Click here for current NAU catalog requirements for MPA.
About the Program:
A Master's degree in Public Administration (MPA) is a professional program that prepares students to work in either the public sector (such as a non-profit organization or non-governmental organization) or in local, regional, state, or federal government. A degree in public administration offers students an opportunity to directly apply academic theories and skills to activities in their own community, making the learning experience personally meaningful and contributing to the betterment of society.
Public administration includes a variety of skills, ranging from the preparation of a budget or fiscal proposals, human resource management activities like recruitment and training, dealing with organizational problems through conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution, interacting with the public and media, the interpretation and implementation of law, leadership and executive management development, and program coordination and evaluation.
Public administrators come from a variety of educational backgrounds, but they frequently include bachelor's degrees in political science, criminal justice, education, sociology, and planning. At NAU, the majority of students in the MPA degree program are already employed in the public sector, with government and agency representation from Coconino and Yavapai counties, the US Forest Service, the State of Arizona, the City of Flagstaff, and various non-profit organizations.
Some MPA students finish their bachelor's degree and enter the program immediately after graduation, while others return to graduate studies after working for more than two decades. They may seek to advance their career by obtaining the MPA degree, or update and improve skills in a subject such as administrative ethics or E-government.
The program is designed for both working professionals and for students planning to take coursework full time. Students enroll in one to three classes per semester, depending upon their schedule and interests. Some classes are offered via an online program that allows them to master course content that is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some courses may be offered in a weekend format that involves intensive learning by attending a class on Friday night and all day Saturday for four weekends. Face-to-face courses are also available in the evening to permit full time employees to attend.
Program Requirements:Students in the MPA program of study must complete 39 hours of coursework approved by their advisor. The program requires the following:
Course Requirements: 36-39 hours
PS Core - 21 hours
- POS 641 Public Administration
(Survey of literature on primary topics in the field)
- POS 642 Human Resources Administration
- POS 643 Theories of Organization
(Organization & management concepts)
- POS 644 Government Budgeting
- POS 601 Research Methods
- POS 681 Theory and Practice of PA*
(Capstone seminar - 6 hours. Combines theory and practice using literature in the field to analyze your field work experience. You must complete at least 15 hours in required courses before taking POS 681, and must earn a grade of B or better to complete the MPA program.)
POS 697 (3 units) may be substituted for the capstone requirement.
PS Electives - 6 hours
Select two courses from the list below. Other POS courses may be used to satisfy this portion of the requirements with your advisor's approval.
- POS 428 Topics in Public Administration
(course topics will vary)
- POS 581 Current Issues in Administration
(course topics will vary)
- POS 600 Approaches to Political Inquiry
- POS 605 Topics in Research Methods
- POS 610 American Political Institutions
- POS 612 American Political Processes
- POS 627 Ethics and Politics
- POS 648 Comparative Policy & Administration
- POS 657 American Indian Policies & Laws
- POS 671 Policy Process
Specialization Area - 12 hours
Emphasizes a specific topic or theme through course work selected by you and your advisor. You are encouraged to investigate coursework in other departments in designing a specialization area to fit your career needs. Examples: Applied Sociology, Criminal Justice Administration, Conflict Resolution, Educational Administration, Environmental Management, Tribal Government.