Curriculum:Master of Public Administration


Drake’s 100% online Master of Public Administration curriculum consists of 30 credit hours to be completed in the following areas:

  • Core courses: 21 credit hours
  • Elective courses: 9 credit hours

Elective courses will be in the area of emphasis that you choose – either Healthcare Management or Public & Nonprofit Management. All courses are six weeks and asynchronous which means you can study when and where it works best for you.

Core Courses

MPA 215: Foundations of Public Service – 3 Credit Hours

This course is designed to introduce participants to the dynamic environments of public organizations and nonprofit entities. The course reviews the historical and the institutional context of public and nonprofit organizations and examines the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to manage such organizations. The course also familiarizes participants with the norms and the expectations of masters-level education.

MPA 216: Human Resources Development – 3 Credit Hours

Treating Human Resources as an asset rather than as a cost represents a philosophical transformation on human research management thought. Focus is on theories, research, and practices related to the functions and activities of managing human resources in public and nonprofit organizations. The course covers the responsibilities and inter-relationships involving: job analysis, job structuring, EEO, human resource planning, recruitment and selection of employees, ethics, international HRM, performance appraisals, counseling, incentives, safety and health, human resources development, career planning and union/employee-management relations, multiculturalism, the virtual office, outsourcing, and issues central to HR in the public and nonprofit sectors are included and compared to the private sector.

MPA 217: Applied Research Methods for Public Administration – 3 Credit Hours

This course provides an introduction to the methodology of the social sciences, as well as public administration and management research. Competencies important to the professional practitioner that are covered include how to assess and evaluate services, read and analyze research published in relevant areas of management and policy analysis, and develop an understanding of the strengths and limitations of published research. The course provides the skills necessary to become a critical and competent consumer of both qualitative and quantitative research related to public administration.

MPA 220: Public Budgeting and Financial Management – 3 Credit Hours

An investigation of (1) financial institutions and practices, including budgeting public funds and the political constraints on their operation; (2) revenue sources including taxation, charges and fees, and intergovernmental financial transactions; (3) financial management techniques such as the administration of government debt, idle cash, risk management, purchasing, and management.

MPA 221: Public Organizations and Leadership – 3 Credit Hours

The focus of this course is on management and leadership in public organizations as informed by bureaucracy and rationality, formal and informal structures, and rapidly-changing political and organizational environments. The course will examine institutional factors and contemporary issues surrounding behavior or organizational members, including topics such as organizational design, organizational change, performance management, and technology integration.

MPA 228: Resource Development & Program Performance – 3 Credit Hours

An examination of the purpose, strategies, and essential techniques associated with resources development in public service organizations. Successful grant writing, philanthropy/fundraising, and the role of intersectoral collaboration will be addressed. A study of program performance and evaluation tools, both quantitative and qualitative, is emphasized enabling the evaluation and determination of societal needs and measurable outcomes associated with public and nonprofit programs. Prereq: Consent of the Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs, Zimpleman College of Business.

MPA 260: Capstone Experience – 3 Credit Hours

This course features a problem-based learning experience in which the student engages in a real-world challenge utilizing problem-solving strategies along with experience and disciplinary-based knowledge and skills to find and develop innovative solutions.


Healthcare Management

Gain an understanding of the evolving healthcare landscape through the completion of coursework consisting of healthcare administration, healthcare policy, ethics, law and advocacy and conflict resolution. The healthcare management emphasis will prepare graduates to transition from patient care roles to management positions such as Nurse Manager, Unit Manager, Director of Patient Safety, or Director of Development.

HLTH 261: Healthcare Policy – 3 Credit Hours

Examination of the roles played by government in the development of the health care system in the United States using policy analysis. Focus on the interaction between public policymakers and health care providers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Policies for study include Medicaid, Medicare, National Health Insurance and health planning.

HLTH 263: Healthcare Administration – 3 Credit Hours

This course provides a conceptual empirical and problem- solving framework for dealing with the administration and management problem-solving skills as well as develops, implements and evaluates organizational and management goals. Emphasis is on understanding the functioning of hospital and health care organizations.

HLTH 266: Healthcare Regulation, Law and Advocacy – 3 Credit Hours

In its broadest sense, health law is the area of law pertaining to health care and the health care environment. It relates to the interaction of many players and relationships within and external to the health care arena. This course is meant as an introduction to this cast and complex area and will focus on these relationships as they pertain to the health care administrator and manager. Key topics will include patient rights and protection, facility responsibility, payer and patient relationships, health care provider and patient legal relationships.

Public & Nonprofit Management

PADM 245: Public Policy – 3 Credit Hours

An examination of the public policy process with an emphasis on developing the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to manage the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies in public and nonprofit organizations. The course includes quantitative and qualitative strategies used to formulate and implement effective public policies and it will also cover performance and impact – based evaluation techniques.

PADM 287: Public Management – 3 Credit Hours

Designed to inform the professional practice of public administration, the course provides perspective on contemporary theories and practices that support professional public management. Current and emerging public issues will provide the setting for exploration and study.

PADM 273: Nonprofit Management – 3 Credit Hours

Students examine the nonprofit sector’s distinctiveness and capacities while addressing a broad spectrum of issues, strategies, and techniques related to management and leadership of nonprofit organizations. The course addresses challenges to effective nonprofit management in rapidly changing environments and includes nonprofit-specific perspectives on financial management, human resources management, revenue generation, and ethical obligations to organizational stakeholders.

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