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Serve the Common Good in a Public Affairs Setting

You strive for good management within the public sector. With IUP’s MA in Public Affairs program, you will be prepared to lead with management know-how and organizational acumen that equips you to thrive within complex work environments.

The program gives you a pathway to build essential skills and excel in your career in the public sector or with other types of organizations. You can choose from several specializations to focus on the type of public affairs work that interests you most:

  • Criminal justice administration
  • Human resources management
  • Human services administration
  • International development administration
  • Local government management planning
  • Regional development

Why Study Public Affairs at IUP?

IUP's MA in Public Affairs is a terminal degree designed for both traditional students and mid-career professionals who want roles as public affairs officials at the local, state, national, and international levels.

As a graduate student, you’ll benefit from opportunities to work in your specialized field through internships and in-class experiences. Your internship may be near campus in the Borough of Indiana or Indiana County, elsewhere in Pennsylvania, or in Washington, DC.

You’ll appreciate the interdisciplinary character of the MA in Public Affairs as a hallmark of the program. The Political Science Department, where the program is based, works with other IUP departments including Geography and Regional Planning, Sociology, Economics, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Employment and Labor Relations to give you access to field concentration expertise.

What You’ll Learn

Led by our highly skilled and caring faculty, you will progress through coursework that reflects the latest trends and emerging issues of public concern. The program emphasizes:

  • The increase in what citizens expect from public services and programs
  • The shift of responsibilities for programs, services, and funding from the federal government to the state and local governments
  • The greater use of technology to support and implement public services

Imagine Your Future

As a graduate of the MA in Public Affairs program, you’ll be well-prepared to step into rewarding and challenging positions in a variety of settings.

Public affairs professionals serve as city managers, financial officers, chiefs of staff, and political staff. You might land a role in departments from public relations to city planning. In addition to government jobs, you could pursue positions with public interest groups, nonprofit organizations, and international non-government organizations.

Your skills as a public affairs professional can also translate to the private sector. More businesses are hiring MA in public affairs graduates to help guide and shape companies in areas such as government relations.

USAJOBS, the employment website for the US Office of Personnel Management, put together a list of the 50 occupations expected to have the greatest demand during the next 10 years. Occupations on the list include:

  • Administrator
  • Budget analyst
  • Contract specialist
  • Financial administrator
  • Human resources specialist
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Management and program analyst
  • Program manager
  • Security administrator
  • Social science specialist

With more members of the Baby Boomer generation retiring, employers are seeking the next generations of public affairs professionals to step in and deliver impact. For example, the US General Accounting Office put management of the federal government workforce on its list of high-risk areas that will need substantial numbers of trained workers to fill openings as others retire.

Projected Employment Growth in Selected Categories

Employment Category Percent Growth 2019-2029
Emergency Management Directors 3
Financial Managers 17
Management Analysts 11
Compensation, Benefits, And Job Analysis Specialists 7
Administrative Services Managers 7
Budget Analysts 3
Human Resources Managers 7
Social And Community Service Managers 12
Urban And Regional Planners 4
Compensation And Benefits Managers 2

Classes and Requirements

As a student in the MA in Public Affairs program, you’ll take rigorous coursework to prepare you for a career in public administration. You’ll graduate with core competence in methodology and public administration, the six specializations, and directed research.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Begin Your MA in Public Affairs as an Undergraduate

If you are an undergraduate student at IUP, you can consider starting the MA in Public Affairs program before you complete your bachelor’s degree.

If you have a 3.0 GPA or higher and earned at least 15 credits in your major, you can apply for the MA in Public Affairs program when you earn your 16th credit. Once accepted, you can take graduate seminars that count toward both your undergraduate and master’s degree requirements. You can finish early—with two degrees—and launch your career ahead of schedule.

Make Yourself at Home within a Welcoming Community

Your college experience is about community. You’ll have opportunities to meet other students in the program and connect with your professors in the Political Science Department, where the MA in Public Affairs program is based. Here, you’ll find a warm and friendly environment that gives you a powerful sense of community.

At least twice a month, the Political Science Department hosts coffee breaks as opportunities for you to get to know your professors and for them to get to know you.

As a student, you are always welcome to spend time in the department offices, studying or connecting with friends between classes.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission, you must have:

  • Undergraduate course work in political science, economics, and public or international affairs or equivalent professional experiences (in some cases, this may require specific remedial course work that will not count toward degree requirements);
  • International students must have a TOEFL score of 550 or better.

To apply to our master's program, submit the following items to the IUP School of Graduate Studies and Research :

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (even if a degree was not obtained from a particular institution).
  • Signed and dated statement of career and academic goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • An application fee (nonrefundable).
  • TOEFL score if you are a not a Native English speaker.

Message From the MAPA Coordinator

Dear Prospective Student:

It is my pleasure to tell you about the Public Affairs master's degree program offered by the Political Science Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Our department has sponsored this very fine program for more than25 years. We are proud of this program, and we are also proud of the contributions its graduates have made to this region, the state, and the nation. Rest assure that the faculty and the staff of the Graduate School will do everything in their power to make your educational experience at Indiana University of Pennsylvania productive and energizing.

This program is oriented toward practitioners; that is, it assumes that students seek a degree that would facilitate entrance into, or promotion within, the public or private sector. The M.A.P.A. is also viewed primarily as a terminal degree. After completion, graduates possess the needed background and skills to assume positions as public administrators at local, state, national, and international levels. A new International Development Administration field specialization is aimed at those students interested in international and comparative studies. In all cases, our faculty members provide students classroom time, research, and practicum opportunities that are designed to enhance the student's success in securing and developing job positions. This educational background is also appropriate for students seeking additional or future education at the doctoral level.

The degree program described herein will provide students with interdisciplinary education in "core" public administration skills such as policy analysis, administrative management, budgeting, and public administration. Students of this program also complete basic and advanced coursework in research methods. Finally, students complete a directed research requirement consisting of either a practicum or the traditional master's thesis. Since governance and administration at all government levels have become more complex during the last15 years, coursework of this master's program reflects the latest trends and emerging issues of public concern. In particular, the program emphasizes: (1) the shift of responsibilities for programs, services, and funding from the federal government to the state and local governments; (2) an increase in citizen expectations for services and programs coupled with demands for lower taxes; and (3) a greater use of technology to support and implement public services.

I hope you consider choosing IUP for your graduate academic needs. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (724) 357-7901 or e-mail SarahM.Wheeler@iup.edu.


Dr. Sarah M. Wheeler
Graduate Coordinator, M.A.P.A. Program