Master of Public Affairs


Professors: Euel Elliott, L. Douglas Kiel, Murray J. Leaf, Richard K. Scotch, Douglas J. Watson
Associate Professors: Marie Isabelle Chevrier, Simon Fass
Assistant Professors: Paul Battaglio, Jeremy Hall, Stephanie Newbold, Alicia Schortgen
Clinical Professor: Donald Arbuckle
Clinical Assistant Professor: Kimberly Aaron
Clinical Associate Professor: Wendy Hassett
Senior Lecturers: Ted Benavides


The mission of the Master of Public Affairs is to educate professionals in public and non-profit management, policy analysis, and applied technology for effective careers in public policy and public management organizational environments. The program serves local, regional, and national communities through professional development programs, public policy, and management analyses, program and policy design, and as a forum for new ideas and approaches to policy and management problems. The curriculum is intended to train students who will ultimately assume senior staff, managerial and leadership roles in public agencies and other organizations.


The Master’s degree in Public Affairs is a professional degree with a focus on public management, policy analysis, and applied technology. The MPA program emphasizes public management, management analysis, implementation, and evaluation of public policies. The curriculum is intended to train students who ultimately will assume senior staff, managerial and leadership roles in public agencies, non-profit organizations, consulting firms, and businesses significantly affected by public policies.

The MPA program faculty is committed to producing clear and specific results for our students. Thus, the specific objectives for all graduates of the MPA program are:

1.      To Demonstrate Knowledge: Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the theoretical foundations of public management and leadership, non-profit management and leadership, policy analysis, and civic engagement in governance.

2.      To Learn Spesific Skills and Knowledge: Students will learn specific skills and knowledge that will prepare them for challenging positions of management responsibility and/or policy analysis in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

3.      To Develop Research and Writing Skills: Students will develop their research and writing skills so that they can effectively communicate their ideas based on study and research.

4.      To Present Complex Ideas and Research Findings Orally: Students will have the ability to present complex ideas and research findings orally.


Students have access to the computing facilities in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the University’s Computing Center. The School has two computing laboratories which have over 50 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R, Rats, SPSS and STATA. A computerized geographic information system, the Lexis Nexis Database, and WestLaw are also available for student use. The University’s Computing Center provides personal computers and UNIX Workstations. Many important data and reference materials are also available online via the McDermott Library and School’s memberships in numerous organizations.

Admission Requirements

The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.

The Master of Public Affairs program seeks applications from students with a baccalaureate degree for an accredited university or college. A 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and a combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 1000 on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or equivalent score on the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), are preferred. Students may also wish to consider submitting their score from the writing component of the GRE test as additional evidence of their writing skills. An analytical writing score of at least 4.5 in the GRE is considered desirable.  Standardized test scores are only one of the factors taken into account in determining admission. Students should also submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation and a one-page essay outlining the applicant’s background, education, and professional objectives.


Some students may need to take courses that prepare them adequately for core coursework. In general, students who lack a background in mathematics or microcomputing may be required to take courses designed to prepare them for the material to which they will be exposed in these courses. Students should consult with the graduate advisor regarding specific courses to be taken.

Degree Requirements

The University’s general degree requirements are discussed here.

Students seeking a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) degree must complete at least 42 semester credit hours of work in the program. The program has four components: a 24 hour core, 15 hours of directed electives, and 3 hours of internship or policy research workshop. Students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in the core courses and an overall grade point average of 3.0 to graduate.

Core Courses (24 hours)

All MPA students should complete the core courses as soon as possible. A full-time student entering the program will normally take three core courses and one additional course each semester. The workshop or internship is usually undertaken when the student has completed most of the other degree requirements.

Required core courses for the MPA:

PA 5303 Public Policymaking and Institutions
PA 5307 Economics for Public Policy or PA 6342 Local Economic Development or PA 5305 Microeconomics for Policy
PA 5308 Ethics, Culture and Public Responsibility
PA 5313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics for the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences
PA 5315 Public Management
PA 5321 Government Financial Management and Budgeting
PA 6320 Organizational Theory
PA 5343 Human Resource Management

Professional Specialization Core Courses (9 hours)

Students who specialize in Public Management take 15 hours from: PA 5323 Quality and Productivity Improvement in Government, PA 6326 Decision Tools for Managers, PA 6328 Management Process and Analysis, POEC 6336 Bureaucracy and Public Policy, PA 7322 Negotiation Strategies for Effective Management, PA 6344 Local Government Management, or other appropriate courses approved by the MPA Director.

Students who select the Local Government Management Track take 15 hours from: PA 6344 Local Government Management, PA 5343 Human Resources Management, PA 6342 Local Economic Development, PA 6341 Urban Development and PA 5321 Government Financial Management and Budgeting.

Students who choose Policy Analysis complete 15 hours from: PA 5307 Economics for Public Policy, ECO 6361 Public Sector Economics, POEC 5316 Advanced Regression Analysis, PA 6352 Evaluation Research Methods in the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, POEC 7304 Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Students who specialize in Applied Technology take: GISC 6381 Geographic Information Systems Fundamentals (GIS), GISC 6382 Applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GISC 6383 GIS Management and Implementation.

Students who wish to focus on the Non-profit Management Track take 15 hours from: PA 5371 Non-profit Organizations, PA 5372 Non-profit Management and Leadership, PA 7315 Fundraising and Media Relations for Non-profit Organizations, PA 6352 Evaluation Research Methods and PA 7V62 Policy Research Workshop in Non-profit Organizations.

Other courses may substitute for those listed in any specialization with the approval of the Associate Dean for Graduate Education or the Director of the MPA degree.

Elective Courses (9 hours)

Students in Local Government Management, Non-profit Management and Public Management or Policy Analysis also select, in consultation with the MPA Coordinator, an additional 9 hours of appropriate coursework from the courses below. Students in Applied Technology also select another 9 hours, 6 of which are from appropriate electives described in the section on the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate.

Policy Analysis

PA 5306 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy
PA 5318 Information Systems in Policy Environment
ECO 5309 Mathematical Economics
ECO 5311 Applied Econometrics
PA 5371 Non-Profit Organizations
ECO 5301 Microeconomics I
ECO 5302 Macroeconomics I
POEC 6304 Advanced Analytical Techniques
POEC 6318 Structural Equation Modeling
PA 6381 Geographic Information Systems Fundamentals
GISC 6382 Applied GIS or GISC 6384 Spatial Analysis and Modeling

Public Management, Local Government Management and Non-profit Management

PA 5302 Law and The Policy Process
PA 6341 Urban Development
PA 6352 Evaluation Research Methods
PA 6381 Geographic Information Systems Fundamentals
GISC 6383 GIS Management and Implementation
POEC 6V91 Evaluation Research
POEC 7320 International Negotiations
PA 6340 Domestic Social Policy
POEC 7341 Health Policy

Other courses, including online offerings, may be authorized for all tracks at the discretion of the MPA Program Director.

Workshop or Internship (3 hours)

The Policy Research Workshop applies the student’s knowledge and professional skills to a research project. Problem definition and project development occur in a team environment under faculty direction, sometimes in concert with an external client who is funding the research. The effort places the student in an environment where cooperative skills and timely product delivery are essential. The workshop is recommended for students specializing in policy analysis, for those who already have substantial professional experience, and for part-time students for whom an internship is not practical. GISC 6387 GIS Workshop fulfills the policy workshop requirement for students who specialize in applied technology; in addition, these students may choose to do an internship.

The internship involves work in a professional capacity in an organization, under the joint supervision of an experienced professional mentor at the internship site and a member of the faculty. The standard three hour internship requires approximately a one-quarter time commitment to the work experience. Six-hour internships normally are half-time appointments for a semester or the summer. The objective of the internship is to provide an introduction to professional life and to establish sound approaches to the practice of public affairs. Full-time students choosing public management will normally choose the internship.