MPA Curriculum

Our curriculum is developed and updated to make sure it is reflective of the student body we serve, as well as the challenges they may face as public administrators. The Master of Public Administration program aims to prepare students to successfully navigate an ever-changing administrative work environment. Graduates of our program are able to incorporate different management strategies that support organizational success and create positive, effective working environments. Our core courses, and electives taught within the department, are offered in the evenings in order to accommodate our many students who wish to work full time while pursuing their degree. 

To further ensure our students’ success after graduation, our curriculum includes a Capstone Project that requires students to engage in administrative projects and evaluations, while remaining under the guidance of our extensive professional and academic faculty. The Capstone project takes place during the final semester of study to allow all classroom and internship knowledge to be incorporated into the experience. Our graduates are qualified to enter the nonprofit, government or public agency workforce, fully equipped for success!


The two-year (full time) course of study for the Master of Public Administration includes 42 required credit hours divided among four components.

Sample Plans: 2-Year Full-Time Enrollment

Sample Plans: 1.5-Year Full-Time Enrollment

Please note that we have listed the semesters in which courses are typically taught to aid in planning, but that these are subject to change at departmental discretion. 

Core Courses (24 credits)

Courses typically taught in spring semesters:

  • PA 500: Economics for Public Policy
  • PA 505: Methods for Program Evaluation
  • PA 508: Public and Non-Profit Financial Management
  • PA 527: Leadership and Ethics for Nonprofits and Public Management

Courses typically taught in fall semesters:

  • PA 501: Public Organizational Theory
  • PA 503: Politics, Policy & Public Management
  • PA 550: Statistics for Public and Nonprofit Administration
  • ​PA 597H: Public and Nonprofit Human Resources Management

Elective Courses (12 credits)

To help students select courses in areas that may develop career objectives, a list of elective coursework is available and categorized in specified concentrations.  Students are welcome to take all elective coursework from one concentration or take elective coursework from multiple concentration areas of interest.

Any coursework taken outside of SGPP will need approval from the Program Director and Graduate Programs Manager prior to enrollment.  Additionally, no more than 12 units of elective coursework may be taken outside of the School of Government & Public Policy and must be at the graduate level.  Students are responsible for adhering to this policy even if a course is approved by the department.  Please note that not every course will be offered every semester or academic year, and some courses may not be at 3 units each.

Concentrations and course electives of interest are provided in the link below.  Faculty members who have expertise in specific areas are also listed for students to contact to further discuss course options based on specific career goals. 

►PA 593: Internship (3 credits/135 hours)

PA 594: Capstone Course/Project (3 credits)

  • The MPA Capstone Course is taught during the Spring semester by Mike Letcher.
  • Students should be in good academic standing for capstone enrollment.
  • 6 of 8 CORE courses should be completed prior to enrollment in the Capstone Course.
  • ALL Capstone Course projects are done in groups.
  • Students MUST submit a Master's Plan of Study in GradPath and have it approved by all reviewers prior to enrollment in Capstone Course.  See the Graduation Checklist webpage for additional details.