FGCU’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional degree program that prepares students for administrative positions in the public and not-for-profit sectors. It is designed for students who have significant in-service experience as well as for students who have little or no prior work experience in public or not-for-profit organizations. Most of the MPA courses are offered in an internet-based format, enabling many students to complete their degree online. Students can select from two degree concentrations: a Public Leadership and Management Concentration, or an Environmental Policy and Planning Concentration.
The mission of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program in Florida Gulf Coast University’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration is to advance public service knowledge and practice. Dedicated to providing graduate education with a focus on state and local governance, the program aims to meet the career-oriented goals of both in-service and pre-service students. Through quality teaching, scholarship, and service, the program will enhance students’ skills in leadership and management, critical thinking, and communication.
FGCU’s MPA program is Southwest Florida’s only professionally accredited distance MPA program. Professional accreditation for MPA programs is awarded nationally by NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. For a brief overview of why professional accreditation of MPA programs is beneficial for students, please refer to the NASPAA’s statement.
For additional program information and application forms, please contact Dr. Robert Lee, MPA Graduate Program Coordinator and Associate Professor, at (239) 590-7704.
AdvisingToggle More Info
Following admission to the program, all MPA students are assigned a faculty advisor. The MPA faculty advisor assists students with individual academic program planning, the selection of a degree concentration, and choice of electives. The student's MPA faculty advisor may also work jointly with other faculty in and outside the Department of Political Science and Public Administration on courses related to the student's concentration area. Students who wish to have a particular faculty member serve as their regular advisor may submit a request for this to the MPA Program Coordinator, Dr. Robert E, Lee.
Selecting a ConcentrationToggle More Info
The MPA program offers a choice of two degree concentrations: Public Leadership and Management and Environmental Policy and Planning. Students should select one of these two concentrations on the MPA Supplemental Application Form when applying to the program. If a student wishes to change his or her degree concentration after being admitted to the program, he or she can do so by emailing this request to the MPA Program Coordinator, Dr. Robert E. Lee, provided this is done prior to applying for graduation in the student’s final semester.
Scheduling of MPA CoursesToggle More Info
Like any other public organization, Florida Gulf Coast University generally and the MPA program specifically have to operate within budget and personnel constraints. This has a significant impact on how often the MPA program offers specific courses and when it offers them. You need to be attentive to this when planning ahead and registering for courses. Here are some important details to bear in mind with respect to course scheduling and course selection.
- The required core courses PAD 6060 (Introduction to Public Administration), PAD 6708 (Research Methods and Analysis), PAD 6227 (Public Budgeting), PAD 6327 (Program Planning and Evaluation), and PAD 6961 (Capstone Seminar) are offered twice a year (in the Fall Semester and in the Spring Semester).
- The required core courses PAD 6101 (Organizational Theory and Behavior) and PAD 6365 (Public Policy) are offered only once a year in the Fall Semester.
- The required core course PAD 6417 (Public Personnel Administration) is offered only once a year in the Spring Semester.
- You should take PAD 6060 Introduction to Public Administration in your first semester. You must complete PAD 6708 Research Methods and Analysis before you will be allowed to register for PAD 6327 Program Planning and Evaluation. Except in unusual circumstances (and only then with department permission) you must wait until your final semester to register for the PAD 6961 Capstone Seminar.
- Most of the MPA program’s elective courses are offered only once every two years (on a rotating basis). You can anticipate that every Fall and Spring Semester the program will offer two to three elective courses from the “Public Leadership and Management Concentration” but only one elective course from the “Environmental Policy and Planning Concentration.”
- The exact mix of “required core” and “elective” courses you should take in a given semester depends on several factors, perhaps the most important of which is whether you are proceeding through the program on a full-time basis (i.e., three courses per term) or on a part-time basis (either two courses per term or one course per term). If you are a full-time student, in most Fall and Spring Semesters it will be advisable to take two required core courses and one elective course per term. If you are a part-time student, the optimal mix of required core versus elective courses each term will vary, depending in part on whether you are taking two courses or just one course per term, but also in part on whether in a given semester the program offers an elective course closely aligned with your career interests. However, in all cases involving part-time students, the program cautions you against loading up exclusively on required core courses in your initial few semesters and deferring your elective courses until the later stages of your coursework. Given that most of the program’s electives are offered only once every two years on a rotating basis, if you delay taking your electives until the later stages of your coursework you will likely discover that your elective choices are unusually limited. This is a particularly important consideration for students in the “Environmental Policy and Planning Concentration,” owing to the fact that we offer only one elective course per term from this concentration. Consult regularly with your advisor in the program or with the MPA Graduate Program Coordinator about these issues.
- MPA course offerings during the Summer Session tend to be highly limited in number due to severe budget and personnel constraints. You should anticipate that the MPA program at best will only be able to offer two elective courses during the Summer (but none of its required core courses). If you are a pre-service student (i.e., a student who at the time of admission lacked at least one year of full-time professional work experience in a public or non-profit organization) and are required to complete an MPA Internship, the Summer Session is oftentimes the optimal period for doing so. If that is your intent, be sure to discuss this with the MPA Graduate Program Coordinator well in advance of the Summer and to familiarize yourself with the Internship requirements.
Registering for a CourseToggle More Info
Please refer to the Registration webpage for important information about course registration at FGCU.
To use the course schedule for the MPA program, go to the course schedule website and enter the term for which courses you’re interested, enter “Political Science & Public Adm” as department, enter “Graduate” as level, and then click “Search.”
Registration for courses can be done in person at the Office of the Registrar with your Student ID Card. However, in most cases it is more convenient to register online using the university’s Gulfline system. Here are the steps for registering for courses online.
- Go to Gulfline.
- Select Gulfline to login.
- You will be directed to the FGCU Eagle Access page which will require dual process login authentication.
- Enter your University email address and password, and click sign in.
- You will then be directed to the second authentication page. Follow prompts as indicated.
- Select Student & Financial Aid Menu.
- Select the Registration Menu.
- Select Drop/Add Classes.
- Select Term.
- Enter the CRN (the 5-digit course registration number) fin the ADD section for each course you wish to register in. Please pay attention to course prerequisites and restrictions, as these may affect your eligibility to register for certain courses.
- Click on Submit Changes to save courses.
- Select Return to MENU and click on Registration Fee.
- Assessment to complete registration. Print the fees, and use the printout to send payment to cashier.
- Return to the previous menu to print your courses schedule.
- Exit from Gulfline.
Distance LearningToggle More Info
Most of the MPA program’s courses are either exclusively or predominantly online, enabling students to complete most of their degree requirements via distance learning. Courses incorporate Internet technology such as electronic readings, web boards, and chat rooms, in some cases supplemented by optional discussion sessions held on the FGCU campus. Students may register for one or more courses per semester, selecting from the distance courses scheduled each term. Eligibility requirements include an adequate home computer system and Internet service capacities for completing internet-based coursework.
Special Note. Students who have less than one year of full-time professional work experience in the public or not-for-profit sectors at the time of admission into the program must attend six (6) on-campus professional networking workshops over the course of their MPA program, three of which must be attended within their first year of coursework (12 months). Students who have less than one year of full-time professional work experience in the public or not-for-profit sectors at the time of admission also must complete a 3-credit MPA internship (PAD 6940). The MPA Admissions Committee will determine whether or not an applicant's work experience is sufficient to waive attendance at these on-campus sessions. All students must attend one Saturday session during their final semester, in order to deliver a formal oral presentation as part of their Capstone Seminar (PAD 6961).
InternshipsToggle More Info
MPA students who have less than one year of full-time professional work experience in the public or not-for-profit sectors at the time of admission (as determined by the MPA Admissions Committee and stipulated in the student’s letter of admission to the program) must complete a 3-credit MPA internship (PAD 6940).
In order to register for and complete an MPA Internship, the following are required:
- You must be admitted as an MPA student.
- Find a placement in a position with meaningful administrative- and/or policy-related work experiences. Although an intern might reasonably expect to occasionally perform routine duties, the major duties performed by the intern must be non-clerical in nature. The final determination of this is made by the MPA Program Coordinator.
- Completion of the program’s internship form providing the instructor of record (MPA Coordinator) with information about the name and location of the internship site, the name and contact information of the site supervisor/mentor, and a list or narrative summary of the principal job duties associated with the internship. The student, internship site supervisor, and MPA Program Coordinator must sign and date this form.
- Completion of 300 hours of work at the internship site (including work performed off-site if instructed to do so by the internship supervisor/mentor).
- At the completion of the internship, the intern must arrange for the site supervisor/mentor to send the instructor of record a brief letter or email summarizing: 1) the major activities engaged in during the internship, 2) confirmation that the intern completed 300 hours of work; and 3) an assessment of the quality of the intern’s work at the site: “A” (excellent), “B” (above average), “C” (average), “D” (below average), or “F” (failing).
- Completion of an intermediate-length paper (8 to 10 pages) that examines one or more aspects of the internship work or some other dimension of the administrative-or policy-related activities dealt with by the organization.
Recent Internship Placements
Below are examples of recent internships completed by FGCU’s MPA students:
- Ocean Conservancy; Intern
- Spirit Airlines Safety Curriculum Developer
- Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce; Government Affairs Collier County
- Matt Hudson State Representative District 80 Staffer
- U.S. Department of Justice; Deputy U.S. Marshal; Policy and Training Development
- Florida Department of Transportation; District 1 SW Area Office Intern
- Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce; Government Affairs Lee County
- Community Resilience Concentration
- Public Leadership and Management Concentration
AccreditationToggle More Info
Admissions InformationToggle More Info
Applicants must submit an application online at apply.fgcu.edu. Please contact Graduate Admissions at 239-745-GRAD or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information about the application process. Satisfaction of minimum University and program requirements does not guarantee admission to a graduate program. Applicants should check with the program for the most up to date admission requirements prior to commencing the application process.
See program website at URL listed above.
Program Admission Requirements
- Applicants for admission to the MPA program are expected to meet or exceed the following requirements:
- A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;
- Completion of either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) within the last five years, or an earned graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- One of the following:
- (Average of percentile rankings on GRE verbal reasoning section and quantitative reasoning section) + (GPA for the last 60 semester hours attempted at the upper-division undergraduate level X 18) must equal or exceed 100; or
- (MAT percentile rank for intended major) + (GPA for the last 60 semester hours attempted at the upper division undergraduate level X 18) must equal or exceed 100; or
- An earned graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- Completion of 15 hours of undergraduate coursework in the social sciences or business, including 3 hours in quantitative skills;
- International applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit a score of 550 or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
- All required application materials must be received by FGCU’s Office of Graduate Admissions by the following deadlines: May 1 for Fall Semester admission, October 1 for Spring Semester admission.
Required application materials consist of the following:
- A complete FGCU Graduate Application;
- One official transcript from each baccalaureate and/or graduate institution attended;
- One official copy of test scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogy Test (MAT) taken within the last five years;
- A completed MPA Supplemental Application Form and three completed MPA reference rating forms/letters of recommendation from persons qualified to judge the applicant's academic and professional potential. The Supplemental Application Form and Reference Rating forms can be downloaded here.
- Three completed MPA reference rating forms/letters of recommendation from persons qualified to judge the applicant's academic and professional potential;
- An Immunization History Form;
- A Letter of Application/Statement of Career Goals, no more than two pages in length that briefly discusses any or all of the following: the influences that led you to the selection of FGCU's MPA Program, career goals, relevant work and/or academic experience, and volunteer activity in the community.
Special Note for Prospective Distance MPA Applicants
With the exception of the Capstone Seminar (PAD 6961), the MPA program's courses are exclusively online. However, students who have less than one year of full-time professional work experience in the public or not-for-profit sectors at the time of admission into the program must attend two (2) on-campus professional networking workshops over the course of their MPA program. The MPA Admissions Committee will determine whether or not an applicant's work experience is sufficient to waive attendance at these on-campus sessions. Students who have less than one year of full-time professional work experience in the public or not-for-profit sectors at the time of admission also must complete a 3-credit MPA internship (PAD 6940). All students must attend one Saturday session during their final semester, in order to deliver a formal oral presentation as part of their Capstone Seminar (PAD 6961).
Post-Graduation Employment of FGCU’s MPA Graduates
FGCU's MPA program periodically surveys its alumnae about their employment experiences after graduation. The most recent survey results (of MPA graduates from Summer 2017 through Spring 2018, six months after their graduation) are as follows:
Employment of FGCU’s MPA Graduates*
National or central government in the same country as the program
State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program
City, County, or other local government in the same country as the program
Government (all levels) or international quasi-governmental
Private Sector - research/consulting
Private Sector but not research/consulting
Obtaining further education
Unemployed (not seeking employment)
Unemployed (seeking employment)
Total number of graduates
*Summer 2017 – Spring 2018 FGCU MPA graduates six months after graduation
In addition, the Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP) regularly collects post-graduation employment data for its state universities and colleges. As evidenced by the most recent data (for 2016-2017 graduates), both the post-graduation employment rate and the average full-time earnings of FGCU's MPA graduates are above the statewide averages for graduate Public Administration programs. The full-time employment rate of FGCU's 2016-17 MPA graduates was 89%, as compared to a 65% average for Florida graduate Public Administration programs statewide. The average quarterly earnings of FGCU's 2016-17 MPA graduates was $15,825, as compared to a $14,942 average for Florida graduate Public Administration programs statewide. (Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program) State University Reports 2016-17, Florida Public Universities by Program PDF, page 43.)
Average Quarterly Earnings
Average Quarterly Earnings Rank
State University Reports 2016-17, Florida Public Universities by Program (PDF), page 43
Time-to-Degree Requirements and Graduation
The occupational and family circumstances of students in FGCU's MPA program are highly diverse. While some of the program's students have limited occupational and family responsibilities and can pursue their coursework full-time, many of our students have full-time jobs and family responsibilities and are limited to part-time coursework. We are sensitive to each student's need to balance work, family, and school and to proceed through the program at a manageable pace. Students whose other responsibilities limit them to part-time coursework can take as little as one course per term, provided they complete their degree within seven years of having initiated their MPA coursework. This accommodation of students' diverse scheduling needs is reflected in the program's time-to-degree and graduation data. Among the 32 students admitted to the program in Academic Year 2013-2014, 6 (19%) completed their degree in a standard full-time-student timeframe of two years, and an additional 17 (53%) completed their degree within four years, for an overall degree completion rate of 72% during this four-year period.
Program RequirementsToggle More Info
Program Requirements for the 2022-2023 Catalog Year
Program Progression and Additional Graduation Requirements
- A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for all coursework in the MPA program.
- Minimum grade of "B-" for each course used to satisfy requirements for MPA required courses. Minimum grade of “C” for each elective course used to satisfy MPA concentration requirements.
- Up to 15 credit hours earned by a student who has completed FGCU’s Local Government Management Certificate or FGCU’s Community Resilience Certificate can be applied to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. A grade of “B” or higher is required in a course for its credit hours to apply to the MPA degree.
- Required Courses (24-27 credits)
PAD 6060 Introduction to Public Administration (3)
PAD 6101 Organizational Thry & Behavior (3)
PAD 6227 Public Budgeting (3)
PAD 6327 Sem in Program Plan & Evaluat (3)
PAD 6365 Public Policy (3)
PAD 6417 Public Personnel Admin (3)
PAD 6708 Research Methods & Analysis (3)
PAD 6940 Internship (3)*
PAD 6961 Capstone Seminar (3)
*Course can be waived for students with one year or more of professional experience, as determined by the MPA Admissions Committee.
- Concentration Requirements (12 credits)
Select one of the concentrations listed below. Students are required to declare a concentration when applying for admission to the MPA program. If no concentration is declared when applying to the program, the Public Leadership and Management Concentration is assigned.
Public Leadership and Management Concentration
Complete 12 credits of MPA elective courses. At least 6 credits must be selected from the following list of electives. Up to 6 credits may be selected from the Community Resilience Concentration’s list of electives.
PAD 5041 Administrative Ethics (3)
PAD 5142 Mgmt. of Nonprofit Org (3)
PAD 5933 Proposal Writing & Grant Admin. (3)
PAD 6136 Public Mgmt in Political Env (3)
PAD 6205 Public Finance (3)
PAD 6335 Strategic Planning (3)
PAD 6434 Administrative Leadership (3)
PAD 6605 Administrative Law (3)
PAD 6812 State & Local Politics & Admin (3)
PAD 6826 Intergovernmental Admin (3)
PAD 6908 Independent Study (1-6)
PAD 6934 Special Topics (3)
Community Resilience Concentration
Complete the following course:
PAD 6357 Community Resilience (3)
Complete 9 additional credits of MPA elective courses. At least 6 credits must be selected from the following list of electives. Up to 3 credits may be selected from the Public Leadership and Management list of electives.
PAD 5255 Community/Economic Development (3)
PAD 5933 Proposal Writing & Grant Admin. (3)
PAD 5185 Social Justice & Public Admin (3)
PAD 6335 Strategic Planning (3)
PAD 6353 Environmental Governance (3)
PAD 6826 Intergovernmental Admin (3)
PAD 6398 Emergency/Disaster Management (3)
PAD 6710 Technology & Administration (3)
URP 5312 Growth Mgmt & Comp. Planning (3)
Note: Courses outside of those listed above may be substituted on a case-by-case basis, with approval by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration Chair.
Total Credits Required: 36-39 HRS
Course DescriptionsToggle More Info
Official Course Descriptions
Search for official course descriptions by using the Course Description Search utility.
Go to the Course Descriptions Search Web page, then follow these steps:
- Select an Academic Year from the TERM dropdown (required)
- Select a course prefix from one of the SUBJECT dropdowns (required)
- Enter search words in the TEXT field (optional, but will narrow the search results)
- Press Search
Course ScheduleToggle More Info
Getting started with the Course Schedule Search
Search for program courses by using the Course Schedule Search utility.
Go to the Course Schedule Search Web page, then follow these steps:
- Select an Academic Year from the TERM dropdown (required)
- Select one or more of the search options to narrow your results (for example, CAMPUS, COLLEGE, DEPARTMENT, LEVEL, PREFIX*, COURSE ATTRIBUTE**). For virtual or web courses, select VIRTUAL in the CAMPUS field.
- Press Search.
*A course prefix is a three-letter designator for a major division of an academic discipline (for example, ACG for Accounting , BSC for Biological Science, ENC for English Composition). See the Degree Requirements page for a list of courses (with prefix and number) that can be used to fulfill degree requirements.
**A course attribute identifies specific characteristics of courses that can be used in a Degree Evaluation to satisfy a degree requirement. (Course attribute examples are Humanities courses - GEHM and Social Science courses - GESO.)
Learning OutcomesToggle More Info
Graduates of the program will:
- To lead and manage in public governance.
- To participate in and contribute to the public policy process.
- To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions.
- To articulate and apply a public service perspective.
- To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.
Student Learning Outcomes are assessed at the college and departmental levels through case studies, interview assignments, policy analyses, and other written work assigned in the following courses: PAD 6961 MPA Capstone Seminar, PAD 6417 Public Personnel Administration, and PAD 6365 Public Policy.
Tuition, Fees, and Financial AssistanceToggle More Info
Tuition and Fees
Information about graduate tuition and other fees is available online at https://www.fgcu.edu/cashiers/tuition-and-fees.html.
Account and Fee Payment
Information about student accounts and fee payments, including payment options, is available online at https://www.fgcu.edu/Cashiers/feepayment.html.
Supplemental Tuition Waiver Policies
Students are eligible to apply for graduate fee waivers in FGCU’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program after completing 6 credit hours following admission to the program and having earned a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Application for a tuition waiver from the Division of Public Affairs requires:
- FGCU Tuition Waiver Application and Cover Letter (click here to download)
- Master of Public Administration Program Supplemental Tuition Waiver Application (click here to download)
Eligible MPA students may be awarded tuition waivers for either in-state or out-of state graduate fees to cover tuition only. Students receiving graduate fee waivers are responsible for paying all other student fees assessed by the FGCU Bursar.
Waiver awards are based on the University’s established selection criteria of recruitment, retention, diversity, and service. Review of applications begins following the deadline for each term (fall, summer, spring). Applications are submitted for each term that the student requests a waiver. Applying for one term neither guarantees nor implies a continuation or renewal of the fee for subsequent terms.
The following factors are considered when awarding tuition waivers, within the limits of funding availability:
- Out of state/in-state status
- Employment status (full-time/part-time)
- Financial need
- Scholarship (GPA)
- Other factors related to the need for tuition support as determined by the Division Chairperson.
Tuition waiver awards are for one term only. Students must reapply for a graduate tuition waiver each term using the Supplemental Application Form and the FGCU Graduate Student Tuition Waiver Application.
Fall Term May 1st
Spring Term October 1st
Summer Term March 1st