Masters of Public Administration

Masters of Public Administration 2017-01-09T16:29:52+00:00

Masters of Public Administration

You can pursue the MPA degree at all three of CPAP’s campus locations. Learn more about choosing the campus ideal for your MPA education here.

Whether your career will take you into government (federal, state, or local), non-profits, or even a for-profit industry, CPAP MPAs emerge from their degree program with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to start making a meaningful contribution to their organizations from day one and to continue to do so throughout their careers.

CPAP’s MPA curriculum is focused on three major areas: management (12 credit hours), public service (6 hours), and public policy (9 hours). The curriculum also has 9 hours of elective credits which allow students to focus their MPA on their desired area of study, whether through one of CPAP’s certificate programs or through selecting other graduate level university courses from other departments.

MPA Plan of Study


The course titles and descriptions provided here comprise the 9 “core courses” required for all CPAP MPA students as well as the final Portfolio course which students take prior to graduation. Elective courses (3 courses, 9 hours) can be filled either within the department or in other university departments and are not listed here.

This course is designed to complement the materials in PAPA 5315, Behavioral Skills for Managers, and PAPA 5316, System Skills for Public Managers. The premise is that in order to understand and apply the skills of public administration and the systems within which administrators work, it is essential to understand the dynamics of public administration and democracy. The course covers the origins and development of the administrative state and surveys major theoretical approaches to public administration. The problem of values in administration, the political environment of bureaucracy, and questions of ethical behavior in administration are discussed.

The first of a sequence of two; provides theoretically grounded but practical knowledge on behavioral skills necessary for the public manager. These include the ability to lead, to supervise, to organize, and to communicate in public settings and in agencies serving the community and society.
The second of a sequence of two, teaches the techniques and technology necessary to manage public organizations efficiently and effectively and to be held accountable for administrative actions and programs. The general objective of this course is to develop an understanding of the organization as a complex system and develop skills in tools and processes used to manage the system and deal with the complexity. Topics include systems methods and approaches, program and project management, strategic planning, and tools to support decision-making.
The final course prior to graduation from the MPA program, students in this course assemble and present a portfolio of work completed while enrolled in the program. This portfolio serves as both a self-assessment and as a representation of the best work students produce through their core courses. Students must be sure to illustrate achieving mastery of all parameters defined in the CPAP Policy Guide. Students must pass this course prior to graduating from the program
This course is one of the core requirements in public policy for both the Ph.D. and MPA programs in the Center for Public Administration and Policy. It provides an introduction to the traditions, assumptions, and diverse perspectives of the field of public policy inquiry. Explores the processes of policy-making and techniques of policy analysis in and for government, critiques the literature, and examines relationships with other fields and topics of public administration.
This course examines the theory and practice of public policy design and decision-making. The course combines an introduction to the basic tools of policy analysis – cost-benefit and multi-attribute analysis, decision-trees, and other analytical techniques – with consideration of the conflicting values and limitations on rationality that define policy decision-making in the real world. Prerequisites for entry in this course: Completion of PAPA 6214, 6514, and of an undergraduate or graduate Introductory Statistics course.
This course surveys the public budgeting processes of public organizations and their relationship to the political and organizational contexts of public management. Examines the strategic role budgeting plays in planning, decision making and resource allocation and explores contrasting norms and behaviors of participants, their impacts on policy, and their implications for democracy. Processes studied include the work of budget analysts, decision making processes, control and financial accounting, and intergovernmental interaction.
This course surveys the key personnel processes of public organizations, the contrasting norms and behaviors of participants, their impacts on policy, and their implications for democracy.
This course provides a critical analysis of claims to justice and surveys major perspectives on ethics and public life. The course places a particular emphasis on the role of public managers and the ethical challenges of public administration in a constitutional democracy. The course combines readings of moral and political philosophy with examination of present-day cases, and invites students to subject their own views to critical examination.
This course is intended to introduce students to (1) the multiple relationships that exist between theory and evidence in the pursuit of knowledge about public administration and public policy and (2) useful tools needed to make practical application of that knowledge at the strategic level of decision making in large, networked public organizations.

Prerequisite: Statistics
The core focus of this course is to help you develop a mindset about what might be termed “strategic methodology,” a personal sensitivity for the use of theoretical perspectives, evidence and systematic inquiry to help you contribute to strategic decision making at the policy level.

Join the newsletter

Get the latest news about the School of Public and International Affairs!

Powered by ConvertKit