Master of Public Affairs Course Requirements

The University of Missouri has offered public service education for over 50 years.  Established in 2001, the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs has 14 TSPA, 26 affiliated and 8 adjunct faculty members and is part of the University’s College of Arts and Science.

The Truman School advances the study and practice of governance in Missouri, the nation and the world.  The mission of the Truman School’s MPA Program is to prepare a diverse student body for ethical leadership in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.  The MPA program draws upon the interdisciplinary teaching, research and public service capacity of the Truman School, the University as a whole and practitioners to provide students with a range of perspectives and experiences that promote public service values and democratic discourse. Through their coursework, students build knowledge of policy processes and management principles and develop critical thinking and analytic skills that enable them to advance in careers in a rapidly changing public service.

For students admitted to the on-campus MPA program prior to summer 2020:

The on-campus program requires a total of 45 credit hours of graduate course work. Full-time students can complete the MPA program in two years.

Core courses (30 credit hours)

Every MPA student takes core courses to build a strong foundation of basic knowledge and skills to prepare for advanced studies in an area of specialization. 

  • PUB_AF 8150: Collaborative Governance (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8160: Organizational Dynamics & Leadership (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8170: Public Policy Processes and Strategies (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8180: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs I (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8181: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs II (3 credits)
  • PUB_Affairs 8190 Economic Analysis for Public Affairs (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8210: Public Service and Democracy (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8530: Strategic Management in Public Service Organizations - People, Information and Money (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8280: Internship (3 credits. See below)
  • PUB_AF 8211: MPA Capstone: Applied Project (3 credits)

Area of specialization (15 credit hours)

Students in the public management specialization are required to take:

  • PUB_AF 8520: Human Resources Management and Development in the Public and Nonprofit Sector (3 credit hours)
  • A budgeting class (3 credit hours)
  • Three electives (9 credit hours total)

Students in the public policy specialization are required to take one elective plus:

  • PUB_AF 8420: Public Program Evaluation (3 credit hours)
  • PUB_AF 8430: Public Policy Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • Three electives (9 credit hours total)

Internship

Every student is required to complete an internship in a public or nonprofit organization.

This helps students:

  • gain experience in public service
  • apply knowledge from coursework
  • build professional connections

Students with significant public sector or nonprofit work experience may request an exemption from the internship requirement.

In addition to the core and elective courses offered by the Truman School, students may take courses offered by other schools and colleges at MU in consultation with the director of graduate studies.

 

For students admitted to the Mid-Career program prior to  summer 2020:

The program requires 33 credit hours of graduate course work. The mid-career option is available on-campus or can be completed 100% online if you prefer.

Core Courses (21 credit hours)

  • PA 8150: Collaborative Governance (3 credits)
  • PA 8160: Organizational Dynamics and Leadership (3 credits)
  • PA 8170: Public Policy Processes and Strategies (3 credits)
  • PA 8185: Research Methods - Mid-Career (3 credits.  Prerequisite: basic statistics* within the last 5 years).
  • PA 8195: Economic Analysis for Public Policy - Mid-Career (3 credits. Rrerequisite: microeconomics* within the last 5 years).
  • PA 8210: Public Service and Democracy (3 credits)
  • PA 8530 Strategic Management in Public Service Organizations - People, Information, and Money (3 credits)

(*Cost-effective options are available through sites such as Udacity and Coursera. Contact the Truman School for more information).

Areas of Specialization (12 credit hours)

Students in the public management specialization are required to take:

  • PUB_AF 8520: Human Resources Management and Development in the Public and Nonprofit Sector (3 credit hours)
  • A budgeting class (3 credit hours)
  • Two electives (6 credit hours total)

Students in the public policy specialization are required to take:

  • PUB_AF 8420: Public Program Evaluation (3 credit hours)
  • PUB_AF 8430: Public Policy Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • Two electives (6 credit hours total)

The internship requirement (PA 8280) and the capstone applied project (PA8211) are waived for working professionals completing the mid-career option.

Students with less than 3 to 5 years of relevant work experience take 36 credit hours. This includes an internship and capstone. The mid-career option is designed for professionals with three to five years of progressively responsible work experience and requires 30 credit hours of graduate course work (the internship and capstone are waived). Either program can be completed on-campus or 100% online.

Core Courses required of all students (15 credit hours)

  • PA 8110: Public and Nonprofit Management (3 credits)
  • PA 8170: Public Policy Processes and Strategies (3 credits)
  • PA 8180: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs I (3 credits)
  • PA 8181: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs II (3 credits)
  • PA 8210: Democracy and the Public Service (3 credits)

Additional core courses required for on-campus program (6 credit hours):

  • PA 8280: Internship (3 credits)
  • PA 8211: Capstone (3 credits)

(PA 8280 and 8211 are waived for Mid-Career Students)

Area of specialization (15 credit hours)

Consult with your faculty mentor and academic advisor to select an additional 15 hours of electives to craft the course of study best suited to your career goals. 

Public Management Focused Electives

  • PUB_AF 7340: Regional and Economic Development Policy (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8150: Collaborative Governance (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8160: Organizational Dynamics and Leadership (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8190: Economic Analysis for Public Affairs (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8510: Public Budgeting and Taxation (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 7540 Local Government Management (3 credits)
  • PUB AF 8530 Strategic Management of Public Service Organizations (3 credits)
  • PUB AF 8520 Human Resource Management and Development in the Public and Nonprofit Sector (3 credits)

Nonprofit Management Focused Electives

  • PUB_AF 8150: Collaborative Governance (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8150: Collaborative Governance (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8710: The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8720: Budgeting and Financial Management in the Nonprofit Sector (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8830 Grant Writing (3 credits)
  • PUB AF 8530 Strategic Management of Public Service Organizations (3 credits)
  • PUB AF 8520 Human Resource Management and Development in the Public and Nonprofit Sector (3 credits)

Public Policy Focused Electives

  • PUB_AF 8190: Economic Analysis for Public Affairs (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8420: Public Program Evaluation (3 credits. Prerequisite: PA 8181)
  • PUB_AF 8430: Public Policy Analysis (3 credits. Prerequisite: PA 8181)
  • PUB_AF 7340: Regional and Economic Development Policy (3 credits)
  • PUB_AF 8510: Public Budgeting and Taxation (3 credits)

 

The Global Management option is for applicants sponsored by an international institution with which the Truman School has a memorandum of agreement (Korea Government, Korea University, KDI Policy School):

Global Management MPA Options

The Global Management MPA option is for students sponsored by an international institution with which the Truman School has a memorandum of agreement (Korea Government, KDI Policy School, Korea University).  The GRE is not required for these programs.

Global Management – Mid Career MPA (33 Credits)

Students in the two-year Global Management MPA program complete the following program of study:

Fall Semester 2019 – 3 classes (9 credit hours)

  • Graduate Program Success
  • PA 8282: Practicum in Public Affairs
    This course is designed to introduce international graduate students to American Politics through readings, class discussions, presentations and writing assignments. Since the midterm Congressional elections will be held this November, we will pay close attention to various aspects of the campaign: issues, campaign events, public opinion, election administration, and the process of US elections. In addition to improving students’ understanding of US and state government, the structure of the class meetings and assignments is designed to advance students’ English language and discussion skills.

Spring Semester 2020– 3 or 4 classes (9-12 credit hours)

  • PA 8170 Public Policy Processes and Strategies
  • PA 8190 Economic Analysis for Public Policy
  • PA 8160: Organizational Dynamics and Leadership (4T in Jefferson City)
  • PA 8530: Strategic Management of Public Service Organizations

Option: Summer Semester 2020

  • PA 8530: Strategic Management of Public Service Organizations online

Fall Semester 2020 – 3 classes (9 credit hours)

  • PA 8150: Collaborative Governance (possibly online)
  • PA 8185: Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs (Jefferson City)
  • PA 8210: Public Service and Democracy

Spring Semester 2021– 3 classes (9 credit hours)

  • Elective course (on campus)
  • Elective course (on campus)
  • PA 8211: Capstone
    For the Global Management Program Students, the capstone project is individualized and will focus on a public affairs topic related to the US and Korea. Students will make a short presentation of their research findings at the end of the semester.

 One-year “1+1” program with the KDI Policy School

Students in the KDI program take 24 credits at the University of Missouri.  With two courses transferred from the KDI School of Public Policy and Management, the required 30 credit hours of graduate coursework are completed within one calendar year.

Spring Semester 2019 – 4 classes (12 credits)

  • PA 8170: Public Policy Processes
  • PA 8530: Strategic Management of Public Service Organizations
  • Elective course
  • Elective course

Fall Semester 2019 – 4 classes (12 credits)

  • PA 8160: Organizational Dynamics and Leadership
  • PA 8210: Public Service and Democracy
  • PA 8150: Collaborative Governance
  • Elective course

Transfer courses from KDI School to be applied to TSPA program of study

  • MCD002: Introduction to Research Methods (substitute for PA 8185 Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs)
  • MCA002: Analysis of Market and Public Policy (substitute for PA 8195 Economic Analysis for Public Affairs)

Our goals are to:

  • Offer a comprehensive set of core and specialization courses that build a strong theoretical foundation in public affairs, policy, and management, develop rigorous analytic skills, and provide opportunities for practical application of knowledge, skills, and competencies to significant public policy and management issues.
  • Ensure students gain hands-on experiences and engage with public and nonprofit organizations as an integral part of the program.
  • Promote public service values across the curriculum and provide opportunities for experiential application of these values.
  • Promote a respect for diversity by exposing students to national and international scholars, governmental and nonprofit leaders, and students from various countries who exemplify public service values.
  • Provide students with the skills to critically analyze, evaluate, propose, and facilitate solutions that address the dynamic challenges facing the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Our students don’t have to wait until graduation to start making a difference. They gain hands-on experience through capstone projects and internships.