Frequently Asked Questions
Is the program accredited?
Yes, we are proud of our quality, NASPAA accredited program. NASPAA is the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.
What are the best overviews of the program?
If you are interested in applying to our online program or certificates as a distance student, then you should also take a look at the Continuing Education description, which talks about tuition, fees, etc.: http://www.conted.und.edu/ddp/mpa/index.html
The application procedure, as well as the online application link, is available through the Graduate School: http://www.und.edu/dept/grad/
Let us know if you have any questions as you explore our program and navigate the application process:
Department of Political Science & Public Administration
293 Centennial Drive Stop 8379
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8379
What are the costs associated with the program?
For the full calculation of program costs visit: Tuition and Fees
For information of Financial Assistance visit: Financial Assistance
How can I structure the program to focus on a particular area of emphasis that is best suited for me?
Students can pursue the Health Track, which is geared toward health administration careers. General track students also have the option to pursue a cognate by selecting electives from a specific area, such as social entrepreneurship.
Health concentration requires the following courses:
- POLS 551 Health Administration and Organization- 3 credits
- POLS 552 Health Policy- 3 credits
- ECON 575 Health Economics- 3 credits
- POLS 593 Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Care- 3 credits
Social Entrepreneurship electives:
- POLS 561 Creation and Management of Social Enterprises- 3 credits
- POLS 562 Political Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship- 3 credits
- ENTR 580 Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship- 3 credits
- SOC 568 Sociology of Social Entrepreneurship- 3 credits
Is the GRE required for admission? What is the minimum score necessary to be considered?
Yes, we require a GRE or GMAT score; you only need to take the general test. Your other question is more difficult to answer because we don't have cutoffs for admission. We consider all aspects of the application package, of which the GRE score and undergraduate GPA are just portions. We do have a formula we use for initial screening, which weighs in the GRE or GMAT score with the undergraduate GPA. Thus, for example, for someone with a lower GPA we would look for a higher GRE score and for someone with a higher GPA we would be more forgiving with the GRE score. We also consider professional experience, GPA in major and JR/SR years, strength of undergraduate institution and program of study, letters of recommendation, personal statement, etc. If students do not meet the formula threshold, they may still be considered for provisional admission. Here, the core MPA faculty all review the application materials and vote whether to admit the applicant. Stipulations are then set for the students, which are more stringent than the general requirements for MPA students.
We do accept the LSAT or GMAT in place of the GRE, but only if you have taken it within the past five years and plan on applying for the JD/MPA Program
What do you mean, with respect to competency areas, when you say, (“students who do not meet the requirements will be given the opportunity to fulfill them”?)
We have five competency areas that need to be met by taking at least one undergraduate course: statistics, political science, economics, accounting, and management. When students apply for the program we look at their transcript to see if they have had at least one course in each of the five areas. Generally, any course from these areas will suffice. If you apply and we note that you are missing one or more you can still be admitted into the program, based on your other qualifications. We would give you a period of time after starting the program to complete the missing requirement(s) (usually before earning 18 credits in the program). UND may offer courses in some of these online, but they can be taken from any acceptable institution. You don’t have to take them at UND. If you don’t take them from UND you would need to forward all transcripts to the School of Graduate Studies. The only course that is offered by our department is American Government (POLS 115), which would fulfill the political science requirement. There is also the option that you prepare individually for a “challenge exam” in the area. If you pass the exam then you don’t have to take the course.
How are your online courses handled? Are they self-paced, or on a specific schedule? Are there specific requirements for equipment and technology?
Our courses are offered online, but they are similar to a traditional class and are "real-time." That is, each course meets 4 to 7 p.m. CST or 7 to 10 p.m. CST, once per week M-TH. There is a local classroom with students in it, and online students sign in at the same time and participate as if they were there in person. Our objective is to make the online experience mirror the traditional in-class experience as much as possible. Many MPA programs that are online offer packaged or correspondence-based courses, so you will want to explore this distinction.
Online students need a camera, high-speed internet connection, and a headset to take our courses. More information can be found at UND Tech Support.
Is an internship required to complete the program?
MPA students are required to complete an internship unless they have at least one year of professional experience. This generally means that people who have worked in a professional administrative capacity for at least one year would not need an internship. Many times, even if a student is eligible for a waiver, he/she will take an internship simply to get the professional experiences, network, etc. Internships often turn into jobs. We don’t have any requirements about where the internship would be; placements are handled on a case-by-case basis. There is a process in place to request that the internship be waived. If a waiver is granted, an elective MPA course must be substituted to reach the required 36 credits.
Can I transfer credits from another school and apply them to my degree?
Credit transfer is based on both program approval and School of Graduate Studies approval. After being admitted, a student can ask the Program Director to consider a course transfer. If the course is similar to one of our own in the program, or applicable as a PA elective or cognate, it may be approved, and the student then could put it on his or her Program of Study. The Program of Study is then forwarded to the School of Graduate Studies Dean for approval. Below are the stipulations that are used by the School of Graduate Studies in deciding on credit transfers:
Transfer of Graduate Credits
A limited amount of graduate work completed at a regionally accredited North American institution prior to, or after matriculation in the School of Graduate Studies at UND, may be applied toward a graduate degree at the University of North Dakota. Graduate work is considered for transfer only on an individual basis and only after the student has completed satisfactory work in residence at UND. Those transfer credits approved by the student’s advisory committee and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies are included in the program of study for the UND graduate degree and only those transfer credits will be recorded on the UND transcript.
The basic purpose of the transfer policies is to ensure that transferred work is of comparable content, level, timeliness, and quality to that which would be taken at UND and included on the program of study for the degree. The following policies are generally applicable to the acceptance of the graduate work for transfer to UND:
- The work must have been taken at an accredited North American institution.
- The student must have been enrolled as a Graduate Student.
- The work must have received graduate credit at the institution where it was earned.
- The student must have earned a grade of B or better.
- The work must be less than seven years old at the time the UND degree is awarded with the exception of work that was part of a completed prerequisite degree.
- The amount of transfer credit that will be accepted toward the master’s degree is one-fourth (usually eight semester credits) of the credit hours required for the degree.
- The work credited toward a completed master’s degree may be accepted for a specialist’s diploma or doctoral degree.
- Work beyond the master’s degree must be post-master’s level and from an institution that offers post-master’s degrees in the discipline.
- Work beyond the master’s degree from an institution offering only master’s level work in the discipline may be applied to the minor or cognate areas.
- For the PhD, only 30 credits may be transferred beyond the credits allowed for the master’s degree, i.e., a total of 60 credits.
- For the Specialist Diploma, only 15 credit hours will be transferred beyond the credits allowed for the master’s degree, i.e., a total of 45 credit hours.
Where have recent MPA graduates found jobs?
MPA Placement Statistics
Our mission provides that the MPA program will "instill public service values and prepare people to enter into or advance in government and related fields." Our MPA graduates have assumed positions of leadership in the public and not-for-profit sectors and among federal, state and sub-state levels of government. Examples of recent graduate placements include: a federal parole officer, a county financial management analyst, and a project manager for health acquired infection prevention. The Pancratz Career Development Center is also a resource available to our MPA students.
The table below shows recent placement statistics for our pre-service and our in-service graduates.
|Total Number of Graduates||11||8||11||16|
|National Government (US and Including Tribal)||3||1||1|
|State Government (US)||6||2||2||1|
|Sub State Government (US)||1||3|
|Private sector - research/consulting||1||4|
|Private sector - not research/consulting||1||1||1|
|Obtaining further education||1||2||4|