On Campus: MPA@UNC

Posted on January 12, 2015

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Experience MPA@UNC

In January 2015, ELGL and MPA@UNC announced a partnership to strengthen the current and future workforce of local government.

The MPA@UNC program has created an ELGL Fellowship which is available for ELGL members to earn an MPA online from UNC. The partnership will also create opportunities for content sharing, student involvement in ELGL, and access to the distinguished faculty and staff at the UNC School of Government.

Before we proceed too far in the partnership, we’ve invited the MPA@UNC program to describe the opportunities that are available for students enrolled in the program.

Background Check


UNC School of Government’s MPA@UNC is a groundbreaking online MPA program that gives professionals seeking to advance their careers in public service the opportunity to earn an accredited MPA degree online from a top-ranked school of government anywhere in the world. The online Master’s of Public Administration at UNC combines the flexibility of online education with the best of an on-campus experience through the delivery of live online classes led by UNC School of Government faculty, self-paced coursework and hands-on learning through a professional experience component.

MPA@UNC’s rigorous curriculum is delivered in a web-based format, which enables students to earn their MPA degree without relocating or disrupting current professional and personal commitments.

Through state-of-the-art education technology, students will:

  • Participate in live, online classes using real-time video conferencing
  • Access coursework 24/7 on their own schedules
  • Interact with fellow students through personal online sessions and collaborative social forums

While MPA@UNC delivers the same MPA education available to on-campus students and holds applicants to the same high standards, the online program is designed to allow students from anywhere in the world to fit earning a top-ranked degree into their busy schedules.


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Number of students enrolled in the MPA@UNC online program.

We currently have a total of 142 students enrolled in the MPA@UNC online program.

Describe the demographic of an online MPA@UNC student. Age? Experience?

The age range of our students is 22–52, with an average of 9 years of work experience.

Are online students required to complete an internship?10291862_755754961140490_1454053524826835175_n

In order for MPA@UNC students to implement the skills and knowledge acquired from the program, students complete a Professional Work Experience Practicum (PWE). The PWE provides students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while completing a degree.

Highlight a few of the MPA@UNC graduates and where they have worked after graduating.

Our first cohort of MPA@UNC students graduated in December 2014. Two of these December graduates, Ruth Rivas and Jeremy Schmidt, were able to work full time while attaining an MPA online. Ruth currently works as a teacher, and Jeremy as a consultant.

Typical semester for an online student.

Students have the flexibility to complete the program in as little as 1.5 years. MPA@UNC allows students to customize a master’s program to fit their own schedule and career interests. Check out our degree requirements page for more information on our flexible program structure.

The Program


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Give us three reasons we should consider pursuing an online MPA degree.

A top-ranked, academically rigorous program: Students are held to the same high standards as on-campus students and complete the same rigorous curriculum from the nation’s largest university-based local government training, advisory, and research organization.

Maximum flexibility to fit a student’s busy life: MPA@UNC students have the flexibility to earn their degree while working full time, traveling, or being stationed anywhere in the world, without the need to relocate or put their lives on hold.

A dynamic campus and classroom experience online: MPA@UNC brings the best of the campus experience online through a unique blend of live, face-to-face online classes; highly produced, self-paced course content; dynamic interactions with classmates and faculty; and hands-on experience working in the field.

Describe how the online program differs from the on campus program. Classes? Resources? Schedule?




The same professors that teach on campus design the coursework for MPA@UNC students. Our dynamic coursework and our specially designed learning tools provide our students with an online learning experience that is both as rigorous as the on-campus degree and tailored to meet the demands of our students’ schedules. Visit our dynamic coursework page for more information on our specially designed learning tools.

What, if any, interaction do online students have with on campus students?

Both online and on-campus students have the opportunity to attend the annual Public Administration Conference held at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government. Upon completion of the program, online students are also invited to join their on-campus peers at the UNC School of Government’s on-campus commencement ceremony.

Talk about the outlets in place for online students to interact with each other and professors.

In addition to live weekly classes and interaction through collaborative coursework, we have developed a mobile application, which allows students to:1782435_624193284296659_1497163350_o

  • Interact directly with other students and professors on their mobile devices
  • Review course materials and course videos—both online and offline
  • Submit projects and assignments
  • Set reminders for upcoming due dates and events

Online vs. on campus – how do I know which is right for me?

A lot of variables go into making this decision. However, prospective students who wish to explore their options should speak to one of our knowledgeable admissions counselors who can help them determine what format works best for them.

For more information about the MPA@UNC, please click here to be contacted by an admissions counselor.

Supplemental Reading


MPA@UNC Celebrates Its First Graduates

Recap: 2014 Public Administration Conference

MPA@UNC Celebrates Its First Graduates

What is a Master of Public Administration?


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