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Program Overview

Program Overview

Prepare for a life of public service in government and nonprofit sectors at Lipscomb, where Tennessee turns for leadership. Our Master of Arts in Public Administration (MPA) program is considered the gold standard for young people pursuing these fields with intent to enter public service. 

Perhaps you're wondering, "what is public administration and why is it important for a career in public service?" Public Administration, simply put, is the study and implementation of government policy. This skillset is undeniably key for a successful career in public service because public services are a governmental function to aid society.

Lipscomb's MPA coursework strongly emphasizes leadership development. Additionally, you will gain a clear understanding of state finance processes, data analysis and critical thinking to make impactful decisions. Not only will you receive world class preparation in the classroom, but you will also be assigned a mentor. Each mentor is involved in state/local government or a nonprofit, and they will guide you toward specific job opportunities upon graduation.

This degree program is ideal for individuals with less than five years work experience or seeking to make a career change. The small cohort model and hybrid in-person/online learning system, with two Friday and Saturday weekends per class, allows you to easily work full-time while pursuing this degree. In 15 months, you will graduate with a degree to take you to the next level in your career of service.

Master of Arts in Public Administration Program Outcomes

Students in this program will:

  • Gain leadership skills to become bold public servants 
  • Engage in courses with combined emphasis on use of data and metrics in decision making.
  • Learn from faculty with a variety of expertise, including statewide leadership, public policy, urban and rural development, and finance.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Ready to apply?

We're eager to get you started. Our application includes the following items:

  1. Completed online application
    • Application fee (contact Frank Osteen for fee waiver)
    • Resume
    • Official college undergrad transcripts
  2. Two letters of reference
  3. Personal statement
  4. No testing required - writing sample in lieu of testing (such as GRE)
  5. Interview

Scholarships and Financial aid are available for qualified applicants.

Courses

Courses

Lipscomb University’s Master of Arts in Public Administration (MPA) program requires the following core courses to be completed.

  • LPS 5003 - Introduction to Leadership and Public Service
  • LPS 5023 - Budget & Finance
  • LPS 5063 - Effective Cross Sector Collaboration
  • LPS 5143 - State Politics, Policy, and Economics: The Role of States in Shaping Economies
  • LPS 5153 - Data and Decision Making
  • MPA 6013 - Human Resources in State and Local Government
  • MPA 6043 - Readings in Public Administration
  • MPA 6143 - Foundation of Careers in Public Administration
  • MPA 6213 - Qualitative Analysis and Public Service
  • MPA 6313 - Organizational Leadership
  • MPA (code TBD) - The Intersection of the Federal System and State Leadership – Dr. Craig Bledsoe
  • Project: LPS 5393 - Project in Leadership and Public Service
  • Internships (non-credit)
Tuition and Aid

Tuition and Aid

Lipscomb University is committed to making our first-class education as affordable as possible. For students earning their Master of Arts in Public Administration, the tuition is approximately $1,091* per credit hour. With various scholarship and financial aid programs available, your out-of-pocket cost of attendance can be much lower. Learn more about your financial aid options below.

*Note: Graduate tuition rates may increase annually, effective at the start of the summer term.

Types of Aid

Why Study Public Administration at Lipscomb University?

Mentorships

Gain real-world insight through one-on-one interactions with full time government and nonprofit employees.

Networking

Engage with key leaders, such as the Tennessee governor, legislature, mayors, and nonprofit leaders, is built into our courses.

Expedited Coursework

This program is offered in short term courses that allow for completion in 15 months.

Our Faculty

  • Kenyatta Lovett

    Scholar in Residence

    Meet Kenyatta Lovett
  • Michelle Steele headshot

    Michelle Steele

    Assoc. Dean of Academics-College of Leadership & Public Serv

    Dr. Michelle Cummings Steele is Director and Associate Professor of the Department of Urban Studies and the Master of Arts in Leadership and Public Service for the School of Public Policy at...

    Meet Michelle Steele
  • Steve Joiner headshot

    Steve Joiner

    Executive Director ICM and Dean, College of Leadership and

    Steve Joiner is the Dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service and Managing Director of the Institute for Conflict Management at Lipscomb University. Joiner also serves as Professor...

    Meet Steve Joiner
  • Mark White headshot

    Mark White

    Director, Community and Government Outreach

    Meet Mark White
  • Andrea Blackman

    Adjunct Faculty

    Meet Andrea Blackman

Career Paths

State and local government

Be a part of entities that develop, introduce or enact laws and statutes at the local, tribal, State, or Federal level.

Public policy institutes and entities

Those who work for these organizations apply their skills in study of public policy and its effects.

Nonprofit work

Join a nonprofit organization to further a cause or benefit others through active leadership.