Learn more about the MPA@UNC




What is MPA@UNC?

  • The UNC School of Government’s Master of Public Administration program will now be offered in an online environment (MPA@UNC) designed for working professionals or others who need the flexibility of an online program. Additional details are available at MPA@UNC FAQ.
  • The online MPA program is subject to all UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC General Administration review processes required for program approval; as part of this review and approval process, program features will be adjusted as needed to ensure the online format maintains the highest standards currently in place for the on-campus program.
  • The UNC MPA on-campus program can accommodate approximately 30 new students per year; this online option will enable us extend the reach of our program and provide additional highly qualified students who require more flexibility with the opportunity to earn a top-ranked MPA.
  • This extended reach will help to prepare highly qualified prospective public service leaders to make a positive impact on their communities, wherever they may be.
  • The online program will admit its first cohort of students in fall 2012 to begin classes in January 2013.
  • The UNC School of Government is partnering with 2U, Inc. to offer this online program. Founded in 2008 by a team of education veterans, 2U, Inc. partners with top-tier universities to deliver rigorous, selective graduate programs online.


How is MPA@UNC similar to the on-campus MPA program?

  • MPA@UNC students will meet the same selective admissions criteria required by the existing MPA program, and admission decisions will be made by faculty members.
  • The online program will be based on the same academically rigorous curriculum of the on-campus program.
  • MPA@UNC students will earn the same UNC-Chapel Hill MPA degree as students who complete the on-campus program.
  • MPA@UNC classes will be small, with a maximum student-faculty ratio of 15:1, in order to facilitate the same focused learning environment and lasting cohort experience that is a special strength of the on-campus program.
  • Classes will be designed and taught by UNC School of Government faculty.
  • As with on-campus students, MPA@UNC students will be required to participate in a hands-on, professional work experience that can be fulfilled through an existing role or an internship in their local community.
  • As part of the UNC-Chapel Hill family, MPA@UNC students will be invited to participate in graduation ceremonies at the School of Government in Chapel Hill.


How is MPA@UNC different from the on-campus MPA program?

  • The online program is designed for working professionals or others who need the flexibility of an online program and/or who cannot relocate to Chapel Hill.
  • The online program will use a technology platform designed specifically for graduate education.
  • Courses will include both self-paced and live sessions. The live sessions will be held at pre-arranged times that allow for participation from students in multiple time zones.
  • Live sessions will be facilitated through streaming video technology, which will allow students and faculty members to see and hear each other as they discuss course topics, meet in student study groups, or hold face-to-face meetings during office hours.
  • The self-paced content provides high-quality, faculty-designed coursework and an interactive social technology platform that allows students to chat, study, and join communities with fellow classmates and professors 24/7.
  • Students can meet with faculty and participate in study groups and classes wherever they are.


How is MPA@UNC different from other online programs?

  • Very few online programs offer live face-to-face interaction with faculty members and classmates. Real-time live sessions will be a central feature of MPA@UNC.
  • The technology platform leverages social networking so even self-paced efforts can be community activities.
  • Self-paced coursework produced by UNC School of Government faculty uses multimedia (including video and interactive tools) designed to help students most effectively attain and review concepts.


What is the schedule for MPA@UNC?

  • The first cohort of students will begin classes in January 2013.
  • A new cohort will begin at the start of fall, spring, and summer terms. We will also have new cohorts begin in mid-fall and mid-spring. The five starts are in August, October, January, March, and May.


How does the partnership with 2U work?

  • 2U provides the technology platform, instructional design, marketing, and infrastructure support to deliver the classes online, while UNC School of Government has sole oversight of all areas related to admissions, academics, curriculum, and faculty. This partnership brings together the best of an entrepreneurial, technically savvy start-up with the quality and academic rigor of a top-ranked degree program.
  • The School of Government’s arrangement with 2U is an exclusive and long-term partnership. 2U provides the initial investment required to get the program off the ground, and the School shares in the revenue with 2U.
  • Because the partnership between the UNC School of Government and 2U is an exclusive arrangement, 2U will not create partnerships with other public administration degree programs. In working together, our aim is to create the best online MPA program available.


What technology will be used?

  • 2tor provides the technology platform, instructional design, marketing, and infrastructure support to deliver the classes online.
  • Students will use a cutting-edge Learning Management System (2SG), which includes a highly interactive social networking platform.
  • Weekly, live online class sessions will be delivered face-to-face by UNC School of Government faculty with a maximum of 15 students to each faculty member.
  • The curriculum will also include self-paced coursework produced by UNC School of Government faculty using multimedia to prepare students for richer discussion and greater interaction in the scheduled weekly class sessions.
  • Faculty will offer face-to-face office hours in a live, online format.
  • Students will be part of an interactive online community that uses familiar social networking, groups, and organizational tools.


How does MPA@UNC benefit the UNC MPA program overall?

  • Technology has transformed all parts of our lives, and, ultimately, it will redefine education, too. MPA@UNC provides us with the opportunity to lead this transformation in the field of public service.
  • There is a critical need for leadership in government and other areas of public service throughout our country. The nearly 900 alumni of our program are a daily testament to the value of a UNC MPA education, but our capacity for growth as a strictly on-campus program is limited. An online program gives us the opportunity to expand our impact.
  • MPA@UNC will allow us to broaden our alumni base, which means that both online and on-campus students will have greater opportunities.
  • From a financial perspective, the additional revenues from tuition and from future alumni donations can be reinvested in the existing program, facilities, technology, and scholarships, strengthening the MPA program overall.


How will you preserve the culture of the Carolina MPA program?

  • The UNC MPA program has a longstanding culture of commitment to public service, collaboration, and a cohort community. Alumni help and support each other throughout their careers. To perpetuate this culture, students enrolled in MPA@UNC classes will experience a high degree of interaction as part of each course. In addition, students will work together outside of class in study groups, clubs, discussion groups, and social events that support the cohort experience.
  • MPA@UNC students will have opportunities to connect with UNC MPA alumni in the city/state where they live and work.


How does MPA@UNC benefit Carolina MPA alumni?

  • Our alumni network will expand across the country, with more connection opportunities for on-campus and online alumni alike. More networking = more job opportunities.
  • More alumni spread across the nation will result in higher visibility for the UNC School of Government and the MPA program overall.


How much does MPA@UNC cost?

  • The program cost is $52,800 (includes tuition and fees). In comparison, the fee for the on-campus MPA program for out-of-state students is $49,566.
  • Because no state funds are being used in the creation and operation of MPA@UNC, there will not be a different fee structure for in-state students.
  • Students enrolled in MPA@UNC are eligible for all traditional financial aid options as supported through the UNC-Chapel Hill Financial Aid Office.
  • Scholarships are available for select students; criteria for scholarship eligibility are still being determined.
  • In addition to general scholarships, we are proud to offer scholarship funding specifically for public officials in North Carolina. Part of the mission of the School is to improve the lives of North Carolinians by helping public officials understand and improve state and local government. We are pleased that MPA@UNC can offer this support to public officials seeking a degree program to advance their careers as public service leaders. 


Is MPA@UNC accredited?

  • The UNC MPA program is regionally accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) as well as being fully accredited by NASPAA (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration). The online format for the UNC MPA degree will be reviewed by SACS as part of our accreditation processes. UNC and the MPA program remain committed to meeting and exceeding the academic standards established by SACS.


How can I learn more about MPA@UNC?