The next stop on our nationwide quest to cover every MPA program in the country takes us to the University of North Carolina Charlotte. This is our second stop in the Tar Heel State. In 2013, we learned about the UNC-Chapel Hill MPA program.
With Charlotte playing host to the ICMA Conference in September 2014, we figured this was the ideal time to learn about the offerings at UNC-Charlotte. We also find it appropriate to visit with UNC-Charlotte as a number of current and former UNC-Charlotte MPA students are ELGL members.
Connect: World Wide Web
The mission of the Master of Public Administration Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is to provide education and training for the public and nonprofit sectors, conduct scholarly and applied research to advance the field of public administration, and serve the community.
MPA students have the option to concentrate their studies in several specialized areas:
- Non-Profit Management
- Urban Management & Policy
- Arts Administration
- Emergency Management
- Public Finance
Certificates are available to students wanting specialized training within Non-Profit Management, Urban Management & Policy, Emergency Management and Public Finance; but not necessarily interested in pursuing a Masters degree.
Full-time or part-time program: Both
Number of students enrolled each year: 80
In state vs. out-of-state: 80 percent in state
Online classes offered: only electives
Q & A with Dr. Leland
Suzanne Leland is an Associate Professor of Political Science at University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. She worked for the Governor’s Consolidation Study Commission while earning her Ph.D. at the University of Kansas. She teaches and researches urban politics, state and local government, and intergovernmental relations.
What are the three top selling points of the UNCC program?
- Academic rigor
- Affordability/Good value
- Fellowships with area governments/nonprofits
Examples of alumni working in local government (name and position).
Michael Boger, Mecklenburg County Budget Analyst
Andy Lucas, Manager of Stanly County
Chris Olsen, Fiscal and Policy Analyst at City of San Diego
What are the biggest challenges for those entering the program?
Balancing families, jobs, and school or making the transition to graduate level education
Give us three tips on finding the right graduate school.
- Find a curriculum that is challenging.
- Find a program that is offered in the evening in-person so students can pursue a fellowship or internship.
- Find a school that is affordable
What would alumni describe as the most difficult parts of the program?
The capstone courses which consists of MPAD 6188 Research Applications and MPAD 6187 Problem Solving.
Do you recommend prospective students gain a couple of years of work experience before going to graduate school?
It’s helpful but not mandatory.
Name three skills that entering students are most often lacking.
- Ability to write clearly and concisely.
- Ability to use Microsoft Excel.
- Ability to analyze data
What classes would make up a typical first semester?
- Research Methods
- Foundations of Public Administration
- Public Organizations and Management
What are the most recent additions to your course offerings?
- Establishing a Model City for Individuals with Disabilities
- Alumni & Student Accomplishments
- U.S. News Ranks MPA Among Nation’s Top Programs
- Stanly County Manager Andy Lucas
- Meet the Staff – City of San Diego
- Suzanne Leland – UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
- Northern Illinois University MPA Program
- Willamette’s Atkinson School of Management
- Kansas MPA Program
- Portland State MPA Program
- Villanova MPA Program
- Oakland University MPA Program
- University of North Texas MPA Program
- University of Oregon MPA Program
- Washington State University Vancouver Master of Public Affairs