On Campus with University of Nevada, Reno MPA Program

Posted on October 28, 2014

ELGL green icon

The next stop on our tour of MPA programs around the country takes us to the Biggest Little City in the World and the University of Nevada, Reno. Wikipedia tells us that the university has a center for Basque studies (including Basque language!) due to the sizable Basque population in the area. Who knew?! No word on the number of MPA students who take Basque on the side…

Background Check

The University of Nevada-Reno MPA program has the following general goals:

  • to prepare people for careers in public administration and policy analysis
  • to improve managerial competence of persons presently in public service through the advanced study of administrative processes and problems, and through an increased understanding of policy issues and
    research skills
  • to support additional university based research in public administration and policy analysis.

The courses in public administration are designed to increase the student’s understanding of the internal organizational environment, and to help the student develop needed managerial skills. Courses in public policy give the student an understanding of the social, political, and economic environment in which public programs develop and operate. Courses in research methods provide the skills necessary in today’s complex government agencies and activities. A track of specialization provides the student with additional competence in an area linked to individual interests and/or career goals.

General Information

images (3)

Full-time or part-time program:

Both are available

Number of students enrolled each year:

3 PhD, 12 MPA, 8 MA

In state vs. out-of-state:

Designed for both types of students

Online classes offered:

Some, although mainly face-to-face classes. Primarily in evenings.

Q & A with Nevada-Reno MPA


What are the top three selling points of the program?

  • Small graduate student to faculty ratio
  • Attention given to graduate student success throughout their career
  • Located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains

Examples of alumni working in local government:

  • Regional Planner, Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Office
  • Instructor, Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM)
  • City Manager, Village of Kingsley, Michigan018
  • Director, Redfield Campus
  • Senior Research Specialist, Nevada Gaming Commission
  • Chief, Support Services Division at Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Renewable Energy Policy Analyst, Panorama Environmental
  • Chief Administrator, Nevada Health Division
  • Transmission Program Specialist, California Energy Commission
  • Senior Fiscal Analyst at Washoe County, NV
  • Senior Planner, Washoe County Planning and Development
  • Senior Corporate Counsel at Mellanox Technologies, San Francisco, CA
  • Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator, Washoe Countyimages (1)
  • Project Director, Systems Redesign, Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center
  • Principal Analyst – Business Continuity and Emergency Management for Salt River Project, Arizona
  • Policy Analyst, California Tahoe Conservancy
  • Operations and Finance Director, Nevada Land Trust
  • Habitat Specialist Nevada Department of Wildlife
  • Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at Hamilton Company
  • Chief Deputy District Attorney at Washoe County District Attorney’s Office

What are the three biggest challenges for those entering the program?

  • Time management
  • Transitioning from working world to applied theory
  • Finding a research topic for professional papers

Give us three tips on finding the right graduate school.images (2)

  • Location that allows for applied research
  • Relationship with faculty
  • Networks available after completing program

What would alumni describe as the most difficult parts of the program?

  • Workload
  • Managing home life and school
  • Challenging professors

Do you recommend prospective students gain a couple of years of work experience before going to graduate school?

Depends on the specific student

Name three skills that entering students are most often lacking.

  1. Good research skills and knowing how to differentiate sources of literature
  2. Statistics
  3. Time management

Outside the classroom, give us an idea of the places that graduate students can often be found.download (1)

  • Lake Tahoe
  • Drinking a beer on the Truckee River
  • Knowledge Center Visualization Lab

What classes would make up a typical first semester?

  • Introduction to Methods in Political Research
  • Seminar in Public Policy
  • Elective (Public Finance / Climate Change Policy / Leadership)

What are the most recent additions to your course offerings?

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Policy

What question(s) should we have asked?

Perhaps a little about demographics of average student.

Supplemental Reading

On Campus Archives

Close window