The following information should be helpful to you as you plan your move to Athens and the University of Georgia. The “to-do list” is divided into two sections— the Fall Departmental Orientation and MPA Socialization Seminar and the Spring Departmental Orientation.

Fall Departmental Orientation & MPA Socialization Seminar

Fall 2024 Socialization will be held Tuesday, August 6 & Wednesday, August 7, with Saturday, August 10 being the Socialization Service Day. A precise schedule will be made available closer to Socialization.

MPA students are required to attend all sessions, and will receive 1 hour of academic credit in Fall semester, required for graduation. Attendance will be taken at all scheduled events. The MPA Socialization Seminar is a three-day event structured to orient new students to the MPA program, Department, University, and Athens community.

To prepare, please read Portraits of Public Service: Untold Stories from the Front Lines by Staci M. Zavattaro, Jessica E. Sowa, Alexander C. Henderson, and Lauren Hamilton Edwards. One of our seminar sessions will feature a small group discussion about the book. We encourage you to access and begin reading this book soon. We will invite you to complete a pre-assessment survey regarding the book, and will give you the opportunity to submit questions in early July. Here is a link to the book: Please watch future emails for instructions about completing the pre-assessment survey and submitting questions.

All incoming students will be advised for Fall classes after socialization, appointments will be scheduled August 8, August 9, and August 12.

Building Location

  • Socialization will be held in the Special Collections Library, room 285. This building is located at 300 South Hull St. Athens, GA 30602.

Parking for Socialization

  • For parking near the Special Collections Library, please use the Hull Deck (W05)
  • You can find it on google maps here
  • Here is a link to the campus parking map
  • You will be given a code before Socialization that will allow you to park free of charge

Free Professional headshots for website biography

  • A photographer will be available to take free professional headshots 7:45am – 8:30am both mornings of Socialization. If you do not have a professional headshot to submit with your UGA Public Administration and Policy website biography (see Graduate Profile for Website Form  in the Socialization Handouts section below) please arrive a little early to take advantage of this opportunity.

Join us for our Fall 2024 Welcome Reception!

Friday, August 16th – 5pm-7pm
We will be in the Courtyard and Café area on the first floor of Baldwin Hall.
Drop in and say hi to faculty, staff, and other students!
Check your email for the invitation & link to RSVP before August 8!


Spring Departmental Orientation

MPA Students beginning the program in the spring should plan to attend a brief orientation session. For more information please email [email protected].


2024 Syllabus and Schedule coming soon, feel free to use last year’s 2023 handouts to get an idea of what Socialization will look like.

2023 Socialization Syllabus – PADP 6980

2023 Socialization Detailed Schedule

Graduate Profile for Website Form
Please fill out this form to complete your profile on our website directory. Being a searchable entity on this UGA website is a great resource and networking tool for you to take advantage of. It gives you a professional space to display all of your accomplishments, interests, and aspirations where employers and other professionals can find you. Also consider arriving between 7:30am and 8am to take advantage of our photographer and receive a free professional headshot for your profile and your personal use. A quality photo is strongly encouraged to enhance your professional profile and to help faculty and staff to get to know you.


Fall 2024 classes begin August 14th. Visit Courses for departmental course listings, syllabi, and downloadable schedules.

See the UGA Bulletin for official information about majors, course and academics as well as important academic dates pertaining to the Graduate School.


Campus Transportation

The University of Georgia Campus Transit System provides prompt, safe, reliable transportation throughout the University campus. Class-day service is provided using 37 buses on 9 different routes and covering 3,500 route miles each day. A reduced schedule is operated evenings, weekends, and when classes are not in session. The University of Georgia Transportation Services now has bus routes and real-time tracking available on the UGA app which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Those participating in the Alternative Transportation Program will receive 1-2 days of free parking per month in designated locations, in return for biking, walking and/or riding an Athens Transit Bus as their primary means of getting to campus. More information is available from UGA Parking Services.

Parking on Campus

Campus is divided up into permit-required areas and short-term pay lots. Permits are distributed based on a unique priority system that takes into account factors such as cumulative hours for students, and years of service for employees. Parking Services implemented an online permit registration process to limit the amount of vehicles parking on campus.

  • You may choose specific parking lots and rank your preferences. Be sure to note that cost varies by lot location.
  • MPA Students tend to choose lots on North Campus (labeled with an “N” before the #) or West Campus north of Baxter St.
  • Two of the most popular lots among PADP students and faculty are N06 (North Campus Deck) and N08.
  • Pay parking lots on campus include all the parking decks and a lot at the Tate Student Center and Ramsey. These will cost no more than $10 a day. Parking permits are quite costly. If you are a part-time student, daily parking may be a less expensive option for you.
  • Gwinnett Center parking is available on the north and south sides of the Intellicenter Building. Parking is free and shared by UGA program participants and other building tenants. No parking decal is needed.

Bulldog Bucks is an online debit card program open to anyone with a UGA card. Bulldog Bucks are accepted as payment at the Bookstore, Food Services Retail Operations, and at several other on-campus sites. In addition, Bulldog Bucks may be used to pay for copying, printing, vending, and laundry services in the residence halls. You may open an account, make deposits online, and view account activity. Bulldog Bucks may also be used at stores and restaurants off campus.

  • Don’t forget to send your final transcript (if you are a graduating senior) and your immunization records to UGA before you arrive. If you do not do this, you will not be allowed to register.
  • Set up your UGA ID and email address online before you come to campus.
  • Get to the Tate Student Center UGACard Office as soon as you’ve registered to get your UGA ID card.
  • Request a parking permit from Parking Services.
  • Explore the PADP and other UGA websites (more information below). Be sure to check out the course schedule and syllabi online to make advising and registration easier.
  • Fill out your Graduate Profile for Website Form for the departmental website with a headshot to [email protected]. If you do not have a headshot, you can schedule for one to be taken before or after your advising appointment at the above address. Remember this is a professional program and your headshot should reflect that.

New student advising and registration takes place the week of Socialization. Returning students receive instructions on advising in March and October of each year. For questions, contact Kristin Lawrence. Kristin is also your contact for any future problems or questions with:

  • Registration rules
  • Program and Graduate School requirements, deadlines, and paperwork
  • Graduation paperwork and requirements
  • The MPA and PhD listservs
  • Comprehensive exams (MPA and PhD)
  • Scheduling Prospectus and Dissertation Defenses

You can contact Kristin at 706-542-3510 or [email protected].

Advising FAQs


Answers to many questions about UGA administrative details can be found on the UGA website: