Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

If you still have questions about the master of public administration program, contact the Department of Public Administration at or 607-777-2719.

How much is tuition?

See tuition and fees for costs for in-state and out-of-state students.

How can I pay for graduate school?

Aside from maintaining reasonable tuition rates, Binghamton University offers numerous funding options. From loans and fellowships to student employment and travel funding, Binghamton University can help you find the sources you need to enhance your career and make your education attainable. See financial support for more information.

How do I begin the application process?

You apply to the Graduate School through the online application. You are able to create an account and work on your application bit by bit. 

Do I have to choose an area of specialization?

No. Many students decide to enroll in elective courses that provide specialized education in a specific area of study, and our program offers specialized study in the following: nonprofit management; local government, and sustainable communities.  Students can also take courses outside of the MPA program, and the department has relationships with the departments of social work, student affairs administration, geography, and the Decker School of Nursing (health policy).

How are MPA classes delivered?

The MPA Program offers most courses in a traditional classroom setting. Students have the ability to take a limited number of classes in an online or hybrid format.

How long will it take me to complete the MPA degree?

The MPA Program is a 42-credit hour program, comprised of:

  • a core of seven courses (25 credits) where students are introduced to the knowledge and skills they need for professional public service
  • a three-course (9 credits) specialization or set of electives
  • two courses (3 credits) to practice application of learning
  • a culminating experience consisting of two courses (5 credits) to demonstrate competencies.

It typically takes full-time students two years to complete our MPA Program.

How many students are enrolled in the program?

As of Fall 2016, there are 157 students working to complete their MPA. This includes roughly 65 percent pre-service students that have not worked in public or nonprofit organizations; 35 percent are currently working, or have worked, in public or nonprofit settings for at least two years. Generally, about half of our students elect to enroll full-time. This also includes 11 accelerated degree students, who are technically still undergraduates, but they are taking MPA coursework. Our program contains 12 percent international students, as of Fall 2016.

Of the 25 students who were newly enrolled in fall 2010 or spring 2011, 64 percent graduated within four years. Of the cohort, 47 percent graduated in two years, 56 percent graduated in three years, and by the fifth year, 72 percent had graduated.

The six students who did not graduate (both part-time) withdrew from the program.

It is important to note that the majority of students that did not graduate within two years were part-time for at least part of their graduate career. For students that are in-service rather than pre-service, job responsibilities often preclude taking more than two classes -- and in some semesters just one course -- a semester. The program is designed to accommodate these students, and they most often graduate within two and half years.

Is there an MPA information packet available?

This web site contains all available program and admissions information. If you have questions, call 607-777-2719 or e-mail us for more information.

How many pages should I write to answer the question, "Why do you want an MPA?"

Write a response approximately two (2) pages long reflecting your best writing ability as well as your commitment to public service.

How much does it cost to study in the MPA Program?

See information on graduate tuition and fees at the graduate school website.

Can I work full time while I study?

Many of our students are employed full time or are "in career.” You should plan to spend at least 12 hours per week writing, studying and preparing for each course you take.

Is the orientation for new MPA students mandatory?

Yes, the orientation is mandatory for all new MPA students. Orientation provides you with the opportunity for registration advisement and also gives you essential information you'll need to be a success in the program. We respect the fact that many students are in career and may have to rearrange work schedules to attend meetings, which is why we schedule very few mandatory meetings throughout your program of study.

What is the difference between and MBA and an MPA? What kinds of jobs can I get with an MPA?

Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) website has a great deal of helpful information about the benefits of an MPA degree.

How should I prepare for the MPA program as an undergraduate? What kinds of classes should I take?

Classes in political science, economics, human development and American government are all good preparation for an MPA degree, although we have many students with humanities, business and other backgrounds as well.

I'm a non-matriculated student. How do I register for MPA courses?

See the Non-Matriculated Students Information Form (.pdf, 43.5kb) and course request form for details.

Last Updated: 9/26/16