MPA Curriculum

A new curriculum has been initiated that better reflects the student body we serve and the challenges faced by many public administrators in the field.  Classes have been added to the Core Curriculum on Ethics and Leadership and another on Human Resources Management as a means of better preparing MPA graduates to successfully navigate an ever-changing administrative work environment—one that incorporates different management strategies that support organizational success and how to create positive, effective working environments.

Along those lines, we have incorporated a Capstone Project into our curriculum that will allow students to engage in administrative projects and evaluations, while remaining under the guidance of our extensive professional and academic faculty. The Capstone project takes place during the final semester of study to allow for all classroom and internship knowledge to be incorporated into the experience. Finally, we have modified our Internship requirements to better reflect our growing, career student MPA population. Internships can now be waived for working professional students who have the requisite background experience. With these changes, our graduates will be better qualified to enter the nonprofit, government or public agency workforce, fully equipped for success!

Core Curriculum 

The two-year course of study for the Master of Public Administration includes 42 required credit hours divided among four components.

Core Courses (24 credits)

  • PA 500: Economics for Public Policy
  • PA 501: Public Organizational Theory
  • PA 503: Politics, Policy & Public Management
  • PA 505: Methods for Program Evaluation 
  • PA 508: Public and Non-Profit Financial Management
  • PA 527: Leadership and Ethics for Nonprofits and Public Management
  • PA 555: Statistical Decision Making
  • PA 597H: Public and Nonprofit Human Resources Management

Concentrations (12 credits)

Internship (3 credits/200 hour)

  • Students must complete a 3 credit/200 hour Internship with a local nonprofit, organization or government agency. Inquiries should be directed to Pamela Adams.
  • Internship Packets are available in the SGPP main office, Social Sciences 315.
  • Historical Internship Database
  • Internship Waivers are available to career students, working full time, with THREE years of managerial/supervisory experience.
  • Students seeking an Internship Waiver must provide proof of work history and managerial/supervisory experience.
  • Students who receive the Internship Waiver must complete an additional 3 credit concentration course in lieu of the 3 credit internship requirement.
  • ALL MPA STUDENTS must write a Professional Experience Paper, linking course work and theory to employment experiences.

Capstone Course/Project (3 credits)

  • Capstone Course is taught during the Spring semester by Mike Letcher (with assistance from other SGPP faculty).
  • Students MUST submit a “Plan of Study” (intended graduation date) to the Graduate College prior to enrollment in Capstone Course. Information is available at: https://grad.arizona.edu/gcforms/academic-services-forms
  • 6 of 8 CORE courses must be completed prior to enrolling in the Capstone Course
  • Capstone Project Guidelines 
  • ALL Capstone Course projects are done in groups.