Accepted environmental studies students who have elected to pursue the policy concentration will finish their bachelor’s degree at Purchase College while simultaneously beginning to work on a master’s degree in public administration, either online or in person, through the nationally ranked Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany. Successful participants enjoy the benefit of enrolling in graduate courses during their senior year that simultaneously count toward both the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Public Administration degrees.


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The Advantages

Taking graduate classes here and now makes good sense. It adds value to your degree by strengthening the quality of your curriculum and saves you money. Admission to the program occurs during your junior year, without the need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). As a result of beginning graduate courses during your undergraduate program, you will complete the master’s degree more quickly. The combined program should allow you to finish the master’s degree in about one-and-a-half years after completing the bachelor’s degree. The combined program results in significant monetary savings. First, you can take up to 12 credits of graduate courses at the undergraduate tuition rate. Second, by finishing a semester early you will save a full semester of graduate tuition and fees. This can potentially translate into a savings of almost $6,500 for those who have established in-state residency. Most importantly, you still graduate from Purchase College without further delay to your degree.

Why a Master of Public Administration (MPA)?

Pursuing an MPA is the natural next career step for environmental studies majors who are pursuing the policy concentration.  MPA degrees help you prepare for a wide range of job possibilities. Graduates of this program are uniquely qualified for meaningful and rewarding environmental careers in leading nonprofit organizations; federal, state, and local governments; and for-profit organizations that coordinate with the public sector.  

The University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy is a top-rated school with a highly engaged and nationally ranked MPA program. It provides excellent applied training in public administration in a variety of specialized fields. Concentrations include public management, public finance, nonprofit management, health policy, homeland security, policy analysis, information strategy and management, and local government management. Furthermore, students in the program take advantage of the campus’s strategic location and professional networks in Albany to learn real-world applications of their field by participating in an internship in a nonprofit organization, government agency, or legislative office of their choosing.

Program Requirements

Requirements for completing the combined program are straightforward. First, you must meet all the regular academic requirements for your environmental studies degree These include the minimum liberal arts and sciences graduation credit requirements, SUNY general education requirements, and both sections of your senior project. Second, you can take up to 12 graduate credits through the University at Albany during your senior year. All of these credits may be completed online and can be applied both as electives for your policy concentration and toward the courses required for the MPA. Finally, once you graduate from Purchase with your BA, you have the option to continue the MPA program until you complete all of the remaining requirements at the University at Albany for the MPA.

Combined Program Admission

The BA/MPA program is highly competitive.*  In order for your application to be reviewed, you must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher, have completed 56 total credits hours already toward your BA in environmental studies, and have received a grade of B or higher in two quantitative courses. The best time to apply is during your junior year, so that you can discuss course scheduling possibilities with your academic advisor. The University at Albany admissions department only accepts BA/MPA applications for fall admission. The application deadline at the University at Albany is June 15, at which point all applications are reviewed. An interview will be required.

*Meeting the above requirements is not a guarantee of acceptance into the program. The program is highly competitive and selective.  Students who are deemed eligible for admission shall be assessed on their overall academic achievement, readiness for graduate study, maturity, clarity of purpose with respect to pursuing professional training for work in public affairs, potential for leadership, and previous experience with internships and work in the public sphere. As a result, the minimum level of qualifications of students ultimately admitted into the program are likely to be higher than what is required to apply. 

For complete University at Albany admissions requirements, please visit the the university’s admissions department.
Note: You do not need to take the GRE.

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