2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
    Sep 21, 2023  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Administration, MPA

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Master of Public Administration Overview

The Clark University Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is designed to strengthen and advance the managerial and analytical skills of mid-career executives in both public organizations and nonprofit institutions.  This widely accepted professional credential is also ideal for students who have a commitment to public service and are seeking a career in a non-profit organization or a position with federal, state, or local government. The goal of this graduate level, professional program is to develop administrators who can effectively address the varied managerial, economic and political aspects of public issues and programs. The program also assists professionals from other fields who wish to make the transition to the administration of government, nonprofit, or other public institutions.

The 10 unit degree provides skills required for leadership roles in a wide range of public service careers. A Clark Master of Public Administration equips students with a solid academic foundation and training in nonprofit management, public management, and public affairs. Students gain knowledge and can implement policies, projects, and programs within government and non-profit organizations. A graduate of this program will be able to address public needs in effective and imaginative ways so they may lead a career of consequence for their constituents.

Senior Leadership Program

Clark’s Master of Public Administration for Senior Leadership (MPA-SL) equips public sector professionals with expertise in policy and program formulation, implementation, and evaluation, decision-making and problem-solving techniques, human resources, and conflict resolution skills. Accepted students will have three to five years of supervisory/managerial experience in the public sector.  Prior learning credit will be applied for two courses upon completion and approval of Prior Learning Portfolio.

The MPA-SL is a cohort-based program that starts in August and takes two years to complete.

Click here for Senior Leadership Program Requirements  

Course of Study

All MPA students must successfully complete 10 graduate courses, the five core courses listed below and five electives. Electives may be selected from courses offered in the M.P.A. program or from other relevant graduate courses offered by the School of Professional Studies. Further options for selecting electives that suit individual interests may be discussed with the Director of the MPA program.  Students work with their advisor prior to selecting courses.

The School of Professional Studies offers Prior Learning Credit for up to 2 graduate level courses.  The Prior Learning Credit is awarded for both demonstrated learning and experience. The Prior Learning Credit is offered to adult learners with three (3) or more years of work experience. Burden of proof for Prior Learning Credit is the responsibility of the student.  The Prior Learning Credit can be applied to a core or elective degree requirement.  Admitted SPS Grad Students eligible for Prior Learning Credit must work with their academic advisor on the Prior Experiential Credit process from evaluation through final approval.  There is an administrative fee associated with the Prior Experiential Credit process.

Required Core Courses

The five core courses below are listed in order of general recommended sequence. Though there is no specific requirement that they be taken in this order.  Policy Analysis and Issues and Cases should be taken early* and the Capstone Practicum should be taken last. 


An internship option is available to students who enter the MPA program and meet the internship qualification criteria.

List of Concentrations

Students need to work with the MPA Progam Lead when choosing a concentration (concentrations are optional). Graduate students are permitted to select courses offered in all School of Professional Studies graduate degree programs. They may also petition to take graduate courses offered by other departments at Clark University.  Such petitions are decided on a case-by-case basis, and students should consult with the MPA Program Lead regarding all such requests.

MPA Concentration (four electives from a chosen area of concentration and one elective of choice from any SPS course)  **Special Topic and other relative courses must be approved by your the MPA academic advisor to fulfill concentration requirements.

Educational Leadership

This concentration is designed to develop and enhance managerial and leadership skills of professionals working in school systems as an academic or non-academic leader. The curriculum emphasizes both the quantitative aspects of management (analytical skills and critical thinking) and the qualitative aspects of management (transformational leadership, change management and negotiations) within a school system.

Healthcare Administration

This concentration centers on developing the skills and knowledge required to ensure healthcare organizations can achieve their strategic goals.  The key focus of this concentration is how to efficiently manage all the aspects of healthcare administration (policy formulation, management, professional knowledge of the healthcare sector, marketing and finances) to ensure an efficient and effective healthcare operation.

Public Sector Leadership

This area of concentration is focused on developing and enhancing managerial skills required in all types of public organization. Curriculum emphasizes both the quantitative aspects of management (analytical skills and critical thinking) and the qualitative aspects of management (transformational leadership, change management and negotiations) within the public sector.

Non Profit Leadership

This concentration focuses specifically on the management of nonprofit organizations, including strategic marketing, fundraising, change management and the role of non-profit leaders in the delivery of services to various constituents.

Elective Courses

Students are free to select their elective courses according to their own preference. Often, however, students prefer to concentrate their electives in one particular area. There are presently 4 areas of concentration in the MPA program.

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