Explore our MPA Public Management and Leadership specialization
Behind every successful government is an organized team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals. Learn how to develop and manage effective government programs at the local, state, and federal levels. The Public Management and Leadership specialization will enable you to make a positive difference in communities through public governance that includes transparency, accountability, and efficiency.
- 63 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 the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, 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.
Strategic Context of Public Management and Leadership
Students in this course engage in a collaborative study of the changing strategic context of public administration. Students apply a systems perspective to construct a public enterprise “mental” model of a public organization to understand the strategic context for practical action and the stakeholder relations involved. Students demonstrate their knowledge of the interrelated flows of money, knowledge, and influence, as they weave these elements in their model. They engage in readings and practical assignments that emphasize management and leadership in a time of unprecedented and unpredictable change. Students also work toward developing professional-action habits for pragmatic-action learning in the practice of public administration.
Transformative Change in a Shared-Power World
Students in this course are engaged in a collaborative study of the nature and methods of transformative change in the complex human systems of contemporary public organizations. Students explore and employ a pragmatic-action-learning process for studying the experience of transformative change in complex systems. They examine the dynamics of complex adaptive systems to gain an understanding of how large-scale and highly interrelated human systems change through self-organization. Students explore and apply appreciative inquiry and other selected methods of transformative change to a positive organizational-change situation of personal interest. They also have the opportunity to develop professional-action habits for pragmatic-action learning in the practice of public administration.
The Language of Leadership
In today's complex environment, leaders engaged in shaping public policy and programs must know how to use the emotional and intellectual power of language to motivate, inspire, and competently manage their organizations. In this course, students examine dynamic leadership techniques, such as effective communication, that effect conscious and unconscious influences on human behavior. Through discussions, group assignments, and individual projects, students apply theoretical and practical course content to demonstrate the necessary components for making effective human connections. Students also learn why stories, symbols, and metaphors are essential elements in the language of leadership.
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.
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Tuition and Fees
|Tuition||63 quarter credit hours||$495 per quarter hour||$31,185|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$160||$1,120|
*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 30 transfer credits. 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