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Online | 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.

Graduates are prepared for careers in a wide range of settings, from youth and professional sports, to government agencies and private practice.

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

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      Concentrations

      As part of the online MPA, students will select from up to three specialized concentrations – Sustainable Communities, Crisis Management or Military and Veteran Services – 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 levels.

      Crisis Management

      Crisis Management trains students to respond to and manage the impact of natural, accidental, or premeditated disasters and their effects on communities – especially those populations who are already vulnerable. Further, there is a special focus on serving those communities that are at-risk and/or marginalized during times of crisis. Students will learn to identify and foster psychological resiliency and advocate for healthy and resilient communities – especially in the immediate aftermath of an acute or chronic crisis. Additionally, students will develop or strengthen leadership skills that promote positive community growth and development.

      Military and Veteran Services

      The Military & Veteran Services concentration focuses on how to be socially responsible practitioners through engaging the military and veteran’s communities. As part of the concentration, students gain a unique perspective and context into how the military interacts with larger social, organizational, cultural, and technological systems. Students learn to draw on all sub-disciplines of administration to understand the variables that affect the military and governmental/non-governmental veteran’s sectors. Further, this concentration incorporates the contributions of clinical, experimental, social, industrial/organizational, and engineering psychology.

      Student Outcomes

      Careers in Public Administration

      Adler’s online 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 online MPA program can have successful and rewarding careers across a number of professional roles, such as:

      • Project manager
      • Policy strategist
      • Advocate, Activist
      • Community leader
      • Program administrator
      • Veterans affairs lobbyist
      • Policy analyst or researcher
      • Municipal planner/developer
      • Government representative or legislator
      • Program analyst, Department of Veterans Affairs
      • Nonprofit or for-profit community service provider
      • 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.

      Public Administration Courses

      Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University course catalog.

      Core Courses

      Students may select from either PPAO-500 or PAC-500

      PPAO 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.

      PAC 500 - Foundations of Public Administration (3 cr.)

      This course focuses on the pursuit of public purposes; it is an introduction to public administration, public service, and public policy. Students will learn the constitutional, democratic, and cultural tenets that frame ideas of acceptable government action; intergovernmental and intersectoral relations in public service delivery; managerial, political, and economic aspects of governance; links between law, policy, and management; and the intellectual heritage of the field.

      PPAO 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.

      PPAO 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.

      PACO 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.

      PACO 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 are considered within a historical context.

      PACO 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.

      PPAO 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.

      PPAO 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.

      PPA 521 - Capstone Project Experience in Public Policy/Administration I (0.5 cr.)

      The capstone project provides students with the opportunity to apply a myriad of skills, strategies, and approaches to improving a policy or service area within the purview of public administration in an area of student interest.

      PPA 522 - Capstone Project Experience in Public Policy/Administration II (0.5 cr.)

      Capstone Project Experience in Public Policy/Administration II

      Crisis Management Concentration

      Students completing the concentration in Crisis Management must complete the following three courses for their concentration coursework requirements:

      EML 502 - Supporting Functional Needs Populations In Disasters (3 cr.)

      This course provides an overview of vulnerable populations including the elderly, disabled, mentally ill and others who are dependent on assistive devices, medications or access to external support services.

      EML 505 - Leading in Times of Crisis (3 cr.)

      This course exposes students to the foundational principles of psychology necessary for effective leadership in emergency management. Emphasis is placed on leadership, influence and decision-making in a multi-agency emergency response environment marked by limited time, ambiguous information, and high-stakes.

      MAMP 503 - The Psychology of Conflict & Operations Other than War (3 cr.)

      This course introduces the students to the concepts, goals, strategies, ideologies, and psychological theories associated with terrorism and operations other than war (e.g. disaster relief, peace keeping and enforcement).

      Military and Veteran Services Concentration

      Students completing the concentration in Military and Veteran Services must complete the following three courses for their concentration coursework requirements:

      MAMP 504 - Ethics, Morality, & Social Justice in Military (3 cr.)

      This course is a comprehensive study of military ethics, morality, social justice, and is designed to benefit both the student seeking professional leadership development in the reserves or active duty and practitioners who seek to serve them.

      MAMP 508 - Culture & Diversity Military (3 cr.)

      This course provides an overview of psychological and sociological dimensions of the warrior culture. In doing so the student will learn to assess research and develop a literature review on a specific area of military culture. Students will conduct a literature review of the history and evolution of culture in the armed forces.

      MAMP 513 - Continuum of Care for the Military, Veterans, and Their Families (3 cr.)

      This course will specifically examine the social service and behavioral health systems that are responsible for providing psychiatric, mental health, substance abuse, and family care for those who are serving, or have served, and their families.

      Sustainable Communities Concentration

      Students completing the concentration in Sustainable Communities must complete the following three courses for their concentration coursework requirements:

      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

      SJPO 515 - Social Justice Practicum I (0.5 cr)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, non-clinical and non-discipline specific experiential practicum that begins in the second course period of the student’s program. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society.

      SJPO 516 - Social Justice Practicum II (0.5 cr)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, non-clinical and non-discipline specific experiential practicum that begins in the second course period of the student’s program. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society.

      SJPO 517 - Social Justice Practicum III (0.5 cr)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, non-clinical and non-discipline specific experiential practicum that begins in the second course period of the student’s program. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society.

      SJPO 518 - Social Justice Practicum IV (0.5 cr)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, non-clinical and non-discipline specific experiential practicum that begins in the second course period of the student’s program. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society.

      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

      Online Learning Format

      Adler University approaches online learning with the same commitment to academic excellence and student support that has been the hallmark of our 65-year history. Our innovative online graduate courses deliver an engaging, interactive learning experience designed to accommodate your busy schedule.

      Online learning offers a great deal of independence and flexibility, but that doesn’t mean that you’re alone. Our online student body is supported by the same administrative and academic staff who serve our on-campus students. Your instructors are also available to answer your questions, provide more information, and connect you with additional resources to help you succeed. In addition, your cohort classmates will be a source of ongoing support and collaboration as you progress through your degree program, and well after graduation.

      Admissions Requirements

      Applicants are required to have:

      • A baccalaureate degree, by the date of matriculation, earned from an accredited college or university, or an equivalent degree from an international college or university.
      • A GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale) in their baccalaureate degree.
        • Applicants with a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 will be considered for conditional admission by submitting two letters of recommendation from a current professor, supervisor, and/or someone who can attest to the applicant’s ability to be successful in a graduate program. Exceptions may be made for applicants with a conferred graduate degree.
        • Applicants with a GPA below a 2.5 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
      • Two letters of recommendation**

      Conditional Admission Status

      Applicants admitted on a conditional basis must achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA in their first two courses in order to achieve full admission status and continue in the program. Applicants not meeting this standard may be dismissed from the university. Applicants admitted on a conditional basis are not eligible to repeat coursework until they achieve a full admission status.

      Provisional Admission Status

      Applicants admitted on a provisional basis must submit all outstanding collateral, as defined in their acceptance letter, prior to the end of their first course to achieve full admission status and continue in the program. Applicants not meeting this standard may be dismissed from the university.

      **Letters of recommendation may be waived based on cumulative grade point average from your degree-granting institution.  Letters of recommendation should be submitted by professional references on letterhead.

      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 Online programs.

      Tuition Estimator

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