Public Administration

Master’s and Doctoral Programs


Graduate opportunities

In the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas, we prepare you for leadership roles in public or nonprofit organizations or for a career in academia.

This is accomplished through an innovative curriculum leading to a Master of Public Administration degree or a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Public Administration and Management.

Our programs offer you:

  • The state’s best public administration master’s program (city management and urban policy), according to U.S. News & World Report (It ranks 8th nationally.)
  • Courses that focus on timely and critical topics such as city and county management, economic development and growth management, managing a nonprofit organization, and emergency and disaster planning, among others
  • Faculty members who have professional, relevant work experience and are involved in many professional associations (They’ve also published numerous books and articles in leading journals.)
  • Many opportunities for meaningful, hands-on research

The M.P.A. program teaches you time-tested management theories for real-world application. We have a strong network of more than 1,400 alumni and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (1029 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 1100; Washington, D.C. 20005-3517; telephone 202- 628-8965). This distinction means the program meets or exceeds high standards of excellence in education.

The doctoral program emphasizes developing new knowledge through research and theoretical inquiry. It has an emerging national reputation propelled by faculty members engaged in cutting-edge research. We offer specializations in emergency management, financial management, nonprofit management or urban management.

Our faculty members sponsor a monthly Public Administration Colloquium Series that engages students in a vigorous discussion of current research and competing viewpoints on public administration issues. The Public Administration Student Association and the Ph.D. Student Association provide networking opportunities and insightful discussions.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

M.P.A. program

You’ll have to meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School® and fulfill the following program requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university, with at least 15 semester hours in fields related to public administration
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA on the last 60 semester hours of course work
  • Satisfactory GRE scores on the analytical writing, verbal and quantitative sections

Admission is determined using multiple criteria, including your academic performance and potential, and other materials. In some cases, we may request three letters of recommendation discussing your intellectual and leadership abilities, a written essay describing career objectives and explaining how the M.P.A. degree will help you meet those objectives, and a current résumé showing all work experience.

Applications are reviewed at various times during the year. Admission deadlines for the fall semester are Feb. 1, April 1 and May 15. The spring semester admission deadline is Dec. 1.

Ph.D. program

You’ll have to be admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School® and submit the following materials to the program office:

  • Completed departmental application
  • Two letters of recommendation discussing your ability to complete doctoral studies and complete a dissertation (It’s preferred these be written on institutional letterhead and signed.)
  • Sole-authored academic writing sample of no more than 5,000 words
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Current curriculum vitae or résumé

We encourage you to complete the application process by Jan. 15 for fall admission. More information about graduate school and program admission requirements is available in the catalog.

Degree requirements

M.P.A. degree

  • 24 semester hours of required course work in public administration
  • 12 to 15 semester hours of electives or in a specialized area (Specializations are available in emergency management, financial management, local government management, nonprofit management and personnel management.)
  • 3-semester-hour internship (for pre-career students, discussed below)
  • Final written comprehensive exam or oral exam in conjunction with a master’s thesis defense

Internships for pre-career students

If you don’t have government work experience, a paid internship allows you to apply classroom knowledge and develop professional skills for a successful career. Our internship coordinator will help you find an internship, but you’re responsible for developing the qualifications and interpersonal skills necessary for employment.

Ph.D. degree

  • 12 semester hours of core courses in public administration and management
  • 12 semester hours of research methods courses and departmental exam
  • 15 semester hours in a minor field
  • 9 semester hours of non-dissertation research
  • 12 semester hours of dissertation hours

Additional information is available at the PACS website or in the Ph.D. Degree Program Handbook available from the Ph.D. program coordinator.

Financial assistance

Several financial assistance options are available to you, and we recommend investigating them when applying to the program. Students who are not Texas residents and receive at least $1,000 a year in scholarships may be eligible for in-state tuition rates. The options include:

  • Hatton W. Sumners Scholarships ($27,000 each; five available)
  • Alumni scholarships (up to $1,000 each)
  • E. Ray Griffin Scholarship (for tuition and fees)
  • Debra Brooks Feazelle Internship Award
  • Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship from the Texas City Management Association ($3,500)
  • Lynn F. Anderson Fellowship from the Government Finance Officers Association of Texas ($4,000)

More information about financial support is available through the department or at the Financial Aid website.