College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Core Courses & Descriptions

Core Courses (28 hours)

The primary educational component of the MPA is the core curriculum:

  • MPA 500: Theories of Public Administration and Democratic Governance
  • MPA 501: Public Policy Formulation and Implementation
  • MPA 502: Public Budgeting and Finance Administration
  • MPA 503: Public Human Resources Issues and Management
  • MPA 504: Quantitative Methods
  • MPA 505: Qualitative Analytical Methods in the Public Sector
  • MPA 600: Integration of Theory, Methods, and Practices in Public Administration

Please note that all students must have a "B" average before enrolling in MPA 600.

Course Descriptions

MPA 500 Theories of Public Administration and Democratic Governance (4)

Socio-economic, political contexts of public administration; role of public administration in the politico! process; social values, ethics and public interest; characteristics of public bureaucracy, theories and practices; role and responsibility in democratic accountability, governance. 

4 hours seminar. Recommended prerequisites: PLS 314 and PLS 416 or equivalents.

MPA 501 Public Policy Formulation and Implementation (4)

Public policymaking politics, process and execution in the public, public/private and public/not-for-profit context. Emphasis on policy development, planning, implementation strategies, organizational adaptation and assessing consequences for diverse community interests.

4 hours seminar. Recommended prerequisites: PLS 314, PLS 416 or equivalents.

MPA 502 Public Fiscal Administration (4)

Examines public agency discretionary decision making, administrative controls, agency coordination, rivalry; intergovernmental relations and budgetary process; emphasis on budgetary reform, planning, process, capital and operating budgets, fiscal management, public accounting procedures; integrated financial management systems.

4 hours seminar. Recommended prerequisites: MPA 500 and STA 120 or equivalent.

MPA 503 Public Human Resources Issues and Management (4)

Public service concepts, institutions; relationship to executive and legislative functions and issues; adult learning theories, group dynamics; human resource issues including workforce diversity, collaboration, conflict; use of volunteers; assessment methods and instruments. 

4 hours seminar. Recommended prerequisites: PLS 314, PLS 416 or equivalents.

MPA 504 Quantitative Methods for Public Sector Issues (4)

Quantitative methodologies to define, execute, monitor, manage policy, program, projects. Emphasis on problem-solving, actual applications to organizational issues and ethical use of information and analysis in serving diverse community interests. 

4 lectures/problem-solving/ seminars. MPA prerequisites: MPA 500 and STA 120 or successful completion of undergraduate statistics course.

MPA 505 Qualitative Analytic Methods in the Public Sector (4)

Qualitative methodologies to define, execute, monitor, evaluate public policies, programs. Use of theory to address public sector issues, need for collaboration; qualitative techniques; ethical randomization. Emphasis on problem-solving, actual applications; ethical use of information/analysis in serving diverse communities. 

4 lectures/problem-solving. Prerequisite: MPA 500.

MPA 506 Ethics in Public Administration

An examination of administrative ethics as a subfield of the study of public administration in the United States, with special emphasis on practical considerations of individual choice, agency structure and public accountability. 

4 hours lecture/discussion.

MPA 507 Administrative Law

An examination of administrative law, a highly specialized subfield of public law in the United States, with special emphasis on the processes of agency action and decision making. Prerequisite: graduate standing. 

4 hours lecture/discussion

MPA 520 Intergovernmental Relations (4)

Issues explored: governance structures, federalism, intergovernmental grants, local and state relationships, legislative and administrative relationships, legislative intent, oversight and monitoring, inter¬governmental decision making, administrative ethics. 

4 hours seminar. Prerequisites: Completion of three core courses.

MPA 545 Public Organization Training & Development (4)

Organizational development, change and innovation, models of organization, structure and design; social values. Context of public organization development; legal structure, political issues, public organization innovation; political and executive leadership character¬istics. Faculty team, public administration and business administration will teach this course. 

4 lectures/problem-solving. MPA prerequisites: MPA 500 and MPA 503.

MPA 550 Public Policy Program Evaluation (4)

Theoretical and practical issues of collaboration, management and support of policy changes; use of systematic design, development, analysis, execution, presentation to policy decision makers, managers and constituencies. Students will partner with public, non profit or private sector agencies in policy assessments. 

4 lectures/problem¬-solving. Prerequisites: STA 201 or equivalent, MPA 500 and MPA 504.

MPA 555 Contemporary Issues in Public Policy (4)

Public policy history, successes, failures; policy analyst's role, function; relationship to legislative, executive processes; policy alternatives and options, new models for program development, implementation. 

4 hours seminar. Prerequisites: MPA 500 and MPA 501.

MPA 599/599A/599L Special Topics for Graduate Students (1-4)

Group study of selected topics, the title to be specified in advance. Instruction by lecture, seminar, activity, laboratory, research, or a combination. 

Course may be repeated.

MPA 600 Seminar on the Integration of Theories, Methods, and Practices (4)

Integration of major theoretical, methodological and practical subject matter; use of case studies, examination of reports, practitioner assessment; preparation and administration of field interviews; selection and presentation of project topic or master's thesis proposal. 

4 hours seminar. Prerequisites: All core courses should be completed. Unconditional standing required.

MPA 592 Independent Study (1-4)

Independent study and research on a subject chosen by the student with the consultation, approval, and direction of an advisor. 

Course may be repeated. Maximum credit, 8 units. Unconditional standing required.

MPA 695 Project (4)

Graduate project integrating theories and methodologies; focus on practical concerns and issues of public and nonpublic agencies, diverse perspectives within a task-oriented framework. Contract with participating agency. Faculty and practitioner supervision. Specialized activity. 

Prerequisites: MPA 600.

MPA 696 Thesis (4)

Compilation, evaluation, interpretation, and presentation in thesis form of individual research supervised by faculty advisor. 

Prerequisites: Completion of all core courses. Specialized activity. Prerequisites: MPA 600. Unconditional standing.

MPA 697 Examination (4)

Preparation for and completion of the written comprehensive examination. This exam or any subpart may be taken no more than two times. Failure to complete the examination or any subpart satisfactorily the second time will result in termination form the program. 

Advancement to candidacy is required. Prerequisites: MPA 600.

MPA 698 Field Work/Internship (4)

Internship in a public sector context. Work assignment developed in a Department of Political Science, MPA program agency partnership.

Assignment and number of units subject to advisor approval. May enroll for 2 units per quarter for a total of 4 units. 
Specialized activity. Prerequisites: MPA 500 and two other core courses.

MPA 699 Project or Thesis Continuation (0)

Per University requirements, the student should enroll in this course to avoid a break in residence. 

No credit is given.

Please note graduate students may select elective courses from graduate programs in related disciplines: Economics, Education Administration, Business Administration, Psychology, Urban and Regional Studies.