May 25, 2024  
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook 
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook

Public Administration, M.A.

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The M.A. in Public Administration program will no longer accept new students after August 2020. 

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Public Administration focuses on the skills, behaviors, and approaches needed to administer agencies and implement policy on behalf of the public. The program is designed to develop and advance students from a variety of backgrounds in both nonprofit and governmental administrative positions. Public and nonprofit administration leaders need to envision new possibilities, act ethically amidst constant change, structure alliances within and between organizations, manage limited resources, and lead through respectful and responsive communications. The M.A. in Public Administration program includes coursework to develop three capacities in nonprofit and public administrators:  managerial analysis, the artistry of leadership, and ethical service. Shared coursework allows students to view both nonprofit and public perspectives, while also working on projects specific to their area of interest.

Students with an interest in nonprofit or government agencies in the areas of education or health/human services may be best served by one of the following focused master’s programs also offered online by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota: M.A. in Educational Leadership or M.A. in Health and Human Services Administration.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, graduates are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to complex strategic decisions.
  2. Analyze issues through the collection and use of qualitative and quantitative data.
  3. Interact with respect and fairness with diverse and changing internal and external constituencies.
  4. Manage financial resources responsibly.
  5. Analyze the implementation and effects of public policies and laws.
  6. Govern in collaboration with other leaders, employees, volunteers, and the public.
  7. Use ethical leadership in transparent, accountable decision making for the common good.
  8. Create and evaluate strategic plans to promote organizational effectiveness and minimize risk.
  9. Communicate organizational needs and decisions effectively in written and oral forms.

Program Structure and Delivery

The Master of Arts in Public Administration is offered in a fully online format.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses 33 cr.
Capstone Course 3 cr.
Total 36 cr.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply for admission to master’s degree programs at any time during the year. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. Applicants may complete an interview with a program administrator as part of the admission process.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript(s) issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated on a course by course basis by a university accepted evaluation service, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).  Evaluations from an approved member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services ( will also be accepted.
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
    1. brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
    2. statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and their reasons for seeking admission to the program; and
    3. description of the areas the applicant considers to be their strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities; and
    4. personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities Campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55404


The faculty members for this program have earned doctorate or master’s degrees. Faculty are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.

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