Master of Public Administration

Courses

photo of a student

Our Mission is to prepare students to be successful public and nonprofit administrators and managers in today's metropolitan and global environment.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program requires 36 semester credit hours of approved course work. Requirements for the MPA degree include:

  • 21 credit hours of core courses
  • 3 credit hours of a culminating project (URS 7070 or 7080), or 6 credit hours of thesis (URS 7090)
  • 3 credit hours of internship (waived for students with appropriate professional experience)
  • 9 to 12 credit hours of elective courses

MPA core courses develop an understanding of the dynamic context in which public and nonprofit professionals operate. The broad range of knowledge and skills required for successful and ethical public/nonprofit management are reflected in the topical areas addressed in the core MPA courses: understanding the context and significance of public and nonprofit management and administration; effectively managing organizational change; developing and managing capital and operating budgets; thinking strategically and evaluating public policies and programs; managing human resources; developing and applying sound methods for conducting research and collecting information; analyzing, interpreting, managing data and information to guide decisions; and analyzing and prescribing meaningful solutions to social and organizational problems.

The MPA curriculum combines theory and practice to enhance understanding of relevant public policies and their effects on administrative processes and outcomes. In most MPA courses, "real world" problems are examined to illustrate relevant legal and/or theoretical concepts and analyze potential solutions. In addition, some MPA courses utilize service-learning which allows students to apply learned concepts to analyze and potentially solve actual problems faced by public/nonprofit organizations and/or communities in the local region. This blend of theory and practice enhances students' understanding of and capacity for success in public service.

When completing the MPA culminating experience, students have the option of choosing the Capstone Project, the Applied Research Project, or the MPA Thesis. In the Capstone and Applied Research options, students apply sound research methodologies to study and analyze "real world" problems experienced by communities, public agencies, or nonprofit organizations and make recommendations to improve or solve the problems. The Capstone Project utilizes small student teams while the Applied Research Project and the MPA Thesis are performed individually. Advisors are available to help students choose the most appropriate option to satisfy their academic and professional needs.

Go to Pursuing a Master of Public Administration for more information, including admission requirements.

For additional information, or to set up an appointment to discuss the program, contact:

Dr. Mary Wenning, MPA Program Director

(937) 775-3506

mary.wenning@wright.edu

Program of Study

The MPA degree can be completed in two years with 2 courses per semester including summer. Students who are working full-time can follow the three-year program of study taking 2 courses per semester with no summer courses.

Core course descriptions:

  • URS 7000 Foundations and Tools of Public Administration - examines the legal and political variables and tools that affect the management and operation of local governments and nonprofit agencies.
  • URS 7010 Public Budgeting and Fiscal Management - focuses on budget processes and financial management practices in the public and nonprofit sectors.
  • URS 7020 Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation - addresses the theory and practice of strategic thinking, planning, and management in public and nonprofit organizations and familiarizes students with the major concepts, skills and approaches to program evaluation.
  • URS 7030 Organization Theory and Management Behavior - analysis of the fundamental behavior concepts and processes involved in public sector organizations. Evaluation of approaches to major behavioral issues such as motivation, leadership, and management development.
  • URS 7040 Managing Human Resources in Public Service - examines personnel functions such as job evaluation, recruitment and selection, performance appraisal, compensation, training, labor relations, and affirmative action.
  • URS 7050 Quantitative Analysis - survey of the fundamental concepts for statistical analysis of public affairs research. Emphasis on characteristics of distributions of random variables, diagnostic techniques, the tests of assumptions of each analysis and multiple and logistic regression.
  • URS 7060 Research Methods - focuses on different aspects of policy evaluation by obtaining facts and analyzing information on the impact of public programs. Deals with controversy over the use of objective performance indicators and citizen surveys as program performance measures.
  • URS 7070 Capstone Project - students meet with leaders of a public or nonprofit organization to understand their needs and then mutually agree upon a project that provides the organization with research needed for positive change.
  • URS 7080 Applied Research Project - research project for the master's degree in public administration.
  • URS 7090 Thesis - under the supervision of the thesis committee and chair, students select a public administration problem, prepare a proposal detailing the research question, complete the research, write their thesis with full documentation and defend their work before the committee.

Two-year and three-year programs of study are presented below.

Two-Year Program of Study

Year 1

Fall

  • 7000 Foundations and Tools of PA
  • 7010 Public Budgeting & Fiscal Mgmt

Spring

  • 7030 Org Theory & Mgmt Behavior
  • 7050 Quantitative Analysis

Summer

  • 6xxx Elective
  • 6xxx Elective

Year 2

Fall

  • 7020 Strategic Planning & Program Evaluation
  • 7060 Research Methods

Spring

  • 7040 Managing Human Resources
  • 7070/7080/7090 Capstone/Research Project/Thesis

Summer

  • 6xxx Elective
  • 6xxx Elective or Internship

Three-Year Program of Study

Year 1

Fall

  • 7000 Foundations and Tools of PA
  • 7010 Public Budgeting & Fiscal Mgmt

Spring

  • 7030 Org Theory & Mgmt Behavior
  • 7040 Managing Human Resources

Year 2

Fall 

  • 7020 Strategic Planning & Program Evaluation
  • 6xxx Elective

Spring

  • URS 7050 Quantitative Analysis
  • 6xxx Elective

Year 3

Fall

  • 7060 Research Methods
  • 6xxx Elective or Internship

Spring

  • 7070/7080/7090 Capstone/Research Project/Thesis
  • 6xxx Elective or Internship