Penn State's curriculum for this 36-credit course of study is intended to educate persons who aspire to leadership positions in public service careers in government and nonprofit organizations. The course work includes 21 credits of core courses, 12 elective credits, and a 3-credit master's project. Up to 6 credits of 400-level courses may be taken as electives, with the advanced approval of a departmental adviser.
In addition, a 3-credit (300 hour) internship is required of students who do not have at least two years of full time relevant work experience that consists of supervisory, managerial, or professional work.
Core course topics include:
- research methods
- organizational behavior
- governmental fiscal decision making
- public organization and management
- human resources in the public and nonprofit sector
- intro to policy analysis
Students accepted into the program may begin their course work during any academic semester. The typical student course load is expected to be three to four courses per year. At this rate, the MPA degree program can be completed in three to five years of study.
Elective Courses from Many Areas
- homeland security
- human resources
- nonprofit management
- policy analysis and evaluation
- public budgeting and financial management
- state-local government and administration
Collaborative Experience, Practical Applications
The master's degree curriculum uses a blend of web technology, print, and other media to maximize flexibility without sacrificing professor and student interaction. Communication tools including bulletin boards and email are used to foster a collaborative environment, providing you with the opportunity to learn from one another. The curriculum and course format can help you develop practical applications of the topics you study. Learn online when it is convenient for you, and immediately apply to your job what you've learned.