The 39 credits of coursework in our online Master of Public Administration program prepare you to lead with purpose and make a difference in your community. You’ll gain the skills you need to succeed in a top-level position in a nonprofit organization, as well as the public and philanthropic sectors.
The M.P.A. program does a great job at linking both government and nonprofit sectors together, so you're prepared for both fields when you graduate.
– Ryan Stetz, student
Guided by the NACC
Our online M.P.A. program is one of the first in the country created under curriculum guidelines from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC). These guidelines help institutions build effective, impactful degrees in nonprofit management, and they ensure you will receive practical, relevant knowledge you can put to work in the field.
Based on the NACC curriculum model, we’ve designed our courses to give you a better understanding of leadership, management, public finance, human resources, collaborative decision-making, public policy, ethics, and social advocacy.
Core Courses (15 credit hours)
PSMA 6001 The Environment of Public Service Management (3 credit hours)
An overview of the political, social, legal, and ethical realities affecting public service management in nonprofit organizations such as government agencies, churches, schools, museums, and community service organizations. Topics include theoretical as well as operational perspectives, particularly as they distinguish public administration from business administration; the power of the public service professional and values of public service systems; and political processes, legal factors, and other mechanisms of accountability.
PSMA 6002 Research Methods and Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)
Introduces both quantitative and qualitative research methods and statistical analysis. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics, issues in sampling and hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, regression and time series analysis, as well as survey design. Computer software is used for statistical analysis.
PSMA 6004 The Economic Environment of Public Service Management (3 credit hours)
This course explores the economic factors affecting nonprofit organizations, healthcare, arts, and public service organizations. It introduces microeconomic principles, with some coverage of fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policies, as well as public goods and problems of market failure. Economic concepts and tools as they relate to the management of public service organizations are also covered.
PSMA 6011 Cross-Sector Collaboration and Cooperation (3 credit hours)
Addressing public issues increasingly requires leaders in all three sectors – public, private and nonprofit – to work collaboratively across sector boundaries. This course will explore current practices in cross-sector collaborations and partnerships, drawing on theoretical frameworks developed for collaborative governance. As the boundaries between sectors blur, approaches of one sector are often adopted and employed by another. We will explore the management challenges arising from sector blurring, particularly those arising from the increased adoption of marketized and managerial forms emerging from the neoliberal frame.
PSMA 7715 Ethics in Public Service (3 credit hours)
Probes ethics in public service through the ethical realities faced by professionals in government, healthcare, religious, educational, and other nonprofit organizations. Designed to develop and broaden awareness and appreciation of the power wielded by the public service professional, of the values public service professionals are expected to maintain, and of the ethical dimensions of public service management. The course is geared to developing operational skills for ethical analysis and action.
Nonprofit Concentration (21 credit hours)
PSMA 7314 Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations (3 credit hours)
Addresses particular financial, budgetary, and accounting issues in tax-exempt organizations. Assumes some knowledge of finance and budgeting.
PSMA 7301 Nonprofit Fundraising, Development, and Grant Writing (3 credit hours)
The course will examine the principles, techniques, and issues surrounding resource development in nonprofit organizations. We will examine various nonprofit fundraising strategies for resource development from private sources, including individuals, corporations, and foundations, including the annual fund, capital campaigns, and endowment support. Additional topics covered are the role of the board in resource development, ethical issues in nonprofit fundraising, and government regulations. Through the development of a grant for a nonprofit organization, this course will also provide a hands-on approach to grant writing and grant management. Students will be guided through the entire grant submission process, including proposal development, locating funding sources, and the reviewer evaluation. The course also includes a section on effective grants management, i.e., steering a grant through successful completion form the time of the grant award through completion of the grant evaluation.
PSMA 7311 Foundations of the Non-Profit Sector (3 credit hours)
This course promotes a thorough understanding of the nature of nonprofit organizations and the nonprofit sector as a whole. It explores the size, scope, and dimensions of the sector as well as its history, the various perspectives of philanthropy, and the changing role of the nonprofit sector in contemporary society.
PSMA 7312 Leadership and Management in Non-Profit Organizations (3 credit hours)
Explore various areas of responsibility in leading and managing nonprofit organizations with particular emphasis on the relationship and interaction between the chief executive and the board of directors. This course is intended as a follow-up to and extension of PSMA 7311.
PSMA 7303 Non-Profits and Public Policy (3 credit hours)
Governments impact nonprofits in many ways, such as establishing, regulating, monitoring, and funding them. First, this course will focus on the various ways in which governments impact nonprofit management and policy. Then, we will examine the major subsectors, i.e., healthcare, education, social services, arts and culture, social welfare, international assistance, etc. What are the similarities and differences in how public policies have affected each of them?
PSMA 6012 Non-Profit HR Management and Volunteer Management (3 credit hours)
This course examines the importance of human resources for nonprofit organizations, along with the roles of public and nonprofit personnel executives, personnel functions, and the application of problem-solving techniques. An exploration of the development and evolution of the civil service system and relevant personnel laws and regulations is also covered. Students will compare and contrast strategies for managing volunteers with strategies for managing paid staff. The class will also create an opportunity for students to apply conceptual materials to practical examples and grapple with real issues facing public and nonprofit managers.
PSMA 8312 Non-Profit Advocacy and Lobbying (3 credit hours)
In addition to their role in service delivery to the community, nonprofits serve an important function as advocacy organizations, providing information to policymakers on their particular areas of expertise, lobbying government for change, and providing information on particular policy positions. This course provides students with an overview of nonprofit advocacy and lobbying, examining ways that nonprofits may and may not become involved in the public policy process. The role of advocacy in advancing issues of democracy and social justice is explored, as well as strategies to build social capital within communities. International case studies of innovative and successful advocacy campaigns will be introduced as examples of advocacy strategies that worked and why. The interdisciplinary curriculum draws on theories from sociology, political science, organization theory, and social work.
Capstone Course (choose one)
PSMA 7991 Internship (3 credit hours)
Designed for pre-service students or those without two years of management experience, this course allows students to complete an internship in public administration and learn management skills through onsite experience. The students must complete a minimum of 300 hours of managerial or administrative work under the tutelage of a public service, nonprofit, arts, or healthcare administrator and complete all assignments given by the professor of the seminar associated with the internship.
PSMA 7992 Practicum (3 credit hours)
Consists of a 3-credit, group-consulting project related to an area of public service, nonprofit, arts, or healthcare administration or management. The practicum typically requires the writing of a management report and the delivery of an oral presentation for the subject organization. All work is completed under faculty supervision.
PSMA 7993 Research Seminar (3 credit hours)
Designed for students currently working full time on a supervisory or management level in the healthcare, nonprofit, or public sector, as well as in the arts, this course allows each individual to design and conduct a research project that focuses on a management or policy problem at his/her place of employment or in the public arena. The student presents methodology, results, and recommendations both as a written capstone project and as an oral presentation.
Students who have completed all degree requirements except the research seminar (PSMA 7993) must register for Thesis Continuation (THCN 7999) for the first semester subsequent to the research seminar (PSMA 7993) registration, and THCN 8000 from the second subsequent semester until the completion and presentation of the culminating research project.