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Chicago | Master of

Master of Public Administration

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Program Overview

Adler University’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program delivers the core knowledge and skills necessary for effective and socially responsible policy implementation, organizational leadership, management, and finance in the public arena – including at the national, state, and local government levels.

Students will also learn the critical skills of communicating and collaborating with diverse groups within a rapidly changing society, and how to articulate and solicit new perspectives that develop community-driven and support solutions to social, economic and environmental problems.

Adler’s MPA degree prepares students for a variety of socially responsible careers in both public and nonprofit organizations. Graduates are prepared with the theoretical foundation and management and leadership skills needed to address some of society’s most challenging social issues.

This program also allows students to add on a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling for an additional 12 credits of coursework.

Request Information

      You need a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution to enroll in Adler University programs.

      Okay

      Concentrations

      As part of the MPA, students will select from four specialized concentrations – Sustainable Communities; Criminal Justice; Community Health; and Human Rights Advocacy – tailored to their desired career path.

      Sustainable Communities

      Sustainable Communities is for those who aspire to administration, leadership, and advocacy across a broad range of career opportunities in both the non-profit and public service sectors. Using Adlerian principles, you’ll learn the skills necessary to create sustainable economic development, environmental development and healthier communities at the local, state, national and international level.

      Criminal Justice

      The Criminal Justice concentration offers professional development in management and leadership within law enforcement and criminal justice for those seeking to improve crime prevention, reduce recidivism, and find solutions to community re-entry. By preparing public managers for leadership roles as change agents that bring together key stakeholders (i.e., community members, law enforcement and other criminal justice officials, and mental health professionals) in finding long-term, efficient, and compassionate solutions that support individual and community health and safety.

      Community Health

      The Community Health concentration prepares graduates to lead government policy and advocacy efforts that advance positive social change in communities. With cities around the world facing unprecedented population growth, this concentration trains students to work toward creating urban environments that promote mental health and well-being. Students focus on the role of participatory governance and community collaboration to counter urban environmental risk factors and improve overall well-being.

      Human Rights Advocacy

      In the Human Rights Advocacy concentration, students learn how to lead policy and advocacy efforts that foster human rights and social justice domestically and internationally. This concentration trains policy professionals to work in governmental, nonprofit, or private sectors applying established human rights standards, laws, and treaties. Students focus on broader social, economic, political, and environmental issues in a theoretical and historical context within our practice-based curriculum.

      Student Outcomes

      The Adler University MPA program delivers the core knowledge and skills necessary for effective policy implementation, organizational leadership, management, and finance in the public arena – including at the national, state, and local government levels. Additionally, the curriculum prepares students to pursue opportunities at non-profits, research centers, consulting firms, community action groups, direct-service providers and other private-sector entities.

      In order to become effective public administration professionals, students advance their abilities in leadership and advocacy and become participants in, and contributors to the process of developing public programs and organizations – including the analysis, synthesis, critical thinking, and problem solving that encourages the growth of a fair and just society. Students will also learn the critical skills of communicating and collaborating with diverse groups within a rapidly changing society, and how to articulate and solicit new perspectives that develop community-driven and support solutions to social, economic and environmental problems. Students complete a Social Justice Practicum as well as a Capstone project.

      Graduates are expected to master core competencies in program development, evaluation, and management within the public service arena, as well as varied skills required for:

      • Program development
      • Advocacy and political activism
      • Policy interpretation and implementations
      • Organizational leadership, administration, and management
      • Needs assessments with program participants and communities
      • Evaluation research on program development and analysis of outcomes

      Careers

      Adler’s MPA degree prepares you for a variety of socially responsible careers in both public and nonprofit organizations. Graduates are prepared with the theoretical foundation and management and leadership skills needed to address some of society’s most challenging social issues.

      Graduates from the MPA program can have successful and rewarding careers across a number of professional roles, such as:

      • Policy analyst or researcher
      • Program administrator
      • Veterans affairs lobbyist
      • Program analyst, Department of Veterans Affairs
      • Community organizer
      • Nonprofit or for-profit community service provider
      • Project manager
      • Advocate, Activist
      • Policy strategist
      • Community development specialist
      • Municipal planner/developer
      • Community leader
      • Government representative or legislator
      • Municipal, county or state-level governmental emergency manager

      The range of opportunities in public service administration continues to grow: with national, state, and local governments; research centers; consulting firms; community action groups; and NGOs and direct service providers in the United States and around the world.

      Professional Development & Training

      As part of the online Master of Public Administration, you’ll participate in two experiences designed to apply your classroom learnings to real-world settings. During the Capstone project, you will work individually or as part of a team to improve a public policy or service.

      Alfred Adler’s focus on community life, prevention, and population health serves as the inspiration for the Social Justice Practicum. You’ll gain real-world experience working alongside a partner organization to advance real social change in the community. Alongside the practicum, you’ll complete online modules that introduce you to social justice principles. The Practicum will conclude with a presentation of your findings.

      Curriculum

      The Master of Public Administration program is 36 credit hours. Successful completion of this program includes the courses listed below.

      Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University Course Catalog here.

      Core Courses

      PPAC 500 - Theories of Public Policy and Administration (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to the historical and theoretical foundations of public policy process and administrative services considering key participants and the environmental context. Students learn how policy is created and reformed, how government services come into existence, how political agendas shape policy and services, the government decision-making process, societal influence on policy development and reform, ethical influences in the policy process and public sector organization, and the four main values in public policy and administration: equity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness.

      PPAC 501 - Political Economy and Economic Analysis In Public Policy Development (3 cr.)

      In this course, students learn the basic economic tools and microeconomic models relevant to current policy and public sector choices, including the role of government in a market-oriented economy, with an emphasis on market failures. Students learn about public goods, externalities, competition versus monopoly, opportunity cost, economic efficiency, and equity.

      PPAC 502 - Ethics in Public Service (3 cr.)

      This course is designed to provide students with a solid foundation for the ethical practice of leadership and management in the public and nonprofit sectors.

      PACC 503 - Organizational Theory and Public Personnel Management (3 cr.)

      In this course, students learn human resource practices and styles of management in public organizations. Topics include sociological, economic, and political science theories of organizational behavior and management within the public sector; the values associated with the five general models of public personnel systems (patronage, civil service or merit, labor-management or collective bargaining, professional, and entrepreneurial) are considered within a historical context.

      PACC 504 - Public Finance (3 cr.)

      This course provides students with a basic understanding of the methods used to analyze and evaluate public sector finances including revenues and expenditures. The primary emphasis is on government organizations in state and local government budget process including funding sources and expenditures.

      PPAC 505 - Research Methods I: Quantitative Research Methods (3 cr.)

      This course reviews basic methods and theories of quantitative analysis in the social sciences. Students learn descriptive and inferential statistics as well as studying topics such as sampling, probability, correlations, variance, and statistical analysis.

      PPAC 506 - Research Methods II: Qualitative Research Methods & Community Consultation (3 cr.)

      In this course, students learn how to get detailed and significant information through research methods that use open-ended and in-depth interviewing, with a focus on the key components of qualitative research designs, methods, and analysis.

      PACC 507 - Public Management and Leadership (3 cr.)

      This course introduces the knowledge and skills related to strategic management and leadership in government and public services including the articulation and aligning of organizational goals in accordance with the mission; negotiating the complexities between service delivery and resource constraints; managing organizational changes; establishing measurements for outcomes; creating efficiency within production; and maintaining high staff motivation.

      PPA 508 - Capstone/Fieldwork Experience in Public Policy (3 cr.)

      The Capstone/Fieldwork experience offers students the opportunity to work in an organizational setting such as a governmental agency, community group, or nonprofit organization, within the policy area of their choice that is part of students’ areas of concentration.

      SJP 513 - Social Justice Practicum I (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that begins in the fall term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      SJP 514 - Social Justice Practicum II (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that continues through the spring term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      Community Health Concentration

      COMH 509 - Urban Health Determinants & Outcomes (3 cr.)

      This course explores the history of mental health in cities and determinants that shape health outcomes, social distribution of health and disease, and health disparities. The determinants studied include, but are not limited to, social, economic, political, and environmental factors.

      COMH 510 - Health Policy and Management (3 cr.)

      This course exams health policy and management through public health methods including diagnostic identification of mental illness, the links between mental and physical health, and using tools and strategies from the public health field to understand current mental health policies, practices, and services.

      COMH 511 - Topics in Urban Policy Critical Urban Mental Health Issues (3 cr.)

      This course examines topics directly affecting the health of a community and its members. It provides students with an overview of the important public policy issues facing urban centers in the 21st century.

      Criminal Justice Concentration

      CRIM 517 - Reconceptualizing Criminal Justice Involvement of Persons with Mental Illness (3 cr.)

      This course explores the criminalization of the mentally ill “offender”; how and why the mentally ill become involved with the criminal justice system; and responses from community, behavioral health, and the criminal justice systems.

      CRIM 518 - Criminal Justice Administration (3 cr.)

      This course examines current policies, practices, and organizational principles of the administrative structures, functions, and processes of the criminal justice system (e.g., law enforcement, courts and corrections, health).

      CRIM 519 - Crime Prevention and Reducing Recidivism (3 cr.)

      Relatively few criminal justice policy decisions use scientific evidence to assist in making informed decisions. This course emphasizes the importance of evidence-based methods to prevent crime and reduce recidivism in communities.

      Human Rights Advocacy Concentration

      HRA 512 - Human Rights Policies and Outcomes (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to the field of human rights. Students develop a critical understanding of the main issues that characterize the conceptualization of human rights in today’s world.

      HRA 513 - Human Right to Health (3 cr.)

      The human right to health is protected in multiple human rights treaties. Several countries around the world, most notably South Africa, have used the human right to health to adjudicate the quality of life needs for all citizens.

      HRA 514 - Topics Urban Policy - Contemporary Human Rights Issues (3 cr.)

      This course examines themes directly impacting human rights of a community and its members. It provides students with an overview of the importance of human rights issues as they relate to public policy or the administration of public services.

      Sustainable Communities Concentration

      SCOMC 512 - Elements of Sustainability and Livable Communities (3 cr.)

      This course focuses on formation and preservation of sustainable, healthy communities; the importance of leaders who understand the relationships between natural, built, and social environments; and the need to maintain these connections in holistic and integrative ways.

      SCOMC 513 - Tools for Sustainable Development (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to skills needed for effective community leadership including tools, strategies, and skills needed when overseeing the creation and maintenance of sustainable communities.

      SCOMC 514 - Strategic Planning for Sustainability (3 cr.)

      In an increasingly complex world, leaders and managers in public and nonprofit organization plan strategies to fulfill the organizational mission and enhance stakeholder satisfaction. This course examines the roles and practices of strategic planning, including partnerships, cooperation, and coordination.

      Social Justice Practicum

      200-hour internship to give students real world experience

      A unique and proven program designed to give students real world experience throughout their time at Adler University, the Social Justice Practicum is a required 200-hour internship that spans four courses (or terms for online programs). Every student is given a number of civic-minded categories to choose from. They submit their desired areas of interest. After which, they are assigned a specific and aligned community outreach site where they will work 8 to 10 hours per week.

      Learn about Adler’s Social Justice Practicum

      Faculty Spotlight

      Kendra L. Smith, Ph.D.
      Master of Public Administration Program

      Kendra L. Smith, Ph.D., recently joined Adler University as an adjunct professor, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and research on advancing equity and inclusion in communities—and a passion for social justice. Dr. Smith teaches and is involved in course development for the Online Master of Public Administration program.

      Learn More

      Admissions Requirements

      Admissions requirements:

      • A baccalaureate degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university or an equivalent degree from an international college or university.
      • A recommended GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate and graduate coursework. Exceptions may be made for applicants who demonstrate outstanding academic performance or academic ability in other ways.
      • Approved applicants will be invited for an interview with faculty.

      Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission:

      • Application and application fee
      • Statement of Intent (2-3 pages, double-spaced) answering the following questions:
        • Why are you interested in your chosen field and program?
        • Why is Adler University’s program a good fit for you?
        • What are your career goals and interests?
      • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
      • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended (U.S and Canada)
        • Please have official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions
        • Unofficial transcripts may be accepted for any schools in which a degree was not
          received
        • International transcripts must be evaluated by a transcript evaluation service
      • Two letters of recommendation
        • These should be from someone who can specifically speak to your academic and professional abilities

      Approved applicants will be invited to complete an interview with faculty.


      Please submit all application materials including official transcripts to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.

      Adler University – Office of Admissions
      17 N. Dearborn Street
      Chicago, IL 60602

      Official electronic transcripts should be sent to [email protected].

      Information for International Applicants

      Tuition & Fees

      Tuition for Adler University’s programs is charged each term according to the number of registered academic credits. The number of credits a student will register for varies by academic program and by term. To estimate the amount of tuition and fees that would be charged in a given term, please use our Tuition Estimator tool below, or read about tuition and fees for all Chicago programs.

      Tuition Estimator

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