Program Overview

MPA Mission

Our mission is to prepare public service leaders. Upon graduation our students will have the ability to think critically and creatively about public issues, the dedication and capacity to serve a diverse community and the skills to enter a professional position in a public organization. To accomplish our mission, our program provides the following:

  • A rigorous core curriculum that examines the theoretical underpinnings of public service and provides concentrated areas of study in arts management, environmental policy, nonprofit management, and urban and regional planning;
  • An environment that nurtures a commitment to service;
  • Opportunities to support collaboration and the creation of partnerships among communities and public service organizations.

Public Service Values

The public service values emphasized by our program are reflected in our mission, goals, curriculum, and program activities. The MPA Program advances:

Democratic Institutional Values: public administration professionals must contribute to the institutional efforts that serve the public interest and the expectations of the public and its representatives.

Professional Values: public administration professionals must serve with competence, excellence, efficiency, objectivity, and impartiality.

Ethical Values: public administration professionals must act at all times in ways that uphold the public trust.

Social Justice Values: public administration professionals' exercise of authority and responsibility must be dictated by respect for human dignity, fairness, and social equity.

MPA Diversity Plan

The MPA Program is committed to the diligent and active dismantling of systems of oppression and exalting an anti-racist and social justice value system. Diversity initiatives are integrated into our curriculum, experiential opportunities, and programming, recruitment and retention practices, and in creating and perpetuating an inclusice environment.

MPA Diversity Plan

Program Structure

The MPA program at the College of Charleston is fully accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Structurally, the MPA Program is housed within the Department of Political Science in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and is designed to provide the following: 

14 Coming Street

   A carefully structured core curriculum that focuses on the major components of modern public management.

  An elective curriculum that allows the student to develop a program of study suited to his/her career goals.

  Opportunities to apply administrative knowledge and skills and gain practical experience in a public or nonprofit agency. 

   Opportunities for graduate assistants to learn through participation in various research and community service projects.



Applied Focus

Students are introduced to practical administrative and analytic skills in a variety of ways. Not only do many of our core faculty members have practical work experience from which to draw upon, the program will recruits adjunct faculty when needed to teach elective courses. These practitioners provide students with a valuable, hands-on perspective directly related to their professional work experiences. The program also maintains contacts with professional mentors though a national network of alumni and a local Advisory Committee. In addition, the program together with the MPASA (The Master of Public Administration Student Association) and the Riley Center, sponsor a variety of conferences, workshops, training sessions, and speakers on an annual basis. And finally, our pre-service students gain practical experience by participating in an internship which allows them to work alongside practitioners on a daily basis.

NASPAA Accreditation Info

The MPA program at the College of Charleston received its first official accreditation by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) in 2014. Accreditation demonstrates our commitment to the highest quality education in public administration. It also means that we have named and regularly assess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes we expect our students to demonstrate upon graduation. The 2019-2020 academic year was our self-study year for the reaccreditation process. We submitted our materials in August 2020. You can access the report below.

Reaccreditation Letter

MPA Self Study.pdf

Interim Report.pdf