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Department of Public Administration


Master of Public Administration Degree

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Mission Statement. The MPA program at The University of Texas at San Antonio educates responsible leaders and ethical public servants through a curriculum incorporating original research and practice. The program’s diverse graduates, representing a wide range of professional and community backgrounds, serve the public locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Bridging research and practice, MPA graduates demonstrate the decision making, management, communication and analytical skills necessary to sustain a responsive and effective public sector.

Program Admission Requirements. Applicants must satisfy University-wide graduate admission requirements, submit a letter of intent, and complete (or have completed) an undergraduate course in U.S. government or politics (3 hours). The 500 word letter of intent should state the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the MPA, how their educational and/or career experience has prepared them for the MPA program, and how the degree will help the applicant achieve her or his goals. Two letters of recommendation are required from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or work abilities (normally, professors and/or work supervisors). Applicants may be admitted as unconditional, conditional, or special graduate students, or as non-degree-seeking. Admission as a special graduate student or as non-degree-seeking does not guarantee subsequent admission as a degree-seeking student; such students must reapply for degree-seeking status. Applicants may be required to complete an American Government course if the class was not taken as an undergraduate student.

Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove deficiencies, is 40. In addition to these basic degree requirements, students without previous work experience that supports attainment of careers and leadership roles in public and nonprofit organizations must complete an additional 6 semester credit hours of PAD 6963 or PAD 6966 Internship.

Degree candidates must complete the following requirements:

  1. 25 semester credit hours of core courses:

    PAD 5003   Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management
    PAD 5023   Research Design and Methods
    PAD 5033   Theories of Public Organizations
    PAD 5233   Applied Research I
    PAD 5323   Public Policy Process
    PAD 5363   Public Budgeting and Finance
    PAD 5393   Economics for Public Affairs
    PAD 6001   Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar
    PAD 6923   Applied Research II

    Normally, students enroll in PAD 5003, Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management, and PAD 6001, Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar, during their initial semester.


  2. 9 semester hours of prescribed electives, choose three (3) courses from the following list:

    PAD 5243    Management Information Systems
    PAD 5303    Ethics in Government Administration
    PAD 5313    Public Policy Analysis
    PAD 5333    Program Evaluation
    PAD 5343    Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
    PAD 5443    Diversity Policies and Management
    PAD 5913    Nonprofit Organizations
    PAD 5923    Nonprofit Leadership and Management
    PAD 5943    Strategic Planning and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
    PAD 6243    Administrative Law


  3. 6 semester credit hours of Public Administration electives, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.

  4. Comprehensive examination. Degree candidates are required to pass an oral comprehensive examination. The examination is administered in the form of a presentation to a faculty committee of the exit paper written by the student in the required PAD 6923 Applied Research II course.

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Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership is a 15-semester-credit-hour program offered by the Department of Public Administration established to provide students who are currently managing or working in the nonprofit sector, or who seek careers in the nonprofit sector, with essential management skills and a foundation in the theory and values fortifying the nonprofit sector in America.

The certificate enables graduate students with good academic standing from multiple program areas to develop their expertise, explore the current issues facing the sector, enhance their employment opportunities with nonprofit and public agencies, and meet the growing complexity and demands of the nonprofit sector.

To meet the curricular requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership, students must complete 15 semester credit hours from the following:

  1. 9 semester credit hours of required courses:

    PAD 5363    Public Budgeting and Finance
    PAD 5913    Nonprofit Organizations
    PAD 5923    Nonprofit Leadership and Management

  2. 6 semester credit hours selected from the following courses:

    PAD 5343    Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
    PAD 5933    Fiscal Resource Development in Nonprofit Organizations
    PAD 5943    Strategic Planning and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
    PAD 5953    Grant Development and Proposal Writing
    PAD 5963    Nonprofit Financial Management
    PAD 6973    Special Topics (with permission from Advisor)

Course substitutions are not permitted except under extenuating circumstances and prior department approval is required.

If it is determined by the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program Advisor that a student requires prerequisite background courses to adequately prepare for the courses included in the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program, this will be noted in the student’s file. Prerequisite courses must be taken before enrolling in Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program coursework or within the first semester of coursework.

Students not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program are required to apply for admission to UTSA as a special (non-degree-seeking) graduate student and indicate their intent to seek admission into the certificate program. Applicants must meet University admission requirements for special graduate students. Once admitted as a special graduate student, the student should contact the Certificate Program Advisor and complete the formal intent form.

Completion of the Certificate program will be recorded on the student’s transcript if the student has applied for and been admitted into the Certificate program and after completion of all coursework, and has applied for the Certificate by submitting the necessary application to the Enrollment Services Center. It is the student’s obligation to apply for the Certificate, much like applying for graduation, after completion of the coursework.

Students should note that if they are currently pursuing a degree in a graduate program and pursuing the Certificate, and they graduate from the graduate program before they complete the Certificate, they must reapply for admission to UTSA as a special (non-degree-seeking) graduate student and indicate their intent to seek readmission into the Certificate program.

All other requirements for certificate programs described in Chapter 3, Certificate Programs, of this catalog apply to this program.

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