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FAQ - Public Administration


How many courses per semester may I take?
We do not have any limits on the number of courses that a student may take each semester. However, we recommend students with a full-time work schedule take no more than two courses per semester.  

Is there any particular course sequence I should follow?
There is no required sequence in this program, however we recommend starting with PSPA 5000 Introduction to Public Administration or other required/core courses.  Generally, it is best to take courses in order, beginning with the lower course numbers and moving up through the higher course numbers.

Are all of the courses in the graduate Certificate in Public Administration offered online?

Can I enroll in just a few courses? I’m not interested in applying to and earning the certificate.

Can I take courses before applying for admission to the program?
Individuals must apply to and be offered admission to earn a certificate. A maximum of two courses that will count towards satisfying the requirements for the certificate may be taken at SCPS prior to admission. 

Can I transfer credit into this program from another institution?
Individuals can transfer one course for academic credit from a regionally accredited college or university. The transfer course will count towards one elective course in the certificate program, and must have been taken within the last three years. Transfer courses are not accepted for required courses in the certificate. Official transcripts and course syllabus are required for an analysis of the content, level, and comparability of the transfer course, as well as the quality of the student’s performance with a grade of B- or better.  Official transcripts with a request for transfer of credits can be sent to SCPSadmissions@virginia.edu or School of Continuing and Professional Studies, 104 Midmont Lane, PO Box 400764, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4764 Attn: Admission Services 

What grades must I earn to be awarded the certificate?
Students must earn a B- or better in all courses required for the certificate to be awarded. Should a grade fall below a B-, the student has the option of retaking the course in order to complete the requirements and be awarded the certificate.   

Does this program lead to a degree program?
The graduate Certificate in Public Administration is designed to be a stand-alone certificate program.  Students interested in pursuing degree programs with other institutions are encouraged to contact those institutions for their specific policies on the acceptance of transfer credit.

What type of job can I get with a graduate Certificate in Public Administration?
A graduate Certificate in Public Administration can help prepare you for a job in government at the federal, state, or local level as well as the nonprofit sector.  Also, private sector companies often have positions in government relations for which the certificate serves as good preparation. 

Still have questions?  We're here to help!

Answers to those questions asked most frequently about our school by our prospective students can be found here.  If you don't find what you're looking for, please don't hesitate to contact us.


* The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements.

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It's great to hear from former students that our courses really helped their careers.
A photograph of Celeste Greene

Celeste Greene

Certificate in Public Administration

An early adopter of online learning at Florida Gulf Coast University in the 1990s, Celeste proposed the Certificate in Public Administration program to SCPS in 2007. As an associate professor and program director for the School’s graduate Certificates in Leadership and Public Administration, she works hard to help faculty take full advantage of online technology.

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Thanks to the Certificate in Public Administration program, I feel more confident pursuing positions of more responsibility knowing that I can meet the challenge.
A photograph of Joceline Nahigian

Joceline Nahigian


Joceline was already working with the U.S. Department of Energy when she decided to increase her impact with an SCPS certificate. As a working mother of two, she selected a flexible online format to develop her knowledge in key areas of public administration including organizational management, policy, and budgeting. She emerged as a more effective public employee, prepared to pursue additional responsibility within her industry.

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University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies
104 Midmont Lane PO Box 400764, Charlottesville, VA 22904