MPA program of study

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

42 credits required.  

    • 27 hours in nine core courses in the School of Public Affairs.
    • 15 hours of elective courses.
      • Any 500-level PAF course
      • 500-level or higher courses offered by the University. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

Core Courses (27 hours)

  • PAF 501 Public Service Research I
  • PAF 502 Public Service Research II (must be taken the semester after completing PAF 501)
  • PAF 503 Public Affairs
  • PAF 504 Microeconomics of Public Policy I
  • PAF 505 Public Policy Analysis
  • PAF 506 Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PAF 507 Public Human Resource Management
  • PAF 508 Organization Behavior
  • PAF 509 Public Affairs Capstone OR PAF 579 Public Policy Capstone

Electives (15 hours)

  • PAF Regular courses (500-level or above)
  • PAF 590 Readings and Conference (6 credit maximum)
  • PAF 584 Internship (3 credit maximum)
  • Approved Graduate Interdisciplinary Courses

Sequences of Course Prerequisites

  • Undergrad statistics/research course is a pre-req for PAF 501
  • PAF 501 is a pre-req for PAF 502
  • PAF 504 is a pre-req for PAF 505 and PAF 506
  • PAF 501 through PAF 508 are pre-reqs for PAF 509 or 579. See note below.

Note: Knowledge gained in the first eight core courses (PAF 501 through 508) will be needed for the Capstone course (PAF 509)

Note: Suggested course sequences for full-time and part-time status are at the bottom of this page.

 

Suggested Course Loads

 Each 3-credit class = about 12 hours of homework and class time per week. So:

  •  One class (3 credits) = 12 hours of work per week
  • Two classes (6 credits) = 24 hours of work per week
  • Three classes (9 credits) = 36 hours of work per week
  • Four classes (12 credits) = 48 hours of work per week

Three classes (nine credit hours) is full-time status for a graduate student.

If you don’t work or work 20 hours per week or less: Take 3-4 classes. Four classes is a heavy load even for someone who’s not working. Use your best judgment, you know your capabilities. Students with undergrad GPAs of 3.5 and higher can usually handle four classes just fine.

If you work 20 – 40 hours per week:  Take 2-3 classes. Use your best judgment, you know your capabilities.

If you work 40 or more hours per week: Students normally take 2 classes. Three classes is a heavy load and not recommended. If you’re returning to school after an extended absence, you might want to start with just one class. If you’re challenged by quantitative/analytical courses (PAF 501, PAF 502, PAF 504), consider taking these courses by themselves and in an in-person format. 

 

Concentrations

 Students are not required to declare a concentration. There are four approved concentration areas within the Master of Public Administration degree:

  1. Urban Management
  2. Nonprofit Administration
  3. Emergency Management
  4. Public Finance

Descriptions and programs of study for the four concentrations are listed below.

 

 

MPA Urban Management Concentration

The Urban Management concentration provides knowledge and skills for students seeking careers in local urban government management and enables students to develop the skills and techniques used by city and urban leaders and managers.

  • 27 hours of core courses
  • 12 hours of concentration courses
  • 3 hours - approved elective course

An approved elective course may be:

  • Any 500-level PAF course
  • 500-level or higher courses offered by the University. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

 Core Courses (27 hours)

  • PAF 501 Public Service Research I 
  • PAF 502 Public Service Research II (must be taken the semester after completing PAF 501)
  • PAF 503 Public Affairs
  • PAF 504 Microeconomics of Public Policy I
  • PAF 505 Public Policy Analysis
  • PAF 506 Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PAF 507 Public Human Resource Management
  • PAF 508 Organization Behavior
  • PAF 509 Public Affairs Capstone OR PAF 579 Public Policy Capstone

Concentration Courses (12 hours)

  • PAF 523 The City and County Manager (fall only)
  • PAF 525 Public Entrepreneurship (spring only)
  • PAF 530 Management of Urban Government (spring only)
  • PAF 534 Urban Services Infrastructure (fall only)

Suggested Elective Courses (3 hours)

  • PAF 520 Public Management
  • PAF 531 Community Conflict Resolution
  • PAF 532 Urban Planning Administration
  • PAF 533 Urban Growth Management
  • PAF 535 Urban Housing Policy
  • PAF 536 Urban Policy Making
  • PAF 532 Intergovernmental Relations
  • PAF 570 Microeconomics of Public Policy II
  • PAF 574 Diversity, Ethics & Leading Public Change
  • PAF 584 Internship (3 credit maximum)
  • Approved Graduate Interdisciplinary Courses. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

Sequences of Course Prerequisites

  • Undergrad statistics/research course is a pre-req for PAF 501
  • PAF 501 is a pre-req for PAF 502
  • PAF 504 is a pre-req for PAF 505 and PAF 506
  • PAF 501 through PAF 508 are pre-reqs for PAF 509 or 579. See note below.

Note: Knowledge gained in the first eight core courses (PAF 501 through 508) will be needed for the Capstone course (PAF 509 or 579)

Note: Suggested course sequences for full-time and part-time status are at the bottom of this page.

 

MPA Nonprofit Administration Concentration

The concentration in Nonprofit Administration is intended for professionals who work in or desire to work in the nonprofit sector and who wish to explore research, theory, and the practice of management and leadership in the nonprofit sector.

  •  24 hours of core courses
  • 12 hours of concentration courses
  • 6 hours of approved elective courses

An approved elective course may be:

  • Any 500-level PAF course
  • 500-level or higher courses offered by the University. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

Core Courses (24 hours)

  • PAF 501 Public Service Research I
  • PAF 502 Public Service Research II (must be taken the semester after completing PAF 501)
  • PAF 503 Public Affairs
  • PAF 504 Microeconomics of Public Policy I
  • PAF 505 Public Policy Analysis
  • PAF 506 Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PAF 508 Organization Behavior
  • PAF 509 Public Affairs Capstone OR PAF 579 Public Policy Capstone

Concentration Courses (12 hours)

  • NLM 510 The Nonprofit Sector
  • NLM 520 Financial & Resource Management
  • NLM 540 Strategic HR Management
  • Other approved course

Suggested Elective Courses (6 hours)

  • PAF 521 Organizational Theory
  • PAF 529 Organizational Change & Development
  • PAF 531 Community Conflict Resolution
  • PAF 541 Program Evaluation
  • PAF 562 Intergovernmental Relations
  • NLM 525 Fundraising & Resource Development
  • NLM 530 Program Evaluation & Information Management
  • NLM 545 Volunteer Resources Management
  • NLM 555 Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organizations
  • NLM 560 Leadership & Ethics in the Nonprofit Sector
  • NLM 565 Grant Writing Nonprofit Organizations
  • PAF Regular courses (500-level or above)
  • PAF 590 Readings and Conference (6 credit maximum)
  • PAF 584 Internship (3 credit maximum)
  • Approved Graduate Interdisciplinary Courses. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

Sequences of Course Prerequisites

  • Undergrad statistics/research course is a pre-req for PAF 501
  • PAF 501 is a pre-req for PAF 502
  • PAF 504 is a pre-req for PAF 505 and PAF 506
  • PAF 501 through PAF 508 are pre-reqs for PAF 509 or 579. See note below.

Note: Knowledge gained in the first eight core courses (PAF 501 through 508) will be needed for the Capstone course (PAF 509 or 579)

Note: Suggested course sequences for full-time and part-time status are at the bottom of this page.

 

MPA Emergency Management Concentration

The Emergency Management concentration provides motivated students with the skills and knowledge to manage and assume positions of leadership within the field of emergency management.  

  • 27 hours of core courses
  • 9 hours of concentration courses
  • 6 hours of approved elective courses

An approved elective course may be:

  • Any 500-level PAF course
  • 500-level or higher courses offered by the University. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

Core Courses (27 hours)

  • PAF 501 Public Service Research I
  • PAF 502 Public Service Research II (must be taken the semester after completing PAF 501)
  • PAF 503 Public Affairs
  • PAF 504 Microeconomics of Public Policy I
  • PAF 505 Public Policy Analysis
  • PAF 506 Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PAF 507 Public Human Resource Management
  • PAF 508 Organization Behavior PAF
  • 509 Public Affairs Capstone OR PAF 579 Public Policy Capstone

Concentration Courses (9 hours)

  • PAF 520 Public Management
  • PAF 552 Integrated Emergency Management
  • PAF 555 Information Technology in Emergency Management

Suggested Elective Courses (6 hours)

  • PAF 525 Public Entrepreneurship
  • PAF 531 Community Conflict Resolution
  • PAF 534 Urban Services Infrastructure (fall only)
  • PAF 541 Program Evaluation
  • PAF 560 Community Resilience
  • PAF 562 Intergovernmental Relations
  • PAF 571 GIS & Analysis
  • PAF 582 E-Public Administration
  • PAF 584 Internship (3 credit maximum)
  • PAF 591 Introduction to Policy Informatics
  • Approved Graduate Interdisciplinary Courses. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

Sequences of Course Prerequisites

  • Undergrad statistics/research course is a pre-req for PAF 501
  • PAF 501 is a pre-req for PAF 502
  • PAF 504 is a pre-req for PAF 505 and PAF 506
  • PAF 501 through PAF 508 are pre-reqs for PAF 509 or 579. See note below.

Note: Knowledge gained in the first eight core courses (PAF 501 through 508) will be needed for the Capstone course (PAF 509 or 579)

Note: Suggested course sequences for full-time and part-time status are at the bottom of this page.

 

MPA Public Finance concentration

The concentration in Public Finance provides knowledge and skills for students seeking or advancing careers in areas in which financial management plays an integral role in governance. This concentration emphasizes theories and research concerning urban economics and public finance, managing money in the public sector, public budgeting and finance, and capital budgeting and financing. 

  • 27 hours of core courses
  • 12 hours of concentration courses
  • 3 hours - approved elective course

An approved elective course may be:

  • Any 500-level PAF course
  • 500-level or higher courses offered by the University. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

Core Courses (27 hours) 

  • PAF 501 Public Service Research I
  • PAF 502 Public Service Research II (must be taken the semester after completing PAF 501)
  • PAF 503 Public Affairs
  • PAF 504 Microeconomics of Public Policy I
  • PAF 505 Public Policy Analysis
  • PAF 506 Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PAF 507 Public Human Resource Management
  • PAF 508 Organization Behavior
  • PAF 509 Public Affairs Capstone OR PAF 579 Public Policy Capstone 

Concentration Courses (12 hours)

  • PAF 521 Managing Public Money (Spring-only)
  • PAF 522 Advanced Governmental Financial Management (Fall-only)
  • PAF 570 Microeconomics of the Public Sector II (Fall-only)
  • One additional course chosen below
  • NLM 520 Financial and Resource Management
  • PAF 584 Internship (3 credit maximum)
  • PAF 590 Readings and Conference

 Elective Courses (3 hours)

  • PAF Regular Courses (500 level or above)
  • PAF 584 Internship (3 credit maximum)
  • PAF 590 Readings and Conference (6 credit maximum)
  • Approved Graduate Interdisciplinary Courses. Approval of all non-PAF courses must be granted by the School of Public Affairs academic advisor, Mark Reed, mbreed@asu.edu 

 Sequences of Course Prerequisites

  • Undergrad statistics/research course is a pre-req for PAF 501
  • PAF 501 is a pre-req for PAF 502
  • PAF 504 is a pre-req for PAF 505 and PAF 506
  • PAF 506 is a pre-req for PAF 521
  • PAF 501 through PAF 508 are pre-reqs for PAF 509 or 579. See note below.

Note: Knowledge gained in the first eight core courses (PAF 501 through 508) will be needed for the Capstone course (PAF 509 or 579)

 Note: Suggested course sequences for full-time and part-time status are listed below.

 

MPA Suggested Course Sequences - Full-time and Part-time

MPA full-time, fall, spring, or summer start

First Semester
PAF 501, PAF 503, PAF 504

Second Semester
PAF 502, PAF 505, PAF 506, PAF 507

Third Semester
PAF 508, elective, elective, elective

Fourth Semester
PAF 509, elective, elective

Note: Taking summer classes could lighten spring and/or fall loads and decrease time to graduation.

 MPA part-time, fall, spring, or summer start

First Semester
PAF 501, PAF 503

Second Semester
PAF 502, PAF 504

Third Semester
PAF 505, PAF 506

Fourth Semester
PAF 507, PAF 508

Fifth Semester
Elective, elective

Sixth Semester
Elective, elective

Seventh Semester
PAF 509, elective

Note: Taking summer classes could lighten spring and/or fall loads and decrease time to graduation.