Welcome to the Master of Public Administration Degree.

We are pleased that you chose to join us here at Maxwell. You will be joining a class of talented individuals with impressive academic accomplishments and professional experience. 

The department faculty and staff look forward to meeting you electronically as you begin your summer classes and meeting you in person with our MPA Colloquium, held starting August 24, 2020.

Our associate director, Josh Kennedy, is available to explain program’s procedures and to offer guidance about how to best embark on your chosen career. However, do also reach out to other staff or faculty who can provide more detailed information on your area of interest. 

The MPA program features a balance of required and elective coursework, with further details found on our website and in our graduate handbook for MPA students, available on our current student's page and our student blackboard site.

During your time at Maxwell, you will:

  1. Complete seven core course that provide general knowledge and skills that all public administrators and public managers need;
  2. Focus your studies through five elective courses, potentially focused on one of our programs of study; core courses that provide general knowledge and skills needed in the global workplace; 
  3. Complete a culminating professional experience through our capstone courses, the MPA Workshop and the Leadership and Public Policy Seminar.

This page is designed to help you decide how to initially navigate your options. For more detail, we are hosting three interactive online advising sessions this summer.  These sessions will be held on June 23 at 2 pm, June 30 at 2 pm, and July 14 at 2 pm.

Planning Your Schedule

Below is a multi-step plan for crafting your fall schedule. 

1. Determine if you are starting the MPA degree in the summer or fall semester. 

Due to COVID-19, Syracuse University has determined that all summer classes will be taught online.  As a result, incoming MPA students can opt to start courses online during the summer of 2020 or in person during the fall of 2020. For more details on the various paths that the summer or fall start entails, please consult our summer and fall start formats.

2. Plan in your fall core courses

During their first fall semester, MPA students are expected to enroll in PAI 721 – Introduction to Statistics and PAI 723 – Economics for Public Decisions.  If you have not taken PAI 734 – Public Budgeting, we encourage students to do so as well.  PAI 721 is especially important as it is the prerequisite for PAI 722 – Quantitative Analysis.

Additionally, students may wish to take their management core course during the fall semester.  For the 2020-2021 academic year, those choices are PAI 712 – Public Organizations and Management, PAI 748 – Non-Profit Management, and PAI 762 – Challenges in International Management and Leadership.

Students with sufficient prior knowledge in economics or statistics may choose to take a waiver exam in both topics.   More information on waiver exams can be found on the student blackboard page.

3. Select your ‘morale’ course

The design of the MPA program presumes that students will complete three required classes during the fall semester.  That leaves one course for students to begin to build the foundation of knowledge and skills for their chosen post-graduate career.

You should consider whether this class would concentrate your studies in one of the seven MPA areas of study or build out a particular technical or management skill. 

Once you decide on this path, choose the first of the department’s many elective offerings.  This This course should be your 'morale course' one that covers a topic of greatest interest and serves as a cornerstone for your development as public administrator. 


Please note, you will be registering for courses before you officially arrive on campus. The registration begins at 10 am eastern time on Monday, August 3, 2020, but you can change your schedule until September 8, 2020. 

Syracuse University students register via the MySlice on-line system, which requires a Syracuse University NetID, you will need to make sure you have (1) returned the Intent to Register form to Syracuse University; (2) Activated your NetID; and (3) Set your NetID password.