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MPA Curriculum

Core Curriculum

The program’s core curriculum is designed to explore the essential elements of public management and public policy and to prepare students for increasingly complex public responsibilities in local and state government, nonprofit organizations, public/private partnerships and regional and federal agencies. The core curriculum emphasizes both the skills and knowledge required to effectively manage and develop organizational resources and to understand the larger constitutional and political setting in which policy is developed and administrative tasks are defined and assessed.The core curriculum consists of 21 semester hours of coursework and a three-hour internship. See the MPA Catalog for full course descriptions.


PUBA 600 Public Service Roles and Responsibilities
PUBA 601 Research and Quantitative Methods for Public Administration
PUBA 602 Public Policy
PUBA 604 Managing Human Resources 
PUBA 605 Managing Financial Resources 
PUBA 701 Capstone Seminar
PUBA 777 Internship (The internship can be waived for students with extensive employment experience in public administration.)


Specialized Study

Elective courses are available in four areas of specialized study:

  • Nonprofit Administration
  • Arts and Cultural Management
  • Municipal Government and Urban Planning
  • Environmental Policy and Administration

Opportunities to develop higher levels of skill and specialized study include a thesis project (PUBA 710), directed independent studies (PUBA 710A) and special topics seminars (PUBA 502). In addition, with the permission of the director, courses are often available through other graduate programs on campus and through the Medical University of South Carolina’s Health Administration Program and The Citadel’s Master of Business Administration Program. Credit earned at The Citadel or the Medical University of South Carolina is not considered transfer credit provided the student registers for the coursework using the cross-registration process. All transfer credits (no more than twelve [12] hours) completed at other institutions must be approved by the director.


The College of Charleston’s Master of Public Administration Program offers graduate certificates in Arts and Cultural Management and Urban and Regional Planning.

Arts and Cultural Management

The Graduate Certificate Program in Arts and Cultural Management prepares a global market of arts leaders in the  creative economy through immersive experiences with diverse artists, arts and cultural institutions, and their communities. Based in the School of the Arts, the program is a one-year, 15-credit curriculum of live and online classes, and includes coursework in executive and fiscal leadership; data and cloud information systems; arts education and advocacy; social justice engagement in the arts; strategic planning and evaluation; and managing institutional resources.

Urban and Regional Planning

The Graduate Certificate Program in Urban and Regional Planning provides advanced training to in-service professionals in the public and private sector who seek to acquire the skills and competencies required to address the multi-faceted problems posed by rapid growth and development in the Lowcountry. The College of Charleston North Campus provides central support for the program and many certificate courses are offered.

The certificate courses are offered through the Master in Public Administration Program but successful completion of certificate courses does not entail admission to the MPA program. Students who wish to apply to the MPA program should do so within the first six hours of certificate study. All thirteen hours as a certificate student can be counted towards the MPA degree.