UNT Graduate Catalog
Department of Public Administration

Main Departmental Office
Wooten Hall, 173
P.O. Box 310617
Denton, TX 76203-0617
(940) 565-2165
Fax: (940) 454-4466

Web site: http://www.scs.unt.edu/depts/PADM/

E-mail: wolford@scs.cmm.unt.edu

Robert L. Bland, Chair

Graduate Faculty: Bavon, Bland, Clarke, Durst, Glass, McGuire, Neal, Newell. Reddy.

The Department of Public Administration offers a graduate program leading to the following degree:

More than 500 alumni of the program work in the public sector as well as the private and nonprofit sectors. The curriculum in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program emphasizes a combination of courses and practical experience leading to entry-level management positions for students beginning their professional careers and job advancement for students already in government service. All faculty members have professionally relevant experience and maintain contact with a number of professional associations such as the International City/County Management Association. The MPA degree at the University of North Texas is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. The curriculum conforms to NASPAA standards.

Current information may be obtained by accessing the department's home page on the World Wide Web.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the MPA program enter a wide range of careers in government and, to a lesser extent, in business and the nonprofit sector. The greatest employment opportunities are in city and county government, primarily because of faculty ties and an extensive alumni network in management positions. A growing number of graduates, however, serve in state and federal government. A few serve in administrative positions in other countries. Graduates of the MPA program at UNT work in such management positions as budgeting and finance, personnel, utilities, auditing, planning, public safety and public works, and in administrative positions in such nonprofit organizations as chambers of commerce and the United Way.

Students without prior government experience are required, in most cases, to complete an internship for which they receive 6 hours of credit. The department assists students in locating internship positions as well as full-time employment.


The faculty in the Department of Public Administration pursue an active research program that focuses on policy and administrative issues of concern to government. The department maintains an emphasis on issues of concern to city and county management, including economic development and growth management, executive recruitment, personnel management, municipal debt acquisition, health policy and administration, emergency and disaster planning, county government organization and management, state government administration, career paths of city managers, public/private partnerships, city managers as policy-makers, capital spending for infrastructure, and property tax policy and administration.

Recent books authored, co-authored or edited by the faculty include City Executives: Leadership Roles, Work Characteristics and Time Management; A Revenue Guide for Local Government; Recruiting Local Government Executives; Texas Politics; and The Effective Local Government Manager, 2nd edition.

The department's research is supported by grants from within the university as well as contracts with local governments, other universities and professional associations. The department also supports the Center for Public Management, which provides contract research, training and technical assistance to local governments throughout Texas and the Southwest, and occasionally provides part-time employment opportunities for qualified graduate students.

Degree ProgramMaster of Public Administration

Admission Requirements

All general admission requirements to the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies, as outlined elsewhere in this bulletin, must be fulfilled, including minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and grade point requirements. Application must first be made to the School of Graduate Studies through the office of the graduate dean. Once the student is admitted to the graduate school, the application will be reviewed by the department for admission to the MPA program.

Admission to the program leading to the Master of Public Administration degree requires a minimum of 15 hours of undergraduate work related to the core curriculum in courses selected from the following areas: environment of public policy, political institutions and processes, economic and social institutions and processes, techniques of analysis, organization and management concepts, and/or the management of human and financial resources. This requirement is reduced to 9 hours for individuals with a minimum of three years of managerial experience in professional public administration.

To receive unconditional admission to the MPA program, applicants must have a grade point average and a GRE score such that the GPA on the last 60 hours times 400 plus the verbal and quantitative scores on the GRE equals at least 2200 (2100 for conditional admission). Special admission provisions are available for mid-career applicants (those who have a minimum of three years of government experience in a management position) and those who do not meet the formula score. Inquiries concerning these categories of admission should be addressed to the department chair.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 42 hours of graduate credit for pre-career students is required; for students with less than three years of full-time management experience at the time of admission, the number of required hours is reduced to 39; for students with three or more years of mid-level managerial experience, 36 hours of graduate credit are required. These program length requirements are distributed as follows:

1. a minimum of 21 hours of graduate course work in public administration;

2. a 6-hour internship for most pre-career students (the 6 hours of intern credit is not available to those in the 39- or 36-hour programs); and

3. the remaining hours taken either inside or outside the department as appropriate to the student's interests.

In addition to the course requirements, students must pass a written comprehensive examination or an oral examination in conjunction with a master's thesis defense. Students selecting the written examination option must take an examination covering the core courses and areas included in the MPA degree program. The examination may be taken after completion of 30 hours of course work. Students selecting the thesis option must complete 36 hours of course work plus a master's thesis for which 6 hours of credit will be granted. For pre-career students completing a thesis, a public service internship is required and the degree program is extended to 48 hours. The thesis option is especially appropriate for students planning to pursue a doctorate after completing the MPA.

Curriculum options are adapted to the needs of both pre-career and in-career students. Selected courses are offered off campus at Dallas City Hall. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires that one-third of a student's degree program be completed on the Denton campus.

Additional program information is contained in the document "MPA Student Handbook." The student is responsible for obtaining a copy of the document from the department and for knowing its contents.

Financial Assistance

A number of financial assistance programs are available to students in the MPA program. Each year the department awards to entering MPA students up to five Hatton W. Sumners Fellowships, each of which provides an $8,000 stipend paid over 16 months plus $2,500 toward tuition. For the first 12 months of their appointment, Sumners Scholars work 10 hours each week as research assistants for a faculty member. Other financial assistance available to students includes Alumni Scholarships worth $2,000 each for tuition and fees and the E. Ray Griffin-Alumni Scholarship worth approximately $2,300 for tuition and fees. Outside funding is sometimes available to qualified students from the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Under current rules, nonresidents of Texas receiving at least $1,000 per year in scholarships qualify for in-state tuition.

Emergency Administration and Planning

A bachelor of science with a major in emergency administration and planning is offered at the undergraduate level (see the Undergraduate Catalog for description).

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