MPA Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What kind of job will the MPA program prepare me for?
A: UTEP MPA alumni are working in federal, state, and local government agencies, and in non-profit organizations. Our graduates serve in such capacities as program managers, city officials, community and economic development specialists, directors of non-profit agencies, and government liaison specialists.
Q: What undergraduate degrees are commonly held by MPA students?
A: Undergraduate degrees vary widely. Our MPA students hold undergraduate degrees in political science,economics, business administration, marketing, psychology, and many others.
Q: How long will it take me to complete my degree?
A: The UTEP MPA is a 36 hour program. Full-time students can complete the program in 2 year's, or four semesters. Part-time students can complete the program in 3 to 5 years depending on their course load.
Click Here for a completion rate table of our student 2006 cohort.
Q: What skills and knowledge will be required for the success of my MPA degree?
A: There are no pre-requisites required for admission to the MPA program. However, an undergraduate statistics course and an American Government course are highly recommended and may be required of some students as a condition of admission. The acquired skills that students will learn in the course of the program are broadly based in research methods, policy analysis, human resources, budgeting, and public management.
Q: What levels of academic performance will be expected of me in the MPA program?
A: Through the course of the program students are required to maintain:
- 3.0 cumulative GPA"B" or better in the following core courses: PAD 5300 Introduction to Research Methods, PAD 5311
- Economic Analysis for Public Administrators, and PAD 5351 Applied Statistics.
Please click here to see the Graduate School policy on academic standing.
Q: How many students are typically to a classroom?
A: Typically our concentration classes are small ranging from 10-15 students. Our core classes are larger ranging from 20-25 students to a classroom.
Q: How many active students are in the program?
A: As of 2017 we have 58 students enrolled.
Q: What will the UTEP MPA program cost?
A: Tuition costs can vary by the number of hours a student takes within a semester. Full-time students take at least 9 hours while part-time students can take 3 to 6 hours a semester.
Q: What kind of financial aid is available to students in the MPA program?
A: Financing your Master in Public Administration can come in a variety of forms. Students can take advantage of financial assistance awards and programs. Eligibility criteria generally include admission to the MPA program, active enrollment, and good academic standing.
MPA students usually finance their education through a variety of personal resources, loans, grants and through employment.
For more information to financing your masters, please click here.
Q: What are the requirements of an internship?
Q: Why do I have to do an internship?
A: An internship experience is on the graduation requirements of the program for pre-service students. An internship is intended to bring a real-world experience to your graduate education in public administration. It also provides an opportunity to create contacts within the community and could lead to full-time employment after graduation.
Q: When do I need to start planning for an internship?
A: As soon as possible! It is recommended that you begin planning for an internship and exploring possibilities when you enter the program. This means you should be making and maintaining contacts in fields that you have an interest in. You can also explore online resources such as Public Service Careers (www.publicservicecareers.org) and USAJOBS (www.usajobs.gov). Do not, however, commit to an internship too early in the program as your interests may change. Ideally, you should plan to have an internship lined up at least three months before it is to begin.
Q: What should I be looking for in an internship?
A: Your internship should be in a public service sector and provide some hands-on administrative experience.This is not a chance to brush up on your filing skills, but should challenge you and force you to use what you have learned. You will benefit from your internship experience more if it is in the field you are interested in and enjoy. Completing an internship in a field to which you have not been exposed may also provide you with some valuable new skills and experiences.
Q: Should I expect to get paid for my internship?
A: Once again, the sooner you start looking for an internship, the better the chance you have of finding one that pays. Most public organizations work on an annual budget so it is much easier to budget for an intern's salary for the upcoming year rather than try to find money at the last minute in the current budget. It is also helpful to inform the organization of the skills and knowledge you are able to bring to the organization that would make it worth their while to provide you with a salary. It might be beneficial to provide them with a list of classes you have taken as well as any special projects that you have completed. Remember that although a paid internship is nice, many smaller organizations may be able to provide you with valuable training and experience. Do not rule anything out before at least discussing possibilities with the organization. Remember, the goal of the internship experiences is not to make a salary, but to gain valuable experience.
Q: How will this internship differ from an undergraduate experience?
A. This should be a richer and more challenging internship experience since you expected to be more knowledgeable with a completed undergraduate degree plus you graduate coursework. This may be your first chance to apply your expertise in the real world. An ideal internship will allow you to get hands-on experience in the functioning of an organization and should provide administrative experience.
Q: How should I contact an organization for an internship?
A: Start with what you know! Use the contacts you made over the past semesters as your initial points of contact within organizations. They may be able to provide you with an introduction or reference. Your professors can also be an excellent resource for contacts in the community.
Q: Who should I contact within an organization to discuss internship possibilities?
A: Your initial contact will depend upon the nature and size of the organization. It may be appropriate to directly contact the executive director or administrator in a smaller organization or municipality; however, in large organizations a more appropriate initial contact may be a department head. Visit the organization's web site for contact information as well as information about possible internship opportunities.
Q: Can my internship lead to a full-time job?
A: Possibly. A well-chosen internship can lead to job placement upon graduation, and has for several past MPA students; however, you should keep in mind that it is not a guarantee for a job. It can be used as a stepping stone. The supervisor of your internship can be the most valuable reference for your future job searches.
Q: Where have UTEP MPA students found internships?
A: Eight students participated in internships over the past two years.
Specifically, students have interned for the following entities:- City of El Paso.
- El Paso Specialty Hospital.
- Office of the El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.
- Office of the State Representative Marisa Marquez.
- Rio Grande Council of Governments.
- Texas House of Representatives.
- United Way of El Paso.
Click Here for past internship placements.
Q: What is the CAPSTONE?
A: The capstone is the culminating experience in the MPA program. Students write a "starred paper" on an issue of public administration management, or policy. It is intended to showcase the skills and knowledge that students begin thinking about potential capstone topics early in their course of study. It is intended to showcase the skills, talents, and knowledge that students have acquired. It is very important that students begin thinking about potential capstone topics early in the MPA program.