Public Administration

The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree under the authority of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

The program is designed to serve a diverse student body representative of a variety of human service organizations. MPA students are mainly mid-career administrators committed to learning and developing as individuals and professionals. Seminars are conveniently offered in evenings or online to accommodate working administrators. The seminars are designed to promote extensive sharing of professional experiences and the examination of issues important to contemporary administration.

The MPA curriculum emphasizes practical skills and information from a range of governmental, nonprofit and educational organizations. The classes are designed to develop technical administrative skills and competencies in leadership, finance, personnel, planning and evaluation. Given the diversity of candidate backgrounds and the agencies represented, MPA candidates are encouraged to develop their ability to work in a variety of organizational settings and with a diverse group of individuals.

The Program

The MPA program requires successful completion of: 36 credit hours, including (1) a 15-credit hour core; (2) specialty courses approved by the candidate's program advisor, and (3) an Assessment Seminar at the conclusion of the degree. 

Several areas of specialization are offered, each with specific requirements.  Some require additional credit hours.  Students with insufficient public or nonprofit administrative experience must also complete an internship. A minimum cumulative GPA of B (3.0) must be maintained to continue in the program.

Please see the MPA program website for additional information.


Eligibility for entrance into the MPA program includes a clear interest in the service sector, a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, an undergraduate 3.0 GPA (on a 4-point scale) or better, and an ability to write on an acceptable level.  Individuals with less than a 3.0 average, but no lower than 2.75, may be considered for conditional admission status. Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Application Procedures

Individuals who wish to apply for the Master of Public Administration degree program should follow the application instructions found at:  If you have any questions, please call 313-593-1183.


Master of Public Administration Program students are fully responsible for following both the program and Rackham requirements. Rackham School of Graduate Studies academic policies can be found at:

Registration Information

Students who wish to enroll in a directed/ independent study or a course other than those listed in the program curriculum must obtain permission from the program director prior to registering. No courses are to be elected on a pass-fail basis. Students whose grade point average falls below a 3.0 (B) will be placed on probation (D+ and lower grades do not count toward graduation but are calculated as 0 for GPA). Continued deficiencies will result in a required withdrawal from the University. Students who have been absent for one calendar year must apply for readmission before registering for classes.

All newly admitted students must meet with their advisor to develop an official plan of study. Advising may be obtained by phone or appointment at the discretion of the advisor. 

Residency Requirements and Time Limits

Students seeking a MPA degree must fulfill the residency requirement by completing at least one-half of their degree in courses offered by the UM-Dearborn. All coursework toward the MPA degree must be completed within five consecutive years from the date of first enrollment.


Students who plan to graduate in a specific semester must submit a diploma application found online at MPA students may participate in graduation exercises (if desired) with the Dearborn and/or Ann Arbor student body.

The full-time faculty of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program provide academic advising regarding program requirements, the student's coursework, and educational interests. They ensure that the student experiences a smooth transition to the university, and the opportunity to have a productive graduate experience.
Upon admission, each student is assigned to a specific advisor. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor after admission to discuss sequencing of courses, and other matters that will help ensure success in the MPA program. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor regularly and consult with him or her in the planning of coursework and career plans.


Public Administration Core 15
Intro to Pub & Non-Prof Admin
Leadership and Administration
Admin of Financial Resources
Admin of Human Resources
Info Sys and Stats for Admin
Select 18 credit hours approved by advisor:18
Strategic Comm for Admin
Administrative Law
Consulting and Staff Dev
PR for Nonprofit/Public Sector
Organization Dev and Theory
Labr Relations in Serv Setting
Performance Appraisal
Strat Planning/Needs Assessmnt
Policy Analysis & Development
Program Evaluation
Technology for Administrators
Ethics in Public Pol & Admin
Revitalizing Cities
Assessment Seminar3
Assessment Seminar
Internship 1
Total Credit Hours36

An internship (additive credit only; they do not satisfy the 36 credits for core, elective, or assessment courses) is required unless specifically waived by the student's adviser or director of the MPA program.

PADM 500     Topics in Public Admin     1 to 3 Credit Hours

A major topic or set of related topics in public administration will be examined in the course. For example, the topic one semester might be the "Classics of Public Administration." The topics may change and, therefore, it is possible to take the course more than once.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 505     Intro to Pub & Non-Prof Admin     3 Credit Hours

This introductory course provides an overview of topics encountered in government or nonprofit administrator positions. Topics emphasized in the seminar include decision-making, finance, human resources, leadership, performance, accountability, organizational responsiveness, and strategic management.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 507     Strategic Comm for Admin     3 Credit Hours

This Internet course addresses three levels of administrative communications - individual, group and organization - and examines the concepts and skills needed to be an effective communicator. Students will develop applications emphasizing goal-oriented communications and making strategic choices in content, structure, style and delivery. An emphasis is given to the design and best use of computer technologies such as Word and PowerPoint applications. The course also covers basic ethical and legal issues of work-place communications.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 520     Leadership and Administration     3 Credit Hours

An overview and examination of the background and current practices and applications associated with substantive leadership and futures-oriented management of a variety of public service and nonprofit organizations.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 522     Qlty and Prod in Serv Org     2 Credit Hours

Contemporary service organizations are concerned with improving their quality and productivity. What are the different approaches to accomplishing these ends? Subjects such as Total Quality Management and other approaches will be examined and utilized to suggest techniques to improve educational, public, and nonprofit organizations.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 523     Administrative Law     3 Credit Hours

This class will focus on important legal and regulatory issues as they relate to public, education, and nonprofit organizations. It will consider the various court and administrative decisions which affect these. Numerous case situations will be used to facilitate the students' learning.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 525     Consulting and Staff Dev     3 Credit Hours

This two-pronged program aligns the planning, design, and implementation of pre-service and in-service staff development programs for individuals and groups with an analysis and study of internal and external consultant roles and practices that help ensure proper development of personnel, processes and programs to enhance the organizational mission and desired outcomes.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 527     PR for Nonprofit/Public Sector     3 Credit Hours

The seminar examines the interaction of bureaucracies and their communities. It is particularly concerned with citizen roles and involvement in governance and communications in education, public and nonprofit organizations. Concepts used include community power, pressure groups and organization culture and climate.

Can enroll if Class is Specialist or Graduate

PADM 530     Loc Govt for Teach/Admin     1 to 3 Credit Hours

At the seminar, teachers participate in interactive learning activities with local government staff members. Officials serve as resource people, not lecturers. Teachers experience each lesson through the eyes of their students. All participants provide complete lesson plans for each activity, making it easy to share favorites from the course/academy with colleagues. Teachers work on developing coordinated learning experiences in local government including field trips, case studies and class visitations drawn from both school district and local government resource-bases.

Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PADM 540     Admin of Financial Resources     3 Credit Hours

Basic principles and actual practices of financial administration and accounting for state/local govenments, public school systems and nonprofit organizations, particularly budgeting and financial reporting within the context of other organizational processes and political demands and/or requirements. As one of the MPA core seminars, the case method will be employed to illustrate issues and problems of financial administration.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 541     Fund Accounting     3 Credit Hours

This seminar focuses on the goals, methods and issues associated with accounting for funds used in public agencies, school districts and nonprofit organizations. Included in the course is consideration of the preparation and use of financial statements, and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports. A variety of other related topics will be covered such as managing debt, investments, and cash management practices.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 548     Fundraising     3 Credit Hours

The course will analyze the role of fundraising and philanthropy for nonprofits. The class will examine issues such as the cultural, political and economic supports and constraints within which nonprofit organizations operate. Students will be able to enhance their fundraising skills and their knowledge of the fundraising practices of nonprofits.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 560     Admin of Human Resources     3 Credit Hours

This seminar will examine human resource administration activities in public, educational and nonprofit settings. Issues such as recruiting, selection, planning, performance appraisal, contracting and collective bargaining will be related to the overall administrative activities. Emphasis will be placed on the connections between human resource issues in public, education, and nonprofit organizations.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 561     Organization Dev and Theory     3 Credit Hours

Students will learn how organizations are structured and shaped, know what features of organizations vary and the parameters on which they vary, and be able to analyze, synthesize, and apply concepts to reduce organizational uncertainty, and to improve and regulate organization behaviors and outcomes. Attention will also focus on top down and participatory administration in organizations, and change in public, educational, and nonprofit organizations and agencies.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 562     Labr Relations in Serv Setting     3 Credit Hours

The seminar will consider the impact of collective bargaining on traditional human resource administration in public, education and nonprofit settings. It also will focus on developing an initial competency in the various activities associated with collective bargained situations.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 564     Performance Appraisal     3 Credit Hours

Evaluating the performance of individuals in an organization is crucial to the motivation of the individual and the success of the organization. This class will consider the available methods for assessing performance of personnel in different public, educational and nonprofit settings. The different methodologies and concepts in the field will be utilized in the class.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 580     Info Sys and Stats for Admin     3 Credit Hours

This course will introduce MPA students to descriptive and basic inferential statistics. Participants will use microcomputers and software to perform elementary statistical analyses and to prepare presentation quality reports and graphics, making use of statistical information.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 581     Strat Planning/Needs Assessmnt     3 Credit Hours

This course develops the strategic planning and needs assessment competencies of the participants. Emphasized in the course is the "cascade" process of information gathering involving interviewing, focus groups, and surveys as applied in strategic planning.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 582     Policy Analysis & Development     3 Credit Hours

Policy formulation involves two different activities: 1) identifying and assessing alternative courses of action, i.e., deciding what, if anything, needs to be done about a problem; and 2) developing the policy, regulation or law that will carry an agreement in principle into effect. Both aspects of policy development will be covered in the course.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 583     Program Evaluation     3 Credit Hours

This class will examine procedures for evaluating programs in public, education and nonprofit settings. The concern will be to examine the various techniques available to determine whether a program is doing what it was intended to do. Students will utilize various techniques in examining a variety of case situations.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 585     Technology for Administrators     3 Credit Hours

This course will focus on the role of organizational administrators in the applications of technology within an organization, including policy development, personnel management, financial planning and budgeting, program planning and evaluation, training, and strategic planning.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 586     Ethics in Public Pol & Admin     3 Credit Hours

This course critically examines ethical issues eencountered by public administrators and policymakers. It examines ethical considerations related to managing people and other organizational resources and designing and implementing public policy. It seeks to help students identify, understand, and deal effectively with the ethical dimensions of leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors. (YR)

Can enroll if Level is Rackham or Graduate

PADM 650     Assessment Seminar     1 to 3 Credit Hours

This "capstone" seminar involves the assessment of public administration degree candidates' knowledge, skills and abilities in core program areas. These core areas include administration of programs, finance and human resource administration, and leadership. Students will prepare and present portfolios of their work.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 690     Directed Studies in Pub Admin     1 to 3 Credit Hours

This course will permit students to take subjects not currently offered in regular courses but within the capacity of existing or adjunct faculty. To be elected only with the permission of the program director and an instructor.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PADM 720     Internship     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Students who lack the necessary experience in responsible administration will be afforded the opportunity to gain the experience in the internship. The class and the number of hours will be arranged to fit the needs of the students the program coordinator believes are necessary.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate
Can enroll if Major is Public Administration


An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally