The MPA curriculum is designed to develop leadership and educate students in public administration principles such as executive problem solving, human capital management and policy analysis. The program is also designed to fit the schedules of working students and their sponsoring agencies. All courses have an academic core but emphasize the application of critical skills to the leadership and managerial functions.

The Master of Public Administration degree is designed to prepare students for career service in national, state, or local government, in regional planning agencies, and in nonprofit or voluntary organizations.

Course List (12 courses, 36 units)

Required Courses

Core Courses

  • MPA 610: Introduction to Contemporary Public Administration
  • MPA 620: Research Methods for Public Administrators I
  • MPA 621: Research Methods for Public Administrators II
  • MPA 643: Public Sector Human Resources Management
  • MPA 644: Public Finance and Budgeting in the Public Sector
  • MPA 650: Contemporary Public Policy Making

Culminating Experience:

  • MPA 697S: Comprehensive Examination

Option Courses

Following are option courses within the MPA Nonprofit Sector Management.  Students will complete five pre-selected courses below.

  • MPA 632D: Overview of Non-Profit Organizational Management
  • MPA 632E: Strategic Planning, Needs Assessment and Program Design
  • MPA 632F: Issues and Problems in Human Resources, Board and Volunteer Management in Non-Profits
  • MPA 632G: Non-Profit Finance and Financial Management
  • MPA 632H: Funding and Resource Development for Non-Profit Organizations
  • MPA 632I: Program Implementation and Management for Non-Profit Services

Course Highlights

course name units description
Introduction to Contemporary Public Administration 3 This course examines the evolution of the study of public administration with a focus on current debates and approaches in the field. Significant attention will be paid to the numerous challenges facing America's large and diverse metropolitan areas. This course will address these issues and review new strategies to improve public governance through effective public management and community engagement.
Research Methods for Public Administrators I 3 The course combines design methodology, data collection and management (processing), and pertinent domain knowledge in the public sector. The course reviews the benefits and challenges presented in public sector research, as well as ethical issues, risks and biases associated with the design and data collection process. Students will develop habits of mind of evidence-based managers and understand the evidence requirements for ethical and inclusive decision-making.
Research Methods for Public Administrators II 3 Prerequisite: MPA 620. This course builds upon the MPA 620 Research methods for public administration. Public sector managers who adopt an evidence-based, value-driven mindset must translate analytical know-how and an understanding of complex problems into actionable insights. This course entails learning by doing, considering a range of topics/problems, design purposes (exploratory, descriptive, explanatory), data types and sources, application domains, and key measurement indicators within organizations.
Management of Nonprofit Organizations 3 The non-profit sector is growing in both size and importance in our nation. This course meets the needs of the professional administrator who works within the sector as well as the government employee who works in cooperation with the sector. Participants examine and analyze impacts on social policy, governance through boards of directors, legal and fiscal responsibilities, policy formulation, operational and strategic planning, budgets, finance, fundraising and fund development, public and private ventures, and partnerships with business, government and the community.
Strategic Planning, Needs Assessment and Program Design 3 This course examines the critical interconnections among the organization's strategic goals and objectives, community needs assessments, program design to meet those needs, and meeting the organization's stated mission. Students will gain knowledge of the strategic planning process through an experiential approach that creates the mission, identifies long-range goals, and develops objectives and effective action plans. The course then gives students exposure to the full cycle of activities to examine organizational effectiveness by exploring approaches to community needs assessment and building programs and evaluation processes to meet the issues reflected in that assessment.
Issues and Problems in Human Resources, Board and Volunteer Management in Non-Profits 3 This course is an introduction to the aggregate of the human resource management process in complex organizations. The course will focus on current policy issues and problems that challenge not only human resource specialists but supervisory and managerial personnel as well. Further, beyond the internal focus, the course will also examine the external human resource issues brought to non-profit organizations by governing boards and volunteers. Students will study important HR policy issues for their political, legal, social, ethical, and organizational ramifications.
Non-Profit Finance and Financial Management 3 This course exposes the student to non-profit financial management concepts and practices, including the framework for budgeting, financial analysis, internal controls, and reporting. Students will engage in practical exercises and learn to use tools for ethical and competent financial management. The course will introduce and cement the partnership between non-profit programming and effective financial management, identifying the intersections among governance, programmatic vision and financial practices.
Funding and Resource Development for Non-Profit Organizations 3 This course examines how fundraising functions and its critical role in non-profit management. In this course, students will learn what elements must be in place before a non-profit organization raises money; how to design and implement various approaches to raising funds, including grant writing, events and major gifts; and how to develop, manage and evaluate an annual fundraising plan.
Program Implementation and Management for Non-Profit Services 3 This course will examine the policies, strategies and the decision-making process to support successful program implementation from a manager's perspective. Non-profit policy formulation places emphasis on training managers to develop and analyze problems, in terms of choosing goals and organizing resources to achieve them. Students will be given the opportunity to formulate strategic implementation considerations using environmental analysis, resource assessment, goal determination, program planning and evaluation and performance overview. This course will concentrate on the process of implementing programs and the role of advocacy in achieving programmatic and overall mission attainment.
Public Sector Human Resources Management 3 This course educates students about human resources management as they will experience it in leadership positions within various non-profits and the civil service.
Beyond the core functions, the course will teach students to apply theories, concepts, and best practices, including diversity management, to the ethical challenges they will face in senior leadership positions.
Public Finance and Budgeting in the Public Sector 3 This course provides students with a foundation in the concepts, terminology, and techniques in the art and science of public sector budgeting and fiscal administration. Students use real-world examples to analyze various forms of inclusive budgeting and revenue and expenditure planning, evaluate & analyze financial health, problem-solve fiscal activities in governmental units, and gain "hands-on" budget analysis and written and oral presentation experience. Recommended preparatory courses: MPA 620 and 621.
Contemporary Public Policy Making 3 This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the various approaches and processes of public policymaking by connecting theory with practice. Students will develop a breadth of knowledge and skills necessary to address the pre-decision, decision, and post-decision stages of policymaking. Students will examine the relationship between values, including equity, efficiency, social justice, and procedural fairness, and the politics of policymaking in the public sector.
Comprehensive Exam 3 Students selecting this option prepare for examination in General Public Administration and in two Specialized Subfields.