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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 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.


Kristen Jud headshot  

MPA graduate makes her capstone research reality

Kristen Jud (MPA ’23) hasn’t even held her Master of Public Administration for a year yet and she is already contributing to a major project that is destined to change the face of Nashville: the Imagine East Bank Vision Plan - a development of 338 acres of underutilized land directly across the river from Downtown Nashville.

Jud is helping to make sure that the community’s voice is heard during the East Bank development, especially in regards to equitable and sustainable transportation solutions.


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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.



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 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?


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


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


Students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience through internships. Our faculty and staff are well connected in the community and can help identify internship placements well suited to the student's interest and experience.

Our Faculty

  • Laura Encalade headshot

    Laura Encalade

    Executive Director School of Public Policy/Assistant Professor

    Laura Encalade is an experienced educational leader with deep expertise in strategic planning, innovative program design and implementation, and consulting. She is passionate about supporting communities and organizations to advance...

    Meet Laura Encalade
  • Steve Joiner headshot

    Steve Joiner

    Executive Director ICM and Dean, College of Leadership and Public Service

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

    Meet Steve Joiner
  • Kenyatta Lovett Headshot

    Kenyatta Lovett

    Faculty Fellow

    Meet Kenyatta Lovett
  • Hope Nordstrom headshot

    Hope Nordstrom

    Special Counsel to the President on Strategy

    Dr. Hope Nordstrom is the Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning and an Associate Professor of Education. As director, she provides administrative oversight and is directly involved in...

    Meet Hope Nordstrom
  • Scott Bledsoe headshot

    Scott Bledsoe

    Assistant Professor

    Scott Bledsoe, a 2014 graduate from Lipscomb University, is currently completing his PhD in political science from George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. After graduating from Lipscomb University, Scott moved to New York City, where he received an MA in comparative politics from NYU and worked as an editorial assistant at Oxford University Press. While at George Mason University, Scott served as a research assistant for the "Closing the Gap Project" at the United States Institute of Peace in conjunction with USAID, which explored the role of religious freedom in global socioeconomic development. Scott’s research interests include the role of religiosity in motivating behavioral polarization, religious identity in the United States, and early American political thought.

    Meet Scott Bledsoe
  • Lipscomb Featured Faculty

    Alfred Degrafinreid

    Adjunct Faculty

    Meet Alfred Degrafinreid
  • Lipscomb Featured Faculty

    Brent Easley

    Adjunct Faculty

    Meet Brent Easley
  • Laura Morrow headshot

    Laura Morrow

    Director of Collaboratives Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives

    Dr. Laura Morrow is the Director of Collaborative Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives for the Center for Teaching and Learning and Associate Professor of Management at Lipscomb University. Morrow began her...

    Meet Laura Morrow
  • Mandy Spears headshot

    Mandy Pellegrin

    Adjunct Faculty

    Mandy has nearly two decades of experience supporting a diverse set of federal and state policymakers with unbiased, accessible analysis of complex public policy issues. Mandy is currently the Policy...

    Meet Mandy Pellegrin

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.