Extending the MPA Program Beyond Borders

SPIA recently created a new opportunity to increase the global reach of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program.

In 2017, the department of public administration and policy designed a dual MPA degree with Seoul National University (SNU). The program allows South Korean graduate students to complete the first year of their MPA at SNU, then come to UGA for the second year. Most of the students who participate are mid to senior level South Korean government officials. This unique opportunity allows them to have an integrated program of study that results in degrees from both institutions in two years, while seeing two different perspectives on public administration.

Although several universities in the United States have dual degree programs with SNU, the University of Georgia’s MPA offers something special. Hogeun Song, a current MPA student from Seoul, South Korea, was attracted to UGA for the specialty courses it offers, as well as its reputation and rankings. In South Korea, Song works in the Prime Minister’s office, researching policy issues and preparing reports for the Prime Minister. Song explained that it’s extremely common for public servants in South Korea to earn their master’s degree, and international universities are growing in popularity. Song mentioned that he really enjoys the personalized feedback and attention from his professors here, as well as the collaborative aspects of SPIA’s academic culture.

In addition to bringing Korean students to the United States, SPIA also sends American students to Korea. Each year, the MPA program gives students the opportunity to study abroad in Seoul for a week during the Spring. During this time, students visit the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the University of Seoul to learn about public administration from seasoned Korean officials. Erin Washington visited Seoul in spring 2018. “I really enjoyed the Korea program because it allowed me to gain a more global perspective in the field of public administration,” she explained. “It was very interesting to learn about their policies and to consider how similar policies may be beneficial here in America.”

For more information about the MPA program or its partnerships abroad, check out the Department of Public Administration and Policy link on the SPIA homepage.