Master of Public Administration Program

Are you ready to build better communities? The M.P.A. Program at the College of Charleston invites you to explore our globally-accredited program.

Envision yourself working for local or federal government agencies, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, or making a global impact. It's time for you to change the world.
The M.P.A. program at the College of Charleston is ranked as the best in the state and the top 30 percent worldwide. Our program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and is recognized by U.S. News and World Report (2023) as among the Best Public Affairs Programs.
The M.P.A. program's rigorous curriculum bridges theory and practice, equipping students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for successful careers in public management, public policy, and public service. In addition, we offer a unique concurrent Master of Public Administration/Master of Environmental and Sustainability Studies program, further enhancing your expertise.

Why earn your M.P.A. at the College of Charleston?

Our mission is to prepare public service leaders. You will learn to think critically, serve diverse communities and excel in professional positions. Through our program, you will:
Develop a strong foundation through theory and practice
  • Study a rigorous core curriculum that examines theoretical foundations.
  • Choose your specialized area of study.
  • Pursue opportunities to collaborate and partner with community and public service organizations.
Receive the highest quality education in public administration
  • We continually monitor and assess student performance, learning outcomes and career successes.
  • Our graduates are well-prepared for professional positions in public organizations.
  • Explore our website to learn more about the internships and careers of our students and alumni.
Tailor your experience to match your interests and goals
  • We offer a concurrent program in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and two graduate certificate options.
  • Our faculty and staff consist of nationally-recognized scholars and practitioners.
  • Our program blends theoretical knowledge with practical experience in public policy and public and nonprofit management and leadership.
Pursue mentorship opportunities
  • Our faculty comprises nationally-recognized scholars and practitioners who bring deep knowledge and practical experience to the M.P.A. Program.
  • Benefit from their mentorship and gain valuable insights into public policy and public and nonprofit management.
  • Our faculty's qualifications and commitment to student success ensure that you receive the guidance and support needed to thrive in your M.P.A. journey.

Careers & Outcomes

Graduates of the M.P.A. Program have achieved remarkable career outcomes. Our program has connections with prestigious companies, organizations and government agencies. You will have opportunities to launch your career in public administration. Alumni have secured positions in:
  • local governments.
  • regional planning agencies.
  • state and federal agencies.
  • nonprofits.
  • environmental policy groups.
  • community arts organizations.

“I needed to apply my Human Resources and leadership skills I’ve learned in the M.P.A. program in a real-life situation, and that was incredibly rewarding.” - Macy Adams, M.P.A. ‘19 

How to Apply

The entire application process is online. The documents outlined below are required components of the application. A file is not complete until all documents have been submitted and processed, so read carefully and prepare your application materials in advance of applying.
  • Dates & Deadlines


    • Priority deadline: January 15
    • Final deadline:July 1


    • Priority deadlind: November 1
    • Final deadline: December 1
  • Application Process

    To apply to the M.P.A. program, follow these steps.

    1. Complete the online application form and submit the required documents. 
    2. Provide official transcripts from all previous institutions attended. 
    3. Submit a statement of purpose outlining your career goals and why you are interested in the M.P.A. program. 
    4. Include letters of recommendation from academic or professional references. 
    5. Meet any additional program requirements and prerequisites. 
  • Admission Criteria
    • Minimum grade point average of 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale) is preferred.
    • A letter of intent stating your reasons for applying to the program, areas of interest and career objectives.
    • A current résumé.
    • Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your capacity for achievement and motivation to successfully complete a graduate degree - ideally, at least one of these references would come from a collegiate-level instructor, yet we recognize this may be a challenge for applicants who are not recent college graduates. 
    • Applicants, particularly those who do not meet one or more of the conditions for admission, are strongly encouraged to submit a writing sample, such as undergraduate theses or term papers, samples of work projects, etc.

    Note: The admissions committee will carefully considers the applicant’s undergraduate GPA and letter of intent, as well as letters of recommendation and significant life experiences, particularly in public or nonprofit administration. Students with an undergraduate GPA below the 3.000 threshold who demonstrate the likelihood of success in graduate school through adequate academic performance, previous professional and/or volunteer experience and supportive reference letters may be considered for conditional admission status.

    It is also important to note that the GRE is required in order to be considered for a College of Charleston graduate fellowship.