Explore our MPA Policy Analysis specialization
Shaping public policy involves strategic planning and complex negotiations. This specialization focuses on the policy process, from setting agendas and using analytic tools to implementing legislation and gauging social acceptance. Gain a fundamental understanding of how to identify stakeholder interests and develop program evaluations as you focus on areas such as communications, healthcare, immigration, and transportation.
- 63 total quarter credits
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (40 cr.)
- Specialization courses (15 cr.)
- Capstone Seminar (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 your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Visit the video gallery to learn more about some of the following courses.
The 11-week courses must be taken in the prescribed sequence below.
Foundations for Graduate Study
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop a program of study, a Professional Development Plan, and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence and integrity.
Principles of Public Administration
Public administrators work to increase the efficacy of government and organizations on a local and international level. In this course, students explore the diverse political, social, and economic contexts within which public administrators carry out responsibilities. They also examine the history, foundations, and theories of public administration as well as public policy and organizational environments. Students engage in coursework focused on ethical and legal issues, governance, fiscal planning, and current topics and trends in public administration. Gaining real-world insight into the field, they examine the overall history, purpose, and operation of a public organization of their choice. They also assess and describe the operation and health of their organization through the application of public administration theory.
Ethics and Social Justice
Ethics is a foundational element of leadership. In this course, students examine the philosophy of ethics as well as responsibility and social justice—basic tenets of public service. Students explore the complex social, political, and related ethical challenges leaders face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse constituents. They examine ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege. Students also assess demographic data and current social trends and themes to understand, analyze, and address ethical and social justice issues that impact service delivery in a global community. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in an in-depth assessment of an emerging or persistent ethical or social justice issue, through which they demonstrate their ability to make recommendations for improvement or change.
Public Policy Analysis
Contemporary public administrators work in a dynamic, partisan environment with unprecedented access to public policy data—conditions leading to extraordinary opportunities and, often times, severe constraints. Students in this course thoroughly examine key stakeholders involved in the public policy process and devote special attention to their function, impact, and constraint on policy development. In addition, students explore professional ethics related to the role of the policy analyst and consider the significant social outcomes of public policy. They examine the theories and strategies used by policymakers and policy analysts to develop, implement, execute, evaluate, and promulgate public policy. They also assess the impact and consequences of public policy and evaluate it through a social justice framework. Using critical-thinking and communication skills, students craft a policy memorandum regarding a current public policy problem, for which they consider and evaluate competing policy alternatives.
Organizational Management and Leadership
Public and nonprofit leaders in all areas of public administration require a thorough understanding of the expectations of their roles as leaders and managers of diverse and complex organizations. Students use theoretical and applied perspectives from which they study the intricacies of these roles, including the distinction between leadership and management, organizational culture, change management, systems theories, and organizational development. Students gain a practical understanding of these topics through the application of principles and concepts to public, private, and nonprofit organizational settings.
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.
Strategic Planning: Collaboration, Cooperation, and Coordination
In an increasingly complex world, leaders and managers in public and nonprofit organizations plan strategies to fulfill the organizational mission and enhance stakeholder satisfaction. Students in this course explore the role and process of strategic planning, including collaboration, cooperation, and coordination. They also examine the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of strategic planning, in addition to the impact of globalization. Students apply these concepts to real-life scenarios and develop a strategic plan for a nonprofit or public organization.
Applied Research and Evaluation Methods
Organizational credibility, community trust, and fundraising are increasingly dependent upon demonstration of program effectiveness and success. Students in this course are introduced to research and evaluation methods in the public and nonprofit sectors to learn ways to measure and assess a program's effectiveness and potential success as well as to address problems or issues in the field. Students examine the strengths, limitations, and threats to validity; models, quantitative metrics, and tools used to evaluate programs and policies; and legal and ethical issues associated with research and evaluation methods. Using these parameters and other concepts presented in the course, students critically evaluate sample research, consider ways to communicate results to an intended audience, and reflect on trends and challenges that could affect future program evaluation.
Human Resource Management: Building a Capable Workforce
The acquisition, development, and retention of talent are critical elements in the success of any organization. In this course, students examine theories, approaches, and systems related to hiring, managing, training, and retaining employees in government and nonprofit organizations. Through the use of case studies, students explore topics that include legal and ethical considerations, diversity, performance management, the establishment and implementation of policy, technology, and conflict management. Students apply principles and concepts learned in this course to real-world situations encountered in public, private, and nonprofit organizations.
Policy and Politics in American Political Institutions
Students in this course are introduced to the crafts of policymaking and policy analysis in the U.S. democratic system. Students examine the tasks involved in the policy process, including setting agendas, using policy analysis tools, managing the political process, implementing policy, and providing evaluations and feedback. Through this analysis, students work toward developing skills to conduct policy and economic analyses as well as to determine the political feasibility of proposed policies. They learn about regulation as a policy choice. They also work toward enhancing their ability to develop alternatives and to assess strategies proposed to achieve certain policy objectives. Students engage in scholarly writing assignments and discussions on policy areas of interest, such as communications, immigration, transportation, housing, labor, arts, and environmental policies.
Public Policy and Evaluation
There are a variety of tools available to policymakers and policy analysts to evaluate the impact of social programs. In this course, students examine these tools and work toward gaining the skills needed to develop plans for evaluation and to assess social programs effectively. Students engage in discussions and assignments designed to provide practical application of content on a variety of topics, such as selecting programs to evaluate, crafting program descriptions, identifying stakeholders and their interests, developing logic models, framing evaluation questions, applying utilization-focused evaluation techniques, using quantitative and qualitative tools to complete formative and summative evaluations, and providing evaluation reports and feedback to decision makers. Using concepts presented in the course, students gain hands-on experience developing an evaluation design for a social program.
Public Policy and Finance
Public policymakers often rely on microeconomic and macroeconomic models to formulate new policies and re-evaluate existing polices. In this course, students examine the use of such models in the public policy setting and assess how public finance influences policy choices as well as implementation alternatives. Through weekly, analytical writing assignments and peer discussions, students explore tax policies and tax incentive models; budgeting, public/private models; market influences on policy; the impact of government expenditures on income redistribution; and economic considerations of welfare; food stamps, workers' compensation, Social Security, and outsourcing of public programs. Synthesizing course content and applying critical-thinking skills, students assess a local government jurisdiction, examine the decisions of policy makers, and recommend improvements based on economic models.
Master of Public Administration Capstone
In this course, students complete a capstone project using action research that fosters social change in public administration or nonprofit management and leadership. In the project they demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired in their master’s degree program. The project employs an action research model. Students reflect on how the project and the program have contributed to their personal, scholarly, and professional growth.
|VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses|
Tuition and Fees
|Curriculum Component||Requirements||Cost||Total *|
|Tuition||63 total quarter credit hours||$495 per quarter hour||$31,185|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$160||$1,120|
|Transfer up to 30 credits||$15,170|
|Total with Maximum Transfer Credits†||$17,135|
The tuition reflects the minimum credits to completion. Program completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, 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.
†Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time
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