Public Administration M.H.A./M.P.A. (dual degree) (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Public Affairs

Program Description

A dual MHA/MPA degree option is available for students in the Sloan Program in Health Administration (Sloan) and the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A. Program).  This option enables students to complete both degrees in three years while eliminating duplicative coursework. The goal of this dual degree program is to enable students to combine training in public administration with training in the tools of management and their applications to health administration, the organization of the health care sector, health policy, and public health. 

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-8018

2201 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • economic and financial policy
  • environmental policy
  • government, politics, and policy studies
  • human rights and social justice
  • international development studies
  • public and nonprofit management
  • science, technology and infrastructure policy
  • social policy


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

The residential MPA program has a fixed application deadline and offers admission for the fall semester only. Applications for the residential MPA program are due on February 1st and decisions on admittance offers will be released in mid-March.

Requirements Summary:

Complete application information is available on the MPA Program website. Please review the application process before applying.

Applicants to the MPA Program must meet all Graduate School application requirements including the English Language Proficiency Requirement

The MPA Program does not require a GRE score for the MPA application.

When applying, please submit a *statement of purpose (500-word maximum) that addresses the following points:

  • Why you are applying to the program?
  • Personal and/or professional experience that has led to your interest in Cornell's MPA program
  • Your future goals -- how you would put an MPA graduate education to use?
  • Examples of volunteer work, positions of responsibility, and any other life experiences that have contributed to your interest in public affairs

*Also submit an essay (1,000-word maximum) that:

  • Briefly describes an area of public affairs to which you would like to make a contribution
  • Discusses what you would like to see accomplished in this area
  • Explains how you would go about initiating, supporting and sustaining changes in this area to enhance public well-being and public services

MPA Application Requirements:

* See the program website for details.

Learning Outcomes

Communications Skills – Graduates should:

  • Be able to write a professional memorandum, make a presentation, and facilitate a meeting.
  • Know how to construct and deliver an attitude-change speech.
  • Be familiar with the psychology of decision making and how information communicated in different ways can influence decisions.
  • Be able to understand principles of mediation, conflict resolution and negotiation.
  • Be able to communicate and write effectively in groups and teams.
  • Be able to leverage current information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance decision-making, promote policy and programs and facilitate engagement. (Some graduates would also be well served to know how to draft model legislation.)

Research and Analytical Problem-Solving skills – Graduates should:

  • Be able to design, implement, use, and evaluate research.
  • Be familiar with data sources—quantitative, qualitative, legal and archival—and their properties.
  • Perform statistical analyses, interpret results validly, and draw appropriate inferences; be able to communicate empirical findings and policy implications in clear non-technical language.
  • Be able to forecast trends and cycles of various types.
  • Be able to characterize and evaluate interdependent and risky decisions
  • Understand the methodologies of cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses, be able to conduct such analyses, and be enlightened consumers of the same.
  • Understand economics including public economics and foundations of political economy and public choice theory.
  • Understand policy evaluation methods.
  • Be familiar with qualitative research methods and research designs based on mixed-method approaches.


Institutional knowledge and Organizational and Financial Management – Graduates should understand:

  • The contexts within which public affairs are conducted and policies are made and administered.
  • The interplay between politics and administration in the public affairs areas in which they expect to work (international, national, state and local).
  • The separation of powers and the roles fulfilled (or not) by different branches and levels of government. Including understanding fiscal federalism.
  • Fundamental governmental procedures and understanding of the factors supporting good governance and the development of healthy public sector institutions.
  • The principles of budgeting at federal, state, and municipal levels
  • The principles of fund accounting that underlie and lend structure to the operating budgets of all government, not-for-profit, and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and some other countries.
  • The principles of finance as they relate to public and non-profit institutions and their relationships with financial markets.
  • Leading theories of organizational behavior and management; including how organization objectives are formulated and pursued within these sectors, organization and the public arena.
  • Understand how public, private and civil society organizations and institutions function respectively and collectively.
  • Best-practices of human resource management—e.g., hiring, employee evaluation, life-time learning.
  • The importance of cultural context to all public affairs; comparative politics and international relations.
  • The role of law and regulation in public policy and administration.

Values – Graduates should be (de minimus):

  • Well-versed in professional ethics.
  • Conversant with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Familiar with criteria employed to evaluate projects by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank (IBRD).
  • Able to discern between rights and entitlements, duties and obligations, and virtues and supererogatory actions.
  • Able to appreciate the nature (logical structure) of applied ethical arguments.
  • Aware of different notions of justice and their operationalization.
  • Able to apply concepts of sustainability and stewardship to the analysis of one of more major challenges facing humans and the earth’s resources.

Policy – Graduates should:

  • Be intimately familiar with at least one policy domain—e.g., agriculture, housing and urban development, transportation, labor markets, education, poverty, immigration, or natural resources the environment; development economics; international relations.
  • Know the history of issues, legislation, agencies, and programs and know the stakeholders.