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 (Six Required - 3.0 Units each)

  • 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 options available within the MPA program. Not all are available at every location. These options may be taken as stand-alone graduate certificates or as part of the MPA program (the latter qualifies for financial aid; the former does not).

  • MPA 623B: Applied Program Evaluation
  • MPA 624: The Management of Public Sector Projects
  • MPA 632A: Organizational Leadership
  • MPA 632B: Strategic Management
  • MPA 634: Public Organizational Design and Development

Course Highlights

course name units description
MPA
610
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. Particular attention will be paid to the importance of federalism and intergovernmental relations, jurisdictional challenges, administrative ethics, collaborative leadership, human resource management, organizational theory, policy making, community engagement and the role of politics and financial administration. During the course students will compare and contrast market-based approaches with more traditional bureaucratic approaches to public administration. Significant attention will be paid to the numerous challenges facing America’s large and diverse metropolitan areas. In this course, we will address these issues and review new strategies to improve public governance through effective public management and community engagement.
MPA
620
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 decision-making.
MPA
621
Research Methods for Public Administrators II 3 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.
MPA
623B
Approaches and Methods in Program Evaluation 3 This course will provide students with a diverse theoretical background and strong applied understanding of program implementation, management, and evaluation. As a result of this course, students will be able to develop, implement, and be critical consumers of public sector program evaluations. Prerequisite: MPA 620, MPA 621.
MPA
624
The Management of Public Sector Projects 3 This course familiarizes students with the key features of project management and the unique challenges presented by public sector projects. Students will gain the knowledge and skills required to oversee project management functions in a public sector organization.
MPA
632A
Organizational Leadership 3 This course is designed to familiarize students with the ethical nature and dilemmas of public sector leadership in America and globally. The curriculum will address individual ethics, ethical awareness in one’s organizational environment and the impacts of ethical responsibilities to society and beyond.
MPA
632B
Strategic Management 3 Students in this course examine how managers guide the creation of goals, setting of priorities, coordinating of disparate activities, and adjustment to a complex changing environment. While exploring the concepts and models of strategic management currently used in the public sector, students will prepare and present a strategic plan. The implications of strategic planning on social justice, ethics and external stakeholders - including disadvantaged communities - will be addressed.
MPA
634
Public Organizational design and development 3 Organizational design and development are two systematic integrated processes aimed at improving the overall effectiveness of organizational systems. Students will gain practical organizational design and development knowledge through a combination of readings, discussion forums, webinars, case studies, written assignments, and through the completion of an organizational cultural assessment project that reflects the student’s real-world work environment.
MPA
643
Public Sector Human Resources Management 3 This course is designed to educate 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.
MPA
644
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, and problem solve fiscal activities in governmental units, and gain "hands-on" budget analysis and written and oral presentation experience. Recommended preparatory: MPA 620, MPA 621.
MPA
650
Contemporary Public Policy Making 3 This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the various approaches and processes of public policy making 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.
MPA
697S
Comprehensive Exam 3 Students selecting this option prepare for examination in General Public Administration and in two Specialized Subfields.