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Columbus State University

Master of Public Administration
Public Administration - Justice Administration Track

College of Letters and Sciences

Department of Political Science

Program Description

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the degree for students with professional goals related to public service in areas such as government agencies, health organizations, justice administration/law enforcement as well as not-for-profit organizations and the private sector.

The mission of the Public Administration Program at Columbus State University is to provide professional education and leadership skills for effective, efficient, and responsive public service necessary for individuals preparing for or currently serving in public service careers .

The program structure is designed to accommodate students currently employed in the public sector as well as students seeking entry level positions by offering classes in the evenings and on-line. Columbus State University's Public Administration Program offers curricular tracks in:

  • Justice Systems Administration - The Justice Systems Administration track can be completed entirely online or as a hybrid in class/online.

Career Opportunities

  • Uniformed police officer
  • Detective
  • FBI agent
  • Customs inspector
  • U.S. Marshall
  • Security agent
  • Social worker
  • Parole officer
  • Corrections Officer

Admission Requirements

  • Have completed a four-year college course of study and hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association. They must be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended. A cumulative minimum grade point average of 2.75 in an acceptable earned baccalaureate degree is required.
  • Send the below materials to the Admissions Office. Applicants must submit  all admissions documents to the Admissions Office within two weeks of submitting their application to be considered for the program. Documents should be emailed to , or mailed directly to:

                   Admissions Office
                   Data Entry
                   Columbus State University
                   4225 University Avenue
                   Columbus, Georgia 31907            

  • Three letters of recommendation  from an employer, past professor, or another person familiar with the applicant's work. No personal references will be accepted. All references must be submitted on the Public Administration official "letter of recommendation" form.  Recommendations not submitted on this form will not be accepted. Recommendation letters must be submitted directly by the reference, not the applicant.  Applicants may provide the following link for the recommendation form to their references:
  • Statement of purpose which introduces the applicant to the program, outlines their interest in the program, their personal and professional goals, and the relevant work and/or life experiences that they feel qualifies them for the program. Please make sure the applicant's name is listed on the statement of purpose.  The essay should follow standard academic principles of writing, and be  
    • 2-3 pages minimum
    • 1" margins
    • Double spaced
    • Times New Roman 12 pt or Calibri 11 pt font

Learning Outcomes

  • To Lead and Mange in Public Governance
  • To Participate in and Contribute the Public Policy Process
  • To Analyze, Synthesize, Think Critically, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions
  • To Articulate and Apply a Public Service Perspective
  • To Communicate and Interact Productively with a Diverse and Changing Workforce and Citizenry

Additional Program Requirements

The MPA degree is subject to the following requirements:

  • All students must complete the common core for the degree.
  • A minimum B average (3.0) in core courses, with no more than two Cs, and a minimum grade of B in elective courses are required for degree completion.
  • A maximum of nine semester hours of credit, taken as a graduate student at an accredited graduate school, may apply toward a master's degree provided the credit was earned not more than seven years prior to the date of completion of the degree. Grades of "C" or below will not be accepted as transfer credit.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Comprehensive Examination (MPAC 7000) is required for graduation. The examination is based on courses taken, and it is normally completed in the last semester of enrollment. 

It is the responsibility of the student to request to be registered for MPAC 7000 in the appropriate semester during an open registration period. Failure to do so will result in an inability to register for the exam during the desired semester. In that case the student will have to wait until the following semester to register and take the exam which may result in a delayed graduation.

The examination is drawn up and graded by a committee appointed by the program director, which includes core and track faculty. The director is eligible to serve on the examination committee.

A candidate who fails the examination will be eligible for re-examination during the next semester. The Comprehensive Exam may be taken up to three times.

Program Of Study

Area 1 Core Required Hours: 21
MPAC 7106 Survey of Public Administration
MPAC 7116 Public Personnel Administration
MPAC 7126 Public Budgeting/Financial Admin
MPAC 7136 Research Meth for Administration
MPAC 7146 Organization Theory and Behavior
MPAC 7156 Legal and Ethical Environment of Admin
MPAC 7766 Capstone Course in Public Administration

*Note: MPAC 7106 Survey of Public Administration must be taken in the student's first semester in the program. MPAC 7766 must be taken in the student's final semester and requires department approval.

Area 2 Concentration Required Hours: 15
15 semester hours of MPAJ coursework numbered 5000G or higher, or substitutions approved by the Program Director.

Area 3 Additional Requirements Required Hours: 0
MPAC 7000 MPA Comprehensive Exam

Total Hours Required: 36