UAB Graduate Catalog
Public Administration (M.P.A.)
View PDF of Public Administration Admissions Checklist
Prospective students should use this checklist to obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to Graduate School.
Dr. Akhlaque Haque
(205) 934-2339 or (205) 975-3413
Janet M. Bronstein, Professor (Health Care Organization and Policy): Health services utilization, health policy, community-based organizations; Co-coordinator of M.P.A.-M.P.H. degree program, School of Public Health.
Nevbahar Ertas, Assistant Professor (Government): Public policy, public and nonprofit budgeting, research methods, program evaluation.
Wendy Gunther-Canada, Professor (Government): Political theory and philosophy, women in public administration, women and politics, administrative ethics.
Akhlaque U. Haque, Associate Professor (Government): Public administration theory, administrative ethics, geographic information systems (GIS), information management, technology and governance, health policy.
Sunjoo Kwak, Assistant Professor (Government): Public budgeting and finance, strategic planning, state and local government administration, administration theory and behavior.
Timothy Smith, Instructor (Government): Public administration theory, public law, human resource management and health policy.
Cole Taratoot. Assistant Professor (Government): Administrative law, judicial politics, constitutional law, quantitative analysis.
Kyle Crider, MPA, LEED. Manager, Education Corporation of America. Information management in government.
Sam Gaston, MPA. City Manager, Mountain Brook: City and county management, state and local government.
Ellyn Grady, MPA. Senior Vice President, Agency Impact and Resource Development, United Way of Central AL: Nonprofit management.
Erin Melaney, MPA. Development Director, Girls Inc. of Central Alabama: Fundraising and marketing.
Joseph Packa, MPA. Service Area Executive (retired), American Red Cross Southeast Area: Grants management, strategic planning,
Randy Robertson, MPA. City Manager, Vestavia: Crisis management, human resource management.
MPA Program Mission
In line with the mission of the University, the MPA program is committed to excellence in graduate education through teaching, research and service. The program focuses on building the next generation of responsible decision makers by enhancing their intellectual capacities through knowledge and skills provided within the NASPAA-based MPA curriculum. The Master of Public Administration Program prepares individuals for positions of leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors. It is a professional graduate degree for both pre-career students and in-service administrators. The program is designed to develop the insights and skills needed to plan and formulate policy, and to organize, manage, and implement programs and operations. The MPA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Its Board of Advisors consists of internal and external stakeholders comprised of community members, alumni and students.
The MPA curriculum is designed to ensure that students achieve competency in five domains:
- To lead and manage in public governance;
- To participate in and contribute to the policy process;
- To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
- To articulate and apply a public service perspective;
- To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.
Students in the MPA program must complete a total of 39 semester hours or the equivalent, with an overall grade average of at least B. The curriculum features a 9 course core sequence, plus 4 specialization/elective courses in either of two tracks; Nonprofit Management (NPM) or Public Management and Planning (PMP). Students without professional public service experience are required to do a three hour internship in addition to required coursework. Previous graduate work at UAB or another NASPAA accredited MPA program may be credited toward the degree if it is directly applicable. Students may select the thesis option or the non-thesis option.
Joint Degree and Certificate Programs
- For students who are interested in both public administration and the delivery of public health services, a coordinated MPA/MPH dual degree is offered.
- For students who are interested in both public administration and the law, a coordinated MPA/J.D dual degree is offered
- For students interested in criminal justice and public administration a coordinated MPA/MSCJ dual degree is offered.
- For non-traditional students interested in managing nonprofit organizations the program offers a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Students seeking admission into the Nonprofit Certificate should apply through Graduate School by visiting the website link here
Because of its multi-disciplinary nature, persons from all undergraduate majors are considered for admission to the program.
Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit scores.
The following are eligible for a GRE Waiver:
- Students with a graduate degree from an accredited college or university.
- Students with at least 5 years professional, full-time, progressively responsible public sector or nonprofit career experience. The Statement of Interest and resume should provide clear evidence to for this waiver.
The LSAT may be substituted for the GRE only by JD/MPA applicants. Standardized GMAT score may be substituted at the discretion of the Program Director.
**IMPORTANT Applicants who are applying for a waiver or substitution of other test scores must contact the MPA Director for the official approval. The applicant should submit a formal request accompanied by a resume to the MPA Program Director via postal mail or email attachment.
hree letters of reference are also required. Application for admission should be made online through the UAB ApplyYorselfOnline official UAB Graduate School’s admission site. Admissions will be made fall and spring semester. Deadlines for submitting application for admission are listed on the UAB Graduate School website.
|Deadline for Entry Term(s):||
Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office:
Fall: July 1
Number of Evaluation Forms Required:
GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)
The Department of Government has a limited number of graduate assistantships awarded on a competitive basis, which can be awarded during any semester as vacancies occur. The Department has two scholarships which are awarded on a competitive basis each spring. Other financial resources are available through the Office of Student Financial Aid.
A total of 39 hours are required to complete the MPA program. For pre-career students an additional 3 credit hours of internship (20 hours/week) is also required. A full time student, taking 3 courses per semester, plus one additional course over the summer, should be able to complete the program within two years. All courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate working professionals.
Core Courses: All students are required to take the following nine courses:
|MPA 600||Administrative Ethics|
|MPA 601||The Public Policymaking Process|
|MPA 602||Administrative Theory and Behavior|
|MPA 603||Public Budgeting|
|MPA 604||Human Resources Management|
|MPA 605||Information Management for Government|
|MPA 606||Foundations of Public Administration Research|
|MPA 607||Quantitative Methods for Public Administration*|
|MPA 697**||Graduate Research Paper (Capstone) or Portfolio Management*|
|*Pre-requisite MPA 606 (Foundations of Public Administration Research)|
|**Should be taken last term. Not required for students pursuing thesis option|
|*** Effective in 2012-13.|
Students should select a specialization based upon their career goals and interests. The specializations are Nonprofit Management (NPM) or Public Management & Planning (PMP) Students must take three courses in their specialization. In addition to three specialization courses, students must take one elective course. Generalists must take (2) courses from each specialization.
Nonprofit Management Specialization Requirements (choose 3 courses)
Students interested in improving their organizational management, fundraising and grant management skills for nonprofits should select this specialization. This specialization prepares students for a wide range of careers within the nonprofit sector including middle and upper management positions, fundraising and development, grant management and program management/evaluation.
|MPA 671||Marketing and Fundraising|
|MPA 672||Nonprofit Management|
|MPA 674||GIS for Managers|
|MPA 678||Strategic Planning|
|MPA 684||Grants Management|
Public Management and Planning Specialization Requirements (choose 3 courses)
Students interested in public management or planning should select this specialization. This specialization prepares students for a wide variety of positions including federal, state and local government management, budget and financial management, planning, economic development, community development, program analysis and evaluation.
|MPA 662||State and Local Government Administration|
|MPA 667||Administrative Law|
|MPA 678||Strategic Planning|
|MPA 681||Local Government Planning|
|MPA 689||Program Evaluation|
|MPA 682||Economic Development|
In addition to the elective courses listed below, any course from the specialization list can be used as an elective.
|MPA 668||Intergovernmental Relations|
|MPA 664||Women in Public Administration|
|MPA 665||Crisis Management|
|MPA 666||City and County Management|
Generalist MPA Degree (2 courses from each specialization)
As an alternative to selecting one of the above specializations, students may pursue a generalist MPA degree. This degree should be chosen if the student desires a broadly based degree and some familiarity with subjects in each of the specializations. Students who desire a public administration education transferable to many different public or nonprofit settings may want to take this course of study. To complete this degree, students must take the core curriculum and at least two (2) required courses from each of the two specializations.
Graduation Research/Portfolio Management Paper and Thesis Options
During the last semester of study, students opting for the non-thesis (Plan II) must register for MPA 697, Graduation Research Paper or Portfolio Management (effective fall 2012), and successfully complete a graduation research paper. Such a paper will require the student to synthesize material learned over the course of the program.
Students taking the thesis option (Plan I) must takes three hours of Independent Study under the guidance of the thesis chair and six thesis hours.
Internships and Placement
Students may apply for an internship placement at any time. A few paid opportunities do arise, although the majority of internships are non-paid. Typical placements are in city and county government, planning departments, public health agencies, social service agencies, state government agencies, and various nonprofit organizations. The Department has placed several students in the prestigious Presidential Management Internship Program, which provides an excellent opportunity for eventual employment in the federal government. Students are also encouraged to use the services of the UAB Student Development Office in the University Center for career planning and placement. The faculty in the program also assists students in job placement.
JOINT DEGREE PROGRAMS
Coordinated MPA/MPH Program
The MPA/MPH is designed to train individuals for administrative positions in public health and related health organizations. The Master of Public Administration degree prepares students for careers as administrators in public and nonprofit agencies, and the Master of Public Health provides a background in public health principles and programs. Students must apply and be accepted into both programs, meeting each program's entry requirements. Students are required to complete a total of 60-64 semester hours for the coordinated degree. Core requirements of 21 hours from the MPA program and 39-43 hours from the MPH program are required. Full-time students should be able to complete all degree requirements within three years.
Coordinated MPA/JD Program
The MPA program at UAB and the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University offer a coordinated MPA/JD program. The offering of this dual degree reflects recognition of the complex interrelationship between the legal system, public policy analysis, and public management. It will be particularly applicable to those pursuing careers in government and/or public interest law. Students must apply and be admitted to the MPA and JD programs separately. The requirements for each degree must be met. Close communication with both programs is required. Depending on prior experience, a field placement may be required.
Coordinated MPA/MSCJ Program
The MPA/MSCJ is targeted toward individuals who wish to gain competencies in public management and the theory/practice of criminal justice. Students must apply and be accepted into both programs, meeting each program's entry requirements. Students are required to complete a total of 60 semester hours for the coordinated degree. Core requirements of 24 hours from the MPA program and 18 hours from the MSCJ program; an additional 12 hours of electives, 3 hours of internship and a 3 hour capstone course are required. Full-time students should be able to complete all degree requirements within three years.
MPA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
An active alumni association welcomes graduates of the program into membership. The association makes both advisory and financial contributions to the program and seeks to elevate the level of professionalism in public administration through a variety of projects and services.
Public Administration (MPA)
600. Administrative Ethics. Theories and principles of ethics. Understanding ethical issues and use of ethical principles in resolving ethical dilemma in public organizations. . 3 hours.
601. The Public Policymaking Process. Public policy as a decision-making process. Examines environmental and organizational factors, the choice of alternatives, and the implementation and evaluation of public policy, with applied references to specific functional areas, e.g., housing, pollution, energy, and transportation. 3 hours.
602. Administrative Theory and Behavior. Theories of organization, management, and administration. Examines both institutional and behavioral elements of organizations as they apply to public, private, and nonprofit agencies. Covers administrative and organization behavior, decision-making and democratic values, along with a treatment of bureaucratic practices and behavior. 3 hours.
603. PublicBudgeting. Examines the institutions, principles and techniques of governmental budgeting, including the practices and fundamental concepts of public budgeting, the budgeting process and financial management. 3 hours.
604. Human Resources Management. Examines the major concepts, theories, procedures and themes needed for effective management of human resources in the public and nonprofit sectors. Emphasis is on the urban and sub-national settings. Topics may include merit and civil service systems, organized public labor, recruitment, classification, performance appraisal, disciplinary and grievance procedures, training and staff development, diversity and anti-discrimination policy and strategies, ethics/morality and personnel law. 3 hours.
605. Information Management for Government. Theory and applications of information management, technology applications and policy. Focus is on social, organizational, political and constitutional impacts of information today. Emphasizes policy and applications related to building knowledge economy, E-government applications and geographic information systems. 3 hours.
606. Foundations of PA Research. An introduction to research methodology presenting quasi-experimental and experimental research designs, exposition of qualitative and basic survey methods, and basic data analysis. 3 hours.
607. Quantitative Methods for PA. Using a pragmatic and applied approach, this course introduces statistical techniques used to analyze data in the social sciences including simple and multiple regression and nonlinear models. Pre-requisite MPA 606. 3 hours.
662. State and Local Government Administration. This course is designed to introduce students to the study of state and local government administration. Introduces keys concepts related to state and local government political structures and institutions; regional, state and county economic performance and state/local government finance. 3 hours.
664. Women in Public Administration. Studies in the leadership of women in public service. Focus on theoretical and professional development of women in government and nonprofit administration. 3 hours.
665. Crisis Management. Management and coordination of institutions to respond, plan, and mitigate crises. Focus on the role of managers in managing short and long term crises. 3 hours.
666. City and County Management. Study of the typical nature of local government and the importance of local-state-federal relations, regional cooperation, and the nonprofit and public-private partnership in providing local government services. 3 hours.
667. Public and Nonprofit Law. Explanation of law in society and the legal setting of public administration. Examination of substantive areas of the study of law including regulatory process, administrative adjudication, the administrative procedures acts, administrative due process, judicial review, liability, and citizen's rights. 3 hours.
668. Intergovernmental Relations. The various relations among governments in the U.S. system. Focuses on understanding the interactions, attitudes, and behavior of elected officials and bureaucrats of two or more units of government functioning in their public capacities. 3 hours.
671. Marketing and Fundraising. The use of marketing and fundraising strategies for nonprofits. Incorporates both theory and practice as students learn the fundamentals of marketing and resource development and apply them to hands-on projects.
672. Nonprofit Management. The day-to-day challenges faced by managers of nonprofit agencies, including the challenge of fund raising, balancing competing values as related to efficiency, effectiveness, and equity. 3 hours.
674. GIS for Managers. Examines the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) using GIS software. It integrates theory and socioeconomic applications of GIS in the public and nonprofit sector. 3 hours.
678. Strategic Planning. Presents the strategic planning process as it is utilized in contemporary settings. Focuses on how the strategic planning process is applied in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. 3 hours.
681. Local Government Planning. This course examines the historical roots of modern land use planning and explores contemporary issues in planning such as sprawl and smart growth. 3 hours.
682. Economic Development. Understanding of market forces combined with non-economic variables that influence economic development process. Focus on theories and practical applications of local economic development and its processes. 3 hours.
684. Grants Management. Covers the essentials of grant-writing and the management of grants. 3 hours.
689. Program Evaluation. Analytic tools for evaluating public and nonprofit programs and services. 3 hours.
693. Internship in Public Administration. Supervised field placement in public or nonprofit agency for directed work experience arranged by the MPA Director and as per the guidelines in the internship manual. 3 hours.
695. Special Topics in Public Administration. Special topics seminar based on the research and substantive interests of the MPA faculty and students. 3 hours.
696. Independent Study in Public Administration. One-on-one learning experiencebetween student and an instructor. Permission of Program Director required. 1 - 6 hours.
697. Graduation Research Paper. Graduation Research Paper- Capstone project. Permission of Program Director required. 3 hours.
698. Internship in Public Administration. Supervised field placement in public or nonprofit agency for directed work experience arranged by the internship coordinator and as per the guidelines in the internship manual. Permission of Program Director required. 3 hours.
699. Thesis Research. Credit for research and writing of thesis. Permission of Program Director required. 3-6 hours.
For additional information refer to the web site of the UAB MPA program: www.uab.edu/mpa. Inquiries concerning program admission or other questions about the program should be directed to the MPA Program Program Coordinator:
Dr. Timothy Smith
Graduate Studies in Public Administration
Department of Government
University of Alabama at Birmingham
HHB 415, 1530 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-3350.