Master of Public Administration core courses
Providing tools for success
Through the comprehensive curriculum of Northern Arizona University’s MPA program, you will receive a deep understanding of public service values and what it takes to be a successful public leader. Our core courses cover topics from the ethics of public policy to organizational behavior to policy analysis and equip you with the necessary tools to succeed as you move forward in your career. Our dedicated NAU faculty have research and applied experience.
The culmination of our program is the capstone, POS 681, where you conduct analyses and offer solutions within an organization and then present your work to your peers and instructor.
POS 501 Research Methods
POS 501 is designed to introduce you to scientific thinking and the main components of research design and analysis. The course is intended to prepare you for public and private sector work related to both qualitative and quantitative data analysis, and provide a foundation before you begin work on capstone projects.
POS 527 Ethics of Public Administration and Management
During this course, you will examine alternative approaches to ethics in the context of public administration and management, and at the level of individuals, organizations, society, culture, and politics. In addition to examining the theory and history of public service ethics and values, you will also use case studies and other class assignments to apply theory to practical situations.
POS 541 Public Management
Public Management (POS 541) is a graduate-level introduction to, and overview of, the theory and practice of public administration. As such, the class has two primary aims. The first is to provide you with an understanding of the historical and theoretical development of the field of public administration in the United States. In the pursuit of this aim, we will examine the major ideas, controversies, and historical events that have shaped the field. Secondly, you will be introduced to the important areas of specialization within public administration, including human resources, budgeting, public policy, and administrative ethics.
POS 543 Organizational Management
POS 543 provides you with an in-depth study of organizations and organizational management processes. You will become familiar with alternative frameworks for understanding organizations and notice that organizations have been studied from the perspective of several social science disciplines, including economics, psychology, and sociology.
POS 571 Policy Analysis and Evaluation
POS 571: How do elected officials and public administrators choose between policy options? Once a policy option has been selected and implemented, how do we know whether it has “worked” or not? These two big questions are crucial for the considerable democratic task of holding leaders accountable to the polity and promoting effective policy change.
No one wants to make uninformed decisions or to find out later that a choice they made had dramatic unintended consequences. Your skill as a policy analyst will make you a valuable employee to decision-makers, and, now or in the future, a better policy decision-maker yourself.
POS 642 Human Resource Administration
POS 642 provides you an in-depth analysis of the administration of human resources in public and not-for-profit organizations. You will also study personnel processes from recruitment to retirement and administration of human resources for increased efficiency and effectiveness in public sector output. The primary purpose is to understand the current context and practice of human resource administration (HRA) in the public sector.
POS 644 Government Budgeting
POS 644 is a course on governmental budgeting. During this course you will explore topics relevant to the budgeting process in the United States including theories of management and organization demonstrated through budgeting principles as they apply to public and the non-profit sector, legal requirements that confront public managers in the context of budgeting, ethical dilemmas that can confront those making and reviewing budgets, and constitutional and other legal issues involved in budgeting. You will examine how governments collect and spend revenues, and the important policy considerations involved in financing state, local and federal governments.
POS 581 Theory and Practice in Public Administration
POS 581 supports you through the capstone research and writing process. The capstone project joins the everyday work, or practice, of public administration, found in your career or internships, with the theories and academic research that makes public administration more than simply a set of “best practices.” Through this project, you will identify a public issue, work with a public agency (or a non-profit organization), implement a project, and produce a work product of value to the agency. You will, concurrently, produce a capstone paper that provides a comprehensive analysis and/or reflection on how your work experience highlights, contradicts, complicates or otherwise reflects the core theoretical and practical lessons you have learned throughout your MPA degree program.
Find out what other students have accomplished in their capstone projects.