2024-2025

Public Administration, Master of Public Administration

Department of Politics and International Affairs

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

This plan is no longer offered at the Flagstaff Campus. See the Campus Availability tab below for alternate plan campus options.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Northern Arizona University prepares pre-service and mid-career professionals for leadership and management roles in public and not-for-profit sectors. As the preeminent public MPA program in Northern Arizona, we play a unique role in serving the people and public institutions of this region at the county, municipal, state, tribal and federal levels. In addition to this regional focus, the program serves students from throughout the state, the nation and even internationally. The curriculum of the NAU Master of Public Administration builds a strong foundation in the theoretical and practical dimensions of public management and educates students within a program of study that facilitates intellectual development, promotes scholarship, and integrates the theory and practice of public administration with the promotion of public service values.

This program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master's degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 36
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
Additional Fees/Program Fees Required
Some online/blended coursework Required
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan Optional

Purpose Statement

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Northern Arizona University prepares pre-service and mid-career professionals for leadership and management roles in public and not-for-profit sectors. As the preeminent public MPA program in Northern Arizona, we play a unique role in serving the people and public institutions of this region at the county, municipal, state, tribal and federal levels. In addition to this regional focus, the program serves students from throughout the state, the nation and even internationally. The curriculum of the NAU Master of Public Administration builds a strong foundation in the theoretical and practical dimensions of public management and educates students within a program of study that facilitates intellectual development, promotes scholarship, and integrates the theory and practice of public administration with the promotion of public service values.
 
Student Learning Outcomes

Core Outcomes 


Graduates of the MPA program should demonstrate the following abilities.

  • Lead and manage in public governance, including being able to:
    • Apply theories of management, leadership and organization to deliver effective governance in public and non-profit organizations.
    • Assess the major theories of human resource management to select approaches that will best support the professional development and management of human resources in various areas.
    • Apply current legal requirements guiding human resource management in public and non-profit settings.
    • Demonstrate a working understanding of the budgeting process in public and non-profit settings, including the ability to create, read and analyze a budget.
    • Apply ethical reasoning to administrative design and decision-making in the context of public management and leadership.
  • Participate in and contribute to the policy process, including being able to:
    • Demonstrate knowledge of policy analytic techniques and presentation.
    • Produce a professional quality policy analysis of a real policy problem.
    • Plan an evaluation of an existing policy or program.
  • Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions, including being able to:
    • Compare and contrast different theories of management, leadership and organization in terms of each theory’s assumptions, applications, insights and limitations.
    • Formulate, develop and support arguments and recommendations in written essays and research papers.
    • Design quantitative and qualitative research projects, analyze data and draw conclusions.
    • Use ethical and practical reasoning in class assignments and discussions.
    • Explain and apply different models of decision making.
  • Articulate and apply a public service perspective, including being able to:
    • Describe the importance of democratic and constitutional values in public management.
    • Analyze and explain how different theories of public management and organizations define and attempt to realize democratic and constitutional values.
    • Define and discuss the importance of equity, transparency, participation, accountability and diversity in public management and organizations.
    • Define and discuss efficiency and effectiveness from a public service perspective.
  • Communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and community, including being able to:
    • Critically reflect upon the nature and consequences of diversity (e.g. race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, culture, nation), and develop an understanding of how this diversity both alters and is altered in a world characterized by global interaction.
    • Demonstrate professional behavior in terms of demeanor, personal presentation, ethics, and civic participation in experiential learning and classroom settings.
    • Write effectively and persuasively about the key principles, theories and issues of public administration.
    • Speak and/or interact in diverse public and professional settings.

Graduate Admission Information
  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.


    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

    • A bachelor’s degree in a closely related discipline.
    • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above or  6 units of subsequent coursework at the graduate level with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
    • Three letters of recommendation - academic or professional (not family or friends).
    • 500-word statement on why you want to complete the MPA Program.
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
Master's Requirements
  • This Master’s degree requires 36 units distributed as follows:

    • Public Administration Coursework: 21 units
    • Portfolio and Exit Interview: 3 units
    • Selected Electives: 12 units


    Take the following 36 units:

    • MPA Portfolio and Exit Interview after you have completed the Public Administration coursework. (3 units)
    • Concentration Area

      *In consultation with your MPA Coordinator, electives can include a student designed concentration from a particular field or take several interdisciplinary courses that comprise a coherent area of study.

    Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program
      • This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan wherein a student may start a master's degree while simultaneously completing their bachelor's degree.

      • Students must apply to the master's program by the graduate program's application deadline, meet all admissions requirements listed in the policy Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs, as well as the admissions requirements for the specified master's plan to be considered for admission. Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year.

        Be sure to speak with the Master's Program Director/Coordinator regarding your interest in the accelerated plan.
      • Students accepted into the Accelerated Program should complete the following requirements:

      • This Master's degree requires 36 units distributed as follows:

        • Public Administration Coursework: 27 units
        • Portfolio and Exit Interview: 3 units
        • Selected Electives: 6 units

        Take the following 36 units:
      • MPA Portfolio and Exit Interview after you have completed the Public Administration coursework. (3 units)
        • POS 596 with a Grade of "B" or better (3 units)
      • Concentration Area

        *In consultation with your MPA Coordinator, electives can include a student designed concentration from a particular field or take several interdisciplinary courses that comprise a coherent area of study.

    • Students enrolled in this plan may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

    Additional Information
    • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

    • Program Fee Information
    • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $750 per semester has been approved for this program.