MPA Combined Degree Programs

Undergraduate-to-graduate (U2G) degree options are available allowing students to earn a graduate degree in public affairs and an undergraduate degree in less time than would be required to obtain the two degrees independently. This is because courses for one degree are considered as elective credit for the other degree program.

Undergraduate-to-graduate (U2G) degree options

This is a universal U2G. It is open to students in all undergraduate majors at the University of Iowa.

Admission and Eligibility

Students should apply before the end of their junior year.

To be eligible for the MPA U2G program, students must have the following record:

  • Completion of 80 s.h. of undergraduate work
  • Transfer students need to have completed 30 s.h. at the University of Iowa
  • GPA of 3.25
  • Program is usually completed in senior year (senior classification/standing)

Additional information is available from the school’s Admissions Coordinator, Anne Nessa. Appointments with Anne may be made through Calendly.


Under the MPA U2G program, students are able to take up to 15 semester hours of credit in the MPA program that will also count toward the undergraduate degree. Students may select from the following courses (descriptions available in the General Catalog).

PBAF:5111 American Public Policy 3 s.h.
PBAF:5117 Bureaucratic Politics and Public Administration 3 s.h.
PBAF:6200 Analytic Methods 1 3 s.h.
PBAF:6205 Economics for Policy Analysis 3 s.h.
PBAF:6208 Program Seminar 1 s.h.
PBAF:6233 Public Finance and Budgeting 3 s.h.
PBAF:6240 Public Management 3 s.h.


While the requirements of each U2G degree option vary, all have several key features in common. In each case a student must:

  • Complete an approved area of concentration (either public and nonprofit management or public policy) in public affairs.
  • Take at least 42 semester hours of public affairs courses that have been previously approved to count towards the master’s degree.
  • Unless otherwise specified, a capstone is required of students in combined degree programs.
  • Satisfy public affairs’ final examination requirement

Graduate-to-graduate options with other disciplines

Formalized combined graduate degree options have been established with the following:

It is possible to receive a master's degree in public affairs in conjunction with a graduate degree in another discipline, even when a formalized graduate-to-graduate degree program does not exist. Examples would be a graduate-to-graduate degree in urban and regional planning or public health.

University policy requires that prior administrative approval be granted, and a minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate credit be completed to receive two master's degrees. However, courses taken to satisfy one unit's requirements also may be applied to meet the other unit's requirements. Some credits can be shared when one master’s degree requires, or both master’s degrees require, more than 30 semester hours of graduate credit. (No more than ¼ of the credits necessary for one degree may be composed of coursework taken for the other degree.) In all cases, combined degree programs require at least 60 semester hours of graduate credit and each unit's degree requirements must be met. See the Graduate College Manual, section X. G.

Admission to combined degree programs

Separate applications for admission to public affairs and to the other academic unit are required. When applying to each unit, please indicate on the Graduate College Application that you are applying for a combined degree program with public affairs and the other unit.

Tuition for combined degree programs

U2G students are assessed undergraduate level tuition and fees during their first year of the U2G program (students' 4th or senior year), and until the bachelor's degree is conferred. 

As a member of a graduate-to-graduate degree program, students may pay the greater of the two programs' tuition costs. Students are encouraged to consult the Graduate College to determine the tuition amount.