Become an expert in public administration and earn your MPA degree.

An MPA degree is the government and nonprofit equivalent of an MBA for business. Earning your Master of Public Administration degree will help you develop the leadership and management skills essential for a successful career in local, state, or national public service. The program has proudly produced graduates who now serve as esteemed state and municipal elected leaders, executive directors of nonprofit agencies, dedicated city and town managers, as well as municipal department heads. Additionally, our alumni include leaders in both state and federal agencies, along with professionals in private sector agencies that collaborate extensively with government clients.

You’ll learn how to lead employees and volunteers; navigate political systems to obtain agency support from elected officials; interact with government, nonprofit, and private partners; engage diverse populations; and more. You will also develop relationships with a diverse community of MPA faculty and students who are active in their communities, helping you build a professional network that will last throughout your career. 

Available concentrations: 

Nonprofit Management 
The Master of Public Administration, Nonprofit Management concentration provides you with both theoretical and practical knowledge to manage a successful nonprofit organization. Special emphasis is given to organizational design, strategic planning, human resource concerns, marketing, and fundraising. This concentration will prepare you for leadership roles and a rewarding career in the nonprofit sector. 

Public Management 
The Master of Public Administration, Public Management concentration provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for administering public agencies and programs. 

Courses are taught by faculty with expertise in public management, public budgeting issues, public policy analysis, program evaluation and implementation, human resource concerns, urban planning, and administrative law. Plus, regional economic and administrative concerns are addressed in courses like “Managing Towns and Cities” and “The Regional Economy of New England.” 

Criminal Justice Administration
The Master of Public Administration, Criminal Justice Administration concentration provides you with the advanced theory and practical skills necessary to confront and help resolve the complex problems associated with the American criminal justice system. This concentration offers both general and specialized courses taught by full-time and adjunct faculty in the Criminal Justice Department.  

Public Healthcare Administration 
The Master of Public Administration, Public Healthcare Administration concentration will help you develop sought-after occupational skills in health services, including budgeting, program development, performance management, research, strategic planning, and written communication. Courses are taught by full-time faculty and by adjuncts with expertise in public healthcare management, leadership, and policy.  

The concentration is designed for individuals who: 

  • Are healthcare managers who seek advanced learning in the study of management and leadership; 
  • Are employed in a nonprofit or government health services organization and are preparing for a career in healthcare administration; and/or 
  • Lack prior healthcare experience but want to prepare for a management position in this growing industry. 

Program Highlights

  • On campus, online, remote, or hybrid 
  • Choose from four concentrations
  • 36 credits
  • Complete in as little as 2 years 

Transform your career with an MPA degree at Westfield State!

Gain essential leadership and management skills for public service.

An MPA degree that meets the unique demands of the industry and your schedule.

  • female student talking to another student in class


    The Master of Public Administration program provides a quality graduate degree that prepares you for workforce needs, skill set requirements, and industry best practices in the public service sector. 

  • female talking to other students in class

    Interdisciplinary approach 

    Our MPA degree is an interdisciplinary program housed in the Department of Political Science and supported by faculty in the Biology; Communications; Criminal Justice; Economics and Management; Geography, Planning, and Sustainability; Nursing; and Sociology departments. 

  • male student talking to other students in class

    Fits your schedule 

    All classes are offered on weekdays during the evening, with many hybrid, remote, and online courses offered throughout the program. Classes are also offered year-round during our Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, so you can earn your MPA degree when it works best for you. 

Program Details

Program Mission

The MPA program prepares students to find their own paths that embrace public sector leadership and management challenges and seek solutions that are equitable, inclusive, ethically and factually sound, and respect democratic values. 

Program Vision

A caring public sector workforce with strong character and the appropriate knowledge and skills to work with their communities to advance the collective good. 


  • Student centered.  
  • Regionally and community focused.  
  • Development of professional relationships with faculty, peers, and alumni.  
  • Multiple tracks and customizable program to meet student professional goals.  
  • Theoretical knowledge and practice-based application. 
Learning Outcomes
  • A deep understanding of the nature of public administration and its function within the American political system; this includes a knowledge of the process by which public policy is created and implemented at the local, state, and federal levels of government. 
  • Advanced knowledge of the principles, theories, and practices related to directing a complex public sector organization, specifically related to: 
    • organizational behavior and leadership, 
    • community engagement, 
    • budgeting and public finance, and 
    • the legal environment affecting public sector management. 
  • Development of the organizational and managerial skills necessary to direct a complex public organization, including: 
    • skills critical for successful human resources management of a diverse workforce, 
    • strategic planning and problem-solving skills, 
    • quantitative and qualitative program evaluation techniques, and 
    • interpersonal skills and an understanding of group dynamics. 
  • Quantitative and qualitative research competencies relevant for public management. 
  • The ability to identify and address ethical issues affecting the public sector.

Whether you want to go into police work, healthcare, nonprofits, or government agencies, it can help you learn how to better serve the public and approach major problems.

-Phillip Slater ’22

What can you do with a master’s in public administration?

Your MPA degree will prepare you for a rewarding career working in the public service sector. Your specialized skills and industry knowledge will allow you to work in positions such as:

  • Advocacy director
  • City, county, state, or federal administrator 
  • Community relations manager
  • Corporate manager for government contracts
  • Fundraising manager
  • Grant administrator
  • Health services manager
  • Political scientist or analyst
  • Social or community service manager
  • Urban or regional planner

Get big school features with small school advantages. 

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support.    

You’ll join fellow motivated students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility. 

  • 92%+

    of faculty hold doctorates 

  • 84%

    of grads are employed in their field 

  • Community engagement opportunities

  • Early Entry Program available for MPA 

Expert faculty with diverse specialties

The Master of Public Administration program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach, giving you access to expert faculty across a wide variety of departments and subject areas. Your professors and adjuncts are full-time educators and passionate about helping you succeed in the public service sector. Plus, small class sizes mean you’ll have easy access to faculty one-on-one, as well as plenty of opportunities to collaborate and network with your fellow students.

female professor lecturing at front of classroom

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to complete the master’s degree?

The duration for completion varies, with most students finishing in approximately two years, depending on their chosen course load per semester. Whether attending part-time or full-time and utilizing courses offered in fall, spring, and summer terms, flexibility is key. It's essential to note that students must fulfill degree requirements within a maximum timeframe of six years.

What are the application requirements for the Master of Public Administration program? 

Prospective students should access the graduate application online at

The following material must be received for an application to be reviewed:

  • Completed graduate application and $50 application fee.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended indicating a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. 
  • Three professional or academic letters of recommendation. At least one academic recommendation is suggested. 
  • A satisfactory GRE or MAT score is recommended only if it will strengthen the application. 
  • Narrative statement (of approximately 350 words) about your professional goals, academic experience, work experience, and other factors such as academic achievements not reflected in transcripts that support your application. 

Applicants who believe that the materials requested in the application do not accurately represent their academic potential are encouraged to include their rationale in the narrative statement. The narrative statement will be considered a writing sample to evaluate your ability to express yourself in written form. 

Professional experience and experience overcoming adversity are viewed positively and are considered in the application review process. Applicants with significant professional experience or special qualifications who do not meet admission standards will be considered on an individual basis. 

Deadlines and Notice of Decision: 

Our Master of Public Administration program has rolling admissions; applications are accepted year-round. 

Do I have to submit GRE/MAT scores when I apply? 

While not required, GRE or MAT scores can strengthen a candidate's application.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Do you offer graduate assistantships?

Yes, a limited number of graduate assistantships are available each year for graduate students. These opportunities are competitive and are awarded to students with excellent academic records who are enrolled in a graduate degree program.

This valuable opportunity can enhance your academic journey and provide valuable experience. Don't miss out on the chance to be part of this enriching program!

Learn more about graduate assistantships 

Will I receive academic support?

Yes, students have a dedicated advisor – your compass through class choices and beyond. Beyond academics, your advisor becomes a mentor, guiding you on further education and career paths. We're not just about classes; we connect you to resources like the Banacos Center and the Reading & Writing Center. At every step, we're here to ensure your success is our priority.

Is graduate housing available?

Discover graduate living at Welch Hall Apartments – your gateway to a vibrant community and tailored amenities. Choose from four-person apartments featuring single and premium single rooms, all inclusive of utilities and internet. Make connections by signing up as a group or embark on an individual adventure with like-minded roommates. Revel in the comfort of fully furnished apartments, boasting a well-equipped kitchen with a breakfast bar, cozy bathrooms, and inviting shared living spaces.

Your convenience is our priority – enjoy free laundry facilities on campus and parking at an affordable rate. Immerse yourself in academic pursuits with easy access to the campus library or prioritize your well-being at our fitness centers.

Whether you prefer cooking with your roommates or opting for a meal plan, relish access to an array of campus dining options, including late-night and takeaway choices. Elevate your graduate experience with Welch Hall Apartments – where living meets exceptional comfort and convenience.

For more information contact or 413-572-5402.

Can I take a course without enrolling into the program?

Yes, students can take up to two courses (six credits) non-matriculated prior to matriculating into the program. Financial aid is not available for non-matriculated courses and cost can be found on our tuition and fees page. If you are interested in taking non-matriculated courses please contact the Registrar at or 413-579-3200 for assistance.

For students interested in taking more than six credits non-matriculated and will not be applying the credits to a degree additional credits may be taken by completing the professional development waiver.

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Master of Public Administration, Policy and Civic Engagement (MPA)