Master of Public Administration

Students specialize in one of the following emphasis areas: public management, public policy analysis, health administration or criminal justice. Dual emphasis areas can also be pursued.

The public management emphasis is designed for those working for, or planning to work for, executive agencies of local, state and federal governments; private nonprofit organizations; or government relations units of private corporations. It provides basic tools of public management, understanding of structure and processes of public organizations, and the history and context of the field of public administration.

The public policy analysis emphasis offers professional staff of executive and legislative departments of local, state and federal governments the capability to analyze the effects of a broad range of actual and hypothetical government policies. It emphasizes application of economic analysis and other quantitative and qualitative methods to Alaska and national policy issues.

The health administration emphasis prepares students as health administrators in local, state or federal agencies; non-profit organizations; and private companies in health-related fields. Students develop knowledge and skills necessary for effective public management in the health care area: planning, decision making, and managing people, money and programs.

The criminal justice emphasis provides a theoretical basis for management careers in criminal justice. Students develop knowledge and skills necessary for effective public management: planning, decision making, and managing people, money and programs. These skills are applicable to a wide spectrum of employment areas in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and they are relevant for students seeking a terminal degree in justice administration.

Students can graduate with a dual emphasis by completing the nine credits required for each emphasis. A dual emphasis requires nine credits beyond those required for a single emphasis. Interested students should speak with an advisor.

Admission Requirements

Students enter the MPA program with bachelor’s degrees from a variety of educational backgrounds. Accordingly, the program meets the needs of students with a wide mix of professional and educational backgrounds and interests.

To apply for admission, applicants must meet the UAA Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees and must: 

  • Submit a 300-500 word statement on their career goals and how the MPA degree relates to them.
  • Submit a professional resume or vita.
  • Meet one of the following criteria:
    • Have a combined undergraduate GPA plus GRE Analytic score totaling 7.0 or higher. The GRE test is not required for students having already earned a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a foreign equivalent, provided they have an undergraduate GPA of 3.00.
    • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 and have taken an introductory course in government (or demonstrate knowledge by taking an approved UAA college-level achievement examination)
    • Complete two PADM core courses with a grade of B or better and complete all PADM core course prerequisites (BA A273, ECON A201 and ECON A202 or ECON A602, and PS A101) or their equivalents.

Detailed admission standards are available on the department website.

Contact the CBPP Graduate Office for full program information, including application forms and procedures.

Graduate Office
UAA College of Business and Public Policy
3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508 U.S.A.
Telephone: (907) 786-4171
Fax: (907) 786-4115

Academic Requirements

To maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree, a student in the MPA program is expected to complete a minimum of 6 semester credits each calendar year, starting with the first term of enrollment. The 6 semester credits may consist of either undergraduate prerequisite courses or graduate program courses. Failure to comply with the 6 credit minimum each calendar year may result in a student being dropped from the program.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

Core Courses
ECON A625Economics and Public Policy3
PADM A601Introduction to Public Administration3
PADM A602Seminar in Public Management and Leadership3
PADM A604Research Methods in Public Administration3
PADM A606Public Policy-making Process3
PADM A608Organizational Theory, Design and Development3
or BA A634 Organizational Design and Development
6 credits of advisor-approved graduate electives, relevant for the chosen emphasis area (see below)6
Capstone Project
PADM A659Public Administration Capstone3
Total Credits27

Candidates for the MPA who do not have public administration work experience must also complete 3 credits of PADM A620.

Students must take the core comprehensive examination after completing the core courses. This examination must be passed before the student may enroll in the capstone course.

Students must also complete one of the following emphasis areas: public management, public policy analysis, health administration, criminal justice, or dual emphasis: public management and public policy analysis.

Public Management Emphasis
PADM A603Management Analysis3
PADM A610Public and Non-Profit Organizational Behavior3
PADM A624Human Resources Administration and Labor Relations3
Total Credits9
Public Policy Analysis Emphasis
PADM A628Public Financial Management3
PADM A632Public Policy Analysis3
PADM A688Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement3
Total Credits9
Health Administration Emphasis
HS A605Public Health and Society3
HS A615Health Services Administration3
HS A626Principles of Epidemiology3
Total Credits9
Criminal Justice Emphasis
9 credits of advisor-approved criminal justice electives *9
Total Credits9

 No more than 6 credits at the 400 level. See advisor for approved justice emphasis courses.

A total of 36-39 credits is required for the degree; dual emphasis areas may be taken for additional credits, e.g. public management and public policy analysis. 

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Master of Public Administration will be able to demonstrate:

  • Leadership and decision making
  • Communications
  • Awareness of the values and tradeoffs in public service, including sustainability, citizen engagement, democratic values and transparency
  • Role of financial, human, information, technology and other resources
  • Knowledge of the policy process, including assessment
  • Problem-solving, including the use of evidence
  • Information processing and technology for effective administration