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Student Handbook Introduction

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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 four hours of credit may be accepted for UIS courses, but the total hour count for graduation will still need to be forty hours.  So additional UIS coursework may be needed to make up the difference between three and four hour classes in order to complete the forty hour graduation requirement.

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.

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University of Illinois Springfield
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Springfield, Illinois 62703-5407
217-206-6600

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