Public Sector Administration Concentration

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With a concentration in public administration, you will graduate prepared to confront complex public problems.  The program develops the twin skills of organizational and policy management. You'll learn how policies are adopted and implemented, the role of public administration in American democaracy and how the conflicting goals, complex structures and political processes effect the management of public organizations.

The nonprofit management concentration builds upon a solid core curriculum of courses in public management, program evaluation, human resources, and finance and budgeting. Consequently, you will develop a well rounded tool belt of expertise that can be applied across and between sectors. 

Elective courses are chosen from one of two specializations:public sector administration or nonprofit administration. Courses are offered each fall and spring semester and during the summer in four, five, nine, 10, or 14-week sessions. Students who take two courses during the fall, spring and summer can complete their MPA degree in two calendar years.

Current Student Resources

Program Curriculum - 36 Credit Hours

Core Curriculum (21 credit hours)
  • PA 601 - Organizational Behavior 
  • PA 606 - Public and Nonprofit Personnel Administration 
  • PA 609 - Budgeting in Public and Nonprofit Administration 
  • PA 618 - Research Methods in Public Administration 
  • PA 632 - Introduction to Public Administration 
  • PA 644 - Policies and Processes in the Public Sector 
  • PA 645 - Program Evaluation in the Public and Nonprofit Sector
Capstone Seminar (3 credit hours) or Thesis Project (6 credit hours)

Students selecting the Capstone option complete the Capstone course plus 12 hours of electives.

  • PA 697 - Capstone Seminar in Public Administration (3 Credit Hours)


Students selecting the Thesis option complete the Thesis course plus 9 hours of electives.

  • PA 699 - Thesis in Public Administration (6 Credit Hours)
Public Sector Electives (9 or 12 credit hours)

Students completing the capstone option must select 12 hours of electives.

Students completing the thesis option must select 9 hours of electives.

  • COMM 602 - Qualitative Research Methods in Communication
  • COMM 613 - Political Communication
  • COMM 614 - Problematic Workplace Communication 
  • COMM 621 - Strategic Communication 
  • PA 527 - Urban Politics and Governance
  • PA 564 - Environmental Politics and Policy 
  • PA 565 - Comparative Public Policy 
  • PA 603 - Technology Issues and e-Governance
  • PA 611 - Leadership Skills in Public Administration
  • PA 612 - Connect with Southern Indiana 
  • PA 614 - Interpersonal Communications within Organizations
  • PA 615 - Legal Aspects of Public Administration 
  • PA 653 - Ethics in Public Administration 
  • PA 655 - Project Management in Public Administration 
  • PA 663 - Strategic Planning 
  • PA 684 - Grant Writing 
  • PA 690 - Special Topics in Public Administration
  • PA 695 - Internship in Public Agency
  • PA 689 - Independent Study in Public Administration 

All courses above are three (3) credit hours.

Additional MPA/Capstone Thesis Information

Note: Students who decide to complete a thesis project and enroll in PA 699 - Thesis in Public Administration are exempt from taking PA 697 - Capstone Seminar in Public Administration.

All MPA students will be required to complete a capstone seminar (with the exception of students doing a thesis project), which is centered on a specific issue, problem, or topic in the field of public administration. Students in the seminar will be required to complete a capstone project, which is based on assessing a student's ability to relate theoretical knowledge and skills to solving a practical applied problem in the field of public administration. Students will work collaboratively to present a question to a problem, collect and analyze data, present their findings and results, and propose possible solutions. 

Students will have an opportunity to enroll and complete a thesis project (PA 699 - Thesis in Public Administration). The thesis course is designed to allow students an opportunity to conduct original academic research in an area of public administration. PA 699 is a variable credit class that is offered as a three or six credit hour course. PA 699 is repeatable up to six credit hours and will be graded on a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) basis. Students wishing to enroll in three credit hours in a semester will register in PA 699.001 and students wishing to enroll in six credit hours in a semester will enroll in PA 699.002. Students who have not completed the thesis course during the semester in which they are registered will be assigned an "in progress" (IP) grade. An IP grade means a student cannot receive credit for the thesis course without re-registering in the course.  In order to receive credit for the thesis, the student must successfully complete a written paper and defend the thesis project in an oral defense. Students will be required to choose an advisor whose research interests closely align with theirs, who is a full-time member of the MPA faculty, and with whom they have completed at least one course in the MPA program. A student must also select two committee members for their thesis committee for a total of three thesis committee members. These committee members must be full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty members of the graduate faculty. 

In addition to the thesis course, students can enroll in PA 698 - Independent Study in Public Administration, where students can conduct independent research on an issue in the field of public administration under the supervision of a member of the MPA faculty. Students can also enroll in PA 690 - Special Topics in Public Administration, a course that deals with a special topic in the field of public administration offered through the Master of Public Administration program. Some of the potential topics may include Facilitation and Mediation, Government Reorganization, Housing and Community Development, Historic Preservation, Disaster Management, and Arts and Heritage Management courses.

All students will be required to complete a comprehensive examination as a requirement for graduation from the program administered by the MPA Examination Committee, which consists of members of the MPA faculty. The comprehensive examination will cover the basic mastery of universal required competencies in public administration that make up the core curriculum of the MPA program, along with a mastery of the competencies of either the public sector or nonprofit administration specializations.

Other MPA Options

Traditional MPA Options:

MPA 4+1 Accelerated Program Dual Degree - MPA and MSW


Dr. Trent Engbers
Program Director

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