The Department

Great cities need great leadership!

Our world is increasingly urban and our leaders must understand the complex problems and governance challenges of urban regions. The Department of Public Administration (DPA) provides an opportunity for students to study public administration, public policy, and urban leadership in the vibrant urban laboratory provided by the metropolitan Chicago region. Chicago is the third most populous city in the U.S. and our region has more local governments than any other metropolitan area in the U.S. The State of Illinois and the U.S. Government have large workforces based here and the Chicago region has more nonprofit organizations than virtually any other region in the U.S. If you are interested in public service broadly defined, we encourage you to apply to one of our programs. Chicago is one of the best places in the world to study the most important public issues of our time, and we offer several degree programs for people interested in making a difference on public issues through careers in the public, nonprofit, or private sectors.

We offer a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, Master of Public Administration, Doctorate in Public Administration, and Graduate Certificate in Survey Research Methods. These programs differ in the specific competencies stressed, but they share the objective of providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively confront the problems that challenge the civic, fiscal, and economic sustainability of our neighborhoods, cities, and regions and to lead the organizations and policy networks critical to the quality of life in our urban communities. Our department is currently ranked 9th nationally in urban policy and city management, 26st in public finance and budgeting, and is the top ranked public affairs department in Illinois and 37th of the 266 programs nationwide included in the most recent ranking of departments published by the U.S. News and World Report (2012). Our department was also ranked 2nd among public universities and 8th overall in a nationwide study of public administration and policy programs that focuses on research productivity. Our MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Our students are part of a vibrant community of students, teachers and researchers engaged in urban issues at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The DPA is one of two academic departments and nine research centers within the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. CUPPA is a nationally recognized innovator in education, research, and engagement in support of the nation’s cities and metropolitan areas. CUPPA ‘s blend of basic research, university-community engagement, policy analysis, and profession-based graduate programs attracts excellent students and reinforces the connections between our research centers and our academic programs. Our department’s programs embrace CUPPA’s teaching and research commitment to developing solutions to the problems of economic, political, and social disparities, local government finance, and regional and civic governance affecting urban regions throughout the world.

Through our Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, we introduce undergraduate students to important public issues and teach them the skills to understand how public policy is made and the techniques that can be used to understand the impacts of these policies. Our problems are global, the world increasing urban, and the issues that our society must confront are increasingly complex. Climate change, hazard mitigation and disaster response, transportation systems, affordable housing, and economic development are among the many problems that can be improved through policy analysis.


The mission of our NASPAA accredited Master of Public Administration program is to provide professional education for a diversity of public service careers in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors that is informed by scholarly research, engaged with administrative and policy communities, and dedicated to ethical and equitable practices. Students can concentrate their coursework on the study of city and regional governance, financial management, information and performance management, nonprofit management, public management, and survey research methods. Our MPA program embraces CUPPA’s teaching and research commitment to integrating theory and practice and to advancing our understanding of economic, political, and social disparities, local government finance, and regional and civic governance.


Finally, our doctoral program prepares students to be researchers and scholars who can contribute to our understanding of important questions of public and nonprofit management, public budgeting and financial management, public policy, and urban and regional governance. It provide a rigorous program of study in theories of management, finance, public policy, and institutional analysis and training in advanced methods of analysis for students who seek to conduct original research. Many of our graduates go on to faculty positions in universities, but there is no set path for people with these kinds of skills. It is the highest degree awarded by our department and it is life changing!


I will close this welcome message with a few words about me. My career has taken me from the suburban sprawl of South Florida, to historic Charleston, onto distressed and depopulating Detroit, and most recently to the surprisingly vibrant Kansas City. I joined UIC this fall and am excited about the possibilities of this Great City as a setting for my research and as a place for our students to learn how tackle the issues that will define this country and much of the world in the coming decades. If you share my enthusiasm for public issues and urban life, I encourage you to review the information on this website and to contact us with any questions you might have about our programs and how they might support your career goals.

Jered Carr
Professor and Department Head
Department of Public Administration

Alumni Testimonials

Anna Baccellieri


My graduate experience in the UIC Department of Public Administration prepared me for my role in higher education as well as equipped me with the tools necessary to lead change and innovative management in other government and nonprofit organizations. The blend of current theory and applied knowledge is a strength of the UIC curriculum. The faculty are leaders in public administration research and engage students in thoughtful dialogue and challenging projects. The administrative staff is very encouraging and offers great support and service to students.

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