Application & Admissions to the Master of Public Administration
Applicants to the Master of Public Administration Program at Stephen F. Austin State University are required to complete registration requirements as detailed for the Graduate School. In addition, applicants for the MPA Program are required to submit to the Graduate School:
- Copies of all college transcripts;
- Scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) that are less than three years old; unless the applicant has holds a master's degree from an accredited institution or they have enrolled in the the Overlap Program
Applicants are required to submit the following items to the MPA Program Director:
- A professional resume;
- Two letters of reference attesting to your ability to perform graduate work, or your professional experience in the public and/or not-for-profit sector;
- An essay describing your professional and/or educational accomplishments and what motivates you to earn a professional MPA degree. The writing sample must be between 500 and 1,500 words in length. The sample is expected to be written in an academic style suitable for entry-level graduate students.
Graduate School Application Fees
- A $25 application fee is to be included with the application materials but effective Spring 2014 and forward the application fee will be $50.
- A fee of $50 must accompany the application of all foreign applicants, except those under university-sponsored exchange programs.
No determination for admission status will be made until all materials are received by the Director. If the letters of reference or the writing sample are not acceptable for any reason, the Director will notify you to correct the deficiency before further consideration is given to your application. Determinations for admission are made by formula or by a selection committee.
Requirements for Clear Admission
The Program Director utilizes a formula whereby the GRE score (verbal and quantitative) are added to the upper-division coursework GPA multiplied by 100. For example, a person with a 150 Verbal, 150 Quantitative, and a 3.25 GPA would have a formula score of 625. If the Quantitative is below 141, the Director may factor in the Analytical Writing score. Generally, if the formula score is at 600 or above and you have completed the undergraduate degree requirements, you are automatically admitted to the program.
In the event there are fewer available new-entry student positions than there are applicants eligible for clear admissions, you may be awarded clear admission for the next available semester.
Requirements for Conditional Admission
If the resulting formula score is below 600, but you have completed graduate work or have an undergraduate GPA of 2.8 or higher, the Director may forward the submitted materials to the Department's Graduate Student Selection Committee for review. The Committee will determine if the formula score is sufficient to admit you conditionally, based on information from the additional materials. Consideration may be given to: Previous graduate work; resume work history, where there is a demonstrated success in the public and/or not-for-profit sector; the essay demonstrating an ability to write at the graduate level; letters of reference indicating evidence of ability to perform graduate level work. The Committee will determine each case on an individual basis and may consider other factors including socioeconomic status, first generation college student, anticipated program capacity, program diversity, etc.
If the Committee allows conditional admission, you will be required to enroll in six hours of coursework (core or required courses) during your first semester. If you achieve a B or better on each course, you will be fully admitted to the program for the next semester. Conditional admission allows the Committee an opportunity to look more holistically at a student's background and allows the person the opportunity to "work their way" into the program with academic performance.
Conditional status is functionally administered within the Program and will be reported to the Graduate School as clear admission. You will be required to sign an agreement to terms of the internal status before being admitted. Conditional status allows you to participate in financial aid, but imposes strict performance standards for the first semester of enrollment. Conditional students must meet the performance standards in order to enroll in additional MPA coursework.
Special Requirements for Applicants with Low GPA
The Director, in consultation with the Committee, may require you to take specific leveling courses before considering you for probationary admission. This permits a student with an undergraduate GPA of 2.79 or below, having significant work experience or demonstrating academic promise, to be considered for probationary admission. You would be required to do leveling work such as the Public Administration introductory and budgeting courses. You will then be required to achieve at least a B in order to be considered for conditional admission into the MPA Program. The conditional admission requirement would then be applied in determining whether you receive clear admission.
Special Requirements for Students Transferring from Other Graduate Programs
Students seeking to enter the MPA Program with Clear Admission from other graduate programs (whether at this institution or not) are generally required to have a graduate GPA of 3.0, with no grade below C in any graduate level coursework. If you feel there are extenuating circumstances that should be considered, you may petition the Program Director for special consideration. You will need to submit a statement directly addressing the issues you wish to be considered. The Director may submit your application with the petition to the Department's Graduate Student Selection Committee for their consideration. Factors that may influence a positive decision include: Course load; significant events impacting the student's performance; change in work status; extended time between less than satisfactory coursework and Program application; etc. The Committee may allow you to enter the Program under either conditional or probationary admission status.
Special Requirements for Applicants Participating in a Five-Year Plan
Current students participating in one of the Five-Year Plans must comply with the standards established by the Graduate School for the Overlap Program. You are not required to submit additional application materials, or scores from the GRE. Generally, admission determination is neither by formula nor committee, but by your performance in the Overlap Program. If you maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the graduate-level coursework during the overlap, and complete the requirements for the undergraduate degree, the Director will award clear admission immediately upon proof of graduation.
If you fail to meet the requirement for clear admission, but achieve a GPA of 2.8 or higher in the graduate-level coursework during the overlap, and complete the requirements for the undergraduate degree, you will be conditionally admitted to the Program and required to meet those standards for clear admission.
If you achieve a graduate GPA at or below 2.79, and complete the requirements for the undergraduate degree, the Director will forward your information to the Department's Graduate Student Selection Committee. The Committee will evaluate your performance and make a determination as to the reasonableness of allowing graduate work to continue. Factors that may influence a positive decision include: Course load; significant events impacting the student's performance; etc. The Committee may allow you to enter the Program under either conditional or probationary admission status.
The Overlap Program permits qualified SFA undergraduates to pursue a limited amount of graduate study concurrently with undergraduate study. Graduate courses taken in the program are not applicable toward the bachelor's degree. An Overlap Program student is ineligible for a graduate assistantship until the completion of the bachelor's degree.
To be eligible for the Overlap Program, a student must be enrolled at SFA and must have achieved at least 95 semester hours of undergraduate credit. A student with fewer than 115 hours of undergraduate credit must present a 3.0 grade point average both overall and in the major field. A student with 115 hours or more of undergraduate credit, however, may be admitted to the Overlap Program by presenting a 2.5 grade point average overall and a 2.8 grade point average in the major field. Any student in the Overlap Program does not have to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as the admission's decision is based on the student's performance in Public Administration graduate coursework.
To be admitted to the Overlap Program a student should:
- Complete an Overlap Recommendation Form;
- Obtain the recommendation of the chair or the Department of Government;
- Obtain the recommendation of the Dean of Liberal and Applied Arts.