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Online Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.): Curriculum

Curriculum Details

60 total credits required

In the 14 required courses in the online M.P.A. program, you’ll cover topics such as public budgeting, policy studies, personnel management and leadership through structured online learning experiences taught by expert faculty. The M.P.A. program curriculum has a strong rural focus but also maintains a global perspective.

You’ll have numerous opportunities to build a broad range of public administration skills throughout the program and graduate prepared to be a dynamic leader in public service. In addition to in-depth online coursework, there are optional on-campus learning opportunities through elective courses offered in coordination with EOU’s Regional Outreach and Innovation Centers in Oregon.

Required Courses


Supervised work experience in public administration related-programs, government and administration. Reports and appraisals required. Only 5 credits can be counted towards the Master of Public Administration degree. Course can be waived, and elective credits substituted, with 4+ years of verified managerial experience in public sector.
Research is important to public administrators for a variety of reasons. This course covers the basics of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methodologies directed at assisting public service leaders in identifying problems, celebrating achievements, and persuasively advocating for resources and/or policy change.  Students will learn about inquiry and research design by crafting relevant and practical research questions, identifying the proper method of data collection and analysis, and communicating results to organizational leadership and elected officials. 
This course focuses on the different tools available to public administrators interested in understanding the relationship between their programming and community outcomes.  Through the use of methods such as experiments, focus groups, and surveys, students learn how to engage stakeholders, collect and analyze data, communicate results, and translate those findings into improved programming. In addition, many public agencies and non-profits would benefit from assessment and learning, however, they lack the resources necessary to implement intensive evaluations.  In this course, students will discover low cost tools that can be integrated into programming without necessitating major overhauls to their operation or creating new, major demands on their current workload. 
Public managers are by nature of their position called to leadership. Gaining a deeper understanding of effective leadership styles and skills will be valuable for future career success and development. This course provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in these complex, changing social environments.  We will explore theories of leadership and examine the skills and processes employed by effective leaders.  In addition, we will center our discussion of leadership around how ethics informs leadership behavior and the implications of the complex challenges inherent to public service for protecting and strengthening ethical standards of governance in a democratic society.

Political communication is not only used by candidates and elected officials. For 21st century governance, public administrators must also be able to speak and write to a variety of different stakeholders including other administrators, elected officials, community leaders, clients, and the public. In this course students will learn:

  1. Who those stakeholders are
  2. How to take complex ideas and translate them into clear messages
  3. Choose the correct medium to communicate

Due to the nature of the subject matter, there is a strong oral communication dimension to this course.

In this course, you will explore a variety of policy related topics such as the politics of policy making, interpreting and constructing policy ‘problems,’ examining policy alternatives, evaluating outcomes, communicating success and defining failure. Through engaging these topics, you walk out of this course with a more complete understanding of the life cycle of policy and a better understanding of the complexity and context sensitivity that characterizes the policy process.

This course will cover the foundations of public administration theory and praxis. Students will learn about the values, concepts, and challenges salient in public administration and apply them in a rural context. Through this exploration, students will have a better understanding of how public problems ‘uniquely’ manifest in rural areas and how public administrators can position themselves to solve them.  

This course provides an understanding of budget preparation, adoption and execution; proposed reforms of the budget process; revenue strategies; and competing theories of the politics of budgeting. The course will be structured around a series of case studies and practical exercises.

An examination of the political, legal, fiscal and administrative challenges confronting intergovernmental relations. Particular focus will be placed on the problems and prospects confronting rural America, including tribal relations, intergovernmental agencies and legislative advocacy.
Students will acquire a familiarity with geospatial data and ArcGIS software.  In this course, they will demonstrate a basic understanding of how to access, store, clean, and visualize raster and vector data in ArcGIS. Through this process, students will create and interpret original maps that highlight a geospatial relationship between environmental, social, or economic phenomena. 

Elective Courses


Topics will vary, but may include, land use planning, legislative advocacy, sustainable development implementation, and issues in environmental policy and administration.    
An examination of the organization and operation of personnel systems and the role of leadership in the public and non-profit sectors. Course explores the motivational and personnel programs required by the organization, along with the leadership strategies for effective human resource management.

Organizations are the vehicles used to collectively ‘get things done.’ Perhaps a more apt analogy is conceptualizing an organization as a complex organism; a system, relying on the harmonious interaction of its parts, directed towards a common purpose. Through discussions of bureaucracy, personnel, history, and culture, students will unpackage this complexity by analyzing the internal structures and external pressures placed on public and non-profit organizations. Due to the co-productive and co-dependent nature of organizations, there is a strong collaborative element to this course.

In this course, students will focus on the role of managers in non-profit organizations in the 21st century. Non-profit managers must translate overall mission and programmatic goals into actionable service provision amidst resource constraints. Through exploring key managerial strategies that recognize the importance of non-profit managers, volunteers, governing bodies, policymakers, donors, and clients, this course offers insight into how to overcome challenges likely to impact non-profit organizations.

An examination of the legal basis of government authority and the ways in which legal processes authorize yet limit action by public administrators. Review of relevant legal processes, including rule-making, administrative appeals, and judicial review. Attention is focused on the legal issues in which public administrators are most likely to become involved. 

Students will demonstrate an advanced ability to manipulate and visualize geospatial data through ArcGIS software.  In this course, they will build on skills learned in POLS 570 to construct interactive raster and vector maps.  In the process, students will:

  1. Learn how to structure complex overlays
  2. Find, access, and translate discrete data into geospatial data
  3. Draft an interactive, user-friendly dashboard that can be used by public administrators

As this is an advanced course, it will also cover basics of empirical inquiry.

Get in Touch

We are here to answer any questions you may have. Contact an enrollment counselor at 855-805-5399 or complete the request for information form and we will be in touch.