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Public and Nonprofit Administration (MPNA)

[Program Overview] [Program Outcomes] [Curriculum] [Admission Criteria] [Application Requirements] [Transfer Credits] [Academic Standing] [Time to Completion] [Accreditation] [Faculty] [Contact Information]

Program Overview

The Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration is designed to prepare graduates to lead and manage organizations and programs ethically, strategically, effectively and efficiently for the public good.

The MPNA program is available in three formats: regular classroom-based courses, a totally online format, and Web-enhanced courses which alternate meeting in the classroom and online. You can choose the format you prefer, including a mix of all three formats.

There are four sets of courses required to complete the MPNA degree.

  • Program Fundamentals: Fundamental concepts and skills that undergird the entire MPNA program.
  • Strategic Skills and Knowledge: Core competencies for all public and nonprofit professionals.
  • Focus Areas: Public Administration or Nonprofit Management tracks, plus Electives in specific areas of practice.
  • Capstone: Final project and MPNA program integration.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the MPNA program should be able to:

  1. Conduct critical analysis of complex issues faced by public and nonprofit professionals.
  2. Provide leadership in developing and implementing organizational and professional codes of conduct, establishing ethical organizational culture and facilitating the pursuit of justice in the public arena.
  3. Lead and manage employees, volunteers and teams ethically, strategically, effectively and efficiently.
  4. Manage information, organizational learning and technology to support high quality decisions and evaluation.
  5. Work effectively across sector, jurisdictional, organizational and professional boundaries.
  6. Communicate effectively as appropriate to the audience in written and oral communication.
  7. Manage financial and business resources, expenditures and accountabilities effectively.
  8. Engage effectively, respectfully and competently with diverse cultures and stakeholders in community and workplace environments.
  9. Advocate knowledgeably and effectively in the public arena to advance organizational and agency mission for the public good.


All MPNA students must complete 40 graduate credits.

1. Program Fundamentals (6 credits): All MPNA students must complete MGMT 600 and either PADM 600 or NPM 600

2. Strategic Skills and Knowledge (18 credits): All MPNA students must complete these five courses:

3. Focus Areas (12 credits): All MPNA students must complete two courses in Public Administration or Nonprofit Management (in addition to a fundamentals course), plus 4 credits in electives.

Students must take at least one course at the 650 level and one at the 675 level:

Students can complete the 4 Elective credits by taking:

  • MPNA 699 Topics in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management (each 2 credits): A different Topics course is scheduled for every term (spring, summer, and fall).
  • An extra Public Administration or Nonprofit Management course.
  • An appropriate graduate course in the MBA or MMIS programs in the College of Management or from elsewhere in the University.

4. Capstone (4 credits): All MPNA students must complete the capstone course.

Admission Criteria

Because this program does not require a GMAT, GRE or equivalent test, a special assessment process has been developed for evaluating applications. If an applicant has completed the GMAT or GRE, these scores can be used in lieu of the special assessment process. This assessment process or GMAT/GRE scores may generate requirements for admission that include preparatory work in writing, math or a required discipline that does not count toward graduation. The preparatory work assures that admitted students are ready for high-quality, master's level instruction. Assessments must be completed before an admission decision is made and before any graduate-level classes can be taken. The assessment is offered free of charge and can be taken on-site at the College of Management or, for distance learners, proctored at a remote location. Because of the applied nature of this graduate program, a minimum of one year of professional work experience is recommended for admission to the program.

Admission Decisions/Categories

The College of Management Graduate Admissions Committee evaluates applications for evidence of undergraduate scholarship, professional experience and demonstrated aptitude for successful graduate study. Applicants who meet all application requirements are given full admission to the MPNA program. Applicants who meet some, but not all admissions requirements may be granted conditional admission to the program. Conditionally-admitted students must complete selected prerequisite courses prior to registering for any graduate course work. Applicants denied admission may not take graduate level courses in the College of Management.

Reapplication for Denied Applicants

If an application for admission to the program is denied, the applicant may reapply for admission only after a minimum of six months has passed since the denial. The applicant will need to demonstrate a substantive difference in the reapplication to be considered for admission.

If an application to the program is denied, the applicant may apply for another College of Management graduate program. A new application form must be accompanied by the application fee, a new goals essay, updated resume, two new references and test scores and/or assessment scores appropriate to the degree for which the applicant is applying.

English and Quantitative Competence Assessment

All College of Management students, except those in special international cohort programs, are expected to demonstrate English and quantitative competence at a level to ensure success in graduate studies. Applicants whose abilities are assessed to be inadequate for graduate study may be required to enroll in appropriate undergraduate courses until their skills have been brought to a satisfactory level. These undergraduate courses must be successfully completed prior to taking any graduate level courses.

Application Requirements

Applicants should allow 7-10 business days for review once all required application materials are received and sent to the College of Management Graduate Admissions Committee.

To be considered for admission applicants must submit:

  • Graduate Application
  • Non-refundable application fee (waived for graduates of Metropolitan State University)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • Assessment scores
  • Current resume
  • Goals essay
  • Two reference letters from professional or academic sources 

See Applying to the Program for application packets, details on the requirements, deadlines and International Student application requirements.


Once you are admitted to a College of Management graduate program you will be expected to attend a graduate student orientation session before or during your first semester of course work. If you are unable to attend orientation because you are located outside the Twin Cities area, arrangements will be made to provide you with orientation information via the Internet and/or telephone.

Transfer Credits

Once admitted, students may transfer up to 16 graduate level credits into the program. A course may be considered for transfer only if it is an appropriate substitution for MPNA courses, has been completed within the last five years from an accredited institution, no degree was granted, and a letter grade of B or better was earned in the course. Courses are accepted in transfer upon the approval of the MPNA Program Director.

Academic Standing

Students must remain in satisfactory academic standing to continue in a College of Management master's degree or graduate certificate program. Only courses for which they receive a letter grade of C (2.0) or better count toward degree or certificate requirements. The option of a competence/no competence with a narrative transcript is not available to College of Management graduate students. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and passing grades (i.e., C or better) for all required courses included in any graduate or certificate programs are required for graduation. Academic standing is calculated at the end of each semester.

Students receiving a letter grade of C+ or below in any graduate course, or who have a cumulative GPA that drops below 3.0, will be placed on academic probation. They will be removed from academic probation when their cumulative GPA rises above 3.0 and they have repeated and passed any required courses for which they received an F. Required courses for which a student receives an F must be repeated and passed in order to graduate. College of Management master's and graduate certificate students may repeat courses if they receive a grade of C or C+, upon approval of the Graduate Studies Director. If a course is repeated once, only the higher grade is used in computing the grade point average. If a course is repeated a second time, the grade point average includes grades earned in both of the repeat attempts. No course may be taken more than three times.

Dismissal From the Program Due to Unsatisfactory Academic Standing

Students who receive a grade of F in a required course must re-take the course and pass it with a grade of C or better in order to complete their program and graduate. They have up to one calendar year, or the next time the course is offered from the time an F was received, to re-take the course. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program. If a student who received an F cannot complete the course with a passing grade of C or better within the two allowable re-take opportunities, they will be dismissed from the program.

Appeal of Removal from the Program Due to Unsatisfactory Academic Standing

Students who are removed from the program may appeal their removal to the College of Management Dean. The appeal must be made in writing and provide specific grounds for the appeal. The appeal is due to the Dean within 30 days of the date of the letter notifying them of the decision to remove them from the program. The Dean has 30 days to respond in writing to the appeal. Appeals received after 30 days will not be considered.

Readmission after Dismissal

Students who have been dismissed from a graduate program may apply for readmission no sooner than one calendar year after the last semester of study. To reapply, they have to complete the same process that was required for their initial admission and they must meet all the requirements of the Program as of their time of readmission. Readmission decisions are made by the College of Management and are not automatic.

Time to Completion

Students have five years from the first semester of graduate study to complete their degree program requirements. An extension of the time limit may be requested by writing to the College of Management Graduate Programs Office. Such requests must be received prior to the expiration of the time limit. Requests for extensions should include the reason(s) for requesting the extension, a summary of the student's plan to finish graduation requirements, and a specific date for the extension to expire. Extension decisions are made by the College of Management Graduate Admissions Committee, are not automatic, and cannot be appealed.

College of Management Outstanding Student Award

During their final semester of coursework, students may be nominated by the faculty for the College of Management Outstanding Student Award. Nominees are evaluated on the basis of their academic performance in their graduate degree program as well as achievements in their community and professional contributions. All finalists are recognized in the commencement program, and the outstanding student receives special recognition at commencement. The student's name will also be placed on a plaque that is permanently displayed in the College of Management.


Metropolitan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, IL 60602-2504

The MPNA program curriculum is consistent with the guidelines of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC).


Resident faculty members are primarily:

  • Holders of doctoral degrees in their fields
  • Authors of applied and refereed publications
  • Experienced in their academic fields.

Additionally, the College of Management has a strong community faculty who are fully committed to educational excellence. All community faculty have graduate degrees, either a master's or a doctorate, as well as business expertise in their fields. Metropolitan State assures the quality of its community faculty through a careful selection process, extensive training through our own Teaching Academy, and regular student evaluations.

Contact Information

Office Location
1300 Harmon Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Mailing Address
College of Management
Graduate Programs Office
Metropolitan State University
1501 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 612-659-7290
Email: com.graduateprograms@metrostate.edu
Website: choose.metrostate.edu/comgradprograms