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USC Online MPA Fall 2011


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I'm interested in learning whether anybody applied and has gotten into the new USC Online MPA Program that begins Fall 2011. I'm wondering if it's more competitive than the regular MPA program and how large the class will be (I'm assuming more since everything is online). Any insights would be great, as I'm strongly considering to apply for Fall 2012 for the flexibility. Thanks!

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  • 4 months later...

I was interested as well, and in thirty minutes I received a call from Robert.... He was very nice and I'm really sad to say this but he was trying to sell me the program! I have had this happen from UCLA's college of Extended learning and UC Berkeley's Paralegal online program! I'm at a loss for words because I know USC MPA program is top notch; however, without a graduating class to hear info from I don't know either. It is also very expensive but I wonder if more than their other programs. You can complete it in a year though. I am so confused now.

angry.gif (JUST GRADUATED AND I'M UNEMPLOYED, SO WHY NOT GET INTO MORE DEBT AH?! )

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Hi.

Just to let you know there is one person who did apply and was accepted into the first distance cohort of the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development's MPA program who will be able to do the degree primarily online, notwithstanding the periodic residency requirements. Most of the discussion board chatter I've seen about this program so far revolves around how aggressive the Embanet people (whom USC/SPPD has contracted to do marketing) are when prospective students inquire. I guess the Embanet enrollment advisers are under a lot of pressure to get people signed up as I'm sure USC paid them a lot of money to do the initial administrative legwork for them. Remember that in the private sector you either produce or get fired - that's just life. Apparently this is how online programs are launched these days, especially those from elite universities who need help while building their own sustainable administrative infrastructure. After all, there is a temporal element involved here: the longer it takes to get students enrolled the longer it takes to stop hemorrhaging investment capital. Anyway, I wouldn't put too much stock in people complaining about the initial salesmanship going on. Those complaints tend to strike me as petty and from people not fully cognizant of how the higher education industry operates in the brave new world of online degree evolution. Soon they won't have to market this program much at all.

Clearly the online MPA from USC SPPD is going to be exceptional, just like their on-campus program is exceptional, especially in the area of local government and non-profit management. The professors are the same, the quality of classmates admitted will be the same (or better considering the real-world professional experience they bring to the discussions), the research resources will be the same, and the degree parchment will be the same. Likewise the cost is also the same, well actually it's a little more expensive than the on-campus program. However, USC SPPD provides the same financial awards to online students as to on-campus students, so if you think you can compete with the best students who will be applying you should not let the cost scare you off. You'd be amazed how affordable a merit scholarship or fellowship can make the program. Also, if you are lucky enough to have a decent employer who offers tuition reimbursement, the sticker price isn't nearly as important.

It's also probably worth mentioning that if you do want to be a part of this program, there are pros and cons of applying now versus later. If you get in quick, you will benefit from extremely small and intimate classes and incredible personal attention from some very prestigious professors who are fully behind and supportive of the online learning environment. This is unheard of in any other program and is an opportunity that probably won't be available to anyone again for a very long time, if ever. If you wait you will probably have more diverse course and degree options, normal size classes of around two dozen, and a higher tuition bill.

Finally, I'd just like to point out how fast other elite public affairs academies are jumping on USC SPPD coattails in regards to offering an online MPA. Take for example Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. It certainly says a lot about academic and scholarly leadership when other elite programs within the top tier of international rankings move to emulate your educational model in order to stay current and competitive. USC SPPD has positioned itself to be a global leader in local government and non-profit management, and over the next decade everyone else is going to be trying to catch up.

I hope this was helpful, though I expect at least one person will disagree with some of my assertions and post their opinions below.

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I just received notice yesterday that I was accepted into the online mpa program at the SPPD. I would like to hear from other students that were accepted into this program. I live in New York, I was offered a choice between Washington D.C. and L.A. for the residencies. I chose L.A, because I want to meet some of the professors that teach in the program, as well as see the campus. Hopefully I can catch a Trojans game as well!

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  • 7 months later...

I just received notice yesterday that I was accepted into the online mpa program at the SPPD. I would like to hear from other students that were accepted into this program. I live in New York, I was offered a choice between Washington D.C. and L.A. for the residencies. I chose L.A, because I want to meet some of the professors that teach in the program, as well as see the campus. Hopefully I can catch a Trojans game as well!

John Zee, did you ever attend the online MPA program or did you choose another one?

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