The Master of Public Administration program guides students in the development of leadership and management skills essential to a successful career in local, state or national public service. This includes learning how to effectively: lead employees and volunteers; navigate political systems to obtain agency support from elected officials; interact with government, nonprofit and private partners; engage diverse populations. The MPA program is affordable, responsive to local workforce needs and accessible to working part-time commuting students.
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is an interdisciplinary program housed in the department of Political Science and supported by faculty in the departments of: Communications; Criminal Justice; Economics and Business Management; Geography, Planning, and Sustainability; Nursing; Sociology.
The primary purpose of this Master's Degree program is to transmit to students the knowledge and skills necessary for the effective and efficient administration of public and non-profit agencies. The program goal is to train people for leadership positions in the public sector, with a particular emphasis on the development of core knowledge areas and administrative skills. Specifically, the program is designed to promote:
- The development of an advanced grasp of the nature of public administration and its function within the American political system; this includes a knowledge of the process by which public policy is created and implemented at the local, state and federal levels of government;
- Advanced knowledge of the principles, theories and practices related to directing a complex public-sector organization. Specifically:
- a grasp of the principles and practices of organizational behavior and leadership;
- advanced knowledge of the principles and practices of budgeting and public finance;
- an advanced understanding of the legal environment affecting public sector management.
- The development of organizational and managerial skills necessary to direct a complex public organization, including:
- skills critical for successful human resources management;
- strategic planning and problem-solving skills;
- quantitative and qualitative program evaluation techniques;
- interpersonal skills and an understanding of group dynamics.
- The development of quantitative analytical techniques, statistical methods, and qualitative research competencies relevant for public management.
- An awareness of ethical issues affecting the public sector.
- A concentration of study in one of four areas: non-profit management, public management, criminal justice administration, or public healthcare administraion.
The Graduate Committee will evaluate applications for admission. Each application will include:
- Official transcripts indicating a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, which includes at least 15 credits of coursework in a field appropriate for the program, such as management, political science, regional planning or criminal justice;
- A minimum 2.8 GPA overall or minimum 3.0 GPA for the last two years of undergraduate studies;
- A satisfactory GRE or MAT score;
- A narrative statement (of approximately 350 words) about your professional goals, academic experience, work experience and other factors that support your application.
- Three letters of recommendation. At least one academic recommendation is suggested.
The graduate committee will also consider, on an individual basis, applicants with significant professional experience or special qualifications who do not meet minimum admission standards.
Program Requirements - 36 Credits
The MPA program at Westfield State centers in seven required core courses (21 credits) and 15 credits of substantial specialization. Our core is informed by the NASPAA curriculum guidelines described in their "Standards for Professional Masters Degree Programs". As such, our core courses cover the essential areas of knowledge or skill necessary for public sector management. Overall, the MPA curriculum requires students to complete 36 credit hours within six years, comparable to other programs nationally and in the state.
Core Courses - 21 Credits
- PADM 0600 - Foundations of Public Administration
- PADM 0630 - Public Policy Analysis
- PADM 0608 - Organizational Behavior for Non-Profit and Public Organizations
- PADM 0622 - Information Management
- PADM 0650 - Research Methods for Public Administration
- PADM 0660 - Ethics and Accountability
- PADM 0690 - Capstone
Specialized Tracks - 15 Credits
Each student will complete a 15 credit specialization in one of the following three areas: (1) Criminal Justice Administration, (2) Public Management, (3) Non-Profit Management or (4) Public Healthcare Administration.
Public Management Track - 15 Credits
Fifteen credits chosen from the following (or from other GPS graduate offerings as approved by an assigned advisor):
- PADM 0620 - Public Budgeting: Politics and Practices
- PADM 0625 - Administrative Law
- PADM 0610 - Human Resource Management Skills
- PADM 0640 - The Regional Economy of New England
- PADM 0665 - Managing Towns and Cities
- PADM 0680 - Special Topics in Public Administration
- PADM 0699 - Independent Study in Public Management
- GPS 0515 - City Planning Theories and Practical Applications
- GPS 0600 - Sustainability and Governance in the 21st Century
- GPS 0535 - Community Preparedness: Organization and Development of Community Master Plans
- GPS 0544 - GIS: Mapping Community Data
Because completion of the Capstone Experience validates and demonstrates mastery of curricular objectives, there will be no comprehensive examination requirement for students in the public administration program.