There are three schools that offer a Master of Public Administration in Utah and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
The biggest program in the state is through Brigham Young University in Provo, where they offer full-time and executive programs.
Other opportunities are located at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
Consider Featured Online MPA Programs
Online MPA Programs in Utah
Of the three NASPAA-accredited schools in the state, Southern Utah University provides the only 100 percent online Master of Public Administration.
While there are limited online course opportunities at other universities, they provide other benefits such as customizing the schedule and providing an executive MPA to advance those at the mid-level career positions.
Southern Utah University
The Master of Public Administration can be completed either on-campus or fully online. It is available in a generic format or with an emphasis in Criminal Justice, Higher Education Administration, or State and Local Government. All courses need to have a B- or higher and a 3.0 GPA must be maintained throughout to continue into the program. The curriculum requires 36 credit hours to complete, with 21 credits toward core courses and the remaining going to electives and various experiential learning opportunities, such as an internship or capstone project.
Example core courses in the curriculum include Public Sector Economics, Administrative Law, and Critical Thinking and Ethics. Typically, most students have been able to complete the program within three years. The vast majority of graduates over the last three academic years have seen employment within state and regional government in the United States.
Online coursework is distributed through the Canvas learning management system. Typical class structure is through weekly asynchronous lectures, but some professors will utilize live classes throughout the semester. During these live sessions, it is important for students to have access to a webcam and microphone. Some capability will be available on mobile devices, and outside programs such as Google Hangout and FaceTime can be used to network and discuss with other peers.
Brigham Young University
The BYU Marriott School of Business has an exclusive full-time Master of Public Administration program that requires 57 credit hours to complete. Students are restricted to academic studies within the first semester due to the rigorous course schedule. Most of the core courses are taken at that time, and electives begin in the second semester. Students choose a sector emphasis (nonprofit, local government, or state and federal government) and skill set concentration. Options among the skill sets are Resource Development, Program Management, and Finance. Students can expect to finish the program within two years.
Another option for experienced professionals is pursuing the Executive Master of Public Administration. This is a three-year program that requires students that have already worked at least four years in a related setting, and its purpose is to advance in their career. Classes are held on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday night at the BYU Salt Lake Center, with six credits during the fall and winter semesters and three credits during the spring term. A list of first-year courses in the program include:
- Organizational Behavior
- Quantitative Decision Analysis
- Economic Decision Making for Managers
- Communication in Public Administration
- Administrative Environment
In order to be approved for either program, prospective students must hold a four-year undergraduate degree, sustain a commitment to the BYU Honor Code, and show proof of an ecclesiastical endorsement. Submission requirements include a transcript, resume and cover letter, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores for full-time students. An online interview will also need to be conducted. A prerequisite course over Excel basics will be needed early in the curriculum if no prior coursework has taken place.
University of Utah
The College of Social and Behavioral Science offers a Master of Public Administration for those in the Salt Lake City area. Nine core courses, five electives, an internship, and a major research paper is needed to complete the program. A prerequisite course is needed in American Government within the first semester. Students can pick among the following concentrations for their electives: Lower and Higher Education, Nonprofit Organizations, Heath Administration, Local Government Administration, Natural Resource Administration, and Policy Analysis. There is also an option to fully customize the electives.
Other features of the program include the customizability of taking the courses in the evening. Students can set their own schedule while continuing to work, and the program can be completed within two to four years. An executive option is available to those who want to advance in their careers, and it is geared toward those that have at least five years of high-level experience. Various scheduling opportunities are available during the week or weekend. Of all the graduates in the program since 2011, a majority represent state and local government, and domestically oriented nonprofit organizations.