Skip to main content

Fall Course Registration open now. Register today to get the courses you need!

Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration MPNA

About The Program

Program Curriculum

The MPNA program curriculum is consistent with the guidelines of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC).

A completely online option is available. You can complete your master’s degree in public and nonprofit administration without ever setting foot on our campuses by taking online classes.

Metropolitan State University's Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration (MPNA) program prepares you for the widest range of career opportunities in the public and nonprofit sectors. The state-of-the-art curriculum addresses the most critical challenges that public and nonprofit professionals face. 

The MPNA program will:

  • deliver a broadly based professional degree that prepares you for the widest range of career opportunities in the public and nonprofit sectors;
  • provide you with a practical education that equips you to solve the most pressing problems in new and creative ways;
  • prepare you to provide ethical leadership within your organization and in the public arena;
  • allow you to learn in an environment that is enriched by a highly diverse student body and outstanding practitioner-scholars;
  • prepare you for work and careers that increasingly cross organizational and sector boundaries; and
  • offer you the choice to complete your degree completely on campus, completely online, or in a combination of online and on-campus courses.

The MPNA degree offers maximum flexibility in designing your studies to match your interests in public administration, nonprofit management, or a mix of both. Students begin by studying program fundamentals, then select courses in the public or nonprofit focus areas, supported by a set of strategic skills courses, electives, and a capstone seminar that all students complete.

  1. Program Fundamentals:  Fundamental concepts and skills that undergird the entire MPNA program.
  2. Strategic Skills and Knowledge: Core competencies for all public and nonprofit professionals.
  3. Focus Areas: Public Administration or Nonprofit Management track or a mix of the two tracks, plus electives in specific areas of practice.
  4. Capstone seminar: Final project and MPNA program integration.

All MPNA students must complete 40 graduate credits.

Program Faculty

Our resident and community faculty in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management and Leadership are recognized experts in their respective fields and teaching areas. 

  • They have earned master’s or doctorate degrees in public administration, nonprofit management, public policy, business administration, and related fields.
  • They have valuable leadership experience in the public sector, e.g., City Manager, County Administrator, Director of Community Planning and Development, Director of Finance and Policy Research, Chief Budget Officer, and Head Start Director.
  • They have served as President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Administrator, Development and Communications Director, Associate Director, Board Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of nonprofit organizations, e.g., St. Croix Valley Foundation, House of Charity, Micah House, Ventura County Civic Alliance, Aspen Institute in Washington DC, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, A Place for You, Total Health Africa, and Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation.
  • They have national and international consulting experience and are authors of applied and refereed publications.

Student outcomes

Our MPNA graduate students are required to take a rigorous set of courses that will strengthen their skill set in three learning areas – organization and management, analytics, and ethical and accountable leadership. 

  • They will learn organization and management, e.g., strategic management of human resources, revenue generation and fundraising, and budgeting and financial management;
  • They will master techniques and methods of analyses, e.g., public policy analysis, program evaluation, economic and statistical reasoning, that support public and nonprofit management and policy decisions; and
  • Finally, they will be able to apply theories and best practices of ethical, responsible, and accountable leadership for the public good.  

Graduates of the MPNA program should be able to:

  1. Understand the historic, current, and evolving role of the public and nonprofit sectors in shaping public policy, promoting civic negotiation, and advocating for the public good.
  2. Apply practical research methods and techniques in information management, economic analysis, policy analysis, and organizational and institutional analysis to support the decisions of public and nonprofit professionals.
  3. Understand the theories and best practices related to public service, including strategic management, ethical leadership, and respectful engagement with diverse cultures.
  4. Interpret and apply methods of budgeting and control, revenue diversification, financial management, and performance evaluation to achieve financially sustainable and accountable public agencies and nonprofit organizations.

A sampling of jobs currently held by alumni of the graduate programs in Public Administration and Nonprofit Leadership and Management

City Manager
City of Oakdale
Forensic Scientist
State of Minnesota
Deputy Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Lands and Regional Government, Gambia
SOAR Supervisor
MN Department of Human Services
Crime Prevention Analyst
Minneapolis Police Department
Grants Management Generalist Specialist
Greater Twin Cities United Way
Strategic Implementation Manager
Wells Fargo
Parks and Recreation Director
City of Apple Valley
Project Manager
Ramsey County
Senior Development Officer
CentraCare Health Foundation
Deputy Director
Association of Minnesota Counties
Colonel – Chief of State Patrol
MN State Patrol
Manager of Accounting
City of Minneapolis
Director of Clinical Services
Hazelden Betty Ford
Business Continuity and Emergency Manager
MN Department of Administration
County Administrator
Aitken County
Police Chief
City of Shakopee
Midtown Global Market
Finance Director
City of Cottage Grove
Community Development Specialist
City of New Hope
Financial Administrator
City of Minneapolis
Development Specialist
Perspectives, Inc.
United States Diplomat
U.S. Department of State
Property Manager
Minneapolis Public Housing
Executive Director
Jeremiah Program
Lead Counselor
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Development Director
Doing Good Together
Executive Director
Twin Cities Pride
Gold Star Family/Women Veterans Coordinator
MN Department of Veterans Affairs
Community Engagement Specialist
St. Paul Police Department
Associate Professor
Metropolitan State University
Director of Development & Communication
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Court Operations Supervisor
State of Minnesota

How to enroll

Program eligibility requirements

Applicants who have completed the GMAT or GRE may submit an official copy of these scores and by-pass the quantitative admissions assessment. Applicants who have not completed the GMAT or GRE must complete our free online quantitative tutorial/assessment in math and statistics, i.e., ALEKS, if cumulative undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 in the last two years of study. All applicants are required to submit an admissions essay, which also serves as a writing assessment. The quantitative tutorial/assessment (if required) and admissions essay must be completed before a final admission decision is made and before any graduate-level classes can be taken.

English and quantitative competence assessment

All graduate students are expected to demonstrate English and quantitative competence at a level that ensures success in graduate studies. Applicants whose abilities are assessed to be inadequate for graduate study may be required to enroll in appropriate undergraduate courses until their skills have been brought to a satisfactory level. These undergraduate courses must be successfully completed prior to taking any graduate level courses.

Admission decisions

The Graduate Admissions Committee evaluates applications for evidence of undergraduate scholarship, professional experience and demonstrated aptitude for successful graduate study. Applicants who meet all application requirements are given full admission to the MPNA program. Applicants who meet some, but not all admissions requirements, may be granted conditional admission to the program. Conditionally-admitted students must complete selected prerequisite courses prior to registering for any graduate course work. Applicants denied admission may not take graduate level courses.

Application instructions


For questions about applying to the Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration program, email (preferred) or call 651-793-1302.


For U.S. citizens, permanent residents and international students already in the United States:

  • July 20: Fall semester
  • December 15: Spring semester
  • April 10: Summer term

For international students outside the United States:

  • May 1: Fall semester
  • September 1: Spring Semester
  • No summer admissions

Applications are complete once all requirements are met and fee received. Completed application files will be forwarded to the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs Graduate Admission Committee for review, please allow 10-12 business days.

Late applications

Applications will continue to be accepted beyond the deadline, however we cannot guarantee admission, though we can defer admission to the next available semester.

Incomplete applications will be moved to the next available semester for up to three terms total, giving applicants who need it, up to one year to complete their application file.


A complete application file consists of two parts (three for international applicants.) Begin by completing the online graduate application. All application materials become the property of Metropolitan State University and are not returned.

Part One

  • Complete the Online Graduate Application — You will use your Minnesota State StarID to complete the application. If you don't have a Minnesota State StarID you will create one at the beginning of the application.
    • If you do not have or choose not to provide your Social Security number (SSN) please follow the No SSN instructions to activate your StarID.
    • If you encounter difficulty with the online application please email
  • $20 non-refundable application fee; pay online
    • Waived for graduates of Metropolitan State, and for certified veterans & active military.
  • Official transcripts
    • Transcript showing a baccalaureate degree or equivalent earned from a regionally accredited institution with grade-point average or narrative description describing courses completed.
    • Transcripts from any graduate or professional programs are required.
    • All transcripts from non-U.S. schools must be evaluated (course-by-course) by either ECE (preferred) or WES
    • Electronic transcripts (preferred) should be sent to
    • Paper transcripts should be sent directly from the sending institution (preferred) to:
      • Metropolitan State University
        Attn: Graduate Admissions
        700 East Seventh Street
        Saint Paul, MN 55106

Part Two

After you have submitted your online application, log in to the Applicant Portal using your StarID and password to upload application materials, and check on the status of your application.  The Applicant Portal will indicate missing application items.

  • Current Resume; upload via the Applicant Portal using your StarID.
  • One year of professional work experience is recommended for the program; volunteer experience will be considered in addition to employment.
  • Two Professional Letters of Recommendation; upload via the Applicant Portal using your StarID.
  • Two letters of recommendation from employers or others who can attest to the importance of the master's degree in enhancing your professional development and commenting on your ability to pursue and successfully complete a graduate program. Personal recommendations, including family, are not accepted.
  • Math Assessment
    • The MPNA program recently teamed up with to create a free, online math assessment specifically designed for our applicants. Essential Math Skills for Business is a free, online, self-paced math assessment that will teach you the skills you need to succeed.
    • To register:
      • Apply to the MPNA first (see Part One) and submit your admission essay (see below).
    • Email your name and StarID to and request your assessment and individual access codes.
    • 85% of topics must be mastered in order to successfully complete the assessment.
    • You have 60 days to complete the assessment, and the assessment must be complete by the application deadline.
    • ALEKS is only required if undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work.
  • Admission Essay
    • Upload via the Applicant Portal using your StarID. Your admission essay will serve as both a goals statement and a writing assessment. The admissions essay is extremely important to the application review process. Submit your essay in 600-700 words (about three pages) in 12-point font, double-spaced, clearly written, well-organized, with correct grammar, accurate spelling and punctuation, good sentence structure, and clear sub-headings. Make sure that you carefully address each of the following:
      • Describe the kinds of responsibilities and positions you have held in your past work and professional experience (volunteer or employed).
      • Explain why you are pursuing a graduate degree at this time in public and nonprofit administration, nonprofit leadership and management, or public administration. Give particular attention to the area of service in which you work or plan to work.
      • Describe the important features of a public issue, problem, or policy that you consider important to understand and address in your area of service.

Part Three - International Students Only

In addition to parts one and two, international applicants in the U.S. or abroad, on any type of visa, are required to provide this information for admission to the university.

Required by the application deadline:

Official scores must be submitted, student copies are not acceptable. Metropolitan State University's school code for TOEFL is 6445.

  • Proof of English proficiency (official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score)
    • Minimum scores: TOEFL 80 IBT, 213 CBT, 550 PBT, IELTS 6.5, or Duolingo 105-110
    • IBT=internet based; CBT=computer based; PBT=paper based

Required only if admitted to the program:

If you are offered and accept admission to the program, you are required to provide this information to the International Student Services Office to complete your admission to the university.

  • Financial statement (F1 visa only)
  • Immunization records
  • Copies of passport, visa, I-94, and international home address and phone numbers

Questions about applying to the MPNA?

Please contact Gloria Eyer at (preferred) or call 612-659-7258.

Office location
MEC Building
Office M4004
1300 Harmon Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Mailing address 
1501 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Courses and Requirements



Newly admitted students to the MPNA program will be invited to a new student orientation with all newly admitted students in the public and nonprofit administration programs (MNLM, MPA, and MPNA) at the beginning of their first semester of course work. This orientation will introduce them to other students, alumni, and faculty as well as provide important information to navigate University systems and succeed in their graduate studies. Students who are unable to attend the orientation will be provided with orientation information via the Internet and/or telephone.

Transfer credits

Once admitted, students may transfer up to 16 graduate level credits into the MPNA program. A course may be considered for transfer only if it is an appropriate substitution for a required course or elective as outlined in the program curriculum, was not included in a previously granted degree, and was awarded a letter grade of B or better. Courses are accepted in transfer upon the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

Academic Standing

Students must remain in satisfactory academic standing to continue in the MPNA program. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required for graduation and only courses for which a letter grade of C (2.0) or better is received count toward degree requirements. The option of a competence/no competence with a narrative transcript is not available to MPNA students. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and passing grades (i.e., C or better) for all required courses are required for graduation. Academic standing is calculated at the end of each semester.

Students receiving a letter grade of C+ or below in any graduate course, or who have a cumulative GPA that drops below 3.0, will be required to meet with their faculty advisor to address obstacles to completing high-quality coursework. Required courses for which a student receives an F must be repeated and passed in order to graduate. MPNA students may repeat courses if they receive a grade of C or C+, upon approval of the Graduate Program Director. No course may be taken more than three times. Only the higher grade (if the course is repeated once) or highest grade (if the course is repeated twice) is used in computing the grade point average.

Dismissal due to unsatisfactory academic standing

Students who receive a grade of F in a required course must re-take the course at their earliest opportunity and pass it with a grade of C or better in order to complete their program and graduate. This is normally expected within one calendar year, provided the course is offered during that year or the next time the course is offered from the time an F was received, to re-take the course. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program. Students who received an F but cannot complete the course with a passing grade of C or better within the two allowable re-take opportunities will be dismissed from the program.

Appeal of dismissal due to unsatisfactory academic standing

Students who are removed from the program may appeal their removal to the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs dean. The appeal must be made in writing and provide specific grounds for the appeal. The appeal is due to the dean within 30 days of the date of the letter notifying them of the decision to remove them from the program. The dean has 30 days to respond in writing to the appeal. Appeals received after 30 days will not be considered.

Readmission after dismissal

Students who have been dismissed from the MPNA program may apply for readmission no sooner than one calendar year after the last semester of study. To reapply, they have to complete the same process that was required for their initial admission and they must meet all the requirements of the program as of their time of readmission. Readmission decisions are made by the Graduate Admissions Committee and are not automatic.

Time to completion

Students have five years from the first semester of graduate study to complete their degree program requirements. An extension of the time limit may be requested by writing to the graduate program director. Such requests must be received prior to the expiration of the time limit. Requests for extensions should include the reason(s) for requesting the extension, a summary of the student's plan to finish graduation requirements and a specific date for the extension to expire. Extension decisions are made by the Graduate Admissions Committee, are not automatic and cannot be appealed.

Requirements (40 credits)

+ Program fundamentals (6 credits)

All MPNA students must complete MPNA 600 and either PADM 600 or NPM 600.

MPNA 600 Practical Research for Public Administration and Non-profit Management is a two credit elective that prepares students in the MPNA program in writing, mathematics and statistical skills at the graduate level. These skills, as the title suggests, will serve as practical foundation for more rigorous efforts that students engage in all of the other courses taken throughout the Master's program.

Full course description for Practical Research for Public Administration and Non-profit Management

Choose one

This course familiarizes students with the historical and contemporary place of government institutions in the United States and the State of Minnesota. It provides an intellectual perspective on public administration that traces major theories associated with the field and the political, economic and social context within which they developed. The unique challenges of leadership and management in the public sector is also addressed.

Full course description for Public Administration Foundations

This foundational course explores the challenges of leading and working in today's nonprofit organizations. Topics include leadership, management, ethics and values, board governance, human resources management, and constituency building. It also includes an examination of the theory, history and development of nonprofit. Students examine in depth current issues confronting nonprofit organizations.

Full course description for Nonprofit Governance and Management

+ Strategic skills and knowledge (18 credits)

All MPNA students must complete these five courses

Starting in fall 2020, MPNA 620 Leading Public Service Organizations will be required in place of MGMT 620 Organizational Behavior in the MPNA-MPA-MNLM graduate curriculum. If you have completed MGMT 620 Organizational Behavior, do not register for this course.

This course introduces MPNA, MPA, MNLM, and other Metro State graduate students who are interested in public service to the theories and best practices of leading and managing public service organizations. This course will adapt the study of leadership and organizations to the unique obligations, functions, processes, and public values and societal outcomes that govern the decisions of the government and nonprofit sectors. Public service is the result of the work of local, state, and federal government; regional compacts or special districts; tribal governments; nonprofit organizations and social enterprises; partnerships between government and business; and international linkages (that are necessary for solving global problems likes pandemics and climate change) . The public service perspective is evident when government and civil society collectively marshal efforts to respond to human-made (9-11 Terrorist Attacks, Aurora, Colorado Theater Mass Shooting) and natural (Hurricane…

Full course description for Leading Public Service Organizations

This course introduces MPNA, MPA, MNLM, and other Metro State graduate students to the application of the principles and methods of economic analysis to the policy, management, and operational decisions faced by public administrators, nonprofit managers, social entrepreneurs, and other public service professionals. Public and nonprofit organizations (hereinafter referred to as not-for-profit organizations) are fundamentally different from profit-seeking firms. They are organized to provide socially valuable goods and services (e.g., public education, socials services for the unemployed) independent of the revenues they receive from the sale of their products. While surpluses and profits can support their social missions, not-for-profit organizations do not intend to maximize these surpluses/profits. Because not-for-profit organizations use scarce resources from taxpayers, donors, volunteers, and other external stakeholders, they also operate under greater public scrutiny and with…

Full course description for Economic Reasoning for Public Administrators and Nonprofit Managers

Strategic human resource management includes the following major components, with specific attention to the unique environment and challenges facing public and nonprofit professionals: a strategic perspective that connects HR management with the organization's mission; labor relations; compensation; benefits management; recruitment and selection; performance management; and an additional focus on organizational/program/project management to align the organization's human resources with overall organization goals and priorities.

Full course description for Strategic Human Resources Management: Public and Nonprofit

Public Ethics and the Common Good brings together into one course the four essential elements of ethical organizational management: development of a code of ethics and standards of professional conduct, instituting systematic training and enforcement on ethical expectations, ethical leadership to incorporate these expectations into the lived culture of the organization, and commitment to corporate responsibility for the common good that meets the demands of procedural and distributive justice.

Full course description for Public Ethics and the Common Good

+ Focus areas (12 credits)

All MPNA students must complete the following two courses, plus 4 credits in electives.

Choose one

Fundraising for Nonprofits and Advocacy offers a broad overview of fundraising tools and strategies. Students will learn about different fundraising models and develop practical skills for fundraising to support a variety of types of organizations and campaigns. The course will explore events, donor appeals, grant writing, corporate sponsorships, and online fundraising, among other topics. The course design offers flexibility for students to focus on fundraising in the issue area and organizational type of their choice; they may focus on a chosen 501c3, 501c4, PAC or political campaign.

Full course description for Fundraising for Nonprofits and Advocacy

Policy analyses in the public sphere differs from the private because of the political context and process. Core of the course is understanding the importance of how a problem is defined and then comparing and evaluating alternative approaches to solve public problems. This course will help students to better understand, design, implement and evaluate policies and programs. Various forms of analyses are used including economic, quantitative, political and historical.

Full course description for Public Policy Analysis

Choose one

This course provides a comprehensive approach to successfully managing the finances of nonprofit organizations, with particular attention to the principles of budgeting (capital and operating), financial statements, cash management, basic accounting and auditing principles, and investment practices. Emphasis will be placed on the unique position of nonprofit organizations and their complex interrelationships with both the public and private sectors.

Full course description for Nonprofit Financial Management

This course explores how the operations and services of public agencies are financially managed and paid for. Students examine taxes and government budgets from legal, economic and political perspectives. The main taxes of the American system-income, sales and property-as well as fees, intergovernmental transfers, economic development, education finance and public borrowing are covered on the tax side. On the spending side, students prepare and implement mock budgets. Current topics in government spending and taxation are also examined.

Full course description for Public Finance

+ Elective (4 credits)

Students can complete the four elective credits by taking any of the following: a-) Two MPNA Topics Courses (a different 2-credit MPNA 699 Topics course is scheduled for every term in the academic year) b-) Any extra Public Administration or Nonprofit Management course c-) A course in the Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) Program; or d-) An appropriate graduate course from elsewhere in the University (with Advisor’s approval)

+ Capstone seminar (4 credits)

All MPNA students must complete the capstone course.

The Capstone course for the MPNA program seeks to integrate learning from earlier course work and focus that learning on issues facing our diverse communities. Attention is given to the capacities of professionals in the government and nonprofit sectors to deal effectively with community issues, and the relationships between leadership/management practices and community development. The course includes both case studies as well as a major Capstone project, including direct community engagement for those who wish to have this opportunity.

Full course description for Capstone in Community Oriented Management