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Master of Public Administration


Web: Master of Public Administration

Dr. Geoffrey Whitebread, Program Coordinator

The program is especially appropriate for deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals working in federal government agencies. This level of appropriateness was validated by the Deaf in Government (DIG) support group in a letter of support for the program where Mark McKay (former DIG president) said:

“DIG regards this program as a way to fill a need for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals seeking a professional graduate-level degree for managers and aspiring managers in the executive levels of Federal, state, and local government.”

The need for this program was also confirmed by the Federal Office of Personnel Management’s Center for Leadership Development and its Eastern Management Development Center (EMDC). The OPM and the MPA program entered into a formal collaboration that allows Deaf federal employees to be accepted into the MPA program and then take elective courses through the OPM’s Center for Leadership Development.


The Master of Public Administration Program prepares deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals working in public sector and non-profit organizations to lead with a sense of direction, to focus on results, to develop others’ capability to perform, and to serve with integrity.


The Master of Public Administration Program is the premier graduate program in the United States and throughout the World for preparing deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals who work with deaf and hard of hearing colleagues, to manage and lead in public sector organizations. Our vision for the program is driven by a set of core values. We value:

A culture of respect and dignity

Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students who work with deaf people are treated with respect and dignity in the MPA program. They are perceived as our most important stakeholders-our customers. As our most important customers students are welcomed into our program and courses with open arms and with emotional support for those who may lack self-confidence in their ability to perform at the graduate-level.

Diversity within our student body and among our faculty is valued and honored, including diversity of communication styles and preferences. We have zero tolerance for religious and cultural bigotry, overt prejudice, bullying (verbal or physical), and other forms of overt discrimination often identified using nouns ending with “..ism.”

A culture of sacrificial service

The faculty and staff in the MPA program practice “sacrificial service” because we care about our students. Within the context of the MPA program sacrificial service is defined as doing what it takes to help our students and doing it without complaint and it means going out of our way to serve their academic needs, interests and abilities.

A culture of personal responsibility

Students in the MPA program are expected to take personal responsibility for their learning. Faculty members in the program, full-time, part-time and adjunct are expected to take personal responsibility for designing and delivering effective lessons in their courses and for satisfying university-wide and program-specific expectations for their performance.

We value the highest principles of professional and academic integrity among our faculty and students. We strictly enforce professional and academic codes of conduct, including academic integrity policies and procedures.

A culture of fun while learning

Faculty use team projects, guest speakers, student presentations, and small group discussions to engage students in learning about key concepts and principles that will help students become effective manager and leaders. These activities are designed to make learning fun.

A culture of success and excellence

The MPA program is built on a foundation of success and excellence. The MPA program is a popular graduate program because learning is fun, networking opportunities are abundant, and our graduates get lucrative jobs.

The MPA program also creates multiple career paths for students. Our graduates get jobs in federal, state, and local government agencies. Others get leadership positions in non-profit agencies. Some use their degree to start non-profit agencies. Some students also use the MPA degree as a starting point for a doctoral-level degree.

A culture of teaching, learning, and scholarly activity

The MPA program values teaching and learning. The program is not a research unit, it is a teaching unit. Nevertheless, faculty are expected to engage in scholarly activity as broadly defined by Ernest Boyer (1990) in his seminal article “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate”; that is, legitimate scholarly activity includes:

  • The scholarship of discovery: original research that advances knowledge;
  • The scholarship of integration: synthesizing information from across disciplines;
  • The scholarship of application: application of disciplinary expertise within or outside of the university that can be disseminated; and,
  • The scholarship of teaching and learning: the systematic study of teaching and learning processes.

Direct communication with our students

We seek to admit students who already possess sign communication skills so they can communicate directly with their peers in classes, on campus, at work, and in social events. However, we recognize that there are Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing non-signers who may apply for admission to the program. Those non-signers who are admitted to the program will be required to learn ASL as a graduation requirement. Interpreters or CART services are provided in those courses with non-signers enrolled.

Public Service Values

We believe that leaders and public servants in public administration and non-profit agencies must always act with integrity to best serve the people to whom they are accountable as “servant-leaders.” Leaders in the public and non-profit sectors must also comply with ethical values of our society and they must comply with laws that affect the work their agencies and departments do. As a Master of Public Administration program in Gallaudet University, we are seek to prepare leaders who can make the world a better place for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Democratic Values: we believe that the rule of law is of paramount importance for leaders and managers in public sector and non-profit agencies. Leaders must comply with national, state, and local laws in their efforts to serve the public interest.

Professional Values: we believe that public administration professionals must lead and manage with a sense of direction, focus on results, develop others’ capacity to perform, and serve with integrity.

Ethical Values: public administration professionals must act at all times in ways that uphold the public trust by complying with common standards of ethical behavior. We value the highest principles of professional and academic integrity among our faculty and students. We strictly enforce professional and academic codes of conduct, including academic integrity policies and procedures and we emphasize how these same standards apply to leadership positions

Social Justice Values: we believe that leaders and managers in public sector and non-profit agencies must exercise of authority and responsibility that is clearly guided by respect for human dignity, fairness, and social equity. These values permeate our MPA program.

Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes

The MPA degree program is designed to help students satisfy a set of “universal required competencies” developed by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). These competencies drive the program’s mission and they clearly support public service values. The required competencies are organized as five domains.

Domain 1 – Leadership and Management: Students possess the knowledge needed to perform effectively as managers and leaders in their organizations;

Domain 2 – Public Policy Process: Students understand the public policy process at the federal, state, and local levels, including formulating, implementing, and evaluating policy;

Domain 3 – Critical Thinking and Decision-Making: Students are consumers of research data and use that data to make managerial decisions;

Domain 4 – Public Service Advocacy: Students understand and appreciate the value of public service; and,

Domain 5 – Communication: Students understand the importance of effective communication for leaders and managers.

Course-Specific Student Learning Outcomes

The program of study for the MPA degree is 39 credits. Each course in the program will have 3-5 course-specific student learning outcomes with accompanying learning opportunities, and learning targets.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a university or college with a graduating GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale.
  • A 500-word essay describing career goals and how this program will help achieve those goals.
  • At least 1 year of paid professional experience in a public sector or non-profit organization is preferred.

Admissions Procedures and Requirements

Applicants for the Master of Public Administration must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions website for more information and a checklist of application requirements.

Due Date for Completed Application: June 30
First Date for Consideration of Application: after receiving complete application

Program Specific Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an university or college with a graduating GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale.
  • A 500-word essay describing career goals and how this program will help achieve those goals.
  • At least 1 year of paid professional experience in a public sector or non-profit organization is preferred.

Graduation Requirement

All MPA graduates are expected to have ASL proficiency equivalent to the course titled ASL III.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Professionals enrolling in and graduating from the MPA program will be able to use their degree for professional development opportunities within their current organizations or agencies. The MPA degree will also be helpful for graduates who are seeking new leadership opportunities in governmental and non-profit agencies. Examples of employment opportunities for our alumni include:

  1. Administrative Officer;
  2. Analyst;
  3. Program Assistant;
  4. Director of Operations;
  5. Diversity and Inclusion Specialist;
  6. Ethics Officer;
  7. Executive Director of a 501 (c)(3) Public Charitable Organization;
  8. Program Coordinator;
  9. Graduate Assistant;
  10. Human Resource Specialist;
  11. Immigration Services Officer;
  12. Occupational Communication Specialist;
  13. Special Teacher;
  14. Business Technologist;
  15. Immigration Services Officer;
  16. Director of Basketball Operations/Scout;
  17. Administrator;
  18. Legislative Analyst; and
  19. Human Resource Recruiter

A recent poll of our alumni income ranges indicated:

  • $39,999 or less (42.1%);
  • $40,000 – $59,999 (31.6%);
  • $60,000 – $79,999 (0%)
  • $80,000 – $99,999 (10.5%); and
  • $100,000 – $119,999 (10.5%)
  • $120,000 – $139,000 (5.3%)
Available In:

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate