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School of Public ServiceEarly Start MPA (4+1) – Bachelor's to Master's

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Old Dominion University sets students on an accelerated path to success by offering an Early Start MPA (4+1). This Bachelor's to Master's Program provides qualified ODU undergraduate students with the opportunity to earn a Master in Public Administration (MPA) degree during their senior year. Our MPA program is NASPAA accredited and fosters the leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills necessary to effectively implement policies and programs in the public and non-profit sectors.


What is the Early Start MPA (4+1)?

The Early Start MPA (4+1) is a fast-tracked program designed for highly motivated students to continue their education immediately after their bachelor's degree. It is especially beneficial to individuals seeking work or advancement in the government or non-profit sectors.

After receiving their undergraduate degree, students will continue with the Master of Public Administration program, taking courses until completing the required 39 credit hours for the degree. Students can choose to pursue a traditional MPA or concentrations in Multisector Public Service or Non-Profit Management and Governance. The MPA program also offers certificates in Public Procurement and Contract Management and Public Administration & Public Policy.

Students can complete the Early Start MPA (4+1) in an intensive year of work. A potential course of study may include:

  • Up to 9 credit hours* in the final undergraduate year
  • 1-3 classes in the Summer
  • 3-4 courses in the Fall
  • and 3-4 courses in the Spring

The MPA program is flexible and will extend the expected completion time for a student if this proves difficult.

Where can I use a Master of Public Administration degree?

The Master of Public Administration in the School of Public Service at Old Dominion University develops professionals trained to lead in diverse, multi-sector environments. Our graduates serve the Hampton Roads region, state, and nation in public administration and public service careers such as city managers, non-profit executive directors, community development directors, law enforcement administrators, financial analysts, public relations managers, human resources managers, and social services administrators.

Who can apply?

The Early Start MPA (4+1) is suitable for students from any undergraduate major. A few of the traditional disciplines that feed naturally into Public Administration careers are Political Science, Criminal Justice, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Social Work, Education, and Public Service minors.

What are the application requirements?

Students are not required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission.

Applicants for the Early Start MPA (4+1) must:

  • Be a current Old Dominion University undergraduate
  • Have completed all general education requirements by the end of their junior year
  • Possess a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher at the end of their junior year
  • Complete the ODU graduate application, including personal statement, educational/work resume, and two letters of recommendation

How and when is the deadline to apply?

Students should apply to the Master of Public Administration program via Graduate Admissions between their junior year and no later than the application deadline during the first semester of their senior year. Students should apply for the session right after completing the undergraduate degree (example: if graduating in the Spring, apply for the Summer session).

When will I know my admission decision?

The ODU Graduate Admissions office will notify successful applicants of the MPA Admission Committee decision within several weeks of the application submission.