Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

PPA Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the + for answers. 

What kinds of jobs do people get after their MPA?

MPA graduates work in all types of governmental, nonprofit, and corporate settings. At the federal level, Boise State MPA graduates have worked for the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the GAO, the State Department, and on the staffs of members of Congress. At the state level, our graduates have worked for a number of state agencies including the Departments of Health and Welfare, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, the Office of Performance Evaluation, Division of Human Resources, and the State Board of Education. At the local level, our graduates have worked for cities and counties as City Administrators, in Mayors’ offices, budget offices, law enforcement, fire departments, parks and recreation, and planning offices. Many MPA graduates work in the nonprofit sector for organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Girl Scouts, the Idaho Conservation League, and professional associations such as the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Idaho Cities, and Idaho Association of Counties. Other MPA graduates work for corporations in governmental affairs divisions including examples from Zions bank, Micron Technology, and Walmart.

What’s the difference between the MPA and the Masters in Political Science?

The MPA degree is a blend of theory and practice intended to prepare leaders and experts primarily for service in the public and nonprofit sectors. The MPA is a management degree for the public and nonprofit sectors. It is a practitioner’s degree and utilizes an applied capstone experience as a culminating assessment. The Masters of Political Science is more theory-driven, and has a culminating activity of writing a traditional thesis.

How many credits does it take to complete the MPA?

33 21 in core, 9 in an area of emphasis, 3 electives. Students without at least a year of significant public or nonprofit sector experience are required to complete a 3 credit internship. The admissions committee will decide whether or not an internship is required when a student is admitted to the program.
21 in the core (500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505 & 692) and 12 credits in an emphasis (environment, s/l or general) and 6 credits of elective plus a 6 credit internship is required for those who do not have administrative experience in the public or nonprofit sectors. In Fall we are proposing reducing electives from 6 to 3 and the internships from 6 to 3.

What is the culminating activity for an MPA program?

There is a 3 credit capstone course in which students work in teams to complete an applied research project on behalf of a client organization or group in the community. The capstone allows students to apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities gained in their coursework to real life situations under the guidance of a SPS faculty member.

What is the culminating activity for an MPA program?

There is a 3 credit capstone course in which students work in teams to complete an applied research project on behalf of a client organization or group in the community. The capstone allows students to apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities gained in their coursework to real life situations under the guidance of a SPS faculty member.

When are classes held?

Most MPA classes meet in the evening between 6:00-8:45PM in order to accommodate students who are working during the day. There are exceptions, however, and MPA classes have met in early morning, afternoon, and weekend formats. Boise State also allows for compressed class formats such as a 3- week session.

Are there online classes?

There are a few classes that are offered in a hybrid format in which in-person and online sessions alternate. It is expected that more courses will be offered in an online format in the near future.

Can I take classes in other programs as a part of the MPA?

Yes. Two programs that fit nicely as a part of the MPA include the Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution and the Graduate Certificate in Non Profit Management. Classes from other programs can be used in consultation with your Academic Advisor.

When does the Admissions Committee admit students to the MPA?

The Committee meets twice each year, shortly after the October 1 and February 1 deadlines for admissions materials to be submitted.

Can I take MPA classes before I’m admitted?

Yes, a maximum of 9 credits may be taken prior to admission, 3 of which can be a core class. You must first apply to the Graduate College and be admitted as a non-degree seeking graduate student. Admission to the Graduate College and to the MPA program are separate processes.

Do I have to take the GRE to be considered for admission?

The GRE is not required if your undergraduate GPA is 3.2 or greater.

Can I transfer graduate credits from another institution into my MPA?

Yes, 9 credits can be transferred in from other institutions. Your Academic Advisor and the MPA Program Director will evaluate these potential transfer courses with you. Final approval comes from the Graduate College. The Graduate College does not allow classes that have already been applied to a Masters program to transfer to the MPA, however, certificate credits can be transferred.

Are there graduate assistantships available to MPA students?

Yes, there are a limited number of GA’s available to MPA students. Typically, GA’s earn a stipend ranging between $12,000 to $15,000 over a 9-month period in addition to a waiver of their tuition and fees. GA’s are expected to enroll full time (9 credits) and to work 20 hours a week. The application for graduate assistantships are available in the forms section of the Public Policy and Administration website.

Can I take classes part time?

Yes. Most students go part time. There is a 7 year time frame in which Boise State expects students to finish after admission. If necessary, you can apply for an extension.

What is NASPAA?

NASPAA is the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. It is the accrediting body that recognizes Boise State’s MPA as meeting their criteria for academic rigor and content. Boise State’s MPA is currently (2016) the only NASPAA accredited MPA program in the state of Idaho. (see https://accreditation.naspaa.org/)

Is there an MPA student organization?

Yes. There is the MPA Association, open to all current, former, and prospective students. The MPAA has a Facebook page and organizes brown bag lunches featuring speakers of interest as well as social events.

What is the internship requirement?

If you have less than a year of significant public or nonprofit sector work experience, you will be required to complete a 3 credit internship. There is a faculty member who handles internships and will assist you in finding an internship appropriate for you. Boise State requires 45 hours of work for each credit of internship. Internships can be completed in Fall, Spring, or Summer terms.

What are the areas of emphasis in the MPA program?

Currently, students can choose an area of emphasis in (1) Environment and Natural Resources, (2) State and Local Government, or (3) General Public Administration. Listings of which courses meet the requirements for each area of emphasis are available on the Public Policy and Administration website and/or the Boise State Catalog.