2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Mar 25, 2023  
2022-2023 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 professionals in both public organizations and nonprofit institutions.  This widely accepted professional credential is 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.

This 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.  Credits for 2 Clark University graduate courses will be applied toward the degree upon successful completion and approval of their Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) 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 ten (10) graduate courses: six (6) core courses and four (4) electives or one (1) concentration plus one (1) elective. Electives may be selected from courses offered in the MPA or another School of Professional Studies graduate program.  Further options for selecting electives that suit individual interests may be discussed with the students’ academic advisor. 

The School of Professional Studies offers Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) credit for up to two (2) graduate level courses.  APL credit is awarded for both demonstrated learning and experience. APL is offered to adult learners with three (3) or more years of work experience. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for and create a portfolio with the necessary documentation to demonstrate proficiency in the subject matter.  APL credit can be applied to a core or elective degree requirement, depending on the program.  Admitted SPS graduate students interested in APL should review the APL policy and process and consult with their academic advisor before the end of their first term in the program.  There is an administrative fee associated with the APL process.

Required Core Courses

The six (6) core courses below. Policy Analysis or Issues and Cases should be taken early* in the program and the Capstone should be taken in the student’s last term. 


An internship option is available to students who enter the MPA program and meet the internship qualification criteria. Internship counts as an elective in the program.

Elective Courses

Students are free to select their elective courses according to their own preferences. Often, however, students prefer to concentrate their electives in one particular area. The concentrations in MPA are listed above. (MSC courses count as electives in the MPA program).

List of Concentrations

While concentrations are optional, students may choose to pursue one to focus their studies in a particular area as part of the program.  Students interested in declaring a concentration must consult with their academic advisor.

Each concentration requires three (3) courses.  Students who elect to complete a concentration must also take an additional graduate elective course to fulfill the 10-course requirement for the degree.

Cannabis Policy

The Cannabis Policy concentration applies the public policy framework and provides students practical training for implementing the rules of engagement in this new field with a focus on social equity.  Students choose 3 courses from a list of 5 for this concentration.   Each course delivers a well-rounded foundational understanding of the issues enabling students to act as change agents within their organizations and communities.  (Students who completed the graduate certificate in Cannabis Policy may apply those credits toward the MPA.)

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 
  • Examine and exlain 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 various public administration constituencies

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This concentration prepares educators and other working professionals to be change agents within their institutions in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion for justice 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.

This concentration consists of 3 courses:

MPA 3310 - Self as Agent of Change  

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

MPA 3312 - Social Change and Transformation  

Educational Leadership

This concentration is designed to develop and enhance managerial and leadership skills of professionals working in school systems. 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 aspects of healthcare administration (policy formulation, management, professional knowledge of the healthcare sector, marketing and finances) to ensure an efficient and effective healthcare operation.

Nonprofit Leadership

This concentration focuses specifically on the management of nonprofit organizations, including strategic marketing, fundraising, change management and the role of nonprofit 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 organizations. 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 foundational competencies in organizational systems; ethics and corporate and social responsibility; workplace dynamics, communication, and career management; applied research; and theoretical grounding. The concentrations allow students to specialize in areas that are particular to career paths and industries. 

  1. Organizational Systems - effectively navigate organizational landscape and communicate with others in the public service and non-profit sectors. (Sample course: MPA 3120 Organizational Behavior and Leadership)
  2. Ethics and Social Responsibility - apply values and ethics within the public service and non-profit sectors. (Sample course: MPA 3220 Ethics and Professional Life)
  3. Workplace Dynamics, Communication, and Career Management - lead, manage, and engage others in public service and non-profit sectors. (Sample course: MSPC 3300 Professional Communication Seminar)
  4. Applied Research - analyze research designs and data; apply findings for effective and efficient decision-making (Sample courses: MPA 3900 Research & Marketing Analytics; MPA 3999 Capstone) 
  5. Theoretical Grounding - participate and contribute to the policy formulation process. (Sample courses: MPA 3400 Policy Analysis; MPA 3100 Issues and Cases)

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


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