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The MPA Program requires 39 credit hours. Pre-career students must also take an additional three (3) credit hours for internship (for a total of 42 credit hours). A full-time student taking three (3) courses per fall and spring semester, along with one summer course, should be able to complete the program in two years. All courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate working professionals. We also offer some courses online each semester.


All students are required to take eight (8) core courses (a total of 24 credit hours) and several electives. For details about these courses, please visit the UAB Graduate Catalog.

The required number of electives varies based on whether a student is on the thesis or non-thesis track to graduation:

  • Those taking the thesis track (Plan I; also known as the Thesis Option) complete an original research project under the guidance of a Thesis Committee Chair. Thesis-track students must take three (3) hours of MPA 696: Independent Study, and six (6) hours of MPA 699: Thesis Research. Students must begin these hours no later than their second-to-last semester in the program. Students on the thesis track must complete two (2) electives.
  • Those taking the non-thesis track (Plan II; also known as the Portfolio Option) must take MPA 697: Graduate Learning Portfolio in their final semester of the program. Students on the non-thesis track must complete four (4) electives.

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