Chicago | Master of
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.
Students also select from three specialized concentrations – Community Health; Human Rights Advocacy; and Sustainable Communities – for professional development in the program that fits their passion and career goals.
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.
As part of the MPA, students will select from three specialized concentrations – Sustainable Communities; Community Health; and Human Rights Advocacy – tailored to their desired career path.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission:
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].
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.
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Dr. Jerry Westermeyer, a professor in Adler University’s Department of Psychology, shares his experiences and personal stories while visiting the country of El Salvador in his new book titled, “El Salvador Stories: Attaining an Education Despite Poverty and Violence.” Dr. Westermeyer shares the triumphs and obstacles of young Salvadorans who have received an education thanks to his work with the Salvador Scholarships Program.