Public Administration (MPA)

Public Administration (MPA) Curriculum

Candidates with less than a 2.5 GPA may be considered for admission. Provisional acceptance on a case-by-case basis may be granted by the Program Coordinator.

All provisionally accepted students with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or less will be eligible to register for up to 6 credits. Students must earn a ‘B’ grade or better in each class to be eligible to continue in the program. Any questions or clarifications may be referred to your academic advisor.

Minimum 36 Credits To Complete Degree

  • The course will focus on the classic writings that have framed the foundation of public administration over the past 120 years. The subject matter will be taught with application to current public administration practice as its principal objective.

  • This course provides an opportunity for students to explore research that relates to administrative and technical processes using various research techniques. Students undertake an in-depth review and critical investigation using qualitative and quantitative analysis. Students will be exposed to various tools and techniques appropriate to applied research and will develop a research design based on an instructor-approved topic. The research design may be used as a foundation for the capstone project.

  • This course is designed to create an awareness and sensitivity to the values and ethical issues inherent in public administration decisions. The importance of ethics in maintaining public trust in the context of representative democracies will be emphasized. Classic moral philosophies will be studied as the basis for the values and ethical practices in government today. In addition, the legal requirements for complying with legislated ethical standards will be studied.

  • Program analysis and evaluation is a seminar designed to examine the theory and practice of public program analysis as it is conducted in complex political environments.

  • This course presents the principles of financial management in the public sector. Topics include public sector operating and capital budgets, expenditures and revenues, and financial reporting and analysis at the federal, state, and local level as well as the role of financial administration in promoting the common good.

  • This course presents the principles of public personnel management and human resource administration and examines the balance between organizational and individual needs. Topics include the functional and technical aspects of human resources, strategic and operational concerns, the history of the civil service, constitutional/legal issues., employee benefits, recruiting/hiring/developing/ retaining high-quality employees, and labor union/management relations.

  • Leadership is essential in any organization for it to be effective. This course will review the special characteristics of leadership in public purpose organizations. Issues such as the impact of the political process on leadership, navigating media storms, leading and empowering employees, and maintaining a focus on public purpose will be addressed.

  • The role of public administrative law and procedure will be taught as it applies to both public and private decision-making. The effects of public administrative law and rulemaking will be presented along with the oversight provided by legislatures and public policy processes inherent in making and sustaining public policy.

  • The classic management function of planning will be reviewed in its state and local government contexts. Emphasis will be placed on planning for change management applications to social equity and on strategic planning in public decision making.

  • The Applied Project is a supervised capstone for the master's program. It is an independent, web-supported study with a graduate faculty mentor/instructor and a professional in the field to guide relevance to current public administration practice. The project is designed to build from knowledge gained during the program and to make connections between academic and professional work.

Elective Courses (6 Credits)

  • This course provides the student with an understanding of the role of nonprofit organizations in the scope of public-private purposes. It examines the role of boards and staff, vision and mission, funding and accountability, excellence in operations, and sustainability.

  • This course examines techniques for measuring and improving productivity in public organizations. Current and historical public management theories will be taught and analyzed.

  • This course will review the scope of public/private enterprise structures in the United States. Further, it will review the scope of public purchasing, public/private partnerships, privatization of public services, and contracting for public services from the private sector.

  • Classic confrontation between "politics" and "administration" will be examined in this course. The historical context of the "Good Government Movement" of the Nineteenth Century, the rise of the professions in public management, the issues of responsiveness and patronage will be taught, and the application made to current state and local government administrative practice. The political process and public policymaking will be examined.

Nonprofit Administration Specialization Curriculum


  • This course provides the student with an understanding of the role of nonprofit organizations in the scope of public-private purposes. It examines the role of boards and staff, vision and mission, funding and accountability, excellence in operations, and sustainability.

Choose 3 Courses from:

  • This course will address historical philanthropic perspectives in the nonprofit sector, purposes and principles behind philanthropic behavior, the philanthropic relationship between donors and nonprofits, and the differences between philanthropists and the casual donor and how this distinction informs nonprofit financial development programs. Informed by philanthropic/donor behavior, this course will address how to develop a financial development plan and fundraising methods including, special events, annual giving, major gift campaigns, direct mail campaigns, grants management, and marketing.

  • Informed by the unique governance structure of nonprofit organizations, this course will cover essentials in nonprofit human resources including, the principles and practices of volunteer management, recruiting and retaining paid and unpaid staff, relationship building and challenges between paid executive staff and the organization's Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors responsibilities, ethical principles, practices, accountabilities and duties.

  • This course will cover the essential principles and practices in the development of a nonprofit strategic plan and strategic action plan including identifying strategic nonprofit organizational challenges, how to assess an organization's strengths and weaknesses, the importance of an effective mission and vision to the strategic planning process, and how the effective implementation of strategic plans and action plans and their utilization by paid and unpaid staff will inform the creation of an organization-wide and specific program budget, including income and expense reporting, and annual financial reporting to organization stakeholders, the general public, and the IRS.

  • As nonprofit organizations are under increased scrutiny from grantors, contractors, and donors, both government and private to accurately report on program expenses and related outcomes, this course will inform nonprofit program evaluation techniques to meet those reporting requirements, including how to develop an outcomes-based evaluation instrument, the challenges in measuring nonprofit organizational effectiveness, the principles of organizational learning and how program evaluation can be used to determine allocation of resources and can inform strategic change.

Students electing to complete the Nonprofit Specialization must notify their academic advisor and complete the appropriate paperwork. Upon successful completion of the specialization, the register will note the specialization on the transcript.

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