You can enroll full-time and complete the program in two years, or attend part-time and go at your own pace. All classes meet in the evening and/or on the weekends, to meet the needs of working students.
See specific courses in the Academic Catalog
Students are admitted into one of the MPA cohorts based on their program and areas of interest.
Being admitted into a particular cohort is a choice students make upfront as part of the admissions process.
Core Programs (36 credits)
The core programs are team taught by dedicated Master of Public Administration faculty. Each admitted cohort for the upcoming fall begins the core programs and continues together for the first two years.
Completion of both first and second year core courses are required for all concentrations. Core requirements are set, even if there appears to be some redundancy with the student’s previous work. No partial credit will be given for core courses.
Year One: Foundations of Public Administration (18 credits)
During the first year, you will examine the foundations of public administration; the economic and political context of the public sector; concepts of democratic governance; policy, finance and budgeting; and additional practical knowledge and skills needed to run an organization in the public, nonprofit or tribal sectors.
Students are expected to complete the entire first year of core before beginning the second year of core coursework.
Year Two: Analytical Techniques for Public Service and Capstone (18 credits)
During the second year of core coursework, you will focus on analytic concepts and techniques, including research methods and the application of analytical techniques in administration (e.g., policy analysis, performance measurement, fiscal analysis, program evaluation, etc.) during the fall and winter quarters.
Successive completion is a requirement. Each quarter of second year core must be successfully completed before beginning the next quarter, as the work builds based on prior studies.
Concentration and Elective Courses
The work that people do in the public service is vast. To meet this need, the MPA program offers areas of concentration and a variety of electives so you can have the freedom to tailor your learning to meet your areas of interest.
Select from the wide range of graduate-level electives offered each quarter. Elective offerings are rotated to provide you with an opportunity to take a wide variety of courses and to build your own specialties.
The number of concentration and elective credits vary based on concentration.
Master of Public Administration Program Credits Overview
|Core courses||36 credits|
|Concentration-specific or elective courses||24 credits|
|Total credits||60 credits|
What can you do with your MPA graduate degree?
Graduates work for non-profit organizations, state government, cities, counties, library systems, law enforcement, colleges, tribal agencies and more. Some careers include:
- Training specialist
- Communications manager/director
- Executive director
- Human resources consultant
- Tribal council member
- Comprehensive planner
- Legislative analyst/liaison/director/lobbyist
- Tribal liaison
- Research manager
- Education and outreach specialist
- Capital campaign manager
- Senior research analyst
- Forecast analyst
- Operations manager
Learn more about our distinguished alumni
The Masters of Public Administration graduate program is offered at Evergreen's main campus in Olympia.
The Olympia cohort accepts new students every Fall Quarter.
In Fall 2019, Evergreen launched its first Master in Public Administration Tacoma cohort!
The Tacoma campus is located in the historic Hilltop neighborhood.
The Tacoma cohort accepts new students every two years. The next Tacoma cohort will be Fall 2025.
Students can take electives in either Tacoma or Olympia.
The Tribal Governance cohort focuses on structures, processes and issues specific to Tribal Governments providing the knowledge and skills needed to work successfully within public administration. This program is suited for those working with governmental or other organizations in a liaison role with Tribal Governments.
The Tribal Governance cohort accepts new students every two years. The next Tribal Governance cohort will be Fall 2024.
The Master in Public Administration Tribal Governance concentration was developed in coordination with tribal leaders to offer credentials that reflect in-depth specialization in contemporary Tribal Governance subject areas. Students in this concentration are preparing for, or advancing in, careers as administrators who can assist tribal governments and public agencies with which the tribes interact.
In this concentration, you’ll focus on issues of critical importance to tribal sovereignty, including:
- Intergovernmental relations
- Tribal policy
- Economic development
Additionally, you’ll complete the Master in Public Administration core program requirements, as well as four elective credits of your choice.
This concentration is designed to serve working people, especially students traveling from locations outside of Olympia or Washington state. To serve these students, the courses in this concentration are taught in an intensive weekend format.
Students must be admitted to the Tribal Governance cohort. Other Master in Public Administration students may enroll in the Tribal Concentration courses as electives if space is available.
Tribal Governance Concentration Degree Requirements
|Core courses||36 credits|
|Tribal concentrations courses||8 credits|
|Total credits||60 credits|
The Master in Public Administration Public Policy concentration prepares you for roles such as policy analyst, budget analyst or evaluator.
Students in this concentration examine various models of public policy, how to analyze current and proposed policies and how to engage in policy development and advocacy. All classes are held evenings and weekends to accommodate daytime working schedules.
Public Policy Concentration Degree Requirements
|Core courses||36 credits|
|Foundations of public policy||4 credits|
|Advanced research methods||4 credits|
|Total credits||60 credits|
"The biggest take-away for me was the Analytical Techniques I & II comprehensive research bringing together our current and past work as teams and individuals. The amount of critical thinking and statistical data was conformed with law and ethics. I have been able to apply those learning techniques as an Executive board member, manager and now an associate director of a Tribal Coalition."
Internships and Individual Study
Some students are required to perform a credit generating internship before they can graduate, while others may choose to perform an internship contract or an individual learning contract to pursue experience and/or knowledge not available through the normal course work.
An internship is a learning experience designed to aid students in achieving specific academic and professional objectives. Although some students are required to complete an internship, all students are strongly encouraged to include an internship in their educational plan, especially if they do not have prior professional-level experience in the public administration area of interest.
Applicants are admitted with varying levels and types of professional experience. If the admissions committee determines that an applicant has not completed at least one year of full-time work with significant responsibility in public or nonprofit administration or in a public policy area, the applicant will be required to complete an internship before graduating from the program. This internship is a minimum of two credits for one academic quarter, equal to 10 hours of work per week with an agency or organization in the public or nonprofit sector. When an internship is required, the applicant is notified in their admissions letter.
It is important that students have an opportunity to become amply oriented to the program before undertaking a credit-generating internship. Students must complete one quarter of core coursework before registering for a credit-generating internship. Typically students must wait until the Winter Quarter of their first year to undertake a graduate internship contract.
Internship credit will count toward the degree as part of a student’s elective credits.
Internships are generally with government agencies or nonprofit organizations. If you are considering an internship, initiate discussions with faculty to assess the type of internship you are interested in (credit generating or non-credit generating, paid or voluntary, type of agency or organization involved), the extent to which you will benefit from an internship and how it fits into your overall academic plan.
Two internship options are available
The student, faculty sponsor and agency/organization supervisor formally agree upon a student’s academic objectives for the quarter and develop a plan for achieving those objectives in a workplace setting. New academic learning is required and will not be developed only to obtain work experience or entry-level employment. Occasionally a student may be allowed to undertake a credit-generating internship with the agency they are already employed by. College policy and early planning are needed to ensure that the credit being sought is for a project and not part of the student's regular work.
A non-credit generating internship
Many organizations advertise entry-level internships throughout the year. While it is important to discuss such internship opportunities with an advisor, taking an internship that does not include academic credit is ultimately an arrangement between the student and the internship agency or organization.
Locating an Internship
After you have determined that an internship is appropriate for your academic plan, and if you do not yet have a specific internship in mind, check with faculty and program staff for leads and ideas.
The Washington State Legislature sponsors several graduate interns each summer. These interesting and well-paid internships are publicized and filled the previous fall because legislative staff are unavailable during the legislative session every winter and spring. If you are interested in this type of internship, contact program staff.
Internship Learning Contract and Registration
A credit-generating internship is planned, arranged and conducted to meet the needs of the host organization and the academic and professional objectives of the student. These objectives, needs and all other internship-related matters are agreed on before the internship begins and are formalized in the Graduate Internship Learning Contract signed by all parties. All contracts require a faculty sponsor who will guide and review the academic components of the internship. Generally each credit hour equals five hours of work at the internship.
At the completion of the internship, the student writes a narrative self-evaluation and the field supervisor writes an evaluation that assesses the job performance. The field supervisor and student should meet to discuss the evaluation at the end of the internship. The evaluations are then sent to the faculty sponsor, who will meet with the student for an internship evaluation conference. The faculty sponsor is responsible for drafting the final internship evaluation, which will include all or significant portions of the field supervisor’s evaluation. The student’s self-evaluation and the faculty evaluation become part of the student’s official transcript.
While the host agency is encouraged to provide a stipend or salary to the intern, volunteer internships of equivalent learning and professional value are often more readily available.
Internship placements will usually be within the Puget Sound region. Although internships may be arranged outside the region, they require special approval and arrangements.
Graduate Individual Study
There are two graduate options:
- Graduate Individual Learning Contract
- Graduate Internship Contract
It is important that students have an opportunity to become oriented to the Master of Public Administration program before undertaking individual learning. Students must complete one quarter of core coursework before registering for individual learning.
The maximum credit amount that may be awarded for a graduate contract is four credit hours per quarter (except for a capstone contract). Overall, students may apply a maximum of twelve credit hours of graduate contracts (combination of internships and individual learning contracts) toward their degree.
Students who believe they will need and/or benefit from a contract should consult their faculty and program staff for advice and suggested faculty sponsors.
Necessary documentation is due the first week of the quarter.
Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
Earn your Certificate in Geographic Information Systems while completing courses toward your graduate degree in the Master of Public Administration or Master of Environmental Studies programs!