Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program
Director: Dr. George Candler
About the program
The UNF MPA is northeast Florida's only NASPAA* accredited degree program in public policy, public administration, and related fields. The UNF MPA prepares students for successful careers as managers in the public and nonprofit sectors. The curriculum enables the student to understand the scope and activity of governance in modern society, and to administer public and nonprofit programs effectively. For the student who already has significant work experience, the program provides opportunities to gain new skills and obtain a broader perspective on the responsibilities and obligations of public and nonprofit sector management. While public administration is generally associated with a political science background, students from any discipline who are interested in public or nonprofit careers, or who are currently employed in the public or nonprofit sectors, are encouraged to apply to the program.
The program caters to beginning and mid-career professionals, offering almost all courses in the evening, generally from 6:00-8:45 pm. In order to provide flexibility with full career schedules, we offer some hybrid and full distance learning courses as well, though the prospective student should expect to take the majority of courses on campus in the evening. We have made a commitment to work with serving active duty Jacksonville Navy personnel to craft a program that works around deployment obligations.
The mission of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration is to serve the State of Florida through excellent educational opportunities involving teaching, quality research, and effective civic engagement. The department focuses its resources to provide both undergraduate and graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities for understanding, participating in, and managing institutions, process, and behaviors characteristic of national and international politics and public affairs. With excellent instruction as the highest priority, the department also supports extensive interaction with external constituencies through local, regional, state, and national professional service, and applied and theoretical research. The department is dedicated to maintaining program effectiveness for both students and community partners through continuous self-assessment and improvement.
* As is generally appreciated: the gold standard for accreditation of
American universities and colleges is provided by six regional
accreditation bodies. The University of North Florida (UNF) is
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission
on Colleges to award baccalaureate,
masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866
Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions
about the accreditation of the University of North Florida. Individual contact
to the Commission on Colleges about the University of North Florida accreditation
status should occur only if there is evidence that appears to support
significant noncompliance with a requirement or standard. As its webpage indicates (see link),
the whole institution, not each individual specialized program. Especially
graduate professional programs are accredited separately, in addition to the
university's institutional accreditation. NASPAA is the accrediting body
for Masters degrees in public policy, public administration, and related
The Masters of Public Administration program at the University of North Florida is committed to providing graduate professional education in northeast Florida, in the administration and management of public and nonprofit agencies.
In the fulfillment of this mission, the program focuses on six key competencies: the ability
- 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;
- to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry; and
- to understand local governance in a global context.
assessment. The attached document presents
performance measures for the UNF-MPA program. Data includes results of an
alumni survey, student skills self-assessment, and direct measures of student
Alumni profiles and testimonials. The linked webpage contains alumni profiles and
Faculty governance takes place through the Graduate Steering Committee, which includes all faculty who teach in the program. Community involvement in program governance occurs through the UNF-MPA Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The duties of both the Program Director and the Graduate Steering Committee can be found in the appropriate section of the Graduate Program Director Handbook. The Stakeholder Advisory Committee includes a combination of students, alumni, and a cross section of members of public and nonprofit agencies.
"The beauty of local government is that you can see the outcomes of your labors. You can see buildings coming out of the ground and people using them – and that’s very gratifying." -- Lex Hester
"The young adults of tomorrow will be citizens of the world. We must prepare them." -- Adam Herbert.