The UNC School of Government is a nationally recognized source of public administration education and research and counsel for local and state government officials. School of Government faculty engage public officials at every level of government on a daily basis, providing practical advice and expertise, which they bring to the MPA@UNC courses. The value of real-life experience also manifests in the practicum component of MPA@UNC as a hands-on opportunity for you to build the skills and competencies needed by all public service leaders.
Professional Work Experience
MPA@UNC includes a practicum in the form of a professional work experience course, which will typically take place upon your completion of the nine core courses (although this timing can change depending on your individual situation). The professional work experience includes a required essay in which you must demonstrate and expand on your professional experience within the context of public service leadership.
Throughout MPA@UNC, you will assemble a collection of academic and professional work that demonstrates your development as a public service leader through the core competencies of the program. During your final semester, you will be required to write a comprehensive paper that integrates these assignments and synthesizes them within the broader framework of public administration. The resulting portfolio will be reviewed and approved by a three-person committee, which will also conduct your oral defense (may be substituted with an exam).
Through the portfolio and oral defense, each student will demonstrate the following: 1) mastery of the core public leadership competencies; 2) the ability to synthesize information across courses; and 3) strategic leadership decision-making and communication skills. The portfolio measures student achievement against the competency-focused standards.