University of Montana—Alexander Blewett III School of Law
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to LLM, Master’s, and Certificate Programs
Department of Public Administration and Policy
Our department is the first of its kind in Montana. Centrally located within the Alexander Blewett III School of Law’s Max S. Baucus Institute, our mission is to provide an innovative public service education for pre-career and in-career public and nonprofit administration students. We offer a variety of programs available online, in-person and via robot.
The University of Montana’s MPA program is the only accredited program in the state of Montana. The program's curriculum is designed to be flexible for pre-career and mid-career professionals interested in public and nonprofit careers. The MPA program is offered online, in person or a combination. The MPA degree requires completing 36 credits of course work and a portfolio project/exit interview. The MPA program offers one specific specialization/concentration in nonprofit administration. Students, with the MPA director’s approval, can create an individualized specialization or simply take outside electives upon completion of required core courses (18 credits).
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of public administration, we collaborate with departments across campus to ensure student success in their future or current careers. Here are suggested websites for outside electives for MPA students at the graduate level: Department of Political Science, Law and/or Public Health.
The MPA program is accredited by Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NAASPA), which is the global standard in public service education. It is the membership and accreditation organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public and nonprofit management. Its nearly 300 members — located across the U.S. and in 14 countries around the globe — award MPA, MPP, MPAff and similar degrees.
Mission, Vision and Public Service Values
To provide an innovative public service education for pre-career and in-career public and nonprofit administration students with an emphasis on cultural awareness, collaboration, and applied learning experiences.
To become the premiere life-long learning experience in the Rocky Mountain West for public service professionals.
Public Service Values
Our public service values serve as guideposts that inform how we apply our MPA mission to inform decision-making.
- Equity: We believe our commitment to cultural awareness across curriculum and scholarship challenges us to reflect and rethink accepted forms of oppression often found in considerations of efficiency and effectiveness.
- Serving the Public Interest: Senator Baucus firmly believes “public service is the highest calling.” We believe training current and future generations about the importance of serving the public ethically is essential to serving the public interest.
- Fairness: One out of three Montanans live more than 60 miles from a college or university. We believe fairness requires public education offers course delivery that is flexible, accessible, and affordable.
- Integrity: We believe collegiality in the workplace, classroom, and society is essential to a functioning civil society and is driven by decency and respect.
- Accountability and Transparency: We believe individuals and institutions should be responsive and accountable to the public for their decisions.
The Department of Public Administration and Policy offers three joint-degree programs:
- MPA/MPH (Public Health)
- MPA/MSW (Social Work)
- JD/MPA (Law)
4+1 BS or BA and MPA
- UM MPA and Wildlife Biology: Recognizing an increasing demand for careers in wildlife biology and public and nonprofit administration, the University of Montana’s Master of Public Administration and Wildlife Biology programs created a joint degree. The program is the first of its kind in the country. The program, referred to as a “4+1” program, allows UM students to earn both a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology and a two-year master’s degree in public administration at an accelerated pace of just five years ̶ instead of the usual six.
- UM MPA and Carroll College Political Science: The University of Montana MPA Program has partnered with Carroll College's Department of Political Science to offer the first-ever 4+1 of its kind in the state of Montana. This program allows students to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration in five years. Students work with Prof. Rinfret at UM and Prof. Street at Carroll College to process their applications.
- Law, Policy and Public Administration: The Certificate in Law, Policy, and Public Administration offers public employees the fundamental skills through a series of core courses important for the profession of public administration, policy, and law. These classes provide basic knowledge and skills that enhance the level of professionalism in public administration and law. Many public employees have bachelor and graduate degrees in many technical fields but lack the basic managerial areas of public administration. Additionally, many current graduate students on campus do not have the time and financial support to complete a joint degree. The Certificate in Law, Policy, and Public Administration is a first-of-its kind for the Montana University System, leveraging curriculum and expertise from the School of Law.
- Poverty Policy: The Certificate in Poverty Policy offers current in-career professionals and public sector employees a focused education on poverty policy essential to provide the skills necessary to tackle large-scale societal issues such as poverty. This certificate ensures awareness of marginalized populations and provides you with the opportunity to devise solutions and pathways forward.
- Public Administration: The Certificate in Public Administration offers public employees the fundamental skills through a series of core courses important for the profession of public administration. These classes provide basic knowledge and skills that enhance the level of professionalism in public service. Many public employees have bachelor’s and graduate degrees in technical fields but lack the basic managerial areas of public administration. The certificate in Public Administration provides a bridge for public service employees to gain skills, knowledge and training by completing a short set of classes such as public administration, human resource management, budgeting and organization theory. These classes are critical for understanding public organizations and enhance the performance of public workers and the valuable services government agencies perform for our society.
- Public Policy: The Certificate in Public Administration offers public employees the fundamental skills through a series of core courses important for the profession of public administration. These classes provide basic knowledge and skills that enhance the level of professionalism in public service. Many public employees have bachelor's and graduate degrees in technical fields but lack the basic managerial areas of public administration. The Certificate in Public Administration provides a bridge for public service employees to gain skills, knowledge and training critical for understanding public organizations.
- Nonprofit Administration: The Certificate in Nonprofit Administration is designed for students wishing to develop professional competencies relating to nonprofit management. This is a graduate level, professional certificate. The classes are $500 per class (for any in- or out-of-state student).
The University of Montana – Department pf Public Administration and Policy is located in Missoula, on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Missoula is situated halfway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and is surrounded by several of the largest designated wilderness areas in the continental United States. Our students work hard, but they also find time to balance their academic rigors with outdoor recreational opportunities. Whether fly fishing a blue-ribbon stream or rafting down a tranquil river; mountain biking, climbing, or hiking; or snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or snowboarding, students rejuvenate their bodies and minds in all four seasons.
For a small city, Missoula is remarkably rich in cultural attractions, including a local symphony, art galleries and museums, high-quality performing arts, numerous sporting activities and events, and a variety of restaurants and shops, without the hassles of big-city traffic. Missoula is a great place to live, raise a family, and receive an education.
MPA Graduation Rates and Employment
The MPA degree is designed for students to complete their degree in two years (four semesters). Our students, however, have the option to take coursework at their own pace. Over the last six years, it takes our students an average of 2.35 years to complete the MPA degree.
Six-Year Average for Degree Completion
|Year||Average Years for Degree Completion|
Total Number of Graduates
|Year||Number of Graduates|
Graduation Rates in Perspective
How Many MPA students entered the program in 2014-2015 academic year and graduated?
|Initially Enrolled||Graduated Witin 2 Years||Graduated Within 3 Years||Graduated Within 4 Years||Total Students Graduated/Persisting to Graduation|
Where are our 2020-21 graduates?
|Employed full-time in the private sector||1|
|Employed full-time in the nonprofit sector||5|
|Employed full-time in the public sector (federal government)||1|
|Employed part-time in the private sector||1|
|Employed part-time in the nonprofit sector||0|
|Employed part-time in the public sector||0|
|Employed full-time in the public sector (local government)||12|
|Employed full-time in the public sector (state government)||8|
|Looking for work||3|
|Pursuing further education||1|