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!

Curriculum 

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

Sample full time two-year plan

Sample full time 1.5 year plan

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)

  • PA 500: Economics for Public Policy (typically taught in Spring semesters)
  • ​PA 501: Public Organizational Theory (typically taught in Fall semesters)
  • PA 503: Politics, Policy & Public Management (typically taught in Fall semesters)
  • PA 505: Methods for Program Evaluation (typically taught in Spring semesters)
  • PA 508: Public and Non-Profit Financial Management (typically taught in Spring semesters)
  • PA 527: Leadership and Ethics for Nonprofits and Public Management (typically taught in Spring semesters)
  • PA 550: Statistics for Public and Nonprofit Administration (typically taught in Fall semesters)
  • ​PA 597H: Public and Nonprofit Human Resources Management (typically taught in Fall semesters)

Elective Courses (12 credits)

Students are encouraged to concentrate their elective courses in the one or two main areas that will help them meet their career objectives. However, we also encourage our students to talk with faculty about their future career endeavors to ensure they are taking elective classes appropriate for their specific goals.

To help students pick classes in areas that might pertain to their career objectives, we have categorized them into concentrations, listed below. Students are not required to take their elective courses within one concentration, but are welcome to do so. Please note that not every course will be offered in every academic year. Additionally, students are allowed to take no more than 12 units outside of the department; these classes must be graduate level courses and must be approved by the Graduate Programs Manager prior to registration.

Examples of concentrations students may find interest in are listed below. Also listed are faculty members who have expertise in these areas; please feel free to reach out to them to discuss the best course options for you based on specific career endeavors. 

Internship (3 credits/200 hour)

  • PA 593
  • All information regarding internship process can be found here: MPA Internship Process
  • Please contact Diane Darling if you have any questions or concerns

Capstone Course/Project (3 credits)

  • PA 594
  • Capstone Course is taught during the Spring semester by Mike Letcher (with assistance from other SGPP faculty).
  • Students MUST submit a “Plan of Study” (intended graduation date) to the Graduate College prior to enrollment in Capstone Course. Information is available at: https://grad.arizona.edu/gcforms/academic-services-forms
  • 6 of 8 CORE courses must be completed prior to enrolling in the Capstone Course
  • Capstone Project Guidelines 
  • ALL Capstone Course projects are done in groups.