Immersion Experience

What Is an Immersion?


Immersions allow the online and on-campus students to get to know each other, build relationships and connections, and create lasting friendships while exploring and focusing on relevant and topical issues."

— Whitney Afonso, MPA Faculty, 2017 Immersion Lead Faculty


The way you learn sets the tone for the way you impact change. To implement policies, initiatives, and partnerships that advance the public good, you need practical skills and a network of professionals whose commitment to service matches yours.

Carolina MPA Immersions, held on an annual basis at the UNC School of Government, allow our online and on-campus students to take part in an intensive three-day weekend course (PUBA, 1.5 credits). Each immersion focuses on a current, relevant topic in public administration.

For online students, immersions offer an invaluable opportunity to visit campus, spend a weekend with classmates and peers, and share their passion for public service.

What to Expect at Your Immersion


“Networking and being able to connect with your classmates after graduation is really, really important. It’s not just about coming to school and getting your education; it’s also about growing as a person. One way you do that is by sharing experiences and getting to know other people.”

— Adrienne Augustus (Class of 2020)


Through a series of development exercises, insightful discussions, and community-building opportunities, you will gain knowledge and skills that translate to real-world practice.

Carolina MPA Immersion content revolves around topics that are shaping the public administration landscape. Previous topics include:

  • Collaborative Governance and Collective Impact
  • Economic Development
  • Navigating Diverse Perspectives in Public Sector Leadership

Immersion highlights include:

Hands-on Learning and Collaboration

In addition to attending lectures, you will work with classmates and faculty on development activities, educational workshops, and other exercises that are designed to improve collaboration skills and build on concepts covered in previous courses.

These activities—which prompt you to produce concrete deliverables like case studies, presentations, and papers—simulate the types of scenarios and interactions you will encounter over the course of your public administration career.

Special Guest Speakers

In addition to fellow students and faculty, you will hear from community leaders, industry experts, and other influential figures in public administration.

These speakers help contextualize and enrich the discussions, exercises, and networking opportunities you will participate in during your time on campus.

Past speakers have included:

  • Ryan Fehrman, MPA, Executive Director of Families Moving Forward Durham
  • Jessica Aylor, MPA, Vice President of Community Engagement at Triangle Community Foundation
  • Kenneth Waldroup, Assistant Public Utilities Director at City of Raleigh

In-Person Networking

Because immersions include online and on-campus students, you have the opportunity to establish valuable new connections and strengthen existing relationships.

Each immersion also features a Carolina MPA alumni networking event, during which program graduates share their experiences, offer advice, and shed light on topics like career growth and professional development.

Upcoming Immersions


I know the caliber and the quality of the material that we’ve had to learn for this immersion will serve me well in the future, especially in the realm of public-private partnerships.”

— Agata Chydzinski (Class of 2019)


If you are a current student who is interested in attending an upcoming immersion, please contact your student support advisor to register.

Discover the Carolina MPA Community

If you are thinking about applying to MPA@UNC, request information below to learn more about MPA immersions and other ways Carolina prepares you to effect change as a public administrator.