Apr 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Master of Public Administration MPA

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The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at Upper Iowa University is a flexible program designed to prepare students to assume managerial and leadership positions at all levels of government and in nonprofit organizations. The core courses are designed to give students a broad overview of the discipline while preparing them to develop their analytical, communication, and leadership skills.

The Upper Iowa University MPA degree provides students with the current theories, concepts and learning models necessary to assume managerial and leadership roles in a public sector or nonprofit agency with an emphasis in criminal justice, healthcare management, emergency management and homeland security, nonprofit organization or public management. There is also a general study emphasis for students who would like to develop broad knowledge across emphasis areas. Graduates will be positioned to make significant contributions to their organizations.

The UIU MPA program identifies diversity, democracy, and due process as “core democratic values.” The MPA program strives to:

  1. Develop and maintain a collaborative and inclusive learning environment that promotes the values of diversity, democracy, and due process.
  2. Develop and maintain a high-quality curriculum that develops students’ leadership, managerial, and analytical skills for public service in government and non-profit organizations.
  3. Develop a culture of intellectual inquiry for faculty to pursue teaching excellence and for both students and faculty to pursue scholarship that advances the public administration field.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The program student learning outcomes are based on the core competencies recommended by the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). The program is designed to promote and develop the following student learning outcomes:

  1. Students will have demonstrated an ability to lead and manage.
  2. Students will have demonstrated an ability to participate in and contribute to the public policy process.
  3. Students will have demonstrated an ability to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions.
  4. Students will have demonstrated an ability to articulate and apply a public service perspective.
  5. Students will have demonstrated the ability to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Requirements for a Master of Public Administration Degree

The Upper Iowa University Master of Public Administration degree requires 36 semester credits of graduate level coursework with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for completion.

Degree Completion

A graduate student will have five years after initial enrollment in the first of either a foundational or graduate level course to complete the graduate program under the requirements in effect at the time of enrollment. If program requirements change, the student can elect to complete the revised curriculum or to complete under the original curriculum. If the student does not complete the graduate degree program within the five-year period, the requirements in effect at the time of the next enrollment will be used to determine the student’s graduation requirements.

Upper Iowa University reserves the right to make changes in its academic regulations and requirements when, in its judgment, the best interests of the institution are served.

Degree Requirements

Students completing the 18 credit MPA core requirements will have a broad overview of the discipline with an understanding of organizations, ethics, policy and research methods. Students will take PA 500  and PA 501  as their first two graduate courses.Of the core courses only PA 502  and PA 503  should be taken sequentially. The 18 credit emphasis areas provide more in-depth knowledge into the areas of criminal justice, healthcare management, public management, nonprofit organizations or emergency management and homeland security. PA 590 should be taken as the last course in the program and should not be taken concurrently with any other course. Permission to deviate from these guidelines can be done with permission from the MPA program director.


Credits: 21

Areas of Emphasis

Criminal Justice

This emphasis is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how conceptual and theoretical frameworks apply to real-world situations in a wide range of criminal justice career paths, and prepare students for leadership positions in agencies and organizations with missions related to criminal justice and public safety. Students will possess the knowledge needed to provide leadership in positions in a wide range of policing organizations from the local to the federal level.

Emergency Management and Homeland Security

This emphasis area is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in agencies and organizations with missions to protect life, liberty, and property.

Students will develop the knowledge needed to provide strategic leadership for an all hazards/Whole Community approach to an emergency event given a networked environment operating within a democratic political system.

General Study

This emphasis allows students to develop a program that meets their specific needs and goals. At least 4 of the electives (12 credits) must be MPA courses that are not cross-listed as HA (Healthcare Administration). Select five elective courses with advice and consent of advisor.

Healthcare Management

This emphasis area is designed to provide students with specialized knowledge of the issues and challenges facing leaders in healthcare and human services organizations.

Students will develop the skills necessary to create and maintain a system of continuous quality improvement in healthcare organizations.

Nonprofit Organizational Management

This emphasis is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead organizations in the growing nonprofit sector.

Student will acquire knowledge needed for the development and responsible use of financial and human resources for effective nonprofit organizational leadership in either the public or private sectors in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and laws.

Public Management

This emphasis is designed to assist students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully manage in complex and dynamic public organizational settings.

Students will develop the knowledge, skills and ability to evaluate and apply contemporary managerial research, theories, concepts and principles in order to successfully maximize the potential of diverse human talent in order to develop contributing and productive public employees and teams so they are able to serve the needs of diverse citizen groups.


Students may complete, as an elective, an internship (PA 594 ). This means obtaining a full-time paid or unpaid position for a period of eight weeks (not less than 320 hours) in a public sector or not-for-profit agency. The internship typically involves the student working on an administrative policy or management issue confronting a public or not-for-profit organization. It is an opportunity for the student to relate her/his academic experience in the master’s program to the issue that is the focus of the experience.

Internship positions are coordinated by the MPA Program Chair. Some internships are competitive in nature and are available on a regular basis with federal, state, county, and local governments. Others are posted from time to time as they are made known to the University. Still others become available on an ad hoc basis through the initiative of the student. A student’s progress in an internship is monitored by the student’s immediate supervisor at the agency sponsoring the internship and by the instructor.

The student prepares a report on the internship documenting the experience and its product, indicating the value of the experience for the student, and offers personal reflection on:

  • Achievement of the core and emphasis area student learning outcomes.
  • Opportunities for integration of program values in practice.
  • Future career directions based on the experience and related learning.

The report incorporates documentation prepared for and submitted to the sponsoring organization regarding the issue studied, and is submitted to the instructor of record for PA 594  as the evidence of completion of the experience. The sponsoring organization will prepare a report on the work and effectiveness of the student. These reports, along with the student’s work product, will be considered in assigning a grade to the Internship. The report is graded on a pass/fail basis.

The Internship (PA 594 ) is graded pass/fail for transcript purposes.

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