About the MPA

 Our MPA offers three specialized tracks - public administration, nonprofit management, and international public management.  

It has long been recognized that public and nonprofit managers need specialized training in public administration. This is particularly true in Western New York—where the State of New York is the region's largest single employer and where a sizable voluntary and nonprofit sector exists.

With 11 full-time faculty and three full-time faculty from other departments who offer courses in the MPA program, MPA students can be assured that Buffalo State's MPA is a generously staffed graduate program with faculty on-site during daytime and evening hours available to work with our students.  The majority of our MPA classes are taught by full-time faculty. In addition, our adjunct professors are experienced practitioners who teach courses in their specialization, all of whom have earned at a minimum a Master's degree, with several PhDs. 

For information about the MPA program, the Graduate Certificate in Public Management,  or the Graduate Certificate in Disaster and Emergency Management, please contact Dr. Laurie Buonanno, Co-Chair, MPA & PAD Grad Certificates Management Committee.

Course Delivery

Class sizes are small, averaging ten students.

The MPA is offered weekends, online, and evenings to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. No weekday classes begin prior to 4:30 p.m. Saturday classes are scheduled in the morning. Summer and J-Term courses are offered online.

MPA classes are supported by SUNY Buffalo State's Learning Management System (Brightspace), with most of our classes offered as "hybrid" (some classroom time replaced with online activities such as discussion boards and quizzes). The availability of hybrid classes enables students to enroll in two classes per evening.

Program Tracks and Requirements

Culminating Experiences

The MPA program includes a capstone experience (MPA project or MPA thesis). In PAD 690, Master's Project, students conduct their own applied research over the course of one semester and defend their paper to an audience of faculty and MPA students. This course is typically taught on Wednesday evenings. 

In PAD 695, Master's Thesis, students work under the supervision of a full-time member of faculty for two semesters - the first being intensive background research (literature review) and development of the research design and methodology (independent study taken as a track elective) - followed by data collection and analysis in the second semester.

Digital Commons

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (4.0 scale), or a master’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale). 
  • Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree, but do not meet either of the above criteria may be considered for admission upon a successful interview with the academic intake coordinator or if they attain a minimum quantitative and verbal score of 152 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or complete 6 credit hours of 500-level PAD courses (courses must be pre-approved by the academic intake coordinator) at SUNY Buffalo State as an accepted MPA pre-major student with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.
  • Two letters of reference on the MPA admission form that attest to the applicant's academic performance or potential. Please note that at least one reference must be from a college professor or instructor.  For those individuals who graduated from college more than five years ago (2012 or earlier) and can ask colleagues, supervisors, and individuals with whom they work with on community or nonprofit endeavors (boards, etc.) to write on their behalf.  The public administration admissions committee particularly seeks answers to the following questions: 1.  How long, and in what  capacity have you known the applicant?  2.  Does the applicant have any special talents, abilities, or attributes that deserve mention?  3.  Do you have any concerns about this applicant that would impede success in graduate studies? 
  • A letter of intent should describe:  why the applicant wishes to pursue the MPA; how the applicant's academic training and job experience, if applicable, are linked; why the applicant is prepared for study in the MPA program; a list of the applicant's educational objectives; background in statistics and/or methodology, if any; interest and future career goals; and, the choice of track (nonprofit or public administration) in which to concentrate.  The letter of intent will be evaluated as a writing sample according to organization conventions of language and content. With respect to experience in statistics and research methods, the MPA Admission Committee has been receiving a number of queries regarding their statistics/research methods background.  A wide variety of majors are represented in the MPA program, many from the arts and humanities without either coursework or job experience in either of these fields.  We ask students to explain their experience in their letter of intent to assist us in tailoring our PAD 680 Research Methods in Public Administration to the incoming class in fall and spring (PAD 680 is offered both semesters).  
  • Please indicate in the Letter of Intent if you are applying to the 17-month Cohort MPA Program.
  • A resume
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must submit a score of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as documentation of English language proficiency. Applicants with a minimum TOEFL score of 550 or higher on the paper exam or 79 on the Internet exam, or with an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher will be considered for admission. Contact SUNY Buffalo State's Graduate School for information about these testing systems.
  • English as a Second Language Program International students who do not meet the required English language requirement can be admitted to the Buffalo State's Intensive English Language Institute (IELI). Buffalo State’s English as a Second Language Program (ESLP). Intensive English Language Institute students must complete required coursework in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program and take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as documentation of English language proficiency. The ESL program is a non-degree, non-credit bearing program designed to help students with varying levels of English proficiency through coursework, interaction with native speakers of English, and individualized language practice. The program consists of six levels of English language study. Each level consists of 20 hours of class time per week, plus an additional 3 hours of small conversation group practice. Students who wish to pursue this course of action must first submit a completed graduate admission application and have their application materials reviewed by an academic department. After careful review of the students’ academic qualifications and their ability to succeed academically, the student is granted conditional acceptance into the Graduate School and admission into the IELTS. Students must notify the Graduate School within 30 days of their acceptance whether they will pursue the ESL program option. Upon successful completion of these requirements, students may then enroll as a full-time student in their program of study. For more information and to apply to the Intensive English Language Institute IELI, visit https://international.buffalostate.edu/english-second-language-esl
  • In addition, all applicants should review the Admission to a Graduate Program section in the Graduate Catalog.

SUNY BUFFALO STATE UNDERGRADUATES - PLEASE NOTE - students who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or above in Buffalo State's Public Administration and Nonprofit Minor are guaranteed admission into the MPA program.  Student satisfying this requirement must: 1) fill out the Graduate School Application, 2) pay the application fee, and 3) follow instructions for official transcripts.  Reference letters and the letter of intent are waived. PLEASE NOTE IF A BUFFALO STATE STUDENT IS ADMITTED TO THE 4 + 1 PROGRAM, the application fee is waived.


The SUNY Buffalo State Public Administration and Nonprofit Management MPA Program prepares a diverse body of pre-service and in-service professionals for positions of leadership in local, national, and international public service.  The program cultivates values of accountability, ethics, and social equity through learning, service projects, and research.  The program contributes to the body of knowledge and advances the quality of governance.



SUNY Buffalo State's MPA Program is a Member of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA is the global standard in public service education.  It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its nearly 300 members - located across the U.S. and in 14 countries around the globe - award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees. 

Despite being a relatively new MPA program (approved by SUNY and the NYS Education Department in June 2011), U.S. News and World Report ranked SUNY Buffalo State in the top 50% (tied with several programs for #135) of the 282 graduate programs in public affairs offered at US college and universities for 2018-2019.  

The MPA Advisory board comprises a cross-section of professionals and full-time faculty with experience in the public and nonprofit sectors.  The MPA Advisory Board crafts the MPA's mission statement and assists the MPA program through the NASPAA accreditation process.

The Honorable Mayor Byron Brown

Alex Desha

Heather LaForme
Director of Native American Services, NYS Office of Children and Family Services

John Figueroa
Chief Executive Officer at Cycle Breakers Multimedia Company, LLC 

Jordan Then
Mid-Atlantic Area Manager, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Dr. Jonathan Chausovsky
Associate Professor & Public Administration Faculty Advisor, SUNY Fredonia, Department of Political Science and International Affairs

Joseph Gramaglia
Police Commissioner - Buffalo Police Department

Oswaldo Mestre Jr.
Chief Service Officer & Director of Citizen Services, City of Buffalo

Rema Hanash
Director of Resource Development, United Way of Buffalo

Ryan Gadzo
Research Analyst, Erie County Department of Senior Services

Stanton Hudson
Executive Director Site Superintendent, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Site (U.S. National Park Service)

Nicole Speight-Hanchard
MPA Student Representative