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)

This program includes five required courses, six option courses and a Graduate Project for students admitted prior to the Spring 2019. Students admitted in the Spring 2019 and thereafter will take six required courses, five option courses and a Graduate Project.

Required Courses

Core Courses

  • MPA 610: Seminar in Public Administration & Its Environment
  • MPA 620: Research Methods for Public Administration
  • MPA 630: Seminar in Organization Theory and Human Behavior
  • MPA 642A: Ethics and Professionalism (new core requirement for students admitted Spring 2019 and thereafter)
  • MPA 644: Public Budgeting and Financial Administration
  • MPA 650: Seminar in Public Policy Process

Culminating Experience:

  • MPA 698S: Graduate Project

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
Seminar in Public Administration and Its Environment 3 In this seminar, students' personal experiences and insights create the base from which to explore the theoretical and practical aspects of public administration. This course examines the role of public administration in our society-and the role of society in public administration.
Research Methods for Public Administration 3 Sound research methods are an essential tool for helping public professionals gain an understanding of public needs and measure the success of programs. This course introduces students to the concepts, approaches and methods of research in public administration. Students explore different data collection methodologies (including experimental design, survey, observation, content analysis, case study, and evaluation) and use the computer lab (as needed) to compile statistical data for various projects and class assignments.
Organization Theory and Human Behavior 3 This course gives students a historical perspective on organization theory and examines contemporary approaches to the study of organization. The concepts discussed apply to public, private and nonprofit organizations. Students take an active role in bringing their own observations to the discussion of topics such as decision-making, power, conflict, communication, leadership, motivation, group effectiveness, organizational change, personal and organizational autonomy.
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.
Ethics & Professionalism 3 Ethical questions and challenges are part of professional life and are particularly present for those who work in the public trust. Students in this course prepare to analyze and confront ethical issues in their professional life studying professional relationships and responsibilities as well as questions of public power, violence, deception and justice.
Public Budgeting and Financial Administration 3 The ability of public officials to manage budgets, distribute resources and predict costs is crucial to a community's well-being. This course gives students a solid grounding in the concepts, terminology and techniques in the art and science of public sector budgeting and financial administration. Students use real world examples to analyze various approaches to public budgeting and revenue planning, evaluate and problem solve fiscal activities in governmental units, and gain "hands-on" budget preparation and presentation experience.
Public Policy Process 3 Public policy often determines the core of our political and personal lives. This course examines the development of legislative and regulatory policies and the role of public administrators as active participants in the policymaking process by studying problem identification, agenda setting, policy proposal and adoption. Students develop the breadth, skill and knowledge, as well as the understanding of our diverse society, needed for comprehensive analyses of public programs.
Graduate Project 3 This culminating course requires students to demonstrate their mastery of their specialization in Public Administration. Students will revise an existing research paper that they produced in one of their graduate seminars in the MPA Program and develop it into a manuscript that could be submitted as a conference paper, journal article, or academic writing sample. This course is to be taken only in the student's final semester. Available for NC/CR only.