Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What types of careers will an MPA help me succeed in?

A: There are a wide variety of public service careers into which our graduates go. Most often they embark into the management of public service organizations-including government agencies, nonprofit agencies, and even for-profit companies (e.g. as the government relations person for a company).

Q: Do I need an undergraduate degree in government to join the MPA program?

A: No. Any bachelor’s degree will do. We do, however, have some background requirements we expect you to either have upon entry or to obtain during the program.

Q: How long does it take to complete the MPA program?

A: That, of course, depends on how many credits you take per quarter and whether or not you take classes during the summer quarter. The program is designed to be completed in 18 months for full-time students. 20-25% of our students complete the program on that timeline. Many of our students, however, have full-time jobs that make a full course load impracticable. 50% complete the program within 36 months. Students may take up to six years to complete the program.

Q: Is an internship required for the MPA degree?

A: No, but it is an option for up to 8 of the 20 credits in electives. We do not normally recommend internships until a student has completed about half of the program (30 credits). In recent quarters, MPA students have held internships at organizations like:

  • Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis, Eastern Washington University
  • Spokane Community College, Office of Global Education
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • City of Spokane Park, Urban Forestry Program
  • West Central Episcopal Mission

Q: What is a dual degree and how does it work?

A: A dual degree program is one in which the student can obtain two separate masters degrees for fewer credits than is normally required if the degrees were obtained separately. Each program works a little differently, but we allow some credits in each program to also count toward the elective course credits of the other and that reduces the total number of credits required. There are two separate admissions processes and students must be admitted to both programs. Eastern’s MPA program has dual degree programs with social work, business administration, and urban and regional planning.

Q: How do I apply for the MPA program?

A: See our Admissions page.

Q: Are MPA classes only offered in the evenings and on weekends?

A: Yes. Most classes are offered Monday-Thursday evenings. Some are offered on weekends. We use several different scheduling formats for weekend courses. One example of a weekend format for a 2-credit class is one Friday evening from 6 – 10 p.m., and two Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Q: Can I enroll in the program while still working full-time?

A: Yes. Because our classes are offered in the evening and on the weekend, you can take classes and continue to work. Roughly half of our students work and attend school at the same time.

Q: Can I take courses from other programs to qualify for MPA electives?

A: Yes. With the agreement of the MPA director, any graduate course that makes sense as part of an MPA degree may be counted as an elective.

Q: Is a thesis required for the MPA degree?

A: No. Students complete a comprehensive exam and submit a reflexive portfolio.

Q: Do I need work experience prior to entering the MPA program?

A: No, but many of our students have had work experience-some in public service careers. Part of the energy in the classroom that is a valuable part of this program derives from the discussions which include a variety of viewpoints-experienced public service professionals, people right out of their bachelor’s degree programs, business people, social workers, bureaucrats, law enforcement personnel, etc.

Q: What is the tuition rate for graduate students?

A: For more information, please consult Graduate Tuition & Aid.

Some financial aid is available. The MPA program usually has one in-state tuition waiver for a graduate assistant.

Q: How do I learn more about Eastern’s MPA program?

A: Call the secretary at 509.828.1218 or the director at 509.828.1231.