Mission Statement: The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is designed for people who hold or aspire to hold leadership positions in organizations that participate in the development and implementation of public policy. The mission of the MPA program is to give graduate students the opportunity to build their knowledge of politics, public policy and management and to enhance their analytic, problem solving, and communication skills.

MPA students at Mason have the research and cultural resources of the Washington, D.C. area at their disposal. Government agencies representing all levels in the U.S. federal system are located close to the campus, as are the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. Another benefit is the wide range of internship opportunities available in governmental and nonprofit organizations. The MPA Program regularly has internship invitations from national, state, and local government organizations, as well as from nonprofit organizations whose principal work is at the local, state, national, or international levels. Many of these internships are paid positions.

MPA courses are held at the Fairfax and the Arlington campuses during the week and on the weekend in an accelerated format.

Admissions

Requirements

See Graduate Admission Policies for general information on graduate admission to George Mason University. Specific information on application requirements and deadlines may be found with Schar Admissions

Completed applications for fall and spring semesters are reviewed on a rolling basis, with late applications considered on a space-available basis. Students may be admitted for nondegree study and apply a limited number of credits toward the master's degree should they choose to apply to the degree program later, in accordance with university and school policy.

Policies

Termination from Program

Students admitted to an Schar program will be terminated from Schar upon receiving one grade of F and are no longer eligible to take courses in Schar. Per university regulation, students are terminated from the university after accumulating grades of F in two courses or 9 credits of unsatisfactory grades in graduate courses. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see Graduate Policies.

Program Requirements

The MPA curriculum is arranged in a sequential manner. PUAD 500-level courses are foundation courses, 600-level courses are intermediate courses, and the 700-level courses are advanced courses. Students must take PUAD 500-level, or foundation courses, during the first two semesters, followed by 600-level classes. The PUAD 700-level courses should be taken during the last semester or two of enrollment in the MPA program.

For example, a full-time student should enroll in PUAD 502 Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations and two other 500-level courses, such as PUAD 511 Problem Solving and Data Analysis I and PUAD 520 Organization Theory and Management Behavior, during the first semester. In the second semester the student should enroll in PUAD 540 Public Policy Process and two intermediate courses such as PUAD 662 National Budgeting and a 600-level elective course.

Part-time students taking two courses a semester should take PUAD 502 Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations and either PUAD 511 Problem Solving and Data Analysis I or PUAD 520 Organization Theory and Management Behavior during the first semester, followed by either PUAD 511 Problem Solving and Data Analysis I or PUAD 520 Organization Theory and Management Behavior and PUAD 540 Public Policy Process in the second semester.

Requests for taking a course out of sequence must be made in writing to the student's advisor and must be approved by the advisor before enrollment.

Banner Code: PP-MPA-PUAD

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 36-39

The required courses emphasize the development of knowledge about public policy and management, as well as analytical problem-solving and communication skills, and third-party governance. Through these courses, students develop a shared knowledge base and skill set. The elective courses can be used by students to focus their knowledge and skill development within one concentration. Alternatively, the electives can be used to extend the breadth of study with courses drawn from a variety of concentrations or from other departments and schools across the university.

Core Courses

PUAD 502Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations3
PUAD 511Problem Solving and Data Analysis I3
PUAD 520Organization Theory and Management Behavior3
PUAD 540Public Policy Process3
PUAD 700Ethics and Public Administration3
PUAD 703Third-Party Governance3
Total Credits18

Additional Methods Course

Select one course from the following:3
Problem Solving and Data Analysis II
Economic Analysis in Public Administration
Policy Analysis
Program Evaluation
Total Credits3

Accounting, Budgeting, and Financial Management

Select one course from the following:3
Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance
National Budgeting
State and Local Budgeting
Nonprofit Financial Management
Total Credits3

Electives

Select four electives 112
Total Credits12
1

Students may take their electives within one of the concentrations which follow. As an alternative, with the approval of their advisor, students may select their electives from several concentrations or fields. Students not pursuing a concentration may select electives from Schar course offerings.

Concentrations

Students may declare only one concentration. PUAD 794 Internship and PUAD 796 Directed Readings and Research may be applied to a concentration where content is appropriate and with prior written approval of the student's advisor. Other courses may also be applied to a concentration with prior written approval of the advisor.

Concentration in Administration of Justice (ADJ)

Select four courses from the following:12
Professional Development Workshop
Information Management: Technology and Policy
Introduction to Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Justice Organizations and Processes
Policing in a Democratic Society
Justice Organization and Administration
Conduct of Justice Organizations at the Street Level
Leadership in Justice and Security Organizations
Changing Justice and Security Organizations
Justice Program Evaluation
Criminology
Juvenile Delinquency
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Total Credits12

Concentration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS)

Select four courses from the following:12
Emergency Planning and Preparedness
Disaster Response Operations and Recovery
Terrorism: Theory and Practice
Hazard Mitigation Policy
Management of International Security
Emergency Preparedness: Interagency Communication and Coordination
Managing Homeland Security
Seminar in Risk Assessment and Decision Making
Homeland/Transportation Security Administration
Issues in International Security
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Legal Dimensions of Homeland Security
The Role of the Military in Homeland Security
Topics in Public Policy
Transportation Safety and Security
Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis for Public Policy
Global Threats and Medical Policies
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Risk Communication
Total Credits12

Concentration in Environmental Science and Public Policy (EVPP)

CONF 695 Selected Topics and COMM 590 Seminar in Communication when topic is the environment, may be used to fulfill this requirement with the prior written approval of the student's advisor.

PUAD 642Environmental Policy3
Select three courses from the following:9
Policy Analysis
Program Evaluation 1
Advocacy and Lobbying
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Introduction to Environmental and Resource Economics
Fundamentals of Ecology
Corporate Environmental Management and Policy
Environmental Science and Public Policy
Environmental Law
Selected Topics
Seminar in Communication
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12
1

If not already taken to meet core requirements.

Concentration in Human Resources Management (HRM)

PUAD 670Human Resources Management in the Public Sector3
Select three courses from the following:9
Managing Government Contracting
Nonprofit Leadership and Change
Public Employee Labor Relations
Human Resources Reforms for Public Administration
Issues in Public Management
Professional Development Workshop
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Industrial and Personnel Testing and Evaluation
Survey of Industrial Psychology
Training: Psychological Contributions to Theory, Design, and Evaluation
Survey of Organizational Processes
Behavior in Small Groups and Teams
Seminar in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Group Dynamics and Team Learning
Creating Learning Organizations
Consulting Skills for Organizational Change
Organizational Development Practices
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Managing Human Capital
Total Credits12

Concentration in International Management (IM)

PUAD 504Managing in the International Arena: Theory and Practice3
Select three courses from the following:9
Management of International Security
The NGO: Policy and Management
Professional Development Workshop
Issues in International Security
Issues in International Management
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
International Relations
Seminar in Comparative Politics and Institutions
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12
1

With written prior approval of the director.

Concentration in Nonprofit Management (NPMG)

Students in the nonprofit concentration may take PUAD 505 Introduction to Management of Nonprofits as one of their first four courses and may take PUAD 505 Introduction to Management of Nonprofits simultaneously with PUAD 502 Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations. Likewise, students in the international concentration may take PUAD 504 Managing in the International Arena: Theory and Practice as one of their first four courses.

PUAD 505Introduction to Management of Nonprofits3
PUAD 659Nonprofit Law, Governance, and Ethics3
Select two courses from the following:6
The NGO: Policy and Management
Advocacy and Lobbying
Nonprofit Leadership and Change
The Community, Marketing, and Public Relations
Philanthropy and Fund Raising
Association Management
Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Enterprise
Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance
Nonprofit Financial Management
Managing Information Resources
Performance Measurement
Professional Development Workshop
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12

Concentration in Policy Studies (PS)

Select four courses from the following:12
Administrative Law
Program Planning and Implementation
Policy Analysis
Program Evaluation
Advocacy and Lobbying
Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Enterprise
Public Budgeting Systems
National Budgeting
State and Local Budgeting
Managing Information Resources
Seminar in Risk Assessment and Decision Making
Professional Development Workshop
Issues in Public Policy
Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
Information Management: Technology and Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Political Theory
Seminar on the Presidency
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12

Concentration in Public Management (PMG)

Select four courses from the following:12
Administrative Law
Program Planning and Implementation
Managing Government Contracting
Program Evaluation
Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Enterprise
Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance
Public Budgeting Systems
National Budgeting
State and Local Budgeting
Nonprofit Financial Management
Human Resources Management in the Public Sector
Human Resources Reforms for Public Administration
Leadership Skills for the 21st Century
Managing Information Resources
Performance Measurement
Issues in Public Management
Professional Development Workshop
Homeland/Transportation Security Administration
Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
Information Management: Technology and Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12

Concentration in Public and Nonprofit Finance (PNF)

Select four courses from the following:12
Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Enterprise
Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance
Public Budgeting Systems
National Budgeting
State and Local Budgeting
Nonprofit Financial Management
Issues in Public Management
Professional Development Workshop
Issues in Public Financial Management
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12

Concentration in State and Local Government (SLG)

Select four courses from the following:12
Introduction to Management of Nonprofits
Administrative Law
Managing Government Contracting
Emergency Planning and Preparedness
Virginia Politics, Policy, and Administration
Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance
Public Budgeting Systems
National Budgeting
State and Local Budgeting
Managing Information Resources
Issues in Public Management
Professional Development Workshop
Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
Issues in Local Government Administration
Information Management: Technology and Policy
Leadership Skills for the 21st Century
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12

Concentration in Third-Party Governance (TPG)

Select four courses from the following:12
Economic Analysis in Public Administration
Program Planning and Implementation
Managing Government Contracting
Emergency Preparedness: Interagency Communication and Coordination
The NGO: Policy and Management
Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Enterprise
Nonprofit Law, Governance, and Ethics
Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Topics in Public Policy
Internship
Directed Readings and Research
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
Total Credits12

Professional Experience Requirement

Certification that the student has experience in public administration outside the classroom and is ready to take leadership responsibilities must be exhibited by one of two ways:

  • relevant professional experience, approved by the program director
  • completion of PUAD 792 Advanced Seminar in Applied Public Administration Research
PUAD 792Advanced Seminar in Applied Public Administration Research3
Total Credits3

Bachelor's Degree (any)/Public Administration, Accelerated MPA

Overview

Highly-qualified undergraduates in any major may apply to the accelerated master's degree in public administration. If accepted, students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in their chosen major and a master's degree in public administration with a reduced number of overall credits and within a reduced time frame, sometimes within five years. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. Information specific to the accelerated MPA program may be found on the Schar website.

To be considered for this accelerated master's program, applicants must have completed a minimum of 75 credits, including 12 GOVT credits, and have a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all coursework applied to the degree.

Accelerated Option Requirements

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students complete two graduate courses (six credits) that may be counted toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees. In addition, students may take another two courses (six credits) to be held as reserve graduate credit and count only toward the master's degree. The courses are PUAD 502 Administration in Public and Nonprofit OrganizationsPUAD 511 Problem Solving and Data Analysis IPUAD 520 Organization Theory and Management Behavior and PUAD 540 Public Policy Process. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in these courses and in coursework applied to their major.

Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, students must submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form to apply credits to the master's degree. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree (excluding summer).