Jun 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Public Administration, MPA

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Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration (formerly named the Master of Science in Public Affairs) focuses on three broad goals: to provide students with a detailed, accurate picture of the political and economic environments on the national, state, and local levels; to give them needed historical and cultural perspectives on public life in the region; and to ensure that they have the kind of technical, professional, analytical, and managerial skills needed to function effectively in the public realm. The curriculum also includes intensive analyses of current policy issues and concentrates on national topics, including those relating to metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts, and New England. We seek students who are currently employed and who have had several years’ experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, although students who have just completed an undergraduate degree are also considered. Those coming from the private sector usually hold or aspire to positions of authority in their organization’s community relations, governmental affairs, or long-range strategic planning divisions. As most students are employed full-time, the program operates on an evening and weekend schedule.

In addition to department faculty members, the program also draws on other faculty from throughout the university. Faculty members holding part-time status in this program are career professionals—strongly committed to sharing their knowledge and skills with those entering the field.

Courses in the program are grouped into the following five areas:

  • The New England political and economic environments
  • Public management, organizational behavior, public budgeting, and human resources management
  • Analytical, quantitative, and qualitative skills for policy makers and managers
  • Policy and management analysis in areas such as nonprofit organizations, e-government, urban policy, and program evaluation
  • Workshops in ethics, media, systems thinking, municipal government, grant funding, and philanthropy

Degree Requirements

Thirty-six graduate credits are required to complete the MPA curriculum. These credits are earned by completing eight 3-credit courses distributed among the areas noted above, six 1-credit weekend intensive modules (two per semester for three semesters), and a final capstone and case-study seminar which carries 6 credits.

The curriculum leading to the master of public administration is highly structured. Students are expected to proceed through the program as a cohort, taking all courses in the determined sequence. In order to accommodate students who have already had graduate training in one or more of these areas, the program allows students to transfer up to two equivalent courses into the program, in accordance with university transfer policy.

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