Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions



About the Program

What makes this program special?

Most Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs focus on preparation of students for technical and leadership positions within public and not-for-profit agencies and organizations.

In contrast, this program focuses on preparing students for positions in agencies and organizations that assess and investigate the performance of other agencies and organizations and the officials at all levels of such agencies.

What is the MPA degree?

The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) describes the MPA: "Over the past 50 years, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) have emerged as vital professional degrees in the public service field. Numerous policymakers, manager and leaders in the United States and internationally have earned these degrees to help launch their successful careers."

NASPAA's GoPublicService Website provides a thorough explanation of the MPA degree and the many programs offering the degree.

Is the program accredited?

John Jay College of Criminal Justice is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. All of the degree programs offfered by John Jay College are included in this accreditation.

In additional, John Jay College's MPA Program - including the MPA Inspector General Program which is a track of the overall MPA Program - is accredited by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation of the National Associatoin of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Is the program nationally ranked?

The only ranking of public administration and public affairs programs is published by U.S. News and World Report in their Best Graduate Schools guide. In that guide, John Jay College's MPA program is ranked in the top 20% of the 269 programs listed.


About Inspection and Oversight

What is inspection and oversight?

Please review our Field of Inspection and Oversight web page for an explanation of the field and a set of links to agencies and associations.

Are there jobs in this field?

Yes. Even in hard economics times, the prevention and detection of waste, fraud and abuse is an essential priority. In the Field of Inspection and Oversight page we provide a link to Federal position openings.

The MPA Program also maintains a career opportunities database that focuses on state, local and independent-sector positions in the field.

Can the degree be useful outside of traditional inspection and oversight agencies?

Our program awards the Master of Public Administration degree with a specialization in inspection and oversight. Graduates therefore have a credential that represents broad preparation for public service, as well as specialized preparation in an important field.

Our graduates find that the specialized preparation in inspection and oversight is valuable even hen competing for positions in traditional public service areas, because practically all organizations are subject to external review and assessments. Why not select a job applicant who is generally well-prepared and especially prepared for those times when external evaluation and assessment will take place?

The skills and techniques of inspection and oversight are also important is a range of positions in public and private organizations which do not provide inspection and oversight as their primary missions. For example, many private corporations need skilled professionals for regulatory compliance, risk management, incident assessment, performance assessment, and for specialized investigations and studies. Another example is the field of investigative journalism.



How do I apply?

See our MPA IG Online Program Admissions Page for specifics on how to apply and what to submit.

Email our Program Administrator, Diana Neff, at for specific assistance about how to proceed.

Do I need a particular undergraduate degree to qualify for admission?

Applicants must either have completed a baccalaureate degree, or must demonstrate that they will complete one before starting the graduate course of study. No particular degree is required, but students are expected to have completed at least 18 credits (typically 6 courses) of social science courses.

Applicants must also complete an undergraduate statistics course, but this requirement can be fulfilled during the summer before starting in the program or during the first semester. The statistics course is a prequisite to the research methods course that students take in the second semester of study.



What courses must be completed?

See our Curriculum page for a complete explanation of the course of study.

Are there other requirements?

In addition to completing the course requirements, students must also take and pass a qualifying examination which will be administered during the second semester of study.

Can graduate courses from other universities and colleges be substituted for courses in the program?

Students may substitute up to four graduate courses taken at other colleges and universities, subject to several conditions.

  • If a course is to replace a required course in the program, the course content must correspond to the content of the required course.
  • For a course that will fulfill one of the two elective course requirements, the course must have some relationship to the program curriculum and the student's course of study.

Students may take courses for substitution while they are in the program, but it is recommended that approval for the substitution take place befroe the student registers for the course.

NY State education regulations require that some of the courses completed in our program have a degree of face-to-face contact between the student and the professor. Thus, it may not be possible to substitute fully-online distance learning courses completed at other colleges and universities if the substitution would result in variance from the rule for the student involved. This will be assessed and determined on a case-by-case basis.

The decisions are based on a review of the course involved by one of the Program Directors. The Program Adminstrator can assist in determing the documents that should be submitted in support of a transfer and substitution request.

In no case can more than four courses be substituted.

What about the Association of Inspectors General Institutes?

John Jay College is reviewing the curricula of the the three certification institutes offered by the Association of Inspectors General:

  • Certified Inspector General
  • Certified Inspector General Investigator
  • Certified Inspector General Auditor

The institutes are under consideration for authorization to grant 3 credits (equal to one course) of external credit toward the MPA IG program. Once a determination is made, it will be reflected here and in other program advising documents.


What are the tuition and fees charged for the program?

The college maintains up-to-date information about tuition and fees here: Graduate Tuition and Fees Schedule.

The Board of Trustees has approved a waiver of the out-of-state portion of tuition for students in the National Online MPA-IG Program. Therefore, out-of-state students in this program will pay the in-state tuition rates.

As is the case for most colleges and universities, tuition and fee increases may be announced from time to time.

What will it cost to attend the two conferences?

Students will be responsible for the costs of travel, hotel accommodations and conference registration. The Association has consistently set a student rate for conference registration that is generiously discounted.

What are textbooks likely to cost?

Textbooks can be an expensive category of cost for any academic program. The onlineMPA Inspector General Program has instituted several initiatives to control costs:

  • An all-program textbook plan is being set up, with many of the textbooks supporting assignments in more than one course.
  • Many readings - particularly official documents - will be made available as online documents.
  • Whenever possible, students will be able to purchase books through online vendors and will be able to select from new and used copies.

Does the college charge students to accept transfer credits?

There is no charge, for matriculated students, associated with approval or transcript-posting of transfer credits.

Face-to-Face Meetings

How will the face-to-face class meetings take place?

The face-to-face meetings will take place at the site of the Spring conferences of the Association of Inspectors General. The precise logistics will be worked out once the site is announced, but the general plan is as follows:

  • The conferences general begin around noon on Wednesday of the week of the conferences and end Friday at noon. Students would be expected to arrive by the start of the conference, so they could travel on Wednesday morning.
  • Class meetings are scheduled based on the program of each conference, but generally take place on Wednesday evening (2 hours), Thursday morning (2 hours), and Friday afternoon (3 hours).

This schedule would permit students to attend most of the sessions of the conference, and the class discussions will be integrated with the conference presentations.

What if I miss the conference?

Students who miss the conference will receive an incomplete grade in the courses involved and will be given the opportunity to make up the work in at the subsequent Fall conference of the Association.

Will there be networking opportunities at the conference?

The conference offers many networking opportunities, and the program intends to arrange for supplemental events such as a hospitality room and reception. The nature of the events would be worked out with the program committee for the conference involved.


Other Questions

Could I take just one course?

The program is designed for cohorts of students to complete together. Therefore we do not allow enrollment in selected courses by students who are not admitted to the program.

Can I combine courses in this program with courses in John Jay's campus-based MPA program?

Students in the program may take up to four courses outside of the National Online program courses. It is best to obtain specific approval by the Program Coordinator for the coures involved.

For out-of-state students, the out-of-state tuition rates will apply for John Jay courses that are not part of the National Online program.

Can a student in the campus-based MPA Program take a course in the National Online program?

The program is designed for cohorts of students to complete together. Therefore we do not allow enrollment in selected courses by students who are not admitted to the National Online program.

Can a student in the campus-based MPA Program apply to and be admitted into the National Online program?

This is possible, but the student's request will be considered on the same basis as other admission applications to the program. See the Admissions Page for more information.