Current MPA Student FAQs
The Frequently Asked Questions on this page are geared towards current MPA Students.
Am I required to use the email address that UAlbany assigned to me for correspondence with the school?
Yes. All important University communications will be sent to your UAlbany account. However, you may forward your University email to your preferred email by logging into your Webmail account, choosing “Options,” and selecting “Mail Filtering.” You will add a new rule that performs an action on all incoming messages. You will be able to sign up for your program-specific listserv using any personal email account you choose.
I received an Advisor Verification Number (AVN) from my advisor before my first semester. Can I use this AVN to register for subsequent semesters as well?
No; you will need a new AVN from your advisor each semester you register for classes. Please meet with your advisor and discuss your academic plans before the next semester’s registration period begins.
How do I register for classes?
Registering for classes at is done through MyUAlbany. Follow these instructions.
What is the Tentative Degree Program (TDP) worksheet and when is it due?
The TDP worksheet is designed to help you and your advisor determine your course schedule for the duration of your career at Rockefeller. You should complete a TDP by the end of your second semester. The TDP is kept in your student folder and can be changed if needed.
What is a Completed Degree Program (CDP) worksheet and when is it due?
The CDP worksheet lists all courses the student has taken in the program and details the courses, papers, and other requirements completed to meet the student’s field requirements. The CDP must be signed by the student’s advisor and the field chair, as well as by the PhD Director and Department chair. The CDP ensures that students have fulfilled their field requirements before being admitted to candidacy and is used by the University to clear the student for their degree. After the completion of the core and field requirements and before nomination for admission to candidacy, each student must submit a Completed Degree Program for approval by the Department.
Can I change my advisor?
Students may switch to another academic advisor by submitting a request form to switch academic advisors.
When can I begin an internship?
Most MPA students are eligible to begin the internship experience at the beginning of the second semester of class work. For more information on internships, please contact the Office of Career and Alumni Programs at (518) 442-5253, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. International students may have work restrictions tied to their visa. Please inquire about those restrictions before seeking an internship.
How many credits are required for MPA graduation?
The number of credits to graduate will vary based on your concentration courses; however, the maximum number of credits you need to graduate with an MPA degree is 49. All MPA students are required to complete the core courses, including 500, 501, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, and 509. In addition, all students must enroll in five concentration courses and complete the required internship. See the MPA manual for details on the concentrations.
What is the difference between transferring and waiving credits?
Transferring credits means that a student has already taken an equivalent graduate course at another university. Transferred courses may be counted as an elective or substituted for a required/optional course in the MPA. Courses may be waived if a student can demonstrate that equivalent experience or non-academic coursework has been completed in another setting, e.g., someone who has attended a Police Academy or special management training may already have been given the information from the professional development courses. Courses may be waived based on a series of different experiences that are equivalent to the course being waived. Courses may also be waived based on sufficient undergraduate coursework.
What do I need to do to transfer graduate course credits from another university?
A Transfer of Credit form is used to request transfer of graduate credit from another institution. The transferred course may be used as an elective or as an approved substitution for a required/optional course in the MPA program. Students must receive a grade of B or better in order to transfer credit. In submitting a transfer of credit request to your advisor, include the description of the course to be transferred in, a detailed syllabus, and any papers and exams you have from the course.
What do I need to do in order to waive a core course?
MPA courses may be waived if a student can demonstrate that equivalent experience or non-academic coursework has been completed in another setting, e.g., someone who has attended a Police Academy or special management training may already have been given the information from the professional development courses. Courses may be waived based on a series of different experiences that are equivalent to the course being waived. Courses may also be waived based on sufficient undergraduate coursework. You must file a waiver form. Note that your advisor, the professor teaching the class you wish to waive, and the department chair (in that order) all need to sign the form. You will need to meet with each of these people in order to waive a course.
I am a BA/MPA student. How many graduate courses may I take before I graduate with my BA?
BA/MPA students may complete up to 12 units in graduate courses before graduating with the BA. Taking more than 12 credits may prevent you from receiving an MPA.
I think I will graduate this semester. When may I apply?
Graduate students may apply for graduation on the first day of their last semester at the university. You apply electronically via your MyUAlbany account.
What must I do to apply for graduation?
Students are required to complete the electronic degree application through their MyUAlbany account. In addition, MPA students must submit a Completed Degree Program sheet; certificate and non-degree students must submit a tentative degree program worksheet. These forms are located in the Current Graduate Student Gateway.
Does Rockefeller hold an August graduation ceremony?
No, Rockefeller only holds a May graduation ceremony.
If I graduate in August, when can I participate in a graduation ceremony?
The University holds a December graduation ceremony, so you may participate in that in December. If you want to participate in a Rockefeller College ceremony and have 4 or less credits left to graduate, you can participate in the May ceremony before your August graduation. Otherwise, you will need to wait for the following May to participate in a Rockefeller College ceremony.
I retook a course to improve my grade. Why is the first class grade still reflected on my transcript and in my cumulative GPA?
The department corrects for retaken courses in calculation of your cumulative GPA. Therefore, the GPA used for review of academic standing and for degree clearance is adjusted and only includes the higher grade for a retaken course. However, your transcript is not corrected for retaken courses and will still show the original course grade.
How do I sign up for PAD 509? I cannot find it when I search in MyUAlbany.
PAD 509 acts as an independent study, where you need to sign up to work with an individual professor of your choice. You should contact the professor you wish to work with, and ask him or her for the appropriate class number and a permission number to register. Then you can search in MyUAlbany using the class number.
How do I sign up for an independent study?
The department has several course numbers designated to independent studies. First, you should contact the professor you wish to work with. If that professor agrees to work with you on an independent study, you should ask him or her for their class number of the appropriate independent study course and a permission number. The most popular options are PAD 697 – Guided Research (1-4 credits), PAD 695 – Readings in Public Management (4 credits), and PUB 691 – Independent Research for Public Affairs (1-12 credits). All independent study courses are S/U graded and do not contribute to your cumulative GPA. There are no graded options for independent study.
What do I do if I apply for graduation on MyUAlbany and it doesn’t allow me to choose a semester?
The most likely problem is that you missed the deadline to apply for graduation online. You must apply for graduation on MyUAlbany during the semester you plan to graduate. The deadline for that semester will be listed on MyUAlbany. If you miss the deadline, you must go to the Registrar’s office to apply for graduation in person.