Public Administration


The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is offered live online, allowing students to have a face-to-face learning experience and participate in interactive group activities. The online format has provided the Clemson MPA program with the opportunity to grow from a regional onsite program, to a national program, with students logging in from all around the country and the state.

The majority of students in the program are working public administrators and non-profit professionals. They bring their career experience and merge it with the academic rigor of graduate study, contributing to a collaborative learning environment. Their professional expertise in local government, state agencies, non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector is a critical strength of the program. The variety of student backgrounds provides a unique opportunity for sharing practical information from different administrative sectors, offering a truly interdisciplinary graduate experience.


The following requirements must be met to be considered for admission to the online Master of Public Administration program:

  • Unofficial transcripts of all previous academic work, both graduate and undergraduate. Official transcripts will be required once admission had been granted
  • Recent GRE scores (within 140 for verbal and quantitative portions — a waiver can be granted in specific circumstances)
  • GRE waivers can be submitted if prospective student meets specific criteria. Visit the Master of Public Administration site for specific criteria that may be considered.
  • A personal statement outlining the purpose for pursuing an MPA degree
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic and/or job performance (when possible one of each)
  • Documentation and explanation of any related professional experience
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit acceptable TOEFL scores


The program of study for the Master of Public Administration requires the completion of 39 or 42 total credit hours, depending on the student’s choice of the comprehensive exam (39 hours) or a capstone final research project (42 hours).

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

  • PADM 8210 Perspectives of Public Administration
  • PADM 8220 Public Policy Process
  • PADM 7020 Research Methods for PADM
  • PADM 8410 Public Data Analysis
  • PADM 8290 Public Financial Management
  • PADM 8270 Public Personnel Administration
  • PADM 8620 Administrative Leadership

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.

The program offers regular elective courses in the following five specialization areas:

  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Defense and Security
  • Local and State Government
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Regional Sustainability

South Carolina is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and Clemson University (CU) is an approved SARA institution, which means we adhere to established standards for offering post-secondary e-learning programs in all member states. Please review our state authorizations to see if this program is offered in your state and our process for student complaints against the university.


For more information about this online program, please visit the Master of Public Administration webpage, or contact Lori Dickes, Ph.D., MPA Director, and Carolyn Benson, MPA Coordinator 

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per credit hour

The Clemson Masters in Public Administration Online program is assessed as a Tier Three Online Graduate Program. Please check the Student Financial Services Page for the most accurate tuition rates.

Program contacts

Lori Dickes, Ph.D., MPA Director

Carolyn Benson, MPA Coordinator