty members. The full-time track can be completed in three or four semesters. Students focus on completing the core requirements in year 1 in preparation for electives in year 2, with the summer free to pursue full-time internships, travel, or other opportunities. Many complete internships during the academic year and get involved with civic, social, or service projects at Penn or in the Philadelphia community.

The Students

Most students bring at least 2 years of full-time work experience prior to coming to Fels working on campaigns, in government, and for nonprofits. They have served in national service programs such as Teach for America, Peace Corps, and AmeriCorps or have spent time in the private sector. Our international students comprise approximately 20 percent of the class and include Fulbright Fellows, Thouron Fellows, and seasoned government employees.

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Current MPA Class List