MISSOULA - The University of Montana's master's degree in public administration is the first in the state to be nationally accredited.
UM's MPA program is housed within UM's Alexander Blewett III School of Law under the Max S. Baucus Institute, and is the first MPA program positioned within a law school.
“We are thrilled to be the only law school in America with a nationally accredited MPA program,” said Paul Kirgis, dean of UM’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law. “The MPA complements our strong emphasis on public service in our law school, while creating new opportunities for collaborations among faculty and joint programming for students.”
The curriculum allows students to customize their degree by either specializing in nonprofit administration or seek a joint degree in law or public health. The courses are also available to be completed online, allowing public and nonprofit professionals to advance their careers.
Job titles that people have pursued with this degree include positions with the forest service, human resources or the chief of staff for a mayor. Attorney General Tim Fox is also a notable alumnus from the program.
The University's MPA program is accredited by the NASPAA Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation and listed on the Annual Roster of Accredited Programs in conformity with NASPAA standards. The MPA started in 1976 but this is the first year it has received national accreditation.
Dr. Sara Rinfret, MPA director, said the accreditation allows UM to elevate its commitment of excellence in law, policy and public service.
The accreditation means students will be able to compete nationally with other programs and shows employers that the material they are learning is at the gold standard.