University of Southern Indiana
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MPA 4+1 Accelerated Program

The MPA 4+1 program will provide an opportunity for any motivated current USI undergraduate student who wishes to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in five years. A goal of the 4+1 program is to prepare our students for administrative and management leadership positions in the public and nonprofit sectors, and prepare students who wish to pursue doctoral level work, law school, or other professional degree programs.

Although a major target area of this program will be political science majors, the program is open to any undergraduate discipline at USI. Our current MPA students come from a variety of disciplines, including education, psychology, political science, communications, business, and social work.

Students from any discipline who wish to obtain an MPA, either in the public sector administration or nonprofit administration concentrations, will be prepared for a career in a highly competitive job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an estimated 19.3% increase over the next decade in employment in management positions in the social service sector in Indiana (BLS projections, 2015). Over the next decade, the federal government workforce will experience a dramatic rise in retirees, with 30% of the eligible federal workforce retiring this year, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM, 2016).

Credit Hours

The MPA 4+1 program would allow undergraduate majors to take MPA courses in the fall and spring semesters of their senior year (7th and 8th semesters) while completing their undergraduate coursework, graduate from their undergraduate degree program in the second semester of the first academic year in the 4+1 program, and then complete the MPA degree in the second academic year in the 4+1 program. The total number of graduate credit hours for a student in the MPA 4+1 program is 36 hours (a core curriculum of 18 hours, a three-hour capstone seminar and 15 hours of elective courses in either public sector administration or nonprofit administration), which is the same number of credit hours as the current MPA program.

According to university policy, undergraduate students are allowed to take up to six (6) graduate credit hours each semester. A sample schedule of the MPA 4+1 program for a student beginning the MPA program in the Fall 2018 semester would look like the following:

Year 1 Fall 2018 Spring 2019 Summer 2019
6 hours 6 hours 6 hours
Year 2 Fall 2019 Spring 2020 Summer 2020
9 hours 6 or 9 hours 3 hours
(if necessary)
TOTAL 36 hours

Students must achieve senior status (90 credit hours) and be formally admitted to the MPA program before the student can begin the MPA 4+1 program. Students in the MPA 4+1 program must have their final undergraduate program courses completed by the end of the first Summer session of their fourth year at the absolute latest.


Students must submit their application for admission by April 15 (if beginning in the fall semester) or October 15 (if beginning in the spring semester). If a student is admitted to the MPA program under the 4+1 program for the spring semester (i.e. Spring 2019), the student must complete their final six credit hours in the second summer the student is enrolled in the 4+1 program (i.e. Summer 2020).

According to the Office of the Registrar, graduate course credit hours taken at the undergraduate level do not count towards total credit hours considered for financial aid purposes. A student must enroll in the required number of credit hours in undergraduate work in order to receive financial aid. For instance, if a student registers for nine credit hours, but six credit hours are for the MPA, they will not receive financial aid.

Students admitted to the MPA 4+1 program will be classified by their undergraduate major first and provisionally admitted to the MPA program second. Students will not be officially admitted into Graduate Studies and be classified with graduate student status until they have earned their Bachelor’s degree.

Contact Dr. Trent Engbers


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