Transfer to Public Administration

AA/AS Transfers into Public Administration

The AA/AS – BA in Public Administration completion option offers students with a traditional transfer oriented associate’s degree the opportunity to attain a baccalaureate degree intended to help prepare them for management and supervisory positions in public service and nonprofit organizations. Upon transfer into the BA in Public Administration program, the student with a 60+ semester hour associate’s degree from an accredited institution would need to complete at least 60 hours at UIS for the BA in Public Administration. As part of their general education courses for their associate’s degree, students should take the equivalent of the following courses: ECO 201 Introduction to Microeconomics, PSC 242 Statistics for Social Studies or other approved Math or Statistics course, and PSC/LES 201 Introduction to the American Political System. These courses satisfy 9 hours of the BPA program core. University ECCE hours also need to be completed in the 60 UIS hours taken after transfer (10 more hours). However, several of the PA elective courses are also ECCE approved courses and will satisfy these requirements.

Transfer students are encouraged to complete their Associate’s degree prior to transfer. Students who do not choose to complete their associate’s degree should try to complete their IAI* general education core courses. If they do not, they can complete their general education courses after transfer to UIS.

Sample Curriculum

AA/AS Degree Plan

(60 hours total, including completed IAI* general education hours)

Gen Ed courses accepted toward the BA in Public Administration core degree requirements:

Math (Introduction to Statistics or Statistics for Social Science) * – 3 hours

Intro to American Government * – 3 hours

Introduction to Microeconomics * – 3 hours

(These 3 courses meet the following BA in Public Administration course requirements. If not taken at the community college, they will need to be taken at UIS after transfer.

PSC 242 – Statistics for Social Studies or other approved course (satisfies the applied math requirement) – 3 hours

ECO 201 Introduction to Microeconomics – 3 hours

PSC/LES 201 Introduction to the American Political System – 3 hours)

Remaining hours in AAS applied content courses are accepted as elective credit in transfer.

UIS BA in Public Administration Courses for Completion

Students will complete 60 hours at UIS after transfer for a total of 120 hours in the BPA. Students who transferred before completing their degree will be required to complete any remaining general education courses after transfer. Students will also have to complete their university required ECCE hours.

BA in Public Administration Core Courses (24 hours remaining after the 9 already taken as part of general education at the community college)

PAD 301 Introduction to Public Service Management – 3 hours

PAD 302 Leadership and Management of Public Organizations – 3 hours

PAD 303 Public Policy for Managers – 3 hours

PAD 470 Research Methods and Management – 3 hours

PAD 471 Public Administration Senior Capstone – 3 hours

Public Administration tracks

BPA students must take at least 12 hours of electives in the major. These courses should be taken as part of one of the following tracks: Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy, State and Local Government Management, or Management of Public Policy

The remaining hours to complete the 120 hour total for the BA in PA are taken as general education, ECCE, or electives.

* Choose Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) approved course options


MPA Transfer Credit

Transfer Credits and prior experience

Students with graduate credits from another university may petition to have up to 12 hours of those credits transferred to UIS and credited to the MPA degree. To qualify for consideration:

  • you must have taken the courses at an accredited institution;
  • you must have enrolled for the course at the graduate level;
  • you may not have used the course for any other degree you hold;
  • you must have earned at least a straight B in the course; and
  • you must have completed the course within five years of your first term of MPA Program admission.

Transfer credits accepted toward the MPA may count in either the core area or as MPA electives.  If the credits are in the core area, the transfer course may count as both a waiver and as a substitute for the required UIS MPA course in question.

In the case of transferred elective credits, two kinds of acceptance criteria may be considered.  Where the eligible credits reflect courses that are routinely included in a NASPAA accredited MPA curriculum, the credits may be accepted and counted toward the PAD electives required for the degree.  If the requested transfer credits are in areas that are not conventionally considered public administration, but the student can make a cogent case that the credits augment his or her chosen specialization area, the credits may count toward the student’s outside electives.

Note that transfer courses that are less than three hours of credit may be accepted for UIS courses, but the total hour count for graduation will still need to be 36 hours.

Finally, no graduate work can be applied toward the MPA degree if that course substantially duplicates prerequisite requirements.  For example, no 400- or 500- level UIS course, or course taken elsewhere for graduate credit, that includes a substantial focus on introductory microeconomics or U.S. government will receive transfer credit.

To apply for use of transfer credits from another university toward the MPA degree, the student must ensure the other university has sent his or her official transcript to the UIS Office of Admissions and Records.  This Office will evaluate prior graduate course work to determine which courses may be eligible for consideration for transfer credits. If any credits are indicated as eligible on the Admissions report, the student will work with their advisor to request that the transfer credits be considered as substitutes for core or elective courses.  If the transfer is to a core course, the advisor will check with a tenure-track faculty member who teaches the core course to assure the appropriateness of the transfer.

Note that courses that have been counted towards another degree may not be transferred.  The UIS catalogue language describes credit which may be transferred.  It says:

Transfer Credit at the Master’s Level

Residency Requirement: UIS may accept up to 12 semester hours of graduate-level work completed at other accredited institutions. However, only hours earned with a grade of B or better and accepted by the program will also be accepted by UIS. Request to transfer credit for courses bearing a grade such as P (pass) or CR (credit) must be supported by certification from the institution or instructor that the work was of at least B quality.

Time Limit on Transfer Credit: All transfer credit to be applied to a master’s degree must have been earned within five years of the first graduate course taken at UIS in pursuit of that degree. Exceptions may be granted by programs on a case-by-case basis.

Credit for Prior Experience

The Department of Public Administration recognizes that some students entering the MPA Program have extensive backgrounds in the fields of public administration or nonprofit management.  That past experience will certainly enhance your absorption of the theoretical knowledge and current best practices provided from the curriculum.  What’s more, your contributions from your experience to class discussions greatly enrich the learning environment for all.

However the Master of Public Administration program does not give credit for prior experience.  This policy is based on the idea that you have returned to school to add to your education, to learn something new.  All areas of the field of public administration grow annually through the sharing of research and best practices from the field.  The MPA curriculum is regularly updated with the latest knowledge from the field.  Students would lose the opportunity to find this new knowledge if we were to allow the substitution of past experience for new information.