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Required Courses

Candidates for the Master of Public Administration degree must complete 36 credits of graduate work.
  • MPAL 6301, Public Leadership and Ethics (3 credits)
  • MPAL 6302, Organizational Leadership and Administration (3 credits)
  • MPAL 6304, Public Budgeting (3 credits) 
  • MPAL 6305, Public Personnel Administration
  • MPAL 6320, Leadership and Public Policy (3 credits)
  • MPAL 6390, Applied Research Project in Leadership (3 credits)
  • MPAL 6395, Internship in Public Leadership (3 credits)
  • PSYC 6302, Research Methodology (3 credits)
  • Or MATH 6301, Statistics (3 credits)

Specialization Areas

Students may select from one of 3 specialization areas, each of which consists of 4 courses (or a total of 12 hours): 

1. Nonprofit Administration specialization:

  • LEAD 4351, Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector (3 credits)
  • MPAL 6370, Conflict Mediation (3 credits)
  • ACCT 4304, Not for Profit Accounting (3 credits)
  • Plus a graduate elective in another discipline

2. Community and Economic Development specialization:

  • LEAD 4375, Leadership and Community Development (3 credits)
  • LEAD 6370, Conflict Mediation (3 credits)
  • MPAL 6310, Local Government Administration (3 credits)
  • ECON 6301, Economic Analysis (3 credits)

3. Political Leadership specialization:

  • MPAL 6350, Democracy and Political Leadership (3 credits)
  • COMM 6369, Rhetorical Leadership (3 credits) 
  • HIST 6351, Texas History (3 credits)
  • HIST 6347, Twentieth Century America (3 credits)
  • or HIST 6311, Modern Mexico (3 credits)
  • or HIST 6355, The American South (3 credits)

Students with special interests may make other course choices with permission of the MPA Program Director.

MPA students may take MPAL 6389, Selected Topics, as a substitute for a course in the three specialization Areas with the permission of the MPA Program Coordinator. 


MPAL 6301 Public Leadership and Ethics (3)

Theories and readings in public and nonprofit leadership and ethical issues facing public leaders.

MPAL 6302 Organizational Leadership and Administration (3)

Historical, theoretical, and practical applications of developments in public leadership, public policy, and public organizational theory.

MPAL 6303, Analytical Techniques (3)

Social science research and data analysis techniques, and their prac6ical application to issues in public and nonprofit administration.

MPAL 6304 Public Budgeting (3)

Fundamental concepts, methods, and political/administrative processes of public sector budgeting in the United States (with a state and local emphasis).

MPAL 6305 Public Personnel Administration (3)

Theories and practices of personnel administration in the governmental agency and nonprofit organizational environment. Emphases on civil service systems and volunteer-paid employee relationships.

MPAL 6320 Leadership and Public Policy (3)

Theories and practices in public policy agenda setting and formation, working with other policy actors, implementation of public policies, and policy evaluation.

PSYC 6302 Research Methodology (3)

Foundations of research planning, methodology, analytic techniques, interpretation and reporting of psychological research.


MATH 6301 Statistics (3)

Statistical concepts emphasizing simple and multiple regression, hypothesis testing, and

analysis of variance. Prerequisite: one year of college level mathematics.

MPAL 6395 Internship in Public Leadership (3)

Application of theories to work experiences in public and nonprofit agencies.

Prerequisites, 24 hours of MPAL core classes, plus approval of the MPAL Area Coordinator. May not be repeated for more than 6 credit hours toward the MPAL.


MPAL 6389 Selected Topics (3) (title may vary)

The study of a selected topic in Public Administration/Leadership. May be substituted for courses in the three specialization areas, with the permission of the MPA Program Coordinator.

MPAL 6390 Applied Research Project in Leadership (3)

Individual applied research project focusing on a public leadership and policy problem, under the guidance of a faculty member serving as director.

MPAL 6391 Contract Study (3)

Advanced independent study or research in public administration.


LEAD 4351 Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector (3)

Leadership and practice in the non-profit sector.

MPAL 6370 Conflict Mediation (3)

Theories and advanced practices of reasoned communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation for leaders.

ACCT 4304 Not for Profit Accounting (3)

Study of accounting theory and applications related to data accumulation and reporting in governmental, hospital, university and other not-for-profit organizations.


 LEAD 4375 Leadership and Community Development (3)

The roles and practices of public leaders in community and economic development.

LEAD 6370 Conflict Mediation (3)

Theories and advanced practices of reasoned communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation for leaders.

MPAL 6310 Local Government Administration (3 credits)

History, theories, and contemporary practices in the organization and management of local governments.

ECON 6301 Economic Analysis (3)

Economic efficiency and the determinants of the major economic aggregates such as growth, employment, and gross national product.

PLUS one other graduate class in a substantive field.


MPAL 6350 Democracy and Political Leadership (3)

Theories and practices of political leadership needed in a democracy, including establishing a shared vision in a changing society and collaborative leadership.

COMM 6369 Rhetorical Leadership (3)

The study of rhetorical strategies to leadership in various historical and communication contexts, such as the American Presidency, War and Peace, Nineteenth Century Media, Business and Industry, etc.

HIST 6347 Twentieth Century America (3)

Examination of historical literature on special topics covering major developments and problems in recent United States history.

HIST 6351 Texas History (3)

Historical issues in the political, economic, social and military development of Texas.


HIST 6311 Modern Mexico (3)

Historical literature relating to major developments and problems of modern Mexico.


HIST 6355 The American South (3)
Historical literature relating to major developments and problems in some aspects of the American South.
OR other classes in History at the 6000-level.

*MPAL Internship Policy*
Students with less than 2 full years’ experience in a public service professional or administrative position must complete an internship. To complete the internship, students must enroll in MPAL 6395. Students who successfully complete MPAL 6395 will earn 3 semester credit hours. Internships consist of 150 hours of in-service work in a governmental or nonprofit agency. Internships are generally off campus. Students who may be currently working but who want to gain experience in another field or agency may also carry out an internship.

  • Before the beginning of the internship.

Each student must get the verbal and written approval of the MPAL coordinator and return a copy of the signed contract/syllabus before the semester in which the internship will occur. Students must also get the approval of the in-field agency supervisor, which should be submitted to the MPAL coordinator. Students must provide a list of duties. Finally before the internship is started, the student must submit a resume to the MPAL coordinator.

  • During the internship.

Once a week the student must submit a dated and typed journal of activities and reflections upon what was learned each week; at least 3 entries per week are required. These weekly reports can be submitted by hard copy or by email.

The student must meet with the MPAL coordinator and present a progress report at least once during the internship.

  • After the internship.

The student must submit a compiled journal of all the weekly journals for the entire internship period. The student must submit a final Evaluation Report that is well written and draws upon the journal and personal reflections of the student. The student must meet with the MPAL coordinator for a final report. Before a grade can be recorded, the in-field agency supervisor must evaluate the internship performance and send it directly to the MPAL coordinator. The student is responsible for making sure the evaluation form reaches the in-field agency supervisor.

  • Waiver of internship requirement

Students with 2 or more years’ experience in a professional or administrative position in a public service agency or nonprofit agency may apply for a waiver of the internship requirement. The MPAL coordinator may waive the internship requirement with appropriate documentation of professional or administrative experience. In no case may a student in a mid-career professional or administrative position use the current position as an internship.

Students who are granted a waiver of the internship requirement must complete an additional (3 semester credit hour) elective course.