On Campus with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte MPA Program

Posted on September 3, 2014

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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.

Background Check


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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 ManagementUrban Management & Policy, Emergency Management and Public Finance; but not necessarily interested in pursuing a Masters degree.

General Information


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).

Michstanly-coael 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.images (1)

  • 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.cc

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?

Financial Reporting

Supplemental Reading

On Campus


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