Masters in Public Administration

Offered primarily as an evening program, the Master's Degree in Public Administration (MPA) provides a rigorous 40 unit curriculum that emphasizes the background and skills required to effectively analyze, formulate, and implement public policy in local, state, and national government, and to achieve similar programmatic goals in nonprofit agencies. The program recognizes a need for a strong combination of theoretical and practical learning. Students choose from two concentrations: 1) Public Management; or 2) Nonprofit Agency Management.

Each student is required to complete a 20-unit analytic core, a 16-unit concentration, 4 units of electives, and a culminating experience of either a comprehensive exam or master's thesis. If students choose the thesis option, they can apply the four units received for a thesis to the elective requirement. Students who choose the comprehensive exam must use regular coursework for the elective units, and register for an additional four units of Pols 596 Graduate Tutorial, in the semester they take the exam. Courses are based upon the professional curriculum established for public administration programs by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Core courses include: organizational theory; fiscal and budget administration; research methods; program implementation; planning and evaluation; and nonprofit dynamics. The two concentrations include specialized courses oriented toward the operation and management of public and nonprofit agencies. Concentration courses typically include fiscal management; personnel administration; legal issues; public policy; labor relations; marketing and resource development for nonprofits; and grants and contract management. Electives cover a wide range of important topics, including: ethics; organizational computer usage; and internships. Electives are generally taken from the MPA curriculum.

Certificate Program in Administration of Nonprofit Agencies

In addition to regular public administration courses, the Political Science Department also offers a graduate Certificate Program in the Administration of Nonprofit Agencies. Oriented toward the needs of staff and program administrators, executive directors, and those interested in employment in nonprofit agencies, this integrated series of courses provides an overview of contemporary trends in nonprofit agency development, activity, and resource development, and offers intensive exposure to the practical managerial and administrative techniques necessary for agency survival.

The Certificate Program requires 24 units of course work, all of which may be applied toward the MPA degree. Although students in the nonprofit certificate program are encouraged to pursue the MPA Degree, there is no requirement to do so. In the Certificate Program, students enroll in 16 units of specialized courses in the nonprofit concentration, and 8 units of electives which typically come from the core MPA curriculum. Electives are chosen from the MPA Core Curriculum in consultation with the MPA Coordinator.