Master of Public Affairs

The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program at SPEA Indianapolis exists to advance understanding of public, private and nonprofit organizations serving the public interest, for the purpose of preparing students for professional service and effective citizen participation.

SPEA's MPA delivers an interdisciplinary education that emphasizes professional practice. It prepares students for responsible and informed legal, management, financial and budgetary leadership roles in the public and nonprofit sector. Students spend time doing hands-on projects that promote positive change in the community; meet respected legal experts, nonprofit executives and government officials who are guest lecturers; and secure internships and jobs with local and state government agencies as well as public and private companies.

SPEA's Capstone classes also set SPEA at IUPUI apart from other public affairs programs. Our Capstone groups are just four or five students, compared to 40 or more people in other schools. Our classes tackle real-life projects, not case studies. Each class starts with a variety of local agencies "pitching" their needs to students, who select the project each group will work on. The agencies implement the students' recommendations. For example, Indianapolis deputy mayors have challenged students to address various problems, and the results led to the expansion of the Monon Trail and the use of collection boxes for people who want to help the homeless but don't want to give money to panhandlers.

The MPA can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Coursework for the program is offered in the evenings to allow students to work full-time and participate in the MPA program part-time. Dual-degree programs allow specialization and reduce credits required to complete two separate degrees, and graduate certificate classes may be applied to the MPA. Averaged over the last five years, 66 percent of students finish the program in two years; 70 percent finish in four years.

Recent SPEA IUPUI MPA Graduates employment by sector

SPEA's MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.

SPEA Indianapolis alumni who have completed MPAs work for:

  • Alzheimer's Association of Greater Indiana
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • City of Indianapolis
  • Cleveland Orchestra
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Finish Line Youth Foundation
  • Indiana Attorney General's Office
  • Indiana Department of Commerce
  • Indiana Department of Education
  • Indiana State House
  • Indiana University Foundation
  • Indianapolis Downtown Inc.
  • Iowa League of Cities
  • Lutheran Child and Family Services
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning
  • Purdue University
  • United Way of Central Indiana
  • U.S. District Court


The 48 credit hour MPA program offers five concentrations:

Each course of study requires completion of the core, the concentration and the experiential requirements, in addition to sufficient electives and/or mid-career option credit. The core requirements of the MPA degree are 21 credit hours of work in seven courses. Concentrations expand on substantive areas of interest and are chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor. All concentrations require a minimum of 18 credit hours. Additionally, general electives add breadth to a chosen program, allowing you to further explore the field of concentration or enhance quantitative and analytical skills or administrative techniques. The experiential requirement ensures that each graduate of the MPA program gains insight into the world of public service through an experience outside the classroom. SPEA recommends that students complete undergraduate courses in algebra, statistics and microeconomics prior to enrolling in certain required courses.

For a complete list of MPA courses, see Graduate Bulletin

MPA graduation time


MPA classes are taught by an impressive cadre of full-time, part-time and associate faculty.

Joint Degree Programs

Master of Public Affairs-Doctor of Jurisprudence (MPA-JD)

Offered with the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, this program provides an understanding of the legal and managerial framework of public service, nonprofit and quasi-governmental agencies
View MPA-JD checksheet

Master of Public Affairs-Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies (MPA-MA)

Offered with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, this program focuses on the history, culture and values of philanthropy, as well as the managerial framework of public service.
View MPA-MA checksheet