Mission and History
The MPA program prepares public service leaders. Our students work with faculty who are engaged in helping state and local officials solve public problems. Consistent with the School of Government's mission, our historic emphasis on local government is a special strength.
The MPA program at UNC-Chapel Hill was ranked in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report as 5th in city management and among the Top 25 public administration and public policy graduate programs in the United States.
In 1997, the UNC MPA program became an integral part of the School of Government, known at the time as the Institute of Government. MPA faculty and staff relocated their offices from the UNC-Chapel Hill Political Science Department to the Knapp-Sanders Building and set up an IT lab for instructional and student use. Learn more about the School's history by visiting the Mission and History page or by viewing a short video about the founding of the School of Government.
As the largest university-based local government training, advisory, and research organization in the United States, the School of Government offers up to 200 classes, seminars, webinars, and specialized conferences for more than 12,000 public officials each year. In addition, faculty members annually publish approximately 50 books, manuals, reports, articles, bulletins, and other print and online content related to state and local government. Each day that the General Assembly is in session, the School produces the Daily Bulletin Online, which reports on the day’s activities for members of the legislature and others who need to follow the course of legislation.
The synergy from its affiliation with the School of Government benefits the MPA program in a variety of ways. All School of Government faculty members are engaged in programs that serve state agencies and local governments. These professors, working with government officials every day, naturally bring to the classroom a practical, professional orientation that is appreciated by students.
Additionally, opportunities for experiential learning for students are expanded by this affiliation. The network of School of Government contacts is valuable for securing internships and permanent placements. Affiliation with the School of Government benefits all students in the Carolina MPA program and is especially valuable to that cadre whose interests lie in state and local government.
The MPA program has a long-standing commitment to public service education for members of historically underrepresented minority groups.
In January 2013, the School of Government began offering its top-ranked MPA program online. The online format, known as MPA@UNC, is designed for working professionals and others who aspire to become public service leaders but require the flexibility of an online format.