Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Major in Public Administration

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the 2017-2018 academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the 2017-2018 academic year can be found on the program’s web page. International students should review the International Admission Documents section of the catalog for additional requirements.

  • completed online ApplyTexas application
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • $50 nonrefundable international evaluation fee (if applicable)
  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • official transcripts required from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)*
  • official GRE scores not required* 
  • statement of purpose
  • two letters of recommendation

TOEFL or IELTS Scores

Non-native English speakers who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

If you do not meet the scores above, you may qualify for English-based conditional admission if you meet the minimum scores below:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 59 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 5.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 5.5

*Additional Information
If your last-60-hours GPA falls below the minimum requirement of 3.0, please submit the following:

  • official GRE scores with a preferred minimum of 300 (verbal and quantitative sections combined)

The GRE may be waived if you hold a master's or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If you hold a master's or doctoral degree (or the equivalent thereof) from an accredited international institution, the GRE may be waived on an individual basis.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree is a 39 hour program consisting of a core of 30 hours and 9 hours of elective courses.  All students will be required to complete an applied research project (ARP) and complete an oral defense of the ARP.  Students without public sector experience are required to complete a 3 hour internship course in addition to the 39 hour curriculum while maintaining a "B" average.  Students must choose 9 hours from the public administration electives or courses outside the public administration program in consultation with the program advisor. 

Course Work Requirements

Required Core
PA 5300Introduction to Public Policy and Administration3
PA 5310Public Finance Administration3
PA 5320Organizational Theory, Change, and Behavior3
PA 5330Public Personnel Administration3
PA 5340Introduction to Public Law3
PA 5350Public Policy Processes3
PA 5370Public Management and Ethics3
PA 5390Applied Research Methodology3
PA 5397Research Design and Proposal Development for Public Administration3
PA 5398Applied Research Project3
Nine hours of Public Administation Electives9
Total Hours39

Public Administration Electives

PA 5311Introduction to Statistical Analysis3
PA 5312Program Evaluation and Administrative Statistical Analysis3
PA 5313Public Sector Economics3
PA 5314Public Administration and Information Technology3
PA 5315Public Performance Management3
PA 5331Labor Management Relations3
PA 5332Management Practices in Public Personnel Administration3
PA 5351Urban Transportation Policy3
PA 5352Comparative Public Administration3
PA 5353Ecology and the Politics of Sustainability3
PA 5355Environmental Policy3
PA 5361Introduction to the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector3
PA 5362Alternative Public Service Delivery Systems3
PA 5388Directed Reading and Research3
PA 5389Internship in Government3
PA 5387Research Practicum3

Background

Students who have not completed a statistics course in the last five years with a grade of B or better will be required to take PA 5311 as a required elective.  Students who do not have administrative experience must take PA 5389 Internship in Government. The internship can be waived by sending documentation of administrative experience directly to the M.P.A. director.

Applied Research Project

The applied research project (PA 5398) is a required research paper for the M.P.A. degree. Students who intend to register for PA 5398 must prepare a prospectus to include a statement of the problem, theoretical framework, research design, specification of data, and a representative bibliography. The proposal should be presented to the supervising instructor prior to registration for the course.

Prerequisite: A grade of “B” or better in PA 5397.

Comprehensive Examination

An oral comprehensive examination over the applied research project is required for completion of the M.P.A. degree.

Master's level courses in Public Administration: PA

Courses Offered

Public Administration (PA)

PA 5300. Introduction to Public Policy and Administration.

This course introduces students to the study and practice of US public administration and policy. It also focuses on the dynamics of the democratic governance process.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5310. Public Finance Administration.

This course examines the applied aspects of public finance including operating budgets, revenue estimation, capital budgeting, financial planning, budgetary decision-making, cost benefit analysis, and life-cycle costing. In addition, strategies for budget justification, presentation, and implementation are examined. The use of various budgetary tools and techniques are emphasized.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5311. Introduction to Statistical Analysis.

This course applies quantitative methods to problems faced by public administration practitioners. Topics include the use of descriptive and inferential statistics as they apply to decision-making in public management. Students gain hands-on experience with data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5312. Program Evaluation and Administrative Statistical Analysis.

This is an advanced course in the application of quantitative methods for the evaluation of public policies and programs. The course emphasizes the administrative and managerial environment. Prerequisite: PA 5311 or a graduate level statistics course, with a grade of "B" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5313. Public Sector Economics.

This course presents basic concepts of economics as applied to the public sector. Principles of economics for policy analysis and management are examined in the context of collective action, public choice, resource allocation, and service delivery. The course also examines the financing of national, state, and local governments.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5314. Public Administration and Information Technology.

This course explores the use of information technology in the public sector. It emphasizes the issues that public administrators need to know concerning the impact of information technology on their organizations. The course covers E-Democracy, E-Governance, Enterprise Architecture, Public Management Information Systems (PMIS), E-Procurement, and E-Commerce.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5315. Public Performance Management.

This course examines public sector performance management and measurement as tools for improving strategic planning, resource allocation, organizational learning, and internal operational processes. It also examines accountability, managerial performance, and evaluation processes.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5320. Organizational Theory, Change, and Behavior.

This course analyzes classic and contemporary literature on organizational theory and behavior in the public sector. Emphasis is placed on history and development of organizational theory and core concepts such as organizational culture, power, and change. The implications of organizational theory for democratic governance are explored.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5330. Public Personnel Administration.

This course introduces students to public personnel functions from a managerial perspective. Examples of topics covered include: recruitment and selection, perfomance evaluation, discipline, collective bargaining, classification, and compensation. Constructive leadership of government personnel that encourages a more competent, motivated, and representative administration workforce is emphasized.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5331. Labor Management Relations.

This course examines the historical development of public employee unions and the effects of collective bargaining agreements on personnel policy development. Public laws concerning collective bargaining procedures and strategy on the part of public managers are covered.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5332. Management Practices in Public Personnel Administration.

This course is a seminar-based examination of selected topics in public personnel administration including job analysis, position classification, test construction, performance appraisal, succession planning, and affirmative action. The role of the personnel office as a strategic partner in accomplishing organizational goals is also explored.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Management Practices in Public Personnel Administration

PA 5340. Introduction to Public Law.

This course examines the regulatory environment, legal requirements, and constraints that public officials face when carrying out their durties. The use of online research tools to find adminstrative materials and analyze public law issues is emphasized.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Introduction to Public Law

PA 5350. Public Policy Processes.

This course is an overview of the process of public policymaking including policy formulation and implementation. Emphasis is placed on actors in the policy process and on the political environment.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5351. Urban Transportation Policy.

This course presents basic components of transportation policy and planning. In addition to building an understanding of the historic foundation of transportation policy, students explore the underlying concepts related to congestion management, transit and active transportation planning, and impacts on land use and sustainability.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5352. Comparative Public Administration.

This course examines differences in various national administrative systems and the role of international organizations. It explores differences that influence various public policy issues from countries around the world. Policy issues examined include poverty, human rights, health care, and the environment.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5353. Ecology and the Politics of Sustainability.

This course is an exploration of problems and policies dealing with air, water, waste, energy use, natural resources, sustainability, and global environmental issues. This class highlights the historical drivers of environmental policy. Implementation strategies, policy mechanisms, and compliance adherence are also examined.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Ecology and the Politics of Sustainability

PA 5355. Environmental Policy.

This course will introduce students to the public policy process and the details of U.S. environmental policy and administration. Problems and policies dealing with air, water, solid waste, hazardous waste, energy use, natural resources, climate change, sustainability, and global environmental governance will be discussed.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5361. Introduction to the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector.

This course provides a foundation for understanding the history, scope, and function of the American nonprofit and voluntary sector. It includes an examination of the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of the sector, and assessment of the role of these organizations in society, and their impact on public policy.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Introduction to the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector

PA 5362. Alternative Public Service Delivery Systems.

This course examines alternative delivery of public services. The reliance on market mechanisms, contracting out, and privatization are explored.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Alternative Public Service Delivery Systems

PA 5370. Public Management and Ethics.

This course explores issues of morality and ethics in the public sector. It also considers subjects such as administrative discretion, the public interest, democratic values, and dissent. The course aims to formulate a frame of reference for judging behavior and clarifying our role and responsibility as moral agents.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5380A. Texas Water Law and Policy.

This course examines the chief policy issue that will determine the future of Texas: how state and local agencies administer the state’s ground- and surface water legal regimes. With the legal and regulatory framework in place, the course investigates pressing water policy issues that confront Texas.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5387. Research Practicum.

This course uses structured group research to analyze a current policy, management, or administrative issue. A professor-led research team completes a final report detailing findings and recommendations for action. May be repeated once for additional credit. Instructor permission is required.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5388. Directed Reading and Research.

This course guides students in directed reading and research on various topics in public policy and administration under the direction of a graduate faculty member. The course may be repeated once with a different emphasis for additional credit for a maximum of 6 credit hours. Instructor permission is required.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5389. Internship in Government.

This course provides students with the opportunity to integrate classroom learning with practical experience. Students with little or no work experience related to public service are required to complete an internship. Students considering a career change should consider an internship. Instructor permission required. May be repeated once for additional credit.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5390. Applied Research Methodology.

This course is an introduction to applied research methods in the public sector. Topics include the scientific method, research design, measurement, qualitative research, and sampling. Data collection methods such as survey research, content analysis, and secondary data analysis are also covered.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Applied Research Methodology

PA 5397. Research Design and Proposal Development for Public Administration.

This course prepares students for the demands of academic and professional writing. Students learn how to identify a public problem, develop a research purpose statement, and complete a literature review around a conceptual framework. This course prepares the student for their Applied Research Project (ARP). Prerequisite: PS 5390 with a grade of "B" or higher and instructor permission required.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PA 5398. Applied Research Project.

This course serves as the capstone experience for MPA students. Students complete an original and empirical Applied Reserach Project (ARP), complete an oral defense of the ARP, and prepare the ARP for publication. Prerequisite: PA 5397 with a grade of "B" or higher and instructor permission.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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