Department of Public Policy and Administration

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree provides students with knowledge and skills needed for professional careers in public service. MPA students learn new techniques and add to their expertise in organizational and program management, policy analysis, and related areas with emphasis on policy and administrative issues in the North. Students specialize in one of the following emphasis areas: Public Management, Policy Analysis, Health Administration, or Criminal Justice.



Public Administration Core Classes and Descriptions

PADM 601 Introduction to Pub Admin (Fall & Spring)

This introductory course gives an overview of the field of public administration and develops the analytical skills necessary for graduate studies. Emphasis is on understanding the underlying issues such as power, decision-making, ways of knowing, measurement, organizational structure, accountability, and learning to use the theoretical models in actual situations.

PADM 602 – Seminar In Public Management(Fall & Spring)

This is a very hands on class in which students design projects relevant to their work which demonstrate their achievement of 11 learning objectives for time management; identifying personal management styles and values; developing personal work performance measures; creating management charts; interpersonal and group skills; and oral presentations.

PADM 604 – Research Methods in Administration(Spring)

This class covers empirical methods and techniques necessary for administrators to understand complex research on public issues. Emphasis is on design of research, data collection and analysis methods, survey sampling, and statistical analysis including use of computers in data analysis.

PADM 606 – The Policymaking Process(Fall)

After developing a general framework, this class focuses on specific aspects of policymaking. These include the process of setting the policy agenda; the impact of the various stakeholders in the policymaking process; the relationship between policy sciences and democracy; and finally, the role of citizens in the policymaking process.

PADM 620 – Internship in Administration/Policy(Offered as demand warrants)

Applied work experience in public administration or policy analysis. The course consists of the equivalent of three months of full-time work in an approved state, federal, local, or private agency, under the supervision of a senior agency employee in cooperation with a faculty advisor. An internship journal and a final internship report are required.

PADM 628 – Administration of Financial Resources(Spring)

Five general topics are covered in this class: budgeting, policymaking, accounting, financing, and managing. Specific topics covered include: types of budgets and stages in the budgetary process; the relationship of economics to public budgets; the different types of government funds and financial accounting systems; and different types of revenue sources for public agencies and non-profits. Cases will help managers deal with the technical and political challenges inherent in managing budgets in the public sector.

PADM 659 – Public Administration Capstone(Currently this is offered in the Spring.  If you are interested in taking this during the Fall semester please email Dr. Greg Protasel

Capstone course for master of public administration program. Includes in-depth discussions of case studies illustrating problems of organizational change, decision making, problem solving, and the interrelated processes of policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation. Emphasis is on student participation, including presentation of a major policy or administrative report.

ECON 625 – Economics and Public Policy(Fall)

Examines economics both as a determinant of public policy and as a tool of public administration. Topics include how markets allocate resources; role of government in a market economy; market failures and responses to them; problems of efficiency vs. equity; and application of microeconomic tools to analysis of Alaska and national policy issues.

Focus Areas and Core Curriculum

Public Management

The Public Management emphasis is designed for those working for or planning to work for executive agencies of local, state, and federal government; for private, non-profit organizations; and in government relations units of private corporations.  It provides basic tools of public management, understanding of the structure and processes of public organizations, and the history and context of the field of public administration.

6 hours of elective plus

  • PADM A603 Management Analysis
  • PADM A610 Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • PADM A624 Human Resources Administration

Health Administration

The Health Administration emphasis prepares students to function as health administrators in state, local, or federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies that do health-related work.  Students develop knowledge and skills necessary for effective public management in the health care area: planning, decision-making, and managing people, money and programs. 

3 hours of electives plus

  • PADM A624 Human Resources Administration and 3 of the following
    • HS 605 Public Health and Society
    • HS 615 Health Service Administration
    • HS/NS A626 Principles of Epidemiology
    • PADM 671 Selected Topic in Public Administration

Policy Analysis

The Policy Analysis emphasis is intended to provide the provide the professional staffs of executive and legislative departments of local, state, and federal governments with the capability to analyze the effects of a broad range of actual or hypothetical government policies.  It emphasizes the application of economic analysis and other quantitative and qualitative methods to Alaska and national policy issues.

9 hours of electives plus

  • PADM A632 Policy Analysis
  • PADM A688 Program Evaluation


Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice Emphasis provides graduates with the theoretical basis for management careers in the field of criminal justice.  Students develop knowledge and skills necessary for effective public management: planning and decision making, managing people, money and programs.  These skills are applicable in a wide spectrum of employment areas in law enforcement and the criminal justice system; and also prepare graduates seeking to earn a terminal degree in justice administration.

3 hours of electives plus

  • JUST A625 Seminar in Criminal Violation
  • JUST A630 Justice Administraion Theory and Practice
  • JUST A670 Administrative Law and 1 of the following
    • JUST A640 Corrections Theory and Research
    • JUST A650 Policing Theory and Research


The UAA MPA Program is also now offering dual emphasis degrees!  This will allow students to maximize their interests, and diversify their education, allowing for the best future career options.  For more information please contact our graduate programs office: (907) 786-4171 or


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