Degree: Public Administration
Graduation Year: 2017
"I am half-way through my Masters in Public Administration (MPA) degree at Capella University. I am taking one class per quarter, which has been a good pace for me while I work full-time and maintain my normal life. I received my BA in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 1992, attending in the traditional manner. My studies at Capella are all on-line. I will echo the other positive reviews regarding Capella’s graduate programs. If you are disciplined, and know what you want, Capella is an ideal university. The website works well, and is fluid and easy to access. They really have the access part well organized. Each week, there are required readings, plus some research to find additional articles. You receive complete access to their library, and the academic journals you will need to complete your studies. At the end of the week, you are required to submit one or two discussion essays (1-3 pages each) and respond to at least one other student’s postings. Usually, there are 1-3 longer projects/papers due each quarter as well, depending upon the class. Depending upon how well you read, it is 4-8 hours of work per week for the discussion essays, and 8-10 hours of work for the longer papers. There are no lectures, and the learning is all asynchronous (meaning it’s all when it is convenient for you). Here is the one issue; because Capella is a for-profit institution, some of the graduate students probably shouldn’t be there. Students (or learners) are required to write in the third person, and in an academic style. They are to cite their references in the appropriate way (APA 6th Edition). Many of the students do not do this. Many post like they are posting to Facebook or some blog cite. This is despite the school and the professor instructing them not to. I do not know if they fail the class, or what they are being told by the professor (since that would be private). It can be frustrating when you’re posting and writing in an academic manner, and others are not. However, this is between those students and the university, not me. I have received good grades, and am doing what I believe is good work. At the graduate level, I am not looking for a lot from the professors. I am learning from the authors of the books and articles I am reading and the essays I am composing. If you are the type of person that needs a lot of feedback and/or hand-holding, this may not be the program for you. The professors make themselves available by phone or email, but I haven’t had a need to use that access. A friend and co-worker of mine received her PhD from Capella, and also had nothing but good things to say about the university. It is not the cheapest, but it also not the most expensive. I needed an online school, and eventually narrowed it down to Capella and several others. I looked at Grand Canyon University, Walden College, Columbia College, and Arizona State University. They all seemed pretty good, and Capella worked at little better for me based upon some timing issues when I was starting in 2015. TLDR: Capella is a good university for your graduate degree, as long as you are self-disciplined and self-motivated. The learning is what you put into it, and you will write the essays and do the readings. It is by no means a “diploma mill”."