MPA Areas of Specialization

MPA students choose one of two areas of specialization to develop advanced knowledge and skills related to their professional goals:

  • Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Public Policy

Each specialization includes two predetermined courses. Students work with their faculty advisors to determine the remaining courses based on their interests. On-Campus students are required to take three additional courses for a total of 15 credit hours. Mid-Career students are required to take two additional courses for a total of 12 credit hours.

Public and Nonprofit Management

This specialization is designed for students who are interested in working in the public and nonprofit sector.

Students will learn how public organizations:

  • compete effectively in the marketplace
  • understand  and prioritize community needs and priorities
  • deliver appropriate services within a budget


  • PUB_AF 8720: Budgeting and Financial Management in the Public and Nonprofit Sector
  • PUB_AF 8520: Human Resource Management and Development in the Public and Nonprofit Sector
  • Three additional specialization courses

Public Policy

Students in this specialization learn:

  • theories of the policy process
  • quantitative and qualitative research methods to analyze policy
  • program evaluation

Students also have the opportunity to gain expertise in specific policy areas, including:

  • education
  • environment
  • health
  • regional development
  • social policy

Students in the policy specialization develop a portfolio of tools that will allow them to have an impact on the policy process, including:

  • micro-economic analysis
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • research design
  • applied regression analysis
  • policy forecasting
  • survey research methods
  • program evaluation strategies


  • PUB_AF 8420: Public Program Evaluation
  • PUB_AF 8430: Public Policy Analysis
  • Three additional specialization courses