Master of Public Affairs—Hauptmann School of Public Affairs


About the Program

Preparing students for cross-sector and multi-sector realities, the cornerstone of the curriculum is a core of six public affairs courses, which provide the common denominator and the unity of “public” concerns in all sectors of organizational life. These courses will deal with the theory and methodology of public affairs and contemporary issues of responsible leadership in a free and democratic society.

Students select one area of concentration from among the following four program areas:
  1. Public Management
  2. Business, Government and Global Society
  3. Nonprofit and Community Services Management
  4. Disaster and Emergency Management

Students who elect to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Business and Government Leadership, Disaster and Emergency Management, or Nonprofit Leadership may apply many of the hours toward their MPA degree.

Each concentration is led by a faculty member who serves as area coordinator, providing necessary academic direction to the concentration and its students. In keeping with the values of community engagement and civic responsibility, each area of concentration has a civic leader who reflects these values and is tasked with assisting students in the area. Students are encouraged to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities as they arise, such as special projects for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. These experiences can be taken as PA 504 (Independent Study) under the guidance of a faculty member. PA 504 may replace a concentration elective. In addition, when offered, PA 506 (International Service-Learning Experience) provides an important learning experience abroad related to the student’s area.

Just as the cornerstone of the curriculum assumes the unity of the public affairs area, so does its capstone course, PA 602 (Seminar in Public Affairs). This writing-intensive and highly interactive seminar is required of all students, regardless of program area. Assigned readings and presentations reinforce the guiding theme of the unity of public affairs, using the framework of the founding documents of the U.S. It is recommended that students take the capstone in their final term in the program, as preparation for the oral and written comprehensive examinations.

The comprehensive examinations, written and oral, are also an integral part of the program. The examinations check the student’s professional preparation, as well as understanding of the field of public affairs.

MPA Mission Statement

The MPA program in the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs offers education consistent with the HSPA vision of serving the common good by graduating leaders who exercise authority responsibly, make ethical decisions, act with moral courage, and advance human dignity world-wide.  The curriculum prepares students nationally and internationally to lead and manage with professional expertise in public, nonprofit, and cross-sectoral settings, while pursuing the public interest and showing concern for fairness and social justice.  Through teaching and research, program faculty advance public service values by contributing to the knowledge and practice of public affairs, public administration and policy from the local to the global community.


MPA Program Goals

  1. To prepare students to lead and manage by exercising professional expertise.  This includes knowledge of substantive concepts related to public affairs, the ability to think critically and analytically, and the capacity to exercise independent, ethical judgment.
  2. To encourage deeper appreciation of the principles of democratic governance and action.
  3. To instill a lifelong commitment to public affairs, service and values with a focus on moral courage, social justice, and the public interest.
  4. To engage in research that enriches the understanding of public affairs, including public administration, public policy, and the nonprofit sector, from the local level to the broader global community.