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  • James Vike, PhD

    • Director, MPA Program
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 229
    • tel: 610-499-1120
  • Gertrude Depew

    • Administrative Assistant, MPA Program
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 226
    • tel: 610-499-4365

Curriculum, Master in Public Administration

Master in public administration (MPA) students are able to establish an enduring professionalism by completing course work that blends theory with practical applications and experience.

The MPA program includes a core curriculum combining coursework in basic administrative and leadership skill areas with courses emphasizing the institutional, political, and ethical environments of the public and nonprofit sectors.

The instructional philosophy of the MPA program is to promote learning through discussion, and courses include small seminar-style classes and a diverse enrollment representing a variety of age groups, occupations, and educational backgrounds.

MPA Core Courses

PA 503 Public Policy in the American Federal System
Public policymaking in the United States entails a complex web of interactions between the federal, state, and local governments and non-governmental actors. This course examines the policy responsibilities of each type of government, the processes and players involved in producing public policies, and the intergovernmental relations that are necessary to the implementation of legislation.

PA 504 Purposeful Leadership
This course focuses on leadership theories and applied leadership techniques appropriate to organizations with public service and/or non-profit orientations. Dual emphasis is directed toward effective management principles and leadership styles that apply to organizations with clear and well-established public good oriented missions, as well as enhancing leadership skills applicable for guiding smaller or entrepreneurial organizations along a pathway toward developing a purposeful mission and coherent set of goals. This course is designed to enhance individual understanding of relevant leadership theories and practice through directed readings, case study analyses, leadership development workshops and experiential associations with area non-profit organizations.

PA 506 Budgeting & Human Resource Management
This course examines two managerial skills deemed essential for success in leading public and nonprofit organizations.  The course focuses on principles, policies, processes and 21st century challenges in the budgeting and human resources arena. Special attention will be given to the intersection of the two areas for generalist managers in public or nonprofit settings.

PA 508 Legal & Ethical Environment of Public Service
This course introduces students to the limits and opportunities legal and ethical considerations present to leaders and practitioners in the government and non-government sectors.  Major elements of constitutional, statutory, and administrative law at the national and state levels will be examined.  Ethical practices will be examined through cases and the development of a model for ethical decision-making.

Sample of Elective Courses

PA 625 Local Government Administration
In this course, students will examine the multiple functions, processes, and challenges of local government management. Students will review the theories and strategies of local government administration and focus on developing the skills and competencies required of successful government management professionals.

PA 645 Economic Development
This course introduces students to the theoretical and practical aspects of community and economic development. The primary focus will be on economic development efforts at the subnational level. Topics include the tools, institutions, financing instruments, and policy issues relating to economic development.

PA 681 Nonprofit Advancement
This course covers the fundamentals of advancement for non- profit organizations. The key focus is on helping managers build high performance nonprofit organizations. Topics include improving management skills, board development, volunteer management, and coordinating organizational effort across functions, such as fundraising, grants, marketing, public relations, and special events. Advancement activities are examined in the context of strategic planning and consistency with organizational mission.

For more information about courses and requirements for the MPA degree, please refer to our course catalog.