Indiana Chamber

Attend an Online Information Session

Meet some of our faculty and current students to learn more about how our MPA degree can help you meet your career goals by attending an on-campus information session on October 18, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern time) in North Quad 260 (NQ 260).

By attending this session, we will waive the $60 Ball State University Graduate School application fee. Once registered, you will receive more details about this offer.

This session is in-person only. If you are an international student wishing to learn about the program, you should wait to register for the session in November. A link for this session will be posted in late October.


If you already have a bachelor’s degree and want to prepare for a career in public management at a government agency or nonprofit organization, then a master of public administration (MPA) is the right choice for you. Our program blends the study of politics and administration with the techniques of modern management.

Three interdisciplinary options allow you to design a course of study targeted to your career goals:

  • criminal justice concentration
  • information and communication technology concentration
  • social issues and policy
  • urban planning
  • customized course of study

What You Will Learn

Learning outcomes include:

  • a theoretical understanding and practical awareness of public policy
  • a grasp of the principles of management and administration in the public sector
  • an understanding of the techniques of modern management
  • an understanding of how public service values such as integrity and accountability should guide decision making
  • an ability to gather data, correctly analyze it, and apply the analysis to produce policy and program recommendations
  • writing, speaking, and listening skills appropriate for intra-organizational and inter-organizational communication

Program Benefits

Choose a course of study that best fits your interests and goals with our three options and an optional thesis.

If you attend full time, you can complete the program in two academic years.

Evening classes allow working professionals to attend classes on a part-time basis.

A hallmark of Ball State programs, our hands-on learning opportunities include a robust internship program, immersive learning projects, and independent study for course credit.

Hear what our students had to say about their immersive learning experience.

Our 14-full-time faculty specialize in:

  • public administration and policy
  • American government and politics
  • political theory
  • international relations
  • comparative politics

The Bowen Center for Public Affairs features opportunities for:

  • civic engagement
  • public management training
  • election administration
  • experience in state and local politics and public opinion

Program Requirements

Our three options, offered in collaboration with other departments on campus, allow you to gain substantive training in a specific policy area to complement your learning about public and nonprofit administration and policy.

All MPA students take the following required courses:

  • POLS 648 Policy Design and Advocacy
  • POLS 650 Introduction to Public and Nonprofit Administration
  • POLS 651 Managing Organizations for Public Service
  • POLS 652 Managing Human Resources for Public Service
  • POLS 653 Public and Nonprofit Financial Management
  • POLS 625 Research Methods in Political Science
  • A thesis or non-thesis research option

Students without appropriate professional experience will be required to complete a full-time internship for credit. Other coursework depends on which interdisciplinary option you choose.

Information & Communication Technology

Information Technology and Communication Concentration

The Information Technology and Communication concentration prepares students for IT careers in the public sector or with organizations concerned with technology policy. By blending a strong understanding of technology with practical management and problem-solving skills, this track will empower students to master challenges in information networking, wireless communication, and other advanced technologies.

Total Credits


Specialized Courses

The specialized courses you will take include:

  • ICS 620 Telecom Technologies, Standards, and Lab
  • ICS 621 Information Movement, Management, Storage Technologies, Standards, and Lab
  • ICS 645 Evolving Database Systems
  • CS 639 Seminar in Computer Science

For a complete list of all classes you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Social Issues and Policy Concentration

The Social Issues and Policy concentration will prepare you for a leadership role in public or nonprofit agencies that address social problems such as opioid abuse, aging, and poverty.

If you currently work in this field and would like to further develop your skills and knowledge to advance in your field—or if you are currently an undergraduate wishing to pursue graduate study in social policy and public administration—this program is a perfect fit for you.

Total Credits


Specialized Courses

The specialized courses you will take include:

  • SOCW 603 Rural Social Work
  • SOCW 611 Social Work Practice 1
  • SOCW 621 Social Welfare Policy and Programs
  • SOCW 671 Social Work with Elders

For a complete list of all classes you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Urban Planning Concentration

The Urban Planning concentration prepares students to be effective practitioners in a variety of planning-related organizations. This concentration is a perfect fit for students interested in enhancing the social, economic, and environmental conditions that improve communities.

Total Credits


Specialized Courses

The specialized courses you will take include:

  • PLAN 510 Planning Law
  • PLAN 606 Introduction to Urban Planning
  • PLAN 607 Urban Land-use Planning
  • PLAN 613 Qualitative Methods and Social Justice

For a complete list of all classes you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Customized Course of Study

This option lets students design a custom course of study by earning a graduate certificate that complements the MPA required courses or by selecting elective courses in political science or other fields. This option is ideal for students whose needs are not met by the other concentrations, as well as those who are still in the process of figuring out what career path they would like to pursue.

Total Credits


Specialized Courses

Students have many choices under this option.  Graduate certificates that pair well with the MPA coursework include:

Or review the complete list of available graduate certificates.

For a complete list of all classes you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Start with a Graduate Certificate

If you would like to pursue graduate study in public administration, but are not sure if you want to commit to a full master's degree, then you should consider our 12-hour public administration graduate certificate. You can earn the certificate by taking only four courses from our MPA curriculum. If you decide that you want to go on and earn your MPA, then all coursework will count toward your degree.

Learn More

What Can You Do With a Master of Public Administration?

Earning a master of public administration (MPA) at Ball State will prepare you for a wide variety of career opportunities. Our program provides you with the skills necessary to succeed in any of the following areas:

  • federal, state, or local government management
    • Potential jobs include: Assistant city manager, program director, project manager, policy analyst
  • nonprofit management
    • Potential jobs include: Executive director, field director, operations manager
  • criminal justice administration
    • Potential jobs include: Police officer, customs agent, victims services specialist
  • management of information technology
    • Potential jobs include: Chief information officer, systems analyst, IT specialist
  • political advocacy
    • Potential jobs include: Community organizer, legislative advocate, director of communications
  • government relations in the private sector
    • Potential jobs include: Compliance officer, government relations officer, public affairs specialist

Computer Recommendations

Students entering the Department of Political Science will need to possess a personal computer. The College of Sciences and Humanities provides recommendations for the specifications student need to excel in their course work.

See Our Recommendations (PDF)

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. A limited number of graduate assistantships are available within the Political Science Department. Assistantships are also available in other units across campus. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing a master of public administration? The first step is to apply as a graduate student to Ball State University. Begin the journey today.

More Information

Do you want to learn more about this program or have questions about the application process or options for funding your education? You may complete our online form to request more information. Or if you would rather speak to someone directly, please feel free to email us or call us at 765-285-8780.

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