The University of Missouri has offered public service education for over 100 years.   

The mission of the Truman School is to advance the study and practice of governance in Missouri, the nation and the world.  The mission of the Truman School’s MPA Program is to prepare a diverse student body for ethical leadership in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.  The MPA program draws upon the interdisciplinary teaching, research and public service capacity of the Truman School, the University as a whole and practitioners to provide students with a range of perspectives and experiences that promote public service values and democratic discourse. Through their coursework, students build knowledge of policy processes and management principles and develop critical thinking and analytic skills that enable them to advance in careers in a rapidly changing public service. 

Our goals are to: 

  • Offer a comprehensive set of core and specialization courses that build a strong theoretical foundation in public affairs, policy, and management, develop rigorous analytic skills, and provide opportunities for practical application of knowledge, skills, and competencies to significant public policy and management issues. 
  • Ensure students gain hands-on experiences and engage with public and nonprofit organizations as an integral part of the program. 
  • Promote public service values across the curriculum and provide opportunities for experiential application of these values. 
  • Promote a respect for diversity by exposing students to national and international scholars, governmental and nonprofit leaders, and students from various countries who exemplify public service values. 
  • Provide students with the skills to critically analyze, evaluate, propose, and facilitate solutions that address the dynamic challenges facing the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. 


MPA Curriculum

The MPA program is 36 credit hours and can easily be completed in two years but is flexible enough to accommodate most timelines. The program can be completed on-campus or 100% online or some combination of both. The total annual student enrollment for all modes of delivery is around 150. With appropriate documentation, students with three to five years progressively responsible, public service-related work experience at the time of admission may be able to receive up to six credit hours for their work experience toward the internship and capstone classes. Applicants interested in this option should submit a statement of career eligibility with their application and upon admission, students will receive further information about how to apply for credit.


Experiential Difference

MPA Internships & Capstone

Internships provide real-world experience that many employers value. Students also gain invaluable experience, expand their professional network, and discovery more about their career interests.   All early-career students take PA8280 but mid-career student can use this course to transition their career. Our students participate in internships locally, in Washington, DC, and all around the world. 

Internship opportunities vary widely, but some recent examples include:

  • Institute of Public Policy
  • City of Columbia - Public Finance
  • RE/MAX Lake of the Ozarks Charitable Foundation 
  • Missouri Housing Development Commission
  • US House of Representatives 
  • Midwest Sociological Society
  • University of Missouri Family and Community Medicine
  • City of Ashland
  • City of Columbia - City Council and Mayor
  • The Brookings Institute
  • Woodhaven Learning Center
  • Shelter Insurance
  • State of Missouri, Office of Administration, Division of Personnel
  • National Women's Political Caucus

The public affairs capstone course, PUB_AF 8211, is required for early-career MPA students. In this course, typically taken in the final semester, students complete an applied research project that builds upon the knowledge and skills developed throughout the MPA program.

Through this course, students:

  • Focus on a real problem facing a public or nonprofit policymaker or manager
  • Formulate a conceptual framework for analyzing the problem
  • Collect and analyze relevant data
  • Demonstrate their capacity to apply knowledge gained through research to develop alternative solutions to a problem, evaluate their effectiveness, and make recommendations to decision makers.

Examples of past capstone projects include:

Study on the Barriers to Safe and Affordable Housing for the City of Columbia

This capstone team surveyed low-income residents to identify the most significant barriers to safe and affordable housing in our community. The city will use the results of this survey to prioritize the use of Housing and Urban Development funds.

Board of Directors Development Plan for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Missouri

The capstone team analyzed the recruitment, development, and engagement of the board of directors to recommend strategies to invigorate the board and increase the involvement of its members.

Missouri Department of Corrections Study on the Effectiveness of Vocational Training Program

Using Department of Corrections data on the employment status of recently released inmates, this team conducted an evaluation of the vocational training program. Their objective was to determine whether or not inmate completion of a Department of Corrections sponsored vocational training program led to higher rates of employment compared to prisoners who did not complete vocational training.



Faculty and instructors vary each year.  With the wide scope of content areas contained within public affairs this list if often changing to accommodate the ever-expanding knowledge necessary to develop competencies for public service. 


Program Director - Kathleen Miller | Truman School of Government and Public Affairs (


TSGPA Faculty
Clair Altman                         
Irma Arteaga                          
Jake Haselswerdt                   
Angie Hull
Brian Kisida
Joe Martin
Jennifer Mayo
Kathleen Miller
Baekkwan Park
Hannah Paul
Eric Parsons
Andreas Sihotang
David Switzer
Brian Taylor
Weijie Wang
Kristen Sorth
Eric Staley
Lisa Schwartz



  • PA 8110: Introduction to Public and Nonprofit Management (3 credits) 
  • PA 8170: Public Policy Processes and Strategies (3 credits) 
  • PA 8180: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs I (3 credits) 
  • PA 8181: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs II (3 credits) 
  • PA 8210: Public Service and Democracy (3 credits)
  • PA 8280: Internship (3 credits) 
  • PA 8211: Capstone (3 credits) 

Consult with your faculty mentor and academic advisor to select an additional 15 hours of electives to craft the course of study best suited to your career goals.  Students may select a mix of electives from any of these categories.

  • PUB_AF 7340: Regional and Economic Development Policy (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8150: Collaborative Governance (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8160: Organizational Dynamics and Leadership (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8190: Economic Analysis for Public Affairs (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8510: Public Budgeting and Taxation (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 7540 Local Government Management (3 credits) 
  • PUB AF 8530 Strategic Management of Public Service Organizations (3 credits) 
  • PUB AF 8520 Human Resource Management and Development in the Public and Nonprofit Sector (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8150: Collaborative Governance (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8710: The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8720: Budgeting and Financial Management in the Nonprofit Sector (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8830 Grant Writing (3 credits) 
  • PUB-AF 8530 Strategic Management of Public Service Organizations (3 credits) 
  • PUB AF 8520 Human Resource Management and Development in the Public and Nonprofit Sector (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8190: Economic Analysis for Public Affairs (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8420: Public Program Evaluation (3 credits. Prerequisite: PA 8181) 
  • PUB_AF 8430: Public Policy Analysis (3 credits. Prerequisite: PA 8180) 
  • PUB_AF 7340: Regional and Economic Development Policy (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8510: Public Budgeting and Taxation (3 credits)


For a description of courses, refer to the MU Course Catalog: Public Affairs courses.


Special MPA Programs with Partner Institutions

For international students sponsored by a partner governmental agency, the Truman School offers a Global Management specialization. Current and past partners in this program include the Korean Civil Service Commission, Korean National Assembly, the KDI Policy School, the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and other Korean local governments. Students in the KDI "1+1" program take classes at both the Truman School and the KDI School of Public Policy & Management.

The Global Management MPA option is for students sponsored by an international institution with which the Truman School has a memorandum of agreement (Korea Government, KDI Policy School, Korea University). 

  • PUB_AF 8110: Public and Nonprofit Management (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8170: Public Policy Processes and Strategies (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8180: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs I (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8181: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs II (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8210: Public Service and Democracy (3 credits) 
  • PUB_AF 8211: Capstone 
    For the Global Management Program Students, the capstone project is individualized and will focus on a public affairs topic related to the US and Korea. Students will make a short presentation of their research findings at the end of the semester. 
  • An additional 12 credit hours of electives 

Students in the KDI program take 24 credits at the University of Missouri.  With two courses transferred from the KDI School of Public Policy and Management, the required 30 credit hours of graduate coursework for the mid-career MPA are completed within one calendar year. 

Transfer courses from KDI School to be applied to TSPA program of study 

  • MCD002: Introduction to Research Methods
  • MCA002: Analysis of Market and Public Policy
  • Other courses as deemed appropriate by the program director may be substituted 

KDI Program of Study in the Truman School 

  • PUB AF 8110 Introduction to Public and Nonprofit Management 
  • PUB AF 8170 Public Policy Processes and Strategies 
  • PUB AF 8210 Public Service and Democracy 
  • An additional 12 credit hours of electives 



Dual Degree Programs

Dual degree programs allow students to complete two degrees in less time than if the courses of study were pursued consecutively. The Truman School has partnered with the School of Health Professions, School of Law, the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, and the School of Medicine/Department of Health Management & Informatics on the following dual degree programs:

MPA/Master of Public Health

MPA/Juris Doctorate

MPA/Master of Library & Information Science

MPA/Master of Health Administration


Applying to the Truman School MPA Program

For admission to graduate studies, applicants must have a qualifying bachelor's degree (or equivalent) and earned at least a 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 hours of baccalaureate work. (Exceptions to the 3.0 GPA are possible with sufficient justification). All applications to the Truman School are made through the Graduate School online application portal. Once you create an account, you can work on your application at intervals, i.e., you do not have to complete you application in one sitting. The following are elements of the application:

  • Unofficial transcripts from each institution attended (you will send official transcripts to the Graduate School after you received notification of acceptance into the Truman School).
  • Statement of Purpose/Interest (why you wish to pursue the degree, brief biographical statement, description of volunteer and leadership experiences, an explanation of lapses in employment or schooling, any other information you feel might support your application).
  • Resume or curriculum vita.
  • Three recommendations (you will enter the name and email of the recommender in the online system. Each recommender will receive an email directly from the application system containing recommendation completion and submission instructions. You may wish to inform your recommenders that the recommendation consists of two parts - a ranking form and an uploaded letter of support). Tip: get started on securing and entering recommenders early in the process!
  • Non-native English-speaking applicants must show English language proficiency. Consult the Graduate School Admission Eligibility page for the requirements and waiver policy.
  • Application fee.
  • The GRE is optional. If you have taken it and wish to submit the results, the application has instructions for how to submit them.
  • Admissions to the MPA program is on a rolling basis. Candidates should submit their application materials at least one month prior to the start of the desired 8-week term. 



Though there are not as many graduate student opportunities for aid, that does not mean there are none.  Loans and assistantships tend to be the primary opportunities, but they are not the only ones.  Please visit the graduate school funding page to explore all that Mizzou offers.    For more information about the cost of attendance visit the office of cashiers or if you are going to be an online student you can visit MizzouOnline for online costs. 

The Truman School offers a limited number of teaching/research assistantships each year on a competitive basis, to students applying to the on-campus program. On-campus applicants can apply for funding by checking the appropriate box in the application. The GRA/TA positions are 0.5 FTE positions requiring a 20-hour per week work commitment, which comes with a stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance subsidy. For priority consideration, applicants should apply no later than January 15 for the fall semester. (The availability of GRA/TA offers for student entering in the spring semester is limited, however, students enrolling in the spring may be eligible for consideration in the fall pool).

For more information about the MPA program, contact Kathy Miller or Bill Bushnell.


MPA graduation rates are as follows (based on the 2018-2019 MPA cohorts):

  • Overall, 44% of MPA students completed the program within 2 years, 78% within 3 years, and 84% within 4 years.
    • 65% of in person students completed the program within 2 years, 76% within 3 years, and 76% within 4 years.
    • 36% of online students completed the program withing 2 years, 79% within 3 years, and 88% within 4 years.

Among all ninety-seven Academic Year 2022-2023* Truman School graduates, 99% found meaningful, full-time employment in the public, private and nonprofit sector or continued their education. This includes:

  • 100% of online students
  • 92% of in person students

*This includes graduates from fall 2021, spring 2022 and summer 2022.

Academic year 2021-2022 graduates found full-time employment in a variety of fields or continued their education:

  • 20 graduates (22%) State or Regional Government (U.S.)
  • 16 graduates (18%) City, County or other local government (U.S.)
  • 16 graduates (18%) Nonprofit (domestic)
  • 11 graduates (12%) National or central government in U.S
  • 9 graduates (10%) Private Sector (not research or consulting)
  • 6 graduates (7%) Private Sector - Research/Consulting
  • 3 graduates (3%) International Government
  • 3 graduates (3%) Military Service
  • 2 graduates (2%) Nonprofit/NGO (internationally-oriented)
  • The status of 3 graduates (3%) is unknown