Master of Public Administration Program

Main Content

Logo of the NASPAA accredited programsThe Master of Public Administration (MPA) program prepares students for entry into managerial, administrative, and other professional careers in the government and nonprofit sectors. For students already in public service careers, the MPA program provides them the ability to improve skills, broaden perspectives and assume positions of greater responsibility. MPA degree requirements are designed to provide instruction in the core knowledge and competencies in public administration, as well as a range of additional subjects appropriate to the student’s career interests. An informal career tracking system allows students to integrate their study of core knowledge and competencies with courses that provide special preparation for entry into such specialty fields as city management, financial management, aviation administration, environmental administration, museum administration, and nonprofit organizations.

Mission Statement

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program, an applied program with a culture of community engagement, provides students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities for managerial, administrative, and other professional careers in public, private, aviation, nonprofit, and private/public organizations.

Joint M.P.A./J.D.

The SIU School of Law and the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program allow students to study concurrently for the M.P.A. and J.D. degrees. Students interested in pursuing careers in government agencies and for nonprofit organizations will greatly benefit from this dual degree education. Employment opportunities include State Attorney General offices, municipal legal affairs departments, and national agencies such as the EPA or NASA.

The student must be admitted separately by the two programs but may apply some course work toward both degrees. This reduces the time necessary to receive both degrees by approximately one semester.


The SIU School of Law is a 90-hour degree program while the M.P.A. program is 40 hours. The School of Law applies 9 hours of coursework taken in the M.P.A. program to its 90-hour requirement. The M.P.A. program applies 3 hours of law school classes toward its 40-credit hours. Graduate students register as law students with a minor in public administration.

In addition, concurrent study students must complete either the M.P.A. internship or the applied study project, as well as a comprehensive exam. To earn a concurrent M.P.A./J.D. degree, a student cannot graduate from one program before completing the other.


Law students should make their interest in the concurrent degree program known to the SIU Carbondale School of Law Registrar during or after completion of the first year of law school. Applications are made to the School of Law Registrar directly.

Students interested in pursuing the concurrent law and M.P.A. degrees should consult with the M.P.A. program director or Program Coordinator of CoBA Graduate Programs for advice on an appropriate program of study. The combined application to apply to the M.P.A. program and Graduate School can be found at:

Aviation Administration

Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a national leader in aviation education, offers a specialized graduate program in Aviation Administration through the Master of Public Administration Program.  This concentration specifically prepares students for careers in aviation administration.  It accommodates either 1) pre-service students with no professional experience but with an undergraduate major in the aviation field, or 2) in-service students with aviation administration experience whether or not their undergraduate major is in aviation.

Career goals for this concentration include airport management and planning, administration of aviation programs, government positions in aviation safety and regulation, interest in international aviation policies, and private sector aviation consulting firms.  Recent graduates have been employed by:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • The Federal Aviation Administration
  • Landrum and Brown Aviation Consultants
  • McDonnell Douglas
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Ricondo and Associates
  • United Airlines


The curriculum, a 40-hour program, is designed to give the student a firm foundation in the essentials of public administration and specialized training through advanced courses in aviation.

Like all MPA students, aviation administration students and all pre-service students complete a one-semester professional internship (3 hours).  Those with at least one year of aviation administration experience may be classified as in-service students, and thus receive a waiver of the internship.

Required Courses Include:

AVM/PADM 551 – Aviation Policy, Law and Regulation
AVM/PADM 552 – Advanced Airport Administration
AVM/PADM 553 – Advanced Aviation Safety Administration
AVM/PADM 554 – Aviation Planning
AVM/PADM 555 – International Aviation