MPA Advising and Program Descriptions
The Department of Public Policy and Administration offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA). The MPA is a professional degree with areas of concentration in general public administration, public management, and nonprofit administration. In addition, graduate certificates, which can be coupled with the MPA, are offered in industrial/organizational psychology, sport management & athletics, food policy, geographic information systems (GIS) and urban & regional planning. The listing below provides a non-exhaustive list of the certificates most often pursued by our MPA students.
MPA students must apply for the certificate via the Add Certificate Request in myWCU before taking certificate courses.
Concentrations: (39 credits)
All concentrations complete the core MPA courses which include: PPA 500 Foundations in Public Service, PPA 501 Analysis and Decision Making 1, PPA 502 Policy Analysis and Decision Making II, PPA 503 Public Budgeting and Finance, PPA 504 Public Human Resource Management, PPA 505 Public Sector Organization Theory, PPA 506 Foundations in Nonprofit Administration, PPA 600 Capstone Seminar and PPA 601 Internship or PPA 602 Professional Seminar (this requirement can be waived for students with one year of management/supervisory experience; send resume to MPA Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration.
- General Public Administration: The curriculum is designed for individuals seeking a broad overview of public administration.
This includes individuals with professional work experience who want to enhance their
administrative and public management skills, as well as pre-service students who do
not have professional experience. Students without relevant work experience incorporate
a relevant internship or professional development seminar into their programs.
In addition to completing the core coursework, capstone and internship (unless internship is waived), the General Public Administration concentration requires students to select 12 credits of coursework from the PPA department, or other University departments in consultation with their advisor.
- Nonprofit Administration is designed for those who want to enhance their knowledge of nonprofit administration.
It is appropriate for individuals pursuing careers in a wide range of nonprofit fields
and is intended to provide a core set of skills and knowledge for people who desire
to enhance their management and supervisory skills within the context of a nonprofit
In addition to completing the core coursework capstone and internship (unless waived), the Nonprofit Administration concentration requires to students to complete 9 semester hours of nonprofit-focused coursework: PPA 532 Grantwriting, PPA 533 Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials and PPA 535 Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organizations. Students also need to choose an additional 3 semester hours of elective coursework in consultation with their advisor.
- Public Management focuses on public-sector management at the local and regional levels. It is appropriate
for managers and officials from local, county, and regional government bodies who
desire to enhance their general management skills as well as gain insight into public
policy issues of particular concern to these officials.
In addition to completing the core coursework, the Public Management concentration requires that students complete 12 credits of courses selected from the following options: PPA 510 Topics in Public Administration, PPA 512 Communications for Public Administrators, PPA 513 Law for Public Administrators, PPA 514 American Public Policy or PPA 515 Social Equity and Public Administration.
MPA Plus Add-on Certificates
The MPA program allows for flexibility and students are able to earn graduate level certificates in a variety of areas. Most certificate courses can be completed by selecting electives that meet the certificate requirements, enabling students to earn additional credentials without increasing their total number of credits needed. The most popular certificates available include:
- Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (12 credits). Students will explore topics such as workplace motivation and attitudes; employee
selection, training, and evaluation; leadership. Graduates from this I/O certificate
program can help drive positive change in organizations, motivate teams, increase
employee productivity.. The program is 12 credits and can be completed part-time,
or full-time, 100% online or in a hybrid format.
Must earn a minimum certificate GPA of 3.0.
Complete the following courses: PSY 560 Advanced Industrial Psychology, PSY 562 Organizational Psychology, PSY 569 Ethics and Professional Skills in Organizational Practice and PSY 572 People Analytics.
- Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (12 credits) This certificate is designed for novices as well as experienced GIS professionals
to expand technology skills and knowledge in this rapidly emerging field. Students
gain practical experience using cutting edge technology in a range of applications.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has identified geo-spatial technology as a "high-growth"
industry suitable for professionals in planning business marketing, natural resource
management and local government. The program is 12 credits and can be completed part-time
or full-time, 100% online, in person or a hybrid format.
The GIS certificate is flexible in order to meet the needs and interests of the student. Required courses include GEO 534 Geographic Information Systems, GEO 584 Applications of GIS, GEO 577 Geodatabases and one elective in ENV 533, ENV 570, GEO 507, GEO 538, GEO 556, GEO 585 or GEO 615 or another course upon consultation with their certificate advisor.
- Certificate in Urban & Regional Planning (18 credits) The Certificate is appropriate for people interested in urban and regional planning
as a career. It is also appropriate for professionals in related careers who want
to enhance their knowledge and skills in a range of planning areas including land
use and development, transportation, housing, and the environment. Certificate can
earned full time, part-time, in-person or hybrid.
Students must earn a minimum certificate GPA of 3.0. The certificate curriculum is flexible to meet the needs and interests of the students. Students must complete the following courses: GEO 525 Urban and Regional Planning, and select 15 additional hours of coursework in consultation with their program advisor. Note that some courses that will count toward the certificate are also core MPA courses so the certificate can be completed within the 39 credit MPA program.
- Certificate in Food Policy (12 credits) The certificate in Food Policy is designed for those who want to participate in interdisciplinary
courses that will increase their knowledge on food and nutrition policy. It will enable
them to obtain important tools to work with vulnerable audiences. The certificate
can be earned full time or part time online.
Students must earn a minimum grade of “B” minus in each course and a certificate GPA of 3.0. Students must complete the following courses: NTD 600 Maternal and Child Nutrition or NTD 601 Nutrition and Health in Aging, NTD 625 Nutrition Policy and Programs, PPA 506 Foundations of Nonprofit Management, and PPA 532 Grant Writing.
- Certificate in Sport Management and Athletics (15 credits) is designed for individuals aspiring to lead and manage in a complex world of interscholastic,
intercollegiate, recreational, and professional sports, as well as corporate fitness
programs. The interdisciplinary curriculum is built on acquiring the experiential
understanding of administrative and managerial practices in athletic settings. It
will prepare candidates with the knowledge and skill necessary to apply theory, research,
and experience to solve academic, athletic, and sport/event management challenges.
Culminating internships are an integral part of the program. The certificate can be
earned full time or part time, in person or hybrid
Students must earn a minimum certificate GPA of 3.0. Students must complete the following courses: KIN 513 Theories and Principles of Sport Management, KIN 514 Problems and Issues in Sport Management, KIN 553, Facility, Event and Risk Management in Sport, KIN 554 Gender Equity and Sport Law and KIN 611 Internship I.
Public Policy & Administration Certificates
These certificates are designed for the working professional or student who would like to benefit from coursework in policy and administration in the public sector without committing to the full master’s degree program. Students enrolled in the certificate program can apply these credits toward a Masters in Public Administration should they end up wishing to pursue this degree option. Certificates are available in:
- Certificate in Nonprofit Administration (12 credits): Focusing on the skills necessary for success in the nonprofit sector, students must
select from the following courses to earn the certificate: PPA 506 Foundations in
Nonprofit Management, PPA 530 Topics in Nonprofit Administration, PPA 532 Grant Writing,
PPA 533 Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials, and PPA 535 Strategic Management for Nonprofit
- Certificate in Public Management (12 credits): Focusing on public-sector management at the local and regional levels; this is appropriate
for managers and officials from local, county, and regional government bodies that
desire to enhance their general management skills as well as gain insight into public
policy issues of particular concern. To obtain this certificate, students can choose
12 credit hours from any of the public administration core and/or the MPA Public Management
- Certificate in Public Administration (12 credits): Offering a general education in public administration, students interested in achieving this certificate can choose 12 credit hours from any of the public administration core courses in consultation with their advisor.