UNC-Chapel Hill to Offer Master of Public Administration Program in Online Format

CHAPEL HILL, NC, March 26, 2012 – The School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) will offer its Master of Public Administration (MPA) program in a new online format designed for working professionals and others seeking the accessibility and flexibility of an online program from a top-tier university.

“The MPA program at UNC-Chapel Hill attracts applicants with a desire to serve and a potential for leadership,” said William C. Rivenbark, MPA program director. “Graduates of our program attain leadership positions in every level of government and in organizations that support the public interest. We typically admit about 30 high-performing students per year into the on-campus program, but this online option will enable us to extend the reach of our program and provide many more highly qualified students with the opportunity to earn an MPA from a top-ranked university.”

The online program, known as MPA@UNC, will blend the flexibility of an online program with the rigor and quality of the on-campus program:

  • MPA@UNC students will meet the same selective admissions criteria required by the on-campus MPA program and will receive the same UNC MPA degree.
  • MPA@UNC will be based on the same academically rigorous curriculum as the residential program.
  • UNC MPA faculty members will design and teach MPA@UNC courses.
  • As with on-campus students, MPA@UNC students will be required to participate in a hands-on professional work experience that can be fulfilled through an existing role or internship in their local community.
  • MPA@UNC classes will be small, with a ratio of one faculty member to a maximum of 15 students, in order to facilitate the same focused learning environment and lasting cohort experience that is a special strength of the on-campus program.
  • As part of the UNC family, MPA@UNC students will be invited to participate in graduation ceremonies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Courses integrate both self-paced content and live sessions held at pre-arranged times that accommodate students in multiple time zones. In live sessions, the state-of-the-art learning management technology—which includes live streaming video—will allow faculty members and students to see and hear each other as they discuss course topics, meet in student study groups or hold face-to-face meetings during office hours. The self-paced content provides high-quality, faculty-designed coursework and an interactive social technology platform that allows students to chat, study and join communities with fellow classmates and professors 24/7.

“Governments and nonprofits need strategic thinkers at every level and public servants who can lead us through current and future challenges,” said Mike Smith, dean of the School of Government. “With the addition of this online MPA option, qualified students will be able to choose a program that fits their life needs and their learning preferences, and we will expand our positive impact on communities across the country.”

The UNC School of Government is developing MPA@UNC with 2U, Inc. 2U partners with leading higher education institutions to deliver rigorous, selective degree programs online by providing the technology platform, instructional design, marketing and infrastructure support. Headquartered in Landover, Maryland, 2U was recently named by Fast Company as among the world’s 10 most innovative companies in education.

“Technology is changing industries and many facets of our daily routines, including how we learn,” said Chip Paucek, cofounder and CEO of 2U, Inc. “In the UNC School of Government, we’ve found a forward-thinking team eager to innovate and push the boundaries of graduate education. We are impressed by the faculty’s leadership in local and state governments, and thrilled to partner with a school widely regarded as the largest university-based organization for local government training, advising and research in the United States.”

MPA@UNC will admit its first cohort of students this fall and will begin classes in January 2013. For more information, visit the MPA@UNC website or call 855-862-4672.


MPA@UNC is a Master of Public Administration program delivered online by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government. The program educates leaders for local, state and federal governments and nonprofit organizations, and consistently ranks among the best public administration graduate programs in the country, particularly in city management. The online program, known as MPA@UNC, allows working professionals and students everywhere to learn from UNC faculty through a unique blend of highly interactive online learning in an intimate classroom setting. MPA@UNC students need to meet the same selective admissions criteria as the on-campus program and upon graduation, earn an identical diploma. Graduates of the UNC School of Government MPA program attain leadership positions in every level of government and in organizations that support the public interest.

About 2U, Inc.

2U, Inc. partners with top-tier universities to deliver rigorous, selective graduate programs online. Founded in 2008 by a unique team of education veterans, the company provides universities with the web technologies, infrastructural support and capital needed to compete in a space previously dominated by mediocre online programs. 2U is one of the highest-funded education technology start-ups in the United States. The company has partnered with prestigious research universities to deliver the following groundbreaking online degree programs:

  • MAT@USC: Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education
  • MSW@USC: Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California School of Social Work
  • Nursing@Georgetown: Master’s in Nursing from Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies
  • MBA@UNC: Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • MPA@UNC: Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government



UNC School of Government
Todd A. Nicolet, Director of MPA@UNC, 919-843-7310 or tnicolet@sog.unc.edu.
William C. Rivenbark, MPA Program Director, 919-962-3707 or rivenbark@sog.unc.edu.
Michael R. Smith, Dean, 919-966-4107 or msmith@sog.unc.edu.
L. Ellen Bradley, Director of Marketing and Communications, 919-843-6527 or bradley@sog.unc.edu.

Alexa Scordato, Director of Communication and Social Marketing, 978-821-1641 or ascordato@2tor.com.