Department History


The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Wisconsin (UW) Oshkosh has grown and progressed since its inception in 1972. The MPA program was established to meet the needs of employees in public, non-for-profit, and health care agencies interested in enhancing their administrative knowledge and skills. It was housed in the Department of Political Science from 1972 to 1983. In 1983 the MPA program became part of the Department of Public Affairs, which also contained undergraduate programs in Criminal Justice and Urban and Regional Studies. A significant addition to the MPA program was the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Management, which admitted its first students in Spring 2004. This interdisciplinary program was developed in recognition of the fact that the need for trained managers in the health care field was expanding rapidly.

In July 2011 the MPA program was removed from the Department of Public Affairs. A separate Department of Public Administration was established that continued offering both the MPA program and the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management.

In 2019 Spring semester, the department launched the 100% Online MPA program in collaboration with the Online and Continuing Education Division. On June 9th, 2020, the Degree Assembly Board of Governors voted to accredit the online MPA with Fire and Emergency Administration and Management (FEAM) emphasis. This initial accreditation for the MPA with FEAM emphasis is for a period of 5 years.

Due to COVID and the increased interest in online education, as well as the higher applications and enrollments in the online MPA program, we had to phase out the on-campus version of the MPA program; on-campus MPA classes were last offered in Fall 2022. Beginning 2023 Spring semester, the MPA program is only offered in an 100% online format. It is now housed in the Department of Sociology and Public Administration. The Department of Public Administration merged with the Department of Sociology in 2023 Fall Semester.

Over the years the MPA program at the UW Oshkosh has been recognized for providing a top-notch education and training in managing public, nonprofit and health care organizations in Wisconsin and beyond. Nowadays the Department of Public Administration continues to expand its strong commitment to academic excellence and public service that began 52 years ago. The UW Oshkosh MPA program is unique with its comprehensive, career-oriented curriculum that includes four different professional emphases in general public administration, nonprofit management and leadership, health agency administration and fire and emergency administration and management. All department programs are based on a strong culture of student-centered teaching and learning. Through its collaborations with university departments as well as external institutions, such as the City of Oshkosh, the MPA program provides its students with various networks and opportunities for learning, practical internships and career destinations.

Faculty and Staff Work As a Team

The department’s mission is carried out by dedicated and productive faculty and staff members. All faculty and staff work as a highly effective and cohesive team with emphasis on strong communication and collaboration, trust and commitment, leadership, and diversity of skills, talents and personalities. All faculty and staff are inspired by the common goal of providing quality educational experiences to all students and seeing UW Oshkosh graduates as effective leaders who serve responsibly their communities and contribute to the public good.


Public Administration

Sage Hall 3003 and 3464
Oshkosh, WI 54901



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Contact Us

Phone: (920) 424-2030
Program Coordinator:
Dr. Michael Ford |
Hours: 7:30am - 3:30pm