2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
    Dec 05, 2021  
2021-2022 Academic 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 or 2 Clark University graduate courses 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 must 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. There is no specific requirement that the required core courses 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.

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. The concentrations in MPA are listed above (Any MSC elective can be substituted for an MPA elective).

List of Concentrations

Students need to work with the MPA Progam Director when choosing a concentration. (Concentrations are optional). Graduate students are permitted to select courses offered in all School of Professional Studies graduate degree programs. Students 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 Director 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.

Cannabis Policy

This certificate applies the public policy framework and provides practical training for implementing the rules of engagement in this new field.  The concentration offers students the choice of 4 courses from a selection of 5 electives focused on cannabis policy and social equity.   Each course delivers a well-rounded foundational understanding of the issues enabling students to act as change agents within their organizations and communities.

Upon completion of the concentration in Cannabis Policy students will be able to:

  • Explain the historical dynamics and contemporary forces at work regarding cannabis use in the US. 
  • Articulate in-depth understanding of the origins and impact of cannabis legalization from social, legal, health and economic perspectives 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the intersection and influences of social, medical, economic and legal viewpoints on cannabis use monitoring and control 
  • Act as informed change agents in their professional careers to ensure the safety and health of the various public administration constituencies.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Available Spring 2022

This concentration prepares educators and working professionals to be change agents within their institutions in advancing the embrace of diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core competency. A concentration in DEI will create thought leaders in the DEI space, an area of expertise that is applicable across varied industries and sectors and is growing in demand as society moves to a more equitable and diverse construct.

In addition to these 3 courses:

MPA 3310 - Self as Agent of Change  

MPA 3311 - Historical and Contemporary Understandings of (In) Equities  

MPA 3312 - Social Change and Transformation  

MPA graduate students pursuing a concentration in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will need to take one of the following courses:

MPA 3114 - Social Policy and Equality  

MPA 3219 - Social Equity and Social Impact of Cannabis  


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.

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.

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.

Learning Outcomes

The Master in Public Administration offers students the opportunity to develop competencies in the five foundations of organizational systems, ethics and corporate and social responsibility, applied research, workplace dynamics, communication, and career management, and theoretical grounding. The concentrations allow the student to specialize in areas that are particular to career paths and industries. 

  1. Organizational Systems - to effectively communicate within public service and non-profit sectors. (Course MPA3120 Organizational Behavior and Leadership)
  2. Ethics and Social Responsibility - to apply values and ethics within the public service and non-profit sectors. (Course: MPA 3220 Ethics and Professional Life)
  3. Workplace Dynamics, Communication, and Career Management - to lead, manage, and engage others in public service and non-profit sectors. (Courses: MSC Professional Seminar)
  4. Applied Research - to analyze information for effective and efficient decision making, (Courses: MPA3900 Research and MPA3999 Capstone) 
  5. Theoretical Grounding - to participate and contribute to the policy formulation process. (Courses: MPA3400 Policy Analysis and MPA3100 Issues and Cases).

More detailed information about learning outcomes and core competencies can be found on the MPA website.


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