The 100% online, instructor-led MPA program is offered in a convenient format that enables working professionals to earn their degree and apply what they learn in the classroom to their current and future work environments.

For over 40 years, the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences has been developing the MPA curriculum to inspire students to build upon their unique strengths in order to establish a firm grounding in public management that can strengthen communities and enable system-level change.

Students will work closely with faculty advisors to create a personalized academic plan to fulfill the 42-credit requirement to earn the MPA degree. This degree effectively prepares students for careers that require strong analytical and administrative skills, management expertise, and in-depth knowledge in specific policy areas. A broad array of electives that focus on fields such as healthcare, government, and nonprofit management enable students to bridge knowledge gaps and acquire specialized expertise in the areas that are important to their personal and professional goals.

Students can gain specialized expertise in the areas that are most relevant to their career objectives with a choice of three optional tracks:

  • The Government Management track is available fully online and prepares graduates for careers in government and public administration with four required courses: Intergovernmental Relations, Policy Studies, Municipal Management, and Seminar in Government Management.
  • The Healthcare Management track is currently available on our NYC campus and will be offered online soon. Prepare to become a leader in healthcare management jobs at public health or regulatory agencies.
  • The Nonprofit Management track is currently available on our NYC campus and will be offered online soon. Advance your career in the nonprofit sector, lead policy advocacy or engage in social entrepreneurship.

The program culminates with a Capstone Project Seminar which provides the student with the opportunity to carry out an analysis of an organization with which they are familiar. It may be one in which the student is currently employed or the site of an administrative placement during the program. A formal presentation of the analysis will be required.

Master of Public Administation Tracks

Government Management Track (Fully Online, NYC)

The Government Management track is ideal for pre-service and in-service professionals interested in pursuing careers in local, state and federal government. This track is also suitable for individuals who are interested in political careers. Our Government Management track graduates are employed as municipal and assistant municipal managers, chiefs of staff, school district business leaders, elected officials, budget analysts, and directors as well as executive and program directors and coordinators in various public sector agencies.

Healthcare Management Track (NYC)

The Healthcare Management track is ideal for individuals who occupy administrative positions in the healthcare industry and are interested in advancing into leadership positions within organizations that provide public health services as well as in regulatory agencies. Our Healthcare Management track graduates are employed with state and local health agencies, and non-profit/for-profit healthcare organizations such as hospitals in the NYC-metro area including Presbyterian, Mt. Sinai, Lenox Hill, Montefiore, etc.

Nonprofit Management Track (NYC)

The Nonprofit Management track is geared toward public managers in the nonprofit sector with previous management experience or with advanced professional degrees. Students pursuing this MPA track can focus on one of three areas: managerial skills enhancement (for those in or preparing for a career as a manager or administrator of a nonprofit organization); leadership development (designed for those interested in planning for and implementing social change); and social entrepreneurship (ideal for those in the private sector who have a particular interest in the social impact of for-profit business activities). Our Nonprofit Management track graduates are employed with organizations of various sizes in the areas of education, parks and recreation, community services, healthcare, immigration, etc.

Core Courses (21 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the field of public administration including its history as an academic discipline and a field of service. It focuses on the organization and structure of American national, state, and local governments and examines their powers, responsibilities, and functions in the federal system. The course emphasizes the impact of a changing political environment on the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government as they influence the development of public policy. Specific case examples illustrating the principles of public administration will be taken from government, health care, and nonprofit organizations.

This course examines organizations from three perspectives, as closed, natural, and open systems. It will help students to understand better the relationship among organizational structure, organization functions, and individual and group behavior. Behavioral forces and their implications will be addressed as students are exposed to concepts of power, control, and change within appropriate contexts. Leadership will be discussed from a situational perspective with emphasis on the complexity of the modern organization in the government, health care, and nonprofit sectors. Knowledge of organizational theory will be used to enhance students’ understanding of management functions.

This course introduces the principles of economics as applied to the government, health care and nonprofit sectors in the United States. This course will provide an analysis of the role of public and nonprofit institutions in the private market economic system. Special attention will be paid to the interaction of economics and the political process. Specific topics to be covered are: public vs private goods, market failure and externalities, supply and demand analysis, public choice theory, indifference curve analysis, macroeconomic stabilization, the public debt, and economic development and growth. Economic analysis will be applied to contemporary policy issues such as public welfare, health care, the environment, transportation, education, and taxation.

This course provides an in-depth analysis of budgeting and finance as applied to government, health care, and the nonprofit sectors. Its main focus is on principles of public finance and budgetary analysis as seen in financial decision making. Topics introduced in the course include the budget cycle, budget methods, budget reform, taxation and tax structures, intergovernmental fiscal relations, and cost and break-even analyses. The course also involves computer applications of these concepts to problems in government, health care, and nonprofit sector decision-making.

This is a core course in the MPA program. It covers the fundamentals of research methods for public administrators. The course is designed to assist public administrators in the consumption and production of research in their field. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research will be covered and public administration students will be given direct experience in both of these research areas.

This course teaches the fundamentals of statistic and quantitative methods as applied to public administration. The course is designed to integrate statistical and quantitative methods and decision making. Topics to be included are: basic measurement and experimental design probability and probability distribution, samples and sampling techniques, inference and hypothesis testing, contingency tables, analysis of variance, correlation analysis, and simple and multiple regression analysis. Emphasis will be placed on the applications of these concepts to issues and problems in government, health care, and nonprofit organizations.

The program culumiates with a Capstone Project Seminar which provides the student with the opportunity to carry out an analysis of an organization with which they are familiar. It may be one in which the student is currently employed or the site of an administrative placement during the program. The specific focus of the analysis will be determined by the interests of the student and approved by the project advisor. Seminar discussions will assist the student to relate concepts to the functioning of ongoing organizations, thus tying the curriculum to the world of work. A formal presentation of the analysis will be required.

Government Track Courses (12 credits)

This course studies the relationships among the several levels and forms of government (federal, state, local, regional, interstate and intrastate districts, branches, agencies, and quasi-public structures). The course describes the possession or sharing of responsibility for initiation and execution of public policy, fiscal provision, program design, and implementation in terms of the administrative problems that are seen in a federal structure. Case studies are discussed, illustrating examples of attempts at intergovernmental coordination and planning. Required of all students in the government track.

This course will examine the theories and concepts used in the study of public policy. It describes the development and use of models for policy formulation, analysis, and evaluation. Policies of special, professional interest to the student are examined in detail with emphasis on the development of analytic skills. Faculty guidance is provided in the assignment of special readings as the student develops policy research papers. Required of all students in the government track.

This course focuses on examining the various forms of municipal government such as the council-manager, mayor-council, and commission forms of local government. It explores the history of the plans, their evolution and growth, and procedures for adoption. In particular, the course examines the respective roles and responsibilities of the manager and those of elected officials and how the two interact with respect to municipal functions and the delivery of services. Also discussed are critical issues relating to the organization and management of municipal line agencies and support systems. Required of all students in the government track.

This seminar focuses on events that impact on the capacity of the public administrator to implement public policy. Examples include changes in civil service law, mandated services, changes in intergovernmental financing, etc.

Elective Courses (9 credits)

Choose three of the following in consultation with the department faculty advisor. Other courses may be selected as electives with prior approval of the faculty advisor.

This course is designed to make students aware of their responsibility as professionals in leadership and administrative positions in our complex society. Individual values and normative choices associated with the implementation of public policy will be discussed. Social, legal, and economic realities will be examined in light of philosophical arguments. Case studies and current examples relevant to government, health care, and nonprofit organizations will be used as practical applications of ethical precepts and conduct.

This course examines the evolution of personnel practices from the early days of American government through the merit system as they apply to government, health care, and nonprofit organizations. Some of the specific topics covered are position classification, constitutional issues, and labor relations. Emphasis is placed on the human resources management function and its integration into the organization. The student is introduced to behavioral science concepts as they apply to human resources management. Required for all students in the human resources management and management of health care organizations specializations.

This course examines the effects which organizational structure, change, and policies have upon employees. Students are exposed to the literature on organizational design and change. Diagnosis, analysis, and interpretation of these variables are discussed from the perspective of their capacity to develop both the individual employee and the organization.

This course is an introduction to labor relations in a unionized environment. The course describes the history of unionization, the recognition of unions, preparation for and the process of collective bargaining, impasse procedures, contract administration, grievance processing, and employee and management rights and obligations. Special emphasis is placed throughout the course on the administrator’s role in labor/management relations at the department and division levels and the manager’s role vis-à-vis the negotiator/labor relations professional. Case studies are drawn upon during the course.

This course examines basic concepts in strategic planning and marketing with special emphasis on the organization and management of the strategic planning process, marketing decision models, and techniques for the promotion of services to the public. Discussion of the ethical issues surrounding marketing is included. Required of all students with a specialization in planning and evaluation of nonprofit financial management.

Program planning techniques common to all organizations will be studied. Special emphasis will be placed on the application of the planning process to governmental, health, and nonprofit organizations. The course will have equal emphasis on the evaluation of existing programs. Needs assessment, monitoring, and methods of measuring program impact will be studied. The course will examine the environment in which planning and evaluation take place, as well as the tools, designs, and techniques required. Required of all students in the planning and evaluation specialization.

This course explores the historical and conceptual background of private foundation grants in the United States. The student will learn to identify appropriate sources of funding and to write grant proposals. Intersections of the grant writing process with the project development, program and strategic planning, and external partnerships and collaborative enterprises will be stressed. Emphasis will be placed on grants measurement in the government, health care, and nonprofit sectors.

This course is designed to acquaint students with the process and consequences of aging from both the individual and societal perspectives. Physical, social, and psychological aspects of aging are presented, along with the demographics of aging. Attendant policy issues, including economic considerations, are also explored.

This course is for the graduate student interested in advanced study of financial management. Topics are chosen from contemporary issues in the government, health care, and nonprofit sectors. Generic topics to be covered include bond and credit analysis, revenue and expenditure forecasting, fiscal impact analysis, measuring and evaluating financial condition, investment analysis and lease financing, debt policy and management, risk analysis and management, tax status and planning and managing endowments, gifts and grants. Computer applications of these concepts and a paper focusing on a financial analysis of a case example will be required. Specialists in the field may participate as guest lecturers.

This course is for the graduate student interested in advanced study in economic analysis. Topics are chosen from contemporary issues in the government, health care, and nonprofit sectors. Generic topics to be covered include demand analysis, production and cost analysis, structure of industry and efficiency, advanced econometric techniques and forecasting, benefit-cost analysis, pricing of government goods, manpower and productivity problems, taxation analysis and fiscal federalism. Computer applications of these concepts and a paper focusing on an economic analysis of a case example will be required.

The history of environmental policy development is covered. The methods for environmental policy development and implementation on the local level are explored. Scientific, policy, and regulatory contexts for risk assessment are explored. The student learns how to identify and assess risks, to integrate technical information into decision-making, to communicate risk, and to develop solutions. Mock debates are held, in which students represent different sides of an argument in the area of environmental risk assessment and management.

This course examines strategies for planning, designing, and conducting surveys for government, nonprofit, and health organizations. Topics covered in the course that are given particular attention include survey data collection modes (such as face-to-face, mail, telephone, and Internet) as well as survey questionnaire design and implementation.

PAA 621 is designed for degree and non-degree graduate students who want to understand and apply the process and methods involved in conducting social research. The course aims to equip students with practical qualitative analytical skills essential for conducting research, ranging from conceptualization, design and data collection processes through data analysis. The intent of this course is to familiarize students with a variety of approaches to qualitative data collection and analysis such as ethnography and grounded theory, postmodern, phenomenological approaches, design thinking, case studies, interviews, participant observation, document and archival data analysis. This course will also help students become proficient in the use of qualitative data analysis statistical software package.

This course explains the structure and operation of local governments within a federal system. The forms of local government, the sources and limits of their powers under state and federal law, and the impact of federal and state policies on local activities are closely examined. Key legal issues pertaining to personnel, public contracts and finances and tort liability of public officials and municipal corporations are analyzed. Emphasis is placed on the judiciary’s role in defining the scope and limits of local governance and the attorney’s role, as both counsellor and advocate, in the development of governmental policy and practice. Required of all students with a specialization in local government.

This course examines the political and institutional environment in which regional planning takes place. The relationship of planning to political and marketing processes and the structure of urban, suburban, and regional political systems are explored. Alternative strategies for planning on a regional basis are presented using theoretical approaches and case analyses. Techniques of making regional forecasts of employment, population, income, and housing demand are presented. Required of all government track students with a specialization in planning and evaluation.

Concepts relevant to understanding patterns of health and illness in the community are explored. Factors which influence the use of health services are discussed. Materials are drawn from various disciplines including epidemiology, vital statistics, demography, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. Required of all students in the health administration track.

Concepts needed to assess and assure the delivery of quality health care services are presented. The function and role of both government and private agencies in quality assurance are examined. Tools used to assess quality and improve the delivery of care in a variety of health services organizations are discussed. Risk management concepts are described. The relationship between quality assurance and risk management is delineated.

This course will allow students to learn the principles, techniques, and dynamics of mission-based marketing, the strategies and functions of communications, the intersection of communication, fund-raising and marketing, and the importance of advocacy strategies, such as research, education, lobbying, and litigation.

This course will provide an in-depth exploration of the emerging field of “social entrepreneurship” which has been succinctly described as using the tools present in a market-based economy to solve problems and create social value, as opposed to distributing profit to owners or shareholders. Students will examine the various forms and models of entrepreneurship, identify salient elements leading to success and failure, and study the vast implications of this new form of social innovation. Students will be required to perform a detailed case study of an entrepreneurial organization.

Designed as an educational work experience within an area of public sector management or policy related to a student’s field or interest and supervised by a professional who has expertise in that field.

This course focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of file and database management systems. Topics include data models hierarchical, network, relational; data structures, storage structures, storage devices, and their relation to data access; importance of data as an organizational resource; data management, sharing availability, security, integrity, and consistency; data independence and conceptual data models. Examples of database applications and software packages are selected.

This course examines managerial information requirements for operation, control, organization and planning, and the ways in which information systems are used to achieve these organizational objectives. Topics include general systems concepts and the systems approach to organization; role of computer technology in information systems design; economics of information; importance of data as a major organizational resource; information resource management; overview of information systems components: software, hardware, people, data flows and functional subsystems and their relation to the whole system. Examples are selected from such major subsystems as corporate planning, marketing, manufacturing, accounting, finance, and personnel.

This course provides an introduction to Systems Analysis and Design. Topics include analyzing the business case, requirements modeling, data and process modeling, and development strategies, with a focus on project management. Students also learn about output and user interface design, data storage design, systems architecture, implementation, and systems operation, support, and security.

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