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Political Science

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

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The Clemson University Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is a graduate-level, professional degree designed for and considered a top credential for non-profit, community and government leadership. The program includes elements business management and public policy, a combination that prepares students to become effective leaders in the career choices listed above.

The majority of students in the program are working public administrators or nonprofit professionals. The professional expertise of students and faculty in local government, state agencies, nonprofit organizations and non-governmental organizations is a critical component to the education experience. The program has a diverse mix of students who contribute to an engaging and collaborative learning environment. Coupled with outstanding professional and academic experience of our faculty, the Clemson MPA program is an outstanding value.

The Clemson MPA program moved to an interactive online format in 2009 and today calls the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS) its academic home. The online, evening format has given students greater professional and personal flexibility while still allowing students to have a face-to-face learning experience and participate in group activities. Utilizing the best online platforms available has allowed the Clemson MPA program to grow from a regional onsite program, to a nationally ranked MPA program.

  • Admissions

    Note to Applicants: Given the current COVID-19 crisis and the challenges related to standardized exams, the Master in Public Administration program will provide a GRE waiver process for all applicants for Spring, Summer and Fall 2021. For all prospective students not meeting the MPA program's current GRE waiver criteria, please submit a 3-5 page double-spaced writing sample focused on the importance of effective governance and public administration in times of crisis.

    Interested students may apply to be admitted for Spring 2022 semester. Application deadlines for Clemson University's Master of Public Administration (MPA) program are:

    • Spring semester: October 15
    • Summer semester: March 15
    • Fall semester: June 15

    The MPA program is flexible with these deadlines if an applicant submits a complete application packet.

    To obtain information about the program, prospective students should email cumpa@clemson.edu.

    • A complete application consists of:
    • An online application form at https://www.clemson.edu/graduate/admissions/apply/index.html
    • Unofficial transcripts of all previous academic work, both graduate and undergraduate. Official transcripts will be required once admission had been granted.
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (within the last five years) in the range of 140 for the verbal and quantitative portions of the exam. Information regarding the test can be obtained from Educational Testing Services (ETS) at www.ets.org/gre.
    • GRE waiver requests may be granted in certain circumstances. See the GRE tab below for more information.
    • Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic and / or job performance (when possible one of each).
    • A personal statement outlining the purpose for pursuing an MPA degree.
    • A current resume or CV.
    • Applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit acceptable TOEFL scores.

    Once all materials have been received it takes an average of two weeks to fully process an application.

    If you have a bachelor's degree and would like to take a couple of courses without actually pursuing a degree, you should apply as a non-degree student.

    The Clemson MPA program also has a non-degree certificate program. All credits earned in this program are fully transferable to the full degree program.  If you are interested in applying for the certificate program please click here for more information.

    Still have questions? Either visit our FAQs or email cumpa@clemson.edu.

  • GRE

    As an applicant to the MPA program, you may apply for a GRE waiver if you meet one of the following requirements:

    1. have been employed for a minimum of 5 years in a full-time, relevant professional position and have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; (please include a letter from a superior documenting the types of projects you have worked on, your role in these, and your success in these efforts.)
    2. have 10 or more years of senior level professional experience; 
(please include a letter documenting at a  minimum your role(s) in the organization(s) you have worked for, the number of people you have supervised, the approximate budget of the organization(s), and the types of projects you have managed.)
    3. successfully completed the Clemson MPA certificate with a 3.0 average GPA;
    4. earned a graduate degree (Master’s, PhD, MD, or JD) within the last five (5) years from an accredited university.

    To submit a waiver request you must meet at least one of the above requirements. You must also submit a brief statement explaining why you are seeking the waiver and what criteria you have met to allow for the waiver.  Once we have received the appropriate documents the MPA admissions committee will evaluate the waiver request. The GRE score or the approved waiver are only one component of the MPA application and do not constitute acceptance or denial into the program.

  • Financial

    The Clemson MPA program offers competitive tuition rates whether a student is in-state, out-of-state or international. Our tuition rates do not distinguish between S.C. residents & non-residents. 

    Click here to calculate tuition & fees. Be sure to click on the "Graduate" tab at the top of the calculator.

    Here are a few reminders about financing your education:

    • Education financing is a tax deductible expense - deduct your tuition payments, books, and other expenses on your taxes.
    • Remember to check with your employer for tuition reimbursement.
    • Contact Clemson's Financial Aid Office and ask for help with your personal financing options.

    Currently the MPA program does not offer Assistantships or Graduate Tuition Deferral opportunities. Students who live close to Clemson University may inquire about assistantship opportunities with other departments and centers on campus.

    As program staff are made aware of scholarship opportunities relevant to MPA students, we will make all students aware of these via the student list-serve.

  • MPA Events
    Spring Fling

    The MPA Spring Fling has become an annual tradition for the Clemson MPA program. Spring brings warmer weather and the opportunity for Clemson MPA students to get together with classmates, staff and faculty. These events typically include the following fun activities:

    • An on-campus classroom experience with professors Bundrick and Mellott
    • Awesome door prize drawings with Lori Dickes
    • A tailgate with PRTM’s 50th anniversary faculty, staff and alumni
    • The opportunity to see the three-time National Championship winning Clemson Tigers football team’s spring game
    • Dinner with friends and colleagues at the Clemson Outdoor Lab
    Fall Fling

    The MPA program hosts a Fall Fling in addition to the annual Spring Fling, which, similarl to the Spring Fling, allows students to meet with one another and our faculty and staff on campus while attending fun and informational events. These are normally held in the cooler portion of the fall semester, so students are able to attend a Clemson football tailgate and game while enjoying the beautiful fall foliage of campus.

    Summer Abroad in Sweden

    Each year, Program Director Lori Dickes leads a group of MPA students to study abroad for a week at Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden to study sustainable practices in what’s considered one of the greenest and most sustainable regions in the world. Graduate students spend 8-10 days in Sweden and learn about the many ways’ communities in Sweden practice social, economic and environmental sustainability. Students earn 3 Special Topics course credit that count towards an elective in the MPA program.

    Graduation Reception

    Graduating students are treated to a celebration with MPA faculty and staff before graduation ceremonies at the end of each semester. The program provides a reception including coffee and breakfast for  students and their families the morning of graduation. This is a time to meet in person and celebrate our graduating student’s success.

  • Our Faculty

    Amanda Knight
    aritsem@clemson.edu

    Chris Mayhugh
    cmayhug@clemson.edu

    Donna Kazia
    dkazia@clemson.edu

    Morgan Young
    dmyoung@clemson.edu

    Katya Yazykova Mellott
    eyazyko@clemson.edu

    Mark Mellott
    mellott@clemson.edu

    Jeff Parkey
    jparkey@clemson.edu

    Katherine Kransteuber
    kkranst@clemson.edu

    Kevin Staley
    ktstale@clemson.edu

    Robert Frager
    rfrager@clemson.edu

    Scott Schmidt
    saschmi@clemson.edu

    Shannon Owen
    ssowen@clemson.edu

    Natasha Malmin
    nmalmin@clemson.edu

    Vaiva Kalesnikaite
    vkalesn@clemson.edu

    Nathan Teklemariam
    nteklem@clemson.edu

  • Contact Us

    For General Information and Inquiries - Email cumpa@clemson.edu

    Find Us on Social MediaFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

    Lori Dickes
    Program Director
    Assistant Professor, MPA Program
    (864) 656-7831
    lorid@clemson.edu

    Bianca Schuster
    Student Services Coordinator, MPA Program
    864-656-7135
    bianca@clemson.edu

    Robin Kyle
    Senior Proctor, MPA Program
    Assists instructors with Zoom functionality
    robink@clemson.edu

Hear From Program Graduates

  • Curriculum Requirements

    All course work for the Clemson, Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is offered using Zoom online technology and students generally meet live one evening per week (per course) from 6:30-9:10 pm. All courses are recorded and asynchronous course components are accessed through Clemson's online course management platform. The MPA program is proud to offer a full selection of courses in the Long Summer session, with class times extending until 9:45 pm due to the shortened semester length.

    The program of study for the MPA program requires the completion of 39 or 42 total credit hours, depending on the student’s choice of the comprehensive exam or a capstone final research project. If a student chooses the comprehensive exam, they are required to complete 39 total credit hours. Because the capstone project is an actual course, if a student chooses this as their final project they are required to complete 42 total credit hours.

    The program requires the following 7 (21 hours) core courses:

    Perspectives on Public Administration - PADM 8210
    Study and practice of public administration in the US in the 20th century; historical development of the field of public administration; current approaches to the study and practice of public administration.

    Public Policy Process PADM - 8220
    Major models of policy making including incrementalism, rationalism, pluralism, and elitism; selected areas of public policy including transportation, poverty, energy, and the environment.

    Research Methods for Public Administration - PADM 7020
    Use of social science research methods for addressing issues in public management and policy; research design; measurement; sampling and polling; various aspects of locating, collecting, and processing data, including survey design and archive searches.

    Public Data Analysis - PADM 8410
    Various aspects of database management, storage, and retrieval; data description; univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis in policy studies and decision-making theory.

    Administrative Leadership - PADM 8620
    Foundations of ethical leadership in public organizations; personal and organizational values underlying decision processes in the public service.

    Public Personnel Administration - PADM 8270
    Organization, techniques and theories of personnel management; interpersonal relations in organizations; personnel change and development; changing conditions in the public service; educational specializations, unions, collective bargaining; ethics for the public service.

    Public Financial Management - PADM 8290
    Organization and techniques of governmental financial management; budgetary theories; intergovernmental financial relations.

    You must take all of the courses listed above, plus one of the government courses described in the next column and five electives. There are some exceptions to this policy. Please inquire as to these exceptions during your advising sessions.

    American Government - PADM
    In-depth study of the American political system, its institutions and processes.

    State Government Administration - PADM 8670
    State government problems and policy issues emphasizing the modernization of government institutions and comparative state politics.

    Local Government Administration - PADM 8680
    Administration of local government from the perspective of the professional administrator; the growth of the manager form of local government; the role of local government administrators with regard to policy making, management, and the delivery of services.

    We strongly suggest that students take Research Methods and Public Data Analysis in sequence. Additionally, once students have completed the core coursework they may take the comprehensive exams if they are not choosing the capstone project.

    Students must complete 18 or 21 elective hours depending on the student’s choice of the comprehensive exam or capstone final research project. One course (3 hours) of total elective hours must be a government course.

    Students may declare a specialization from one of five MPA specializations or they may create a hybrid specialization with a mix of courses from MPA elective courses.

  • Specialization - Emergency Management

    South Carolina was the only state that did not offer emergency management training. Now, Clemson University offers such training to emergency management professionals. The 15-credit specialization includes one of the MPA core classes and four courses that build around the four phases of emergency management, Preparation, Response, Recovery & Mitigation. Each semester will include at least one emergency management course and one Homeland Security course, among the other MPA courses that may be of interest.

    We are striving to prepare Emergency Management professionals for their desired professional credentials. Courses offered will be determined, in part, through the requests of state emergency management associations and affiliated groups.Students in this specialization often take coursework in Homeland Defense and Security to supplement their academic program.

    Courses Include:

    Fundamentals of Emergency Management – PADM 8510
    This class presents holistic concepts of emergency management. Students examine public and private sector utilization of emergency management. The course will focus on gaining a practical understanding of the concepts, tools and relationships necessary to provide emergency management to an entity.

    Homeland Security and Emergency Management Law – PADM 8530
    Examine the legal aspects of homeland security through identification and study of controlling constitutional, stator and case authorities. Four groups (national security entities, domestic security entities, emergency managers and the military including National Guard) will be studies in both pre- and post- September 11, 2001 contexts.

    Emergency Management Planning and Preparation – PADM 8520
    This course is the study of hazard mitigation and response through planning and preparation for emergency management. An environmental approach to the understanding of natural and man-made disasters, risk reduction, and hazard mitigation is utilized to study the common types of disasters, assessment of disaster probabilities, emergency planning for disaster hazard mitigation, and emergency planning and response for disaster events.

    Resilience in Disaster Recovery – PADM 8780 (Special Topics)
    This course provides a study of disaster resiliency. Disasters of all types present multiple social impacts on communities and populations hit by these disasters. Disaster response professionals use their knowledge of these social impacts to reduce the potential for extreme impacts before disasters occur and to assist communities in more efficient and effective recoveries. The concept of resiliency will be used to explore social impacts from disasters, along with strategies to enhance resiliency and reduce the impacts of the social dimensions of disasters.

    Advanced Seminar in Emergency Management – PADM TBD

  • Specialization - Homeland Defense and Security

    This specialization provides technical training and builds management skills for professionals who work with threats and vulnerabilities systems. The focus is on key institutions, actors, and legal structures. Students examine current homeland security initiatives and learn to analyze their theoretical underpinnings and application features. Students in this specialization often take coursework in Emergency Management to supplement their academic program.

    Courses Include:

    Fundamentals of Homeland Security – PADM 8500
    This course presents analytic frameworks and conceptual theories that undergird planning, their application to the public sector, and strategic planning processes, moving from conducting a thorough needs assessment through SWOT, into plan implementation and outcomes assessment. It also includes discussion of the communication and evaluation of a strategic plan.

    Homeland Security and Emergency Management Law – PADM 8530
    Examine the legal aspects of homeland security through identification and study of controlling constitutional, stator and case authorities. Four groups (national security entities, domestic security entities, emergency managers and the military including National Guard) will be studies in both pre- and post- September 11, 2001 contexts.

    Homeland Security and Intelligence – PADM 8550
    This course will introduce students to the concepts and practices involved in collecting, analyzing, and evaluating intelligence and with managing homeland security intelligence functions. Also covered is the role intelligence plays in shaping homeland security decision making at federal, state, and local level.

    Advanced Seminar in Homeland Security – PADM TBD
    The Advanced Seminar in Homeland Security is a course in which students will pick one of the following areas of homeland security study. Students will be immersed in an in-depth study of the area. Classes are designed to provide students with individual attention, to encourage in-depth learning, and to challenge them to analyze the historical context, current situation, and policies in the chosen topic area. Homeland Security Law, Civil Liberties, and Privacy, The Intelligence Function in Homeland Security, Domestic and International Counter-Terrorism Policy, Cybersecurity Policy, Border Security and Immigration Issues, and Roles of Federal, State, and local Government in Homeland Security

    Cybersecurity – PADM 8540
    Explores the fundamental concepts within cybersecurity from a research and practitioner perspective. Students will examine current practices utilized within government and industry to secure information systems and will discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Topics include risks and vulnerabilities, mitigations and remediations, organizational processes and procedures, policy development, compliance, and metrics.

  • Specialization - Local and State Government

    The Local Government Specialization is the cornerstone of the Clemson MPA. Many of our current students and graduates work within local and county government as department heads in city and county management. The specialization focuses on the policy environment in which the local manager must operate. Special emphasis is placed on policy implementation and evaluation.

    Courses Include:

    Local Government Administration – PADM 8680
    Administration of local government from the perspective of the professional administrator; the growth of the manager form of local government; the role of local government administrators with regard to policy making, management, and the delivery of services.

    Strategic Planning & Practice in the Public Sector – PADM 8480
    This course presents analytic frameworks and conceptual theories that undergird planning, their application to the public sector, and strategic planning processes, moving from conducting a thorough needs assessment through SWOT, into plan implementation and outcomes assessment. It also includes discussion of the communication and evaluation of a strategic plan.

    Managing Information Systems in Public Administration – PADM 8780 (Special Topics)
    Anticipated learning outcomes: Understand the evolution of the public administration system, assess the political and policy factors affecting the success of projects, appreciate the nuances if managing information systems within the public and non- profit sectors, Understand the keys for successful implementations.

    State Government Administration – PADM 8670
    State government problems and policy issues emphasizing the modernization of government institutions and comparative state politics.

    Grant Writing for Public Administration – PADM 8450
    This course is designed for the practitioner who is interested in the grant seeking process. During this class, students will develop and write their own grant proposals, aligned with their professional interests and/or organizational needs.

  • Specialization - Non-Profit Management

    This specialization is designed to provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to meet the complex challenges faced by the non-profit sector across the United States and globally. To ensure the success of the program, input from professionals currently working in the non-profit sector contributed to the course design.

    The 15-credit specialization includes one core MPA course and four concentration classes designed to meet the unique needs of nonprofit organizations. Issues addressed are the history, values, ethics and philosophies of non-profits, their legal structures, revenue sources, governance and human resource management. Students develop their skills in program evaluation, budgeting and resource management, public relations and marketing, quantitative analysis and policy-making and analysis.

    Courses Include:

    Grant Writing for Public Administration – PADM 8450
    This course is designed for the practitioner who is interested in the grant seeking process. During this class, students will develop and write their own grant proposals, aligned with their professional interests and/or organizational needs.

    Non-Profit Governance & Leadership – PADM 8650
    An in-depth examination of issues and concerns inherent in leading and maintaining non-profit organizations. The focus is on organization, regulation, responsibilities, planning and funding in the non-profit sector.

    Legal Aspects of Non-Profits – PADM 8780 (Special Topics)
    Students will attain a working knowledge of the legal issues affecting non-profit organizations. Students will be able to interact with attorneys/legal counsel knowledgeably concerning issues affecting non-profit organizations. Students will be able to apply the IRAC format to identify, assess, and analyze a legal issue affecting the non-profit organization with reference to relevant authority.

    Non-Profit Fundraising – PADM 8660
    While examining the common methods used by fundraisers to move individuals, corporations, public organizations and foundations from prospects to donors, this class will strategically apply its knowledge of these tools and methods to real world fundraising situations. In addition to annual and major giving, students will examine capital campaigns, the role of boards and volunteers, grant writing, the use of technology and ethics and accountability in fundraising.

  • Specialization - Regional Sustainability

    This specialization provides administrators with an understanding of sustainable development practices. Students learn about the public services needed to build sustainable and resilient communities, the challenges associated with the process, and the ways to address those challenges through implementing policy change.

    Courses Include:

    Sustainability for Public Administration – PADM 8700
    Introduces students to the history, foundations and components of the sustainability movement in the public sector. Aspects of the three components of sustainability, environment, economics and society, are investigated. Emphasis will be placed on analysis, evaluation, communication and understanding how sustainability approaches are important in business and the public sector.

    Regional Economic Development: Theory & Practice – PADM 8780 (Special Topics)
    This course provides a foundation in regional economic theory and policy important for current and future public and non-profit administrators. Regional economic development is a course designed for professionals and practitioners interested in understanding the complex reasons that cities and regions grow, decline and fight for their ongoing viability. Many practitioners and analysts do not acknowledge or even know the underlying theoretical framework of the practices they pursue. As such, a critical component of this course is to ground practitioners in the theory of regional development and to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and other challenges related to these theories in practice.

    Applications of Sustainability Practices – PADM 8710
    The history, foundations and components of the sustainability movement, application of sustainability principles in government, business, education and non-government agencies, giving students exposure to and experience with current and evolving practices. Group activities and a project demonstrating applications are included.

    Rural Development – PADM 8720
    This course provides the tools to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of rural communities and asses the kinds of development strategies that enhance community and economic well-being.

  • Special Topic Courses
    Special Topics & One-Credit Courses

    Geographic Information Systems for Public Administrators – PADM 8420
    This course is designed to provide the knowledge and understanding of GIS technology, application and theory needed by those who will administer GIS programs, interact with GIS programs and integrate GIS programs into their organization whether it be government private, non-profit or other.

    Grant Writing for Public Administration – PADM 8450
    This course is designed for the practitioner who is interested in the grant seeking process. During this class, students will develop and write their own grant proposals, aligned with their professional interests and/or organizational needs.

    Applied Professional Courses

    The Clemson University Masters in Public Administration Program is excited to offer periodic professional specialization 1-Credit hour special topic courses for Public Administration practitioners. These courses can be used to meet professional development, MPA certificate or MPA degree requirements. The courses also specifically meet ICMA practice areas. The courses will be offered synchronously online and will meet 2 hours a week for approximately 7 weeks.

  • Three Certificate Programs

    Clemson University’s Master in Public Administration (MPA) program offers three professional, non-degree certificates in public administration (PADM). Certificates include, Public Administration, Emergency Management and Homeland Defense and Security.

    These fully online programs expand students’ educational background for a wide range of public and nonprofit careers.

    Get The Details

  • Comprehensive Exams

    All MPA students must take the comprehensive exam before the completion of their degree program unless they choose the Capstone project option. The comprehensive exams are administered every semester (Fall, Spring, Summer).  Students do not have to wait until their last semester to take the exam; they may take the comprehensive exam after they have completed their core coursework.

    To be eligible for the exams, students must:

    1. Complete the five core courses (Administrative Leadership, Perspectives, Public Personnel Administration, Public Policy Process, and Public Finance Management). The only exception is students who are candidates for graduation and currently enrolled in one of the core classes.
    2. Complete the GS2 Plan of Study form.
    3. Attend a Prep Session for the Comprehensive Exams (These are held at the beginning of the semester the student will take the Exams).

    We recommend students take their exam prior to their last semester in case a retake of an exam is necessary.

    The exam is divided into two segments: a morning exam and an afternoon exam, consisting of two questions each, for a total of four questions covering the five core classes. The exams primarily cover material from the core courses even though we like students to apply relevant material from any specialization area they have focused on.

    Each session is 3 hours and 45 minutes long. The morning is from 8:30 am - 12:15 pm and the afternoon is from 1:00pm - 4:45 pm with a 45-minute hour lunch break between them. The exam is administered online through Canvas and may be taken anywhere. The exam is open note/open book and with this comes higher expectations for length, content, and appropriate citations.

    Each portion of the exam is graded by multiple faculty members with the following scale:

    • High pass
    • Pass
    • Low pass (needs revision)
    • Fail (must retake)

    If a student receives a low pass or a fail they are given an opportunity to talk with Drs. Dickes or Bundrick to clarify what areas they need to revise or focus on if they have to retake the portion of the exam they failed.

    Sample questions and other detailed information are available to students in Canvas after they complete the Prep Session. The exam is administered approximately 3-4 weeks before the last day of classes in the semester.

    Clemson University, and the MPA program, is committed to providing educational opportunities for all students and assisting them in making their college experience fully accessible and positive. Provisions are in place to accommodate students with valid documentation provided by Student Accessibility Services.

    If you plan to take the comprehensive exams please let Bianca Schuster, MPA Student Services Coordinator, know at the end of the semester prior to the semester in which you plan to take the exams.  If you have additional questions about the Comprehensive Exams, please contact Dr. Alfred Bundrick.

  • Capstone

    The Capstone research project is a 3-hour course---PADM 8800, that can be chosen in place of the comprehensive exam prior to graduation. This section requires the student to create a Capstone committee with a chair and two additional faculty members. For the Capstone project students are required to develop an appropriate research question in a relevant public or non-profit administration field. Most projects are applied research, using either qualitative or quantitative methods to explore important public or non-profit issues. The Capstone project is an excellent opportunity for students to gain in-depth, applied knowledge in a particular area of interest. Students that are already in a profession can use this as an opportunity to enhance their professional development and organizational knowledge.

    Capstone Process

    The MPA program coordinator will serve on all capstone committees but does not have to be the chair. Some faculty members may choose to decline to be on a capstone committee so please start the process early. Your chair is the individual who sets the tone for expectations and schedules. They should also be the primary reviewer and editor of the capstone throughout the process. If you need help confirming a topic or nominating a committee, please contact MPA program staff for guidance.In choosing a Capstone project it is important to start early and consider something that you want to spend considerable time learning about. We recommend that students start thinking about this project when they first begin the program as they can use this topic for research projects in other courses and continue to build on this. Some students use the Research Methods and Data Analysis course to consider a particular topic for their Capstone. We cannot emphasize enough...START EARLY!!

    The project is meant to be a substantive research effort, including literature review, methodology and results section at a minimum. There is not a page limit for this research, however, the average capstone ranges from 40-60 pages, inclusive of works cited.The research methods chosen for the project can either be qualitative or quantitative. Appropriate types of analysis include, surveys, interviews, focus groups, content analysis, along with quantitative techniques including regression analysis and others. This process also requires the student to be responsible for gathering their own data and developing the appropriate analysis.

    One of the primary goals of a capstone is to demonstrate an ability to gather, analyze, synthesize, write and present information on a topic where one should be an expert.The completion of the capstone occurs with an oral defense in front of (or online) your capstone committee. This is generally held online but can be held at Clemson University if a student wishes. A defense is generally one-hour, with a 20-30 minute presentation by the student, followed by questions from the committee. The committee then meets to decide if a student passes and if there are any revisions the student has to make.While the capstone is technically the final project it is often wise for students to take the capstone course the semester before they graduate. Many students are not able to complete the capstone in one semester, especially if they have not STARTED EARLY!!For many students the capstone can be a very rewarding research effort. We have had many students complete strong, applied research projects for their current employers and in specialization areas they hope to be employed in the future.

  • Previous Capstone Projects
    Author Date Title Category

    McConnell, Justin

    Summer 2018

    Development of an Emergency Preparedness Assessment Tool for Handling Disaster Victims Who Have Serious Mental Illness

     

    Carlisle, Erin

    Fall 2015

    Effectiveness of Home Fire Canvassing Campaigns: Saving Sweet Caroline

     

    DeWitt, Matt III

    Fall 2015

    Case Study: A Pedestrian Focused Revitalization Effort, Helping to Turn Around a Struggling Downtown , in a Small-City?

     

    Batson, Phillip

    Fall 2014

    Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in Anderson County

     

    Riddick, Brittney

    Spring 2014

    Afterschool Participation and Juvenile Delinquency: Can We Make a Difference?

     

    Rogers, John M.

    Spring 2014

    The Recession of 2007-2009 and its Effects on Animal Shelter Adoption Rates in South Carolina

     

    Brown, Vernita B.

    Fall 2013

    College Retention Rates Among Student-Parents: Formula for Success

     

    Cameron, Angela

    Summer 2013

    City of Greer Parks and Recreation Strategic/Master Plan Evaluation

    Local and State Government

    Hicks, Charles

    Spring 2013

    Marijuana Legalization: Is it in our national interest?

     

    Jammes, Sonia

    Fall 2013

    Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence for the Town of Bedford, Virginia

     

    Kay, Josh

    Spring 2013

    Emergency Responders Self-Assessment of Preparedness

    Emergency Management

    Horace, Becky

    Summer 2012

    What is the Impact of CO2 Emissions in the Countries that Use the PUREX Process?

    Regional Sustainability

    Mathis, Amanda

    Fall 2012

    State Government Employee Wellness Programs: A study on the correlation betwewen state government employee's productivity and their body mass index

    Local and State Government

    Smith, Tracy

    Fall 2012

    Local Government Ethics in South Carolina: A Pilot Study of Perceptions and Practices

    Local and State Government

    Hudgins, Thomas

    Spring 2011

    Measuring the Effect of Arts Education Resources on SAT Scores

     

    Marrett, Joe C III

    Summer 2011

    Emergency Management and Homeland Security Education Needs Assessment

    Emergency Management

    Bagwell, Elizabeth H.

    Fall 2010

    A Nonprofit Management Education State Level Needs Assessment

    Non-Profit Management

    Beckett, Mallory

    Spring 2010

    Exploring the Relationship between the Internet and Voting Patterns of Young Adults in the United States

     

    Brewster, Alecia

    Fall 2010

    Exploring Factors Related to Minority Volunteerism in Greenville, South Carolina Nonprofits

    Non-Profit Management

    Bryant, Kristin

    Spring 2010

    Why are U.S. Economic Sanctions against Myanmar Assumed to be Ineffective?

     

    Hornback, Bradley J.

    Spring 2010

    An Exercise in Futility?: Economic Sanctions and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

     

    Meares, Thomas S.

    Summer 2010

    Technology Acceptance in the Clemson MPA Program

     

    Smith, Allyson

    Fall 2010

    Employee Insurance Program: A Case Study of the Strategic Planning Process at the State Program Level

    Local and State Government

    Smith, Candi F.

    Spring 2010

    Gender Gap Voting

     

    Steese, Stephen

    Fall 2010

    Target Analysis on the Effects of Economic Factors on Enrollment

     

     
  • Internships

    The Master of Public Administration Internship at Clemson University is an important part of the MPA curriculum for students with little or no professional experience. The MPA Internship course, PADM 8790, is not required but is an elective and is strongly encouraged for students with 5 or fewer years of professional experience.

    The MPA Internship should be aligned with your core coursework as well as your particular field of interest. The experience should provide you with a clear understanding of the practical applications of the coursework required in the MPA program. It should allow you to see how the concepts of public administration, as covered by the core classes in the program, apply in practice. In order to assure that the experience proposed is the best fit for you, the MPA program coordinator, Dr. Lori A. Dickes, will discuss the proposed internship and formally approve the internship request. The MPA program is also flexible to considering the type of internship model that works for you. Many internships are non-traditional and as such, may require evening, weekend or remote work. As long as it meets the aforementioned criteria the program is open to the course model that best suits the student.

    Lori Dickes, Associate Professor, MPA Program

    The goal of the Internship is to provide MPA students with professional opportunities beyond their current position or place of employment, whether in another organization or through a special project at their current place of employment. The Internship is meant to provide practical, applied experience in a specific public administration and/or non-profit specialization.

    Lori Dickes
    Associate Professor
    Clemson University MPA Program
  • Internship Course Requirements

    The following information will be required within the first month of the Internship:

    1. Supervising organization
    2. Supervising person / title / experience
    3. Supervisor contact information
    4. Approximate start and end date of internship
    5. Proposed tasks, projects, outcomes, practical experience gained
    6. Paragraph about what you hope to gain from the experience

    Approximately halfway through the internship, the MPA program coordinator will meet with you and someone at the sponsoring agency for a brief progress report. The meeting may be online, a phone call, or face-to-face if this is deemed necessary or appropriate.

    At the end of your internship experience a 10-15 page final research paper, or narrative case study, about the experience is required. This paper should include the following key components:

    • Describe the organization and its different areas of operation.
    • Outline the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.
    • Highlight the specific projects and tasks that you participated in.
    • Relay how this organization and your work there relate to the field of public administration.
    • Make appropriate conclusions about what you learned from the organization and your specific project.

    A good final report will show a clear connection between the internship experience and the material covered in the core and specialization classes of the MPA program. The link should be supported with specific examples and their relationship to the theoretical contributions of the major authors in the field of public administration. As such, your final report should use appropriate literature and citations to make these connections.

    The internship project may also be used as a foundation for a Capstone research project. Internship projects, with the approval of the MPA program coordinator, may be used to develop this final research paper.

    MPA program faculty and staff are committed to providing assistance to students who need suggestions and connections, so please contact the MPA office if you need help in identifying an internship opportunity in your area.

    The timing of the internship will vary. Students generally complete an Internship near the end of their academic program but there is not a specific requirement as to when students complete this part of the program. Additionally, there is no specific requirement on how many weeks the Internship must be. It can be a more intensive short-term experience or a once-a-week opportunity over a semester. A traditional 3 hour course has 45 contact hours over 15 weeks so please use the contact hour requirement as a guide for how much time must be spent to receive 3 hours of course credit.

    Please contact Dr. Lori Dickes, MPA Program Coordinator at lorid@clemson.edu with questions and concerns.

Department of Political Science
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