Fels Institute of Government

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Fels Institute of Government
Fels Institute of Government.jpg
Fels Institute of Government
General information
Status Previously the home of Samuel S. Fels
Location 3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Coordinates 39°57′13″N 75°12′00″W / 39.9535°N 75.2000°W / 39.9535; -75.2000Coordinates: 39°57′13″N 75°12′00″W / 39.9535°N 75.2000°W / 39.9535; -75.2000

The Fels Institute of Government is the University of Pennsylvania's graduate program in public policy and public management. Its practical approach to public management education, its Ivy League pedigree and its relatively small size make it one of the nation's leading boutique programs in public affairs. The Institute was founded in 1937 by Samuel Simeon Fels of the Fels Naptha Soap Company in response to a wave of corruption and mismanagement in Pennsylvania government.[citation needed] Originally established for the purpose of training local government officials, over time Fels broadened its mission; it now prepares its students for public leadership positions in city, state, and Federal agencies, elective politics, nonprofit organizations, and private firms with close connections to the public sector. Its 2,000 living alumni work in leadership roles across the US and around the world.[citation needed] As of August, 2015 the Executive Director of the Fels Institute is Dr. Nelson Lim.

The Fels Institute is housed in Samuel Fels' former residence, a brick mansion located on the west end of the University of Pennsylvania's campus.


Fels offers a Master of Public Administration degree in both a full-time and executive (part-time) formats. Fels also offers four-course certificates in Nonprofit Administration and Public Finance.

The University of Pennsylvania[edit]

Penn students can take elective courses in any of the University's 12 graduate schools. Students can also take advantage of multiple dual degree options, including the Juris Doctor-Master of Public Administration (JD/MPA) degree in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the MBA/MPA with the Wharton School, the MEd/MPA through the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, and the MSSP/MPA in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice.

The MPA degree[edit]

The MPA is a 12-course program designed to provide a broad-based education that prepares students to move within and between government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private firms engaging in public sector work. The curriculum develops core competencies in analysis, management, finance, and politics that are applicable to different contexts.[peacock term] Eight core courses cover the fundamentals of effective public administration, developing competencies in analysis, management, finance and politics. Four elective courses give students the opportunity to apply the skills and theories introduced in the core courses to a particular policy topic or sector.


Courses at Fels are divided into four categories: politics, economic development and growth, nonprofit administration, and public finance. A Fels certificate can be earned in any of these areas; or students who wish for broader training can take classes from multiple areas.

Courses include: Policy Development, Performance Management, Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations, Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking, Leadership and Politics, Dealing With the Media, Public Finance Investment Banking, The Politics of Housing and Community Development, Lobbying, State Elective Politics, and Foundations and Grant Management.


Faculty members include: