MPA@UNC: General Questions
- What is MPA@UNC?
- Who will my classmates be?
- How is MPA@UNC similar to UNC School of Government's on-campus MPA program?
- How is MPA@UNC different from UNC School of Government's on-campus MPA program?
- How is MPA@UNC different from other online programs?
- What is the schedule for MPA@UNC?
- How long will it take to complete my degree through MPA@UNC?
- May I take electives or declare a concentration?
- What is required of students in MPA@UNC courses?
- What technology will be used?
- Is MPA@UNC delivered completely online?
- How much time should I expect to dedicate to MPA@UNC?
- Can I take a tour of the UNC-Chapel Hill campus?
- How can I learn more about MPA@UNC?
What is MPA@UNC?
MPA@UNC is the UNC School of Government's Master of Public Administration program offered in an online environment. MPA@UNC enables highly qualified students to prepare for a career in public service and earn a top-ranked MPA degree without relocating. By extending the reach of its MPA program, the School of Government seeks to prepare more public service leaders to make a positive impact on communities across the country and abroad.
Who will my classmates be?
MPA@UNC students must meet the same rigorous admissions standards as students in the UNC School of Government's traditional MPA program. All successful applicants have excellent grades, competitive GRE scores, and a commitment to public service.
MPA@UNC students typically continue their professional and personal obligations while enrolled in the program. Classmates include highly qualified professionals from across the country and the globe, many of whom already work in public service. You will benefit from a network of aspiring public servants and a global alumni network representing diverse perspectives and experiences.
- MPA@UNC students must meet the same selective admissions criteria required by the UNC School of Government's on-campus MPA program. All admission decisions are made by School of Government faculty.
- As in the on-campus program, MPA@UNC classes are designed and taught by renowned UNC School of Government faculty, and students are required to participate in a hands-on professional work experience. However, MPA@UNC students fulfill their work experience requirement through an existing role or internship in their local communities.
- MPA@UNC courses are based on the same academically rigorous curriculum used in the on-campus program. MPA@UNC students earn the same UNC School of Government-conferred MPA degree as their on-campus peers.
- MPA@UNC classes are small in order to facilitate the same focused learning environment and supportive relationships between faculty and students that characterize the on-campus MPA program. The maximum student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1.
- As part of the UNC family, MPA@UNC graduates are invited to participate in commencement ceremonies at the School of Government on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill.
How is MPA@UNC different from UNC School of Government's on-campus MPA program?
The primary difference between MPA@UNC and the on-campus MPA program is MPA@UNC's self-paced coursework and state-of-the-art online platform. This environment enables students to earn a top-ranked MPA without relocating, using:
- A technology platform designed specifically for graduate education.
- A combination of self-paced coursework and live, online classes (live classes are held at prearranged times to allow students in different time zones to participate)
- Streaming video technology that allows students and faculty to interact in real time as they discuss course topics, meet in study groups, and hold face-to-face online meetings
- High-quality, faculty-designed coursework accessible to students at their convenience 24/7
- An interactive social technology platform that allows students to chat, study, and join communities with fellow classmates and professors
How is MPA@UNC different from other online programs?
Very few online programs offer live, face-to-face classes with faculty members and classmates. These live, online classes are a central feature of MPA@UNC, enabling students to interact with renowned UNC faculty and classmates in real time. Through social networking tools, even the self-paced coursework becomes a community activity.
MPA@UNC's self-paced coursework is produced by UNC School of Government faculty and uses multimedia tools specifically designed to help students effectively attain and review concepts.
Together, these features help bring the best of the on-campus UNC School of Government experience to online MPA@UNC students — something other online programs cannot claim to do.
How long will it take to complete my degree through MPA@UNC?
Students entering MPA@UNC will typically complete the program in one and a half to two years. Students who opt to take a part-time schedule may take up to five years to complete the program. Students who opt to accelerate can complete the program in as little as 18 months.
May I take electives or declare a concentration?
MPA@UNC includes 15 hours of electives, which provide students the opportunity to focus on specific areas of public service such as Community & Economic Development, Local Government, or Nonprofit Management. Please see the Academic section of this site for further details. We currently do not offer concentrations in this program.
- Weekly, live online classes led by UNC School of Government faculty
- Self-paced coursework to be completed outside of class that involves readings, case studies, projects, and papers
- An interactive learning community using social media tools
- Hands-on learning demonstrated through a professional experience component and a portfolio developed over the course of the program
What technology will be used?
MPA@UNC students use a cutting-edge Learning Management System called 2SG, which includes a highly interactive social networking platform. Live, weekly online classes are delivered face-to-face by UNC School of Government faculty with a maximum of 15 students to each faculty member. The curriculum also includes self-paced coursework produced by UNC School of Government faculty using multimedia to prepare students for richer discussion and interaction in the live class sessions. Faculty members offer face-to-face office hours in the live online format. Students are also part of an interactive online community that uses familiar social networking, groups, and organizational tools.
Is MPA@UNC delivered completely online?
Not completely. The MPA@UNC includes a practicum in the form of a professional work experience, which typically takes place upon completion of the nine core courses (though this can change depending on your individual situation). If your current professional position is not in a public service context, a dedicated placement team will help you find a public agency or nonprofit organization where you will be able to complete your practicum.
How much time should I expect to dedicate to MPA@UNC?
MPA@UNC is a rigorous program for highly motivated students aspiring to become leaders in public service. For anyone completing the program in the typical timeframe, you should expect to dedicate approximately 15 hours per week for studying, preparation, self-paced coursework, and live classes.
Can I take a tour of the UNC-Chapel Hill campus?
Whether you live in the Chapel Hill area or are just visiting, you can arrange for a tour of the UNC campus by contacting an admissions counselor at 855-862-4672.
How can I learn more about MPA@UNC?
To learn more, please continue to explore our site, view a pre-recorded online information session, or sign up for an upcoming information session. If you would like to speak with an admissions counselor, please call 855-862-4672 or e-mail us.