FAQs for the UMass Boston Public Affairs Graduate Program
How would you describe your graduate program?
The MSPA program at UMass Boston is an 18-month professional degree program that prepares students for careers in public service and enhances the skills of those already employed in the public sector.
The curriculum is a carefully planned sequence of evening courses and occasional, two-day weekend seminars on politics, economics, management, budgeting, statistics and public finance. In our experiential learning capstone, you can choose a real-world project to test and apply theories learned in the classroom.
What distinguishes your MSPA program from others?
We offer the only master’s degree program in public affairs in New England.
(Sources: NASPAA institutional member schools and Gradschools.com)
Regional Focus: Our MSPA Program concentrates on public affairs topics relating to metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts, and New England. Students will gain a keen understanding of the political and economic factors that influence the development and implementation of public policy initiatives, strategies and programs at the local, state, and regional levels
Convenient schedule for working adults: We offer a two-year graduate program with evening classes (typically Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 -8:30 p.m.) and occasional two-day, weekend seminars (typically held Saturday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.), so there is no need for you to take time off from your job to earn your degree.
Convenient location: Located in the Dorchester section of Boston, our university is accessible on the Red Line subway (with free, frequent shuttle buses from the JFK/UMass Boston stop) and two minutes from the Southeast Expressway, Route 93. Safe, on-campus parking is abundant for graduate students.
Tuition remission for state employees: Commonwealth of Massachusetts employees are eligible for free tuition at state colleges and universities, yet are required to pay for all fees and books.
Students find the program engaging - one that offers interesting and relevant courses in which students can learn from each others’ career experiences. Also, they find the program’s workload manageable as they juggle full-time jobs and families.
They also enjoy the many benefits of the cohort model, and often maintain personal and professional contacts with their classmates long after graduation.
Is it possible to complete the program on a part-time basis?
Yes. Our program is designed to be maintained by working professionals on a near-full time basis. Students take only two evening classes and one or two weekend seminars per semester.
How long will it take me to earn the degree?
Students typically complete the degree in 18 monthes.
How would you characterize your current student body?
Each cohort ranges between 15 and 25 students. In our 2012 cohort, our MSPA candidates were 52% male, about one third ethnic minorities, 5% foreign students, and an average age of 32.2 years. This is representative of most of our cohorts.
What do your graduates do?
Graduates of the UMass Boston Public Affairs master's degree program hold top-level professional positions in:
- City or Town Government
- Nonprofit Sector
- State Government
- Criminal Justice
- State Agencies
- Health Care Administration
- Federal Government
See our alumni page for sample job placements and profiles
Is it possible to transfer credits from previous graduate work?
Students may transfer up to six credits from previous related graduate studies. Consult the Graduate Program Administrator for details.
Must I begin in the fall semester?
Yes, due to the sequence of courses, there is no spring admission.