Office of Admissions

The Wilder School became an independent school at VCU in 2013, when it separated from the College of Humanities and Sciences. That means your degree will have the distinction of being from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. What's more, there’s a strong legacy behind our name. We're named for L. Douglas Wilder — the nation’s first black elected governor, Virginia’s first black lieutenant governor, a former state senator and the first popularly elected mayor of Richmond in decades. The Wilder School embodies the values of independent thought and public service championed by Governor Wilder, who brings that commitment to good governance as a distinguished professor of public policy. Visit wilder.vcu.edu for more information.

Degrees Offered

Criminal justice: Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs
Homeland security and emergency preparedness: Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs
Public administration: M.P.A., accelerated B.A./M.P.A., certificate and dual-degree programs
Public policy and administration: Doctoral program
Urban and regional studies/planning: Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs

These areas are available as both majors or minors.

Fields of Specialization/Study Tracks

Criminal Justice Policy Management
Government (Public) Administration
Housing / Economic Development
Nonprofit Management
Urban Studies / Regional Planning

Graduate Program Overview

The M.P.A. program at the Wilder School equips students with skills in public management and policy analysis. Our graduates pursue careers at nonprofits and federal, state and local governments, as well as for-profit organizations that cooperate with the public sector. With flexible evening, off-campus and online courses, the majority of our students are full-time working professionals. However, we also welcome full-time pre-service professionals with a demonstrated interest in public service.

We're a top 50 public affairs university: we moved up 17 places in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings for best graduate public affairs program in the nation, coming in at No. 39.

The Master of Public Administration program’s mission supports a “generalist” conception of public administration. This seems quite appropriate as the students come from diverse academic and employment backgrounds and find jobs in a wide variety of government and nonprofit organizations.

The program’s mission includes the following goals:
Prepare professional public managers, public officials and citizens to meet the challenges of public service in both government and nonprofit sectors
Advance the state of knowledge in the field of public administration through scholarly research and publications
Serve the profession and local, state, federal and international communities by extending faculty expertise and intellectual resources.

Admissions Deadline

Fall Apr 1 (Mar 1 for financial aid) GRE, GMAT, MAT or LSAT
Spring Oct 1
Summer Feb 1

Admissions Overview

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, selection is made on the basis of prior academic performance, professional accomplishments and other indicators of the ability to pursue graduate studies and a professional career in public management successfully. Specifically, the application for admission requires a transcript documenting the completion of a bachelor’s degree, three letters of reference (including both academic and professional references if possible), a current resume and a satisfactory standardized test score (GRE, GMAT, MAT or LSAT). Students submitting LSAT scores must have taken an undergraduate math course (algebra, statistics or finite mathematics) and passed with a minimum grade of C.

No applicant will be considered for admission to the M.P.A. program within two years of having been terminated from the program or of having been rejected for admission to the program.

These deadlines are designed to allow sufficient time for application review and admission processing. Applications may be submitted after the deadline; however, there is no guarantee of sufficient time for processing. Any application submitted too late for current semester processing will be considered for the following semester. Please contact the program chair with specific application questions.

Contact Information

923 W. Franklin Street
Richmond, VA

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