Explore our MPA General Program
A broad understanding of the field of public administration can help prepare you for a range of career options at federal, state, and local agencies as well as in the private and nonprofit sectors. In the General Program, you will have the opportunity to gain cross-sectoral management and communication skills that can be applied domestically and globally.
- 48 quarter credits
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (30 cr.)
- Elective courses (10 cr.)
- Capstone (5 cr.)
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an enrollment adviser at 855-646-5286.
Foundations of Graduate Study
This course introduces students to graduate-level expectations and protocols for scholarly research and academic writing. Reflecting Walden's mission and vision of promoting positive social change, this course helps students build a foundation for success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Course assignments focus upon students' professional goals, strategies for online student success, research skills, and academic integrity. Assignments are designed to build critical thinking skills and provide opportunities to apply academic lessons to real-world practice. Students are encouraged to take advantage of Walden's wealth of student support systems, especially the Walden Library and the Writing Center.
Principles of Public Administration
Public administrators work to increase the efficacy of public organizations on a local, regional, national, and international level. In this course, students actively collaborate on a team final project that facilitates their use of real-world tools, technologies, and communication formats needed in the profession of public administration. They engage in hands-on practice to enhance their aptitude in professional skills (e.g., research, critical reasoning, creative and flexible problem-solving, technology, responsible leadership, intercultural awareness, negotiation/conflict resolution, and collaboration). They explore the diverse political, social, and economic contexts within which public administrators carry out their responsibilities. Spring boarding from the American democratic model, students examine emerging topics and trends in global public administration, including governance, fiscal issues, ethics, and positive social change. They also examine the history, foundations, and theories of public administration as well as public policy and organizational environments.
Ethics and Social Justice
Ethics is a fundamental element of leadership. In this course, students consider some of the leading philosophical bases of ethics as well as foundational social justice themes upon which public service rests. The course uses seminal texts and case studies to illuminate the tasks leaders face as they seek to serve diverse constituents. Students confront the challenge of ethical decision making and moral action in a world characterized (among other things) by economic disparity, power imbalances, social privilege, and division due to race and/or religion. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in an in-depth assessment of emerging or persistent ethical and social justice issues, with the objective of demonstrating an ability to make recommendations which lead to positive social change.
Public Policy Analysis
Government officials, research programs, and NGOs are increasingly expected to make better and more transparent use of evidence in producing viable policy options within highly complex policy environments that are heavily influenced by power and politics. Policy analysis requires several distinct skill sets: an understanding of the policy context, technical knowledge and analytical tools to identify and apply evidence ethically and with professional judgment, appreciation and engagement with the concerns and contributions of diverse stakeholders, and the ability to develop and communicate practical policy advice.This course is framed around Bardach and Patashnik's eightfold path, which lays out steps to follow when analyzing a policy issue and uses design thinking to guide the process. Students examine key concepts of public policy analysis through evidence-based research to locate issues in relation to theory and current trends. This course provides project-based opportunities to practice and gain the skills and knowledge to use evidence to shape policy more effectively.
Finance and Budgeting for the Public Sector
Sound financial practices are crucial to managing scarce funds in both public and nonprofit operations. In this course, the term "public" is synonymous with government. Nonprofit organizations are included because they rely on special tax-exempt status conferred by the government and often receive government funding. Students in this course examine finance and budgeting concepts, policies, and practices related to organizations as well as the fiscal climate within which they operate. They assess theories for motivating major fiscal-policy debates, and they explore and discuss auditing practices, tax systems, financial management, budgetary reform, financial technology systems, the use of dashboards for financial reporting, and the impact of globalization on finance and budget. Students read and analyze budgets, financial statements, and reports. They contextualize their learning as they apply knowledge gained from their analysis to develop a new budget and financial plan for either a public or nonprofit organization.
Human Resources Management and Strategic Planning
In the public and nonprofit sectors, human resource management and strategic planning are often driven by legislative mandates, delineated by codified requirements, and defined by the challenges of managing a diverse workforce. In this course, students learn about the fundamentals of managing human resources in the public and nonprofit sectors, including how jobs are classified in the public sector and how the volunteer workforce is managed in the nonprofit sector. In addition, students learn how strategic planning in this context is differentiated by the fact that there is no profit motive driving strategic management, vision and mission development, and organizational leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors.
Evidence-Based Evaluation Methods
Nonprofit and public/government organizations need to be able to show positive evidence related to their mission and ability to effect social change to remain viable. By developing performance improvement evaluation plans that are structured with metrics, leaders can disseminate an organization's progress to build stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Students in this course will be introduced to a critical appraisal of levels of evidence, performance improvement and evaluation methods, and the importance of dissemination of organizational outcomes to help contribute to a positive future for social change.
ELECTIVE 1 (choose from MPA specialization courses)
ELECTIVE 2 (choose from MPA specialization courses)
In this course, students have the opportunity to reflect on and demonstrate integration, synthesis, evaluation and application of the knowledge, skills, and abilities developed over the course of the Master of Public Administration or Nonprofit Management and Leadership programs. Students complete a capstone paper designed to maximize the application of concepts and skills learned during their program of study, with particular emphasis on the knowledge base and literature of public administration, public policy, and/or non-profit management and leadership. The capstone paper documents the results of a literature review addressing a research question related to a specific public policy or nonprofit management issue. The course also challenges students to reflect on how this program has and will, impact their personal, scholarly, professional, and positive social change agent growth.
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Tuition and Fees
Tuition and Fees
|Tuition||48 quarter credit hours||$507 per quarter hour||$24,336|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$165||$825|
*Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.
Having completed my master’s and doctoral degrees with Walden University, I have a scholarly foundation on which to build.
Rachel Ivory Master of Public Administration (MPA) Graduate
I wanted to enhance my education, and Walden was my key.
Jose Alicea Master of Public Administration (MPA) Graduate
My passion for public service initially motivated me to enroll at Walden.
Alexander Boamah Master of Public Administration (MPA) Graduate
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