Master of Public Administration

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Program Overview

Why pursue a master’s degree in public administration (MPA)? Many challenges that Connecticut and the U.S. face as a whole lie outside the realm of the private sector. Despite a growing and vibrant economy, concerns persist about our educational and healthcare systems, homelessness, access to affordable housing, and strains on our infrastructure and transportation systems. It is the nonprofit and governmental sectors that ultimately address these public issues when a market-based mechanism does not provide a solution.

Fairfield University’s state-accredited MPA program is designed for professionals working in the public and nonprofit sectors, recent college graduates, or individuals interested in a career change. Throughout their course of study, students obtain the essential skills needed to address pressing public issues, including fiscal management, project management, grant writing, data analysis, and human resource management.

The program’s curriculum examines pressing social, ethical, and professional issues, while developing strong leadership abilities for career advancement. Students study current theories, trends, and issues related to the field of public administration and engage in active learning, critical reflection, and experiential practices that are the hallmarks of a Jesuit education. Courses emphasize theory, research, and application to advance careers in the following areas:

  • State and City Government
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Healthcare Management
  • Emergency Management
  • Private Research

Master of Public Administration

Requirements & Course Offerings

To earn the Master of Public Administration degree, students choose from a range of courses that have been designed specifically for the MPA program.

Students, in consultation with the program director, select courses to suit their academic, personal, and career goals.

Required Courses

To earn a master’s degree in public administration, students are required to complete 36 credits of graduate coursework, including:

Eleven (11) Core and Elective courses
Six (6) credits from a professional internship (may be waived with relevant experience)
Three (3) credits from an Independent Capstone Project conducted under the supervision of a faculty member

In consultation with the program director, students are required to select and complete a four-course specialization in an aspect of public administration that matches their career goals. These specialization tracks include:

  • Nonprofit Management
  • State and Local Government
  • Emergency Management
  • Public Health

A detailed list of MPA course requirements, offerings, and more can be viewed in the University’s course catalog.

Admission

MPA program applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution (or the international equivalent) and give a promise of meeting the standards set by the school. Applications are considered on a rolling basis for fall, spring, and summer admission.

 

Accelerated Bachelor's/ Master's Degree Program

The College of Arts and Sciences' accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program allows qualified undergraduate students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in as few as five years. This accelerated pathway permits students to transition directly into the University's MPA program and earn a graduate degree in less time and at potentially less cost than when done separately. Each program has certain prerequisites and require the permission of the program director for entry.

Eligibility

  • Full-time, matriculated undergraduates
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Completion of at least 96 credits prior to the start of fall senior year 

Admission Requirements

  • Online application available at fairfield.edu/applynow
  • $65 admission fee (waived for current students)
  • Fairfield University transcript (obtained by the Office of Graduate Admission)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Copy of resume

Timeline

  • Students apply during their spring semester of junior year
  • Upon acceptance, students will remain an undergraduate, but are allowed to register for two graduate classes during their senior year
    • These classes will be covered through full-time tuition payment but cannot count towards fulfillment of the undergraduate degree
    • During the final semester, typically spring, students will need to apply to the program officially to become a matriculated graduate student upon completion of their undergraduate degree.Upon acceptance, students will remain an undergraduate, but are allowed to register for two graduate classes during their senior year

More Information

For more information, please contact:

Office of Graduate Admission

P: (203) 254-4184
F: (203) 254-4199
gradadmis@fairfield.edu

Stag Spotlight

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Will Martorano

MPA'21

Get to Know Will
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Will Martorano
MPA’21

Current Employer
Fairfield University

Current Job Title
Admission Counselor

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
Fairfield University

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
BA, Communication

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
Fairfield has an amazing reputation and I was keen on continuing my studies here after such a successful undergraduate experience.

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
The professors were all amazing. They were the kind of teachers that helped you genuinely understand and comprehend the information, as opposed to just lecturing.

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
Run, don't walk!

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
My advanced degree has helped me consider real life circumstances from a different perspective. I can already see the impact on how I approach things at work.

Deb Matthews

MPA'21

Get to Know Deb

Deb Matthews
MPA’21

Current Employer
Fairfield University

Current Job Title
Director, Post Award Administration, Government Grants

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
Sacred Heart University

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
Business

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your MPA?
The faculty

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
The faculty expertise

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
Excellent faculty members who care about your career and are not there to see you fail but rather help you succeed.

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
It has allowed me to rise to the top level of potential candidates for positions and more importantly has given me overwhelming satisfaction.

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Michael McCullagh

MPA'21

Get to Know Micahel
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Michael McCullagh
MPA’21

Current Employer
City of Stamford

Current Job Title
Fire Captain

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
University of New Haven

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
BS Fire Administration

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
I chose Fairfield University for its reputation, location, and Jesuit roots.

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
The faculty and fellow students were kind, welcoming, and engaging.

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
The campus atmosphere is welcoming and the faculty and students are supportive.

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
My degree from Fairfield will make me more competitive for promotions in my current job. Furthermore, my degree will open doors for me as I seek to transition to a new career in the future.

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Cesar Zepeda

MPA'21

Get to Know Cesar

Cesar Zepeda
MPA’21

Current Employer
Neighbors Link

Current Job Title
Development Associate

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
Baruch College

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
BA, Economics and Political Science

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
My older brother attended Fairfield and he recommended the University.

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
I loved the small class sizes. Improved the ability to meet and learn from your classmates and professors.

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
It’s a great school that cares about their students. Professors go above and beyond.

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
I was offered a full-time position in a nonprofit soon after graduation.

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Jonathan Delgado

MPA'20

Get to Know Jonathan
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Jonathan Delgado
MPA’20

Current Employer
Fairfield University

Current Job Title
Research Coordinator

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
University of Connecticut

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
Bachelor of General Studies

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
Fairfield offered proximity, and small size for the MPA program. After going to a big school for undergrad, I wanted to fulfill my desire for a more traditional small college feel.

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
The accessibility to my faculty and opportunities to apply what was learned in the classroom in the real world.

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
I would tell them to expect to build close relationships with faculty members and the people in their cohort. I’ve built my network in ways I wouldn't have dreamt of as an undergraduate.

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
Fairfield on its own has changed my life as the University itself served as a springboard for my current career path. Being in the program, I interfaced with so many faculty members and students that I was able to figure out what I wanted out of my future job prospects. I don't believe that would have happened elsewhere.

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Alberto Jacome

MPA'20

Get to Know Alberto
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Alberto Jacome
MPA’20

Current Employer
Marymount University

Current Job Title
Director of Residence Life

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
University of New Mexico

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
BA, Architecture

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
I was an employee at Fairfield University, so I wanted to take advantage of my benefits as an employee and continue to advance my education even further.

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
I liked that the Graduate program worked with my schedule, and I was able to transfer some classes from my previous graduate studies. The program also allowed me to use my current experience working at a nonprofit to count towards my internship course. Overall, I feel the program was set and created for working professionals like me.

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
Supportive program full of wonderful and knowledgeable professors who are truly invested in your education and success. Dr. Alberda was really helpful at guiding me through the program and was an excellent support during my capstone. I could have not done it without her.

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
This second Master's degree helped me compliment my first one in Higher Education. I feel I have a better, understanding of the non-profit sector, and well as local and state government. I learned skills that will help me advance my career in the future.

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Kadeem Roberts

MPA'18

Get to Know Kadeem
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Kadeem Roberts
MPA’18

Current Employer
City of Norwalk Connecticut

Current Job Title
Councilman

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
Virginia Union University

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
BS in Education

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
I wanted to further my political career and come back and receive my master’s degree from a “home base” University.

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
I loved my professors but most importantly loved the one-on-one experience and the small class sizes as well as teachers giving you the support that you need to succeed was a major key. My professor Dr. Gayle Alberda was the best mentor I could ever ask for.

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
I would tell them to go to Fairfield for your degree. It was the best opportunity. Everyone was very caring and wanted to see you succeed, but most importantly, they knew you had a dream and helped you achieve it.

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
I am now the youngest African American in the history of Norwalk, Conn. to become a common council member.

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Megan Zboray

Nonprofit Management Certificate Program

Get to Know Megan
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Megan Zboray
Nonprofit Management Certificate Program

Current Employer
Coordinated Transportation Solutions, Inc. (CTS)

Current Job Title
Proposal Writer

What school did you attend as an undergraduate?
Catholic University

Undergraduate degree and major (e.g. BA, English)
Media Studies

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
I wanted to be a grant writer and work in development and liked that Fairfield University had a program that had a hands-on grant writing class. I also liked that they had a one-year program that was offered at a convenient time.

What did you like about your Fairfield education?
I liked everything about the Nonprofit Management Certificate program. I felt that my professors were knowledgeable and actively working in their fields. I liked that they had a one-year program that was offered at hours that worked with my work schedule so I could do both. I felt the director of the program was accessible. I felt I could always go to Dr. LeClair for guidance and support — but that was true for all my professors as well.

Please explain what you would tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield.
I highly recommend Fairfield University to someone looking to go into the nonprofit field. It will give you the basic understanding and connections you will need to start a career.

Please describe how your advanced degree at Fairfield has affected your life.
My graduate certificate opened doors up for me. I gained an understanding of how nonprofits are structured and learned how to write grants and budgets. It also connected me with an internship that gave me the experience needed to obtain a job at a great company.

More About MPA

MPA Students Raise an Estimated $200K in Grants for Area Non-Profits

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MPA Students Raise an Estimated $200K in Grants for Area Non-Profits

The coursework for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program’s “Proposal Writing and Fund Development” class, taught since 2015 by Thomas Sobocinski ’72, MA’78, sharpens teamwork, editing, writing, and audience awareness skills by requiring that students engage in collaborative projects with actual non-profit organizations or local government agencies. Since the course’s inception, Sobocinski estimates that over the years his students' efforts have raised a collective $200,000 in grant funds.

Read the Full Article

Annual MPA Summit

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Annual MPA Summit

Fairfield University’s annual MPA Summit is a yearly public forum that brings together public administration students and members of the community with business leaders, economists, political analysts, and elected officials to participate in a constructive dialogue about important public administration challenges directly affecting the state and community.

Moderated by a member of the local media, the yearly event features a community Q&A and in-depth panel discussion with a team of political experts and community leaders. Previous summit topics have included:

  • “Moving Forward in the Absence of GE: Examining the Political and Economic Impact of General Electric’s Departure from Connecticut”
  • “Connecticut’s Budget Predicament: The Path Forward After 2017”
  • “New Administration, New Direction: Taxes, Tolls, Transportation, and Connecticut’s Future”
  • “COVID-19 and its Impacts in Rural America”
    Olugbenga Ajilore, Senior Advisor for Rural Development (USDA)

Watch this year’s summit with Dr. Olugbenga Ajilore, Senior Advisor for Rural Development (USDA)

Faculty

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Faculty

The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff, and passionate scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Our faculty members are experts in their field and work closely with graduate students to provide academic advice and individualized attention that makes their experience as productive as it is rewarding.

Meet the Faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

No. The MPA program is designed to accommodate a variety of students from different backgrounds. An undergraduate degree in a specific field of study is not required. Students with a variety of undergraduate backgrounds are encouraged to apply if they feel that training in public administration would further their personal, academic, and career goals.

We have students who majored in economics, politics, public administration, sociology, anthropology, business, communications, English, and more!

Full-time students generally complete the program in 2 years. Part-time students work at their own pace on completing the degree.

Courses are taught in both a traditional 14-week format as well as alternative formats as outlined below:

  • Traditional: 14-week/2.5 hours per week format (35 hours)
  • Accelerated: 7-week/five hours every other week format (35 hours)
  • Intensive: Saturdays (seven, five-hour meetings spread over 7 or 14 weeks, or five Saturdays for 7 hours each; 35 hours)
  • Summer: 7-week accelerated (35 hours)
  • Online or hybrid formats of any of the above schedules

Traditional courses are taught as lectures/ seminars. Courses offered in other formats are designed to offer the same type of classroom experience as the traditional format. Some classes use online discussion, chats, blogs, electronic portfolios, and other mechanisms as ways to enhance the course experience.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis.

No. However, we will look closely at your undergraduate academic record and professional achievements when considering your application.

Requests to transfer a limited number of credits will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Yes, review the application requirements for international students.

For information about admission, contact gradadmis@fairfield.edu. For information about the program, contact Program Director Dr. Gayle Alberda.

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