Program Basics

Two women in an office looking at data. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is a broad-based degree designed to help you hone the skills, knowledge, and competencies to pursue successful careers as public managers in government or the nonprofit sector. It is a professional graduate degree for both pre-career students and in-service administrators. Because of its multidisciplinary nature, we draw people with undergraduate degrees from a wide spectrum of fields, ranging from the arts and humanities to the natural and social sciences.

The MPA curriculum is designed to help students achieve competency in five areas:

  • to lead and manage in public governance;
  • to participate in and contribute to the policy process;
  • to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions;
  • to articulate and apply a public service perspective; and
  • to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

We look for a diverse group of students from all undergraduate majors who have the academic ability and potential for success in a career in public service. Applicants to the MPA program must meet the minimum requirements established by the Department of Political Science & Public Administration and the MPA faculty.

Admissions checklist:

  • Complete and submit online application through the UAB Graduate School
  • Submit application fee payment
    • Domestic: $50.00
    • International: $60.00
  • Please ask the individuals from whom you request references to submit them online via the Apply Yourself system. Electronic submission is the preferred method. However, if your referees prefer to mail a recommendation letter, it should be mailed to the address of the department or program to which you are applying.
  • Request an official transcript to be mailed by the issuing institution to the UAB Graduate School: UAB Graduate School, G03 LHL; 1700 University Blvd., 1720 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294-0013
  • Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit scores (see Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Test Waivers below for information on waivers).
  • Submit official GRE test score: Institution code: 1856
  • Submit official TOEFL test score (for international applicants only): Institution code: 1856
  • Mail Financial Affidavit of Support (for international applicants only) to: UAB Graduate School, G03 LHL; 1700 University Blvd., 1720 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294-0013

**Because of COVID-19, the GRE requirement is currently waived.**

Most applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test. Waivers are available for:

  • students with a graduate degree from an accredited college or university;
  • working professionals with at least five years of professional, full-time, mid- to senior-level management that can be deemed progressively responsible public sector or nonprofit career experience; and
  • MPA/JD dual degree applicants who may substitute the GRE with LSAT scores.

Under certain circumstances, the GMAT may be substituted at the discretion of the Program Director. There are no waiver considerations for other tests such as the MAT, MCAT, etc.


Applicants applying for a waiver or substitution of other test scores must contact the MPA Director for official approval.

Detailed tuition and fees information can be found on the UAB Students page.

Application for admission should be made online through the UAB Graduate School website. Admissions will be made for fall and spring semesters.

Application deadlines are:

  • Spring Admission: December 1
  • Summer Admission: April 1
  • Fall Admission: August 1

A full time student taking three courses per semester, plus two additional courses over the summer, should be able to complete the program within two years. All courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate working professionals.

Our program is geared to be very flexible. If you have a job or other responsibilities, going part time may be your best option.

Sometimes we get students who are not positive they want to commit to doing the full program and just want to take a class or two to see how they like it. These students may apply to the program as a non-degree seeking student. Please contact the MPA Program Manager for more details on the application procedure.

The Graduate Nonprofit Certificate and Graduate Public Management Certificate both provide working professionals with the opportunity to enhance their skills and improve their capacity to effectively run organizations. Each program is designed to serve those who wish to gain specialized knowledge in either nonprofit organizations or public organizations. More information about the certificates can be found in the Graduate Catalog.