Chart Your Course to Leadership in Public Administration


The ability to make sound, evidence-driven decisions is critical to serving the public in a fiscally responsible, innovative, and equitable way. Become the effective and influential public or nonprofit leader you aspire to be when you master the core competencies of the University of San Francisco’s MPA program.

Online Degree Requirements and Program Structure
•    39 semester-credit-hour program with thirteen 3-credit hour courses
•    Two 8-week courses (6 credits) per term
•    Capstone course that involves using the knowledge and skills gained throughout the program to complete a written comprehensive final analysis capstone project
•    Program completion in as few as 6 terms (2 years)
•    Convenient Fall, Spring, and Summer terms starts

MPA Course Descriptions

PA 611 – Public Administration as Theory and Practice in the Contemporary Society (3)
Reviews the history, current status, and emerging trends in public management on the federal, state, and local levels. Included is a survey of contemporary political, economic, and managerial concepts and developments in government administration that will serve as a foundation for further coursework in the program.

PA 613 – Management and Organization Theory (3)
Examines management theory and organizational behavior in public organizations. Major theories, research, and practical applications are reviewed.

PA 620 – Leadership Ethics (3)
Examines ethical issues and responsibilities faced by administrators applying ethical principles within an organizational context. The ethical dimensions of organizational life and administrative behavior are addressed using the works of major theorists.

PA 623 – Economics and Finance for Public Managers (3)
Reviews various techniques for financing public agencies and examines the economic effects on society. Issues of public expenditure, revenue generation, and regulatory policies are discussed.

PA 632 – Public Policy Analysis (3)
(For generalist PA students) Focuses on the skills and techniques necessary to conduct detailed public policy analyses. Specific attention is given to the stages of the policy process, the role of politics, and the development of viable policy alternatives. Prerequisite: PA 611

PA 633 – Public Sector Budgeting (3)
Examines the process of public sector budgeting from the perspective of managerial planning and control. Budget formats are reviewed, as are techniques used to analyze budgetary data. Specific attention is given to forecasting, cost-benefit analysis, and cost-effectiveness analysis.
Prerequisite: PA 611

PA 636 – Human Resource Planning and Management (3)
Investigates current human resource management issues in the public sector. The planning for, and performance of, traditional personnel functions and relevant techniques are covered, as well as contemporary issues that have an impact on public sector employment. Aspects of strategic HR planning and management are discussed.

PA 638 – Emerging Technologies for Public Managers (3)
Provides an introduction to the use of a variety of technologies that support the work of public managers. Topics include the design and management of information systems, web applications, aspects of telecommunication, and project management. Ethical considerations and confidentiality issues are also addressed.

PA 644 – Strategic Planning and Implementation (3)
(For generalist PA students) Designed to provide public managers with an overview and the skills necessary to become effective strategists. Topics include the strategic planning process and how to overcome resistance to change.

PA 650 – Integrative Seminar in Public Management (3)
Students integrate the theory and practice of public administration, while helping to identify gaps in their learning and expand their knowledge through further evaluation and conceptualization of specific areas of interest and concern in public management. Students prepare for and complete the comprehensive final analysis project.

PA 670 – Quantitative Methods (3)
This course provides an overview of the research methodologies used for public decision-making. Concepts include specification of questions to guide inquiry, basis for causal inference, acquisition of quantitative data, reliability and validity issues, and descriptive and inferential statistics. Students will have an opportunity to build skills in designing, conducting, and analyzing research. Through execution of a small project, provides experience in and basic knowledge in performing and interpreting research designs and results.

PA 680 – Program and Policy Evaluation (3)
This course examines key concepts, methods, and approaches in the field of evaluation research as it applies to public and nonprofit organizations. The three principal types of evaluation – formative, process/implementation, and outcome/impact – will be covered. The skills learned and applied in this course will assist the practitioner in determining the effectiveness of new or existing programs. Students focus on the comprehensive range of activities involved in designing, implementing, and assessing the utility of social programs.

PA 685 – Strategic Management of Public Communication (3)
This course explores effective communications in the public sector environment, including the theory behind and practical application of a variety of communication practices. These include but are not limited to public information and awareness campaign management, delivery of effective presentations, and interpersonal communication within the office and within public settings. Emphasis placed on the source, message, channel, and receiver dimensions of communication in both traditional (oral communication, print, broadcast radio, and television) and mediated (social networking, blogs, and podcasts) environments.

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