Pearl K. Dowe
Department Chair
428 Old Main

Master of Public Administration Program Page

Degree Offered:
M.P.A. in Public Administration and Nonprofit Studies  (PADM)

Program Description:  The Master of Public Administration program is administered by the Department of Political Science. The major objectives of the program are as follows:

  1. To provide a broad flexible program to prepare students for careers in public service and nonprofit management;
  2. To afford opportunities to practicing administrators for improving their careers and services through advanced education and training; and
  3. To prepare scholars for further graduate study in the field of public administration.

Admission to the M.P.A. Degree Program:

  1. Admission to the Graduate School
  2. Minimum scores of 155 on the verbal portion and 145 on the quantitative portions of the current Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). (GRE scores may be waived under certain circumstances at the discretion of the PLSC Admissions Committee. Examples of possible exceptions include the successful completion of a master’s degree or the submission of GMAT or LSAT scores in lieu of GRE scores).
  3. 3.20 minimum grade-point average in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
  4. A written essay, submitted in accordance with standards set by the PLSC Admissions Committee.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from persons competent to judge the applicant’s academic/work experience.
  6. Academic prerequisites: the PLSC Admissions Committee may require appropriate coursework related to an understanding of governmental processes and activities to cover deficiencies in past education.
  7. All requirements listed above must be completed and reported before the beginning of the student’s second semester or the student will not be admitted to courses that semester.

Requirements for the Master of Public Administration Degree: The M.P.A. requires a total of 42 semester hours of which 27 hours are to be 5000-level courses or above.

Required Courses (18 hours):
PLSC 5113Seminar in Human Resource Management (Fa)3
PLSC 5163Public Policy (Sp)3
PLSC 5193Seminar in Public Administration (Fa)3
PADM 5803Quantitative Methods Analysis (Fa)3
PADM 5813Methods in Public Management Information (Sp)3
PADM 5913Policy Analysis: Theory and Practice (Fa)3
Select one of the following (3 hours):3
Human Behavior in Complex Organizations (Fa)
Public Budgeting and Finance (Fa)
Select two courses from the following (6 hours):6
Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations (Even years, Sp)
Human Behavior in Complex Organizations (Fa) ((may be used for either this requirement or to satisfy the 21 hour core requirement))
Public Budgeting and Finance (Fa) ((may be used for either this requirement or to satisfy the 21 hour core requirement))
Nonprofit Management (Irregular)
Administrative Law (Sp)
Environmental Politics and Policy (Even years, Fa)
Community Development (Irregular)
Seminar in State Politics and Policy (Even Years, Fa)
Mixed Methods Research Design (Sp)
Grant Writing for the Social Sciences (Irregular)
Special Topics in Public Administration (Sp)
Risk and Public Policy (Sp)

Special Interest Areas: Fifteen graduate semester hours, depending on exercise of the internship, may be chosen in PLSC/PADM and other disciplines with approval of the M.P.A. Program Director. The M.P.A Program Director, in consultation with the student, will develop a set of relevant graduate courses that will help the student in meeting career objectives. Concentrations may be developed for students interested in fields such as community development, environmental policy and sustainability, health services administration, higher education administration, non-profit management, public policy analysis, and recreation and tourism. Other concentrations may be exercised with the consent, advice and approval of the M.P.A. Program Director.

Professional Development/Internship: (1-6 semester hours). The professional development/internship is recommended but not required. It will be offered on a credit/non-credit basis only. The number of semester hour credits depends on the length and full/part-time nature of the internship.  A maximum of six professional development/internship hours may be applied to the fifteen hours of required special interest area coursework.

All students must either pass a portfolio exam (production and oral defense of a professional portfolio) or successfully complete six hours of thesis.

Portfolio Exam Option:  Students must produce a portfolio for examination near the end of the M.P.A. program covering relevant content and acquired skills and knowledge or complete a six hour thesis.  The portfolio exam will be graded by a faculty committee composed of no fewer than three members.

Thesis Option: Students wishing to exercise the thesis option should consult with the graduate coordinator of the Department of Political Science. The thesis committee must be composed of at least three faculty members. The chair and another faculty member must be Political Science faculty. Thesis credit is six hours and may be used to satisfy six of the fifteen hours of required special interest area coursework.  Students may not apply both internship and thesis hours to the fifteen hours of required special interest area coursework.

J.D./M.P.A. Program

Degrees Conferred:
J.D./M.P.A. (Dual Degree)

The Department of Political Science, the Graduate School, and the School of Law cooperate in offering a dual degree program that allows a student to pursue the M.P.A. and the J.D. degrees concurrently. Students must be admitted to the M.P.A. program and the School of Law. If a student seeks to enter the dual degree program after enrolling in either the law school or the M.P.A. program, he/she must obtain admission to the other degree program during the first year of study.

The School of Law accepts nine semester hours of M.P.A. courses to satisfy requirements for the J.D. degree. Fifteen hours of law school courses may be counted toward the M.P.A degree. To qualify for J.D. credit, the M.P.A. courses must come from a set of core courses and must be approved by the law school. Students must earn a grade of “B” or higher in any M.P.A courses offered for credit toward the J.D. For purposes of the M.P.A. degree, fifteen hours of elective courses may be taken in the law school, provided they are not required for the J.D. degree and are in an area of concentration approved by the director of the M.P.A. program.

Students admitted to the dual degree program may commence their studies in either the law school or the M.P.A. program but must complete first year course requirements before taking courses in the other degree program. If they do not maintain the academic or ethical standards of either degree program, students can be terminated from the dual degree program. Students in good standing in one degree program but not in the other may be allowed to continue in the other program in which they have good standing and must meet the degree requirements of that program. If for any reason a student admitted to the dual degree program does not complete the M.P.A. degree, he/she cannot count nine hours of M.P.A. courses toward the J.D. degree. Likewise, M.P.A. students may not be able to count certain law courses if they decide to discontinue their studies in the law school. The J.D. will be awarded upon completion of all degree requirements; the M.P.A. will be awarded upon completion of the comprehensive examination and the internship (and internship report), or alternatively, six hours of additional coursework.

Mandatory Comprehensive Exam:  All students will be required to take a written comprehensive examination covering their M.P.A. program. This exam will be graded by at least a three-person faculty committee selected by the M.P.A. Program Director. Students pursuing the thesis option are not required to take a written examination.  Rather, successful defense of their thesis satisfies this requirement.  In addition to the successful completion of all course requirements and a passing grade on the written comprehensive examination, each student must present a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00. Students enrolled in law classes that are counted towards their M.P.A. degree cannot make a grade lower than a “C.” However, these courses will not be counted against the Graduate School GPA.

Thesis Option:  Students pursuing the thesis option should consult with the graduate coordinator of the Political Science Department.  The thesis committee must be composed of faculty members from both the School of Law and the Department of Political Science.  Thesis credit is six hours.

Internships:  Students may pursue an internship.  Internship credit is variable and depends on the number of hours worked.  Students wanting internship credit must consult with the M.P.A. adviser who will develop an internship work plan and explain expected academic work products.


PADM 5803. Quantitative Methods Analysis (Fa). 3 Hours.

Data analysis techniques, including descriptive and inferential statistics and packaged computer programs. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PADM 5813. Methods in Public Management Information (Sp). 3 Hours.

Nature and use of public information systems. Includes: basic understanding of hardware, applications, network, and communication technologies, data and information; their use for data analysis and management, and decision support; discussion of technologies' societal impact, and security and ethical considerations. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PADM 5823. Grant Writing for the Social Sciences (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This course will teach students the fundamentals of obtaining grants from local, state and federal agencies.

PADM 5833. Urban Planning (Fa). 3 Hours.

Reviews the many forms, functions, and purposes of American cities. Covers basic planning theories, surveys the various sub-fields of planning, discusses trends in the planning field, and utilizes computer simulations.

This course is cross-listed with PLSC 4103.

PADM 584V. Special Topics in Public Administration (Sp). 1-3 Hour.

Topic varies. Prerequisite: PLSC 5193. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

PADM 5853. Performance Measurement in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors (Su). 3 Hours.

Provides a hands-on approach for measuring organizational performance and using performance information of decision making. Addresses components and key issues of performance measurement, such as steps in the measurement process, methods of data gathering, and analysis. Prerequisite: PLSC 5193.

PADM 5863. Issues in Public and Nonprofit Management (Sp). 3 Hours.

Explores current developments and themes in the theory and practice of public and nonprofit management. Covers a range of contemporary issues in the field, such as managing collaborative networks, e-government, and managing for results. Emerging trends are intensively discussed at the juncture of theory and practice.

PADM 587V. Professional Development (Sp, Su, Fa). 1-6 Hour.

Encompasses internships, professional projects if individual is employed full-time and not eligible for an internship, conference and workshop participation, and other activities conducive to the students development as a public service professional.

PADM 588V. Directed Readings (Sp, Su, Fa). 1-3 Hour.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PADM 589V. Independent Research (Sp, Su, Fa). 1-3 Hour.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PADM 5903. Risk and Public Policy (Sp). 3 Hours.

Examines how concepts of risk serve to justify and shape public policies and risk management practices.

PADM 5913. Policy Analysis: Theory and Practice (Fa). 3 Hours.

Provides a firm theoretical foundation in, and an ability to apply, the general instruments necessary for professional practice of policy analysis.

A. Burcu Bayram
Patrick J. Conge
Anne B. Diallo
Andrew J. Dowdle
Pearl Karen Dowe
John Gaber, Professor
Najib Ghadbian
Valerie H. Hunt
Donald R. Kelley
Brinck Kerr III, Professor
Angie Maxwell, Diane D. Blair Professor of Southern Studies
D. Xavier Medina Vidal, Diane D. Blair Professor of Latino Studies
Joshua Lee Mitchell, Assistant Professor
Janine A. Parry
Margaret F. Reid, Professor
Jeffrey J. Ryan
William D. Schreckhise, Associate Professor
Karen Denice Sebold
Todd G. Shields
Geoboo Song, Assistant Professor
Patrick A. Stewart, Associate Professor
Ka Zeng