Time to Complete
Most students complete the MPA program in 12 months of full-time study from July to June. They will take 7 credits the first summer (July-August), 12-15 credits in each of the fall and spring semesters, and 6 credits of capstone core requirements over the final summer (May-June). July is the only time of entrance into the MPA program.
It is possible for an admitted student to complete the program on a part-time basis. However, all students must attend the one-week Public Affairs Colloquium in July, which meets Monday-Friday, all day. During the fall and spring semesters, most courses are offered Monday-Thursday, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. And the final capstone courses also require full-time attendance, Monday-Friday, May-June.
Students holding graduate assistants have traditionally been able to complete the MPA program in the same time/format as all other students. Students may elect to draw out their time of study, adding an additional semester or year to their time in residence. PAIA makes no distinction between part-time and full-time students.
For specific dates, please reference the Academic Calendar.
Retention to Graduation
The Maxwell School has near perfect retention to graduation rates for its MPA program students. In data reported to NASPAA, the vast majority of our students complete the MPA program in the expected 12 month time frame. Most of our joint degree students are expected to complete their programs over two years of full time study, and JD/MPA students require three years of full time study.
Data from the Summer 2014 entering cohort shows that of 119 initially enrolled students, 114 completed the program within the specified length of time (96%); Two completed within 150% of the expected degree program length. Of the remaining three students, one joint student withdrew from the MPA program (completing the MA IR degree only) for financial reasons, and two are currently on active Leaves of Absence due to extenuating circumstances unrelated to their progress in the program.