Mar 21, 2018
The mission of the Department of Public Administration is to advance excellence in professional public management through scholarship in teaching, research, and service. The department is committed to strengthening the knowledge and skills that enhance the management and leadership capacity of individuals pursuing public service careers.
Check departmental information for any additional requirements.
The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.
Application for admission to the M.P.A. program is made directly to the Graduate School. A completed application consists of the Graduate School application, a two‑page statement of career goals, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.
Pre‑career students should request at least two letters of recommendation from previous instructors who can judge their ability to do graduate work. If pre‑career students have public sector experience, they should request a letter from an employer who can judge their potential as future public administrators. In‑service students should request at least one letter of recommendation from a previous instructor and remaining letters from public sector employers.
Prerequisites for admission to the program are 9 semester hours in the social sciences, including at least one course in U.S. government, and appropriate undergraduate work in mathematics or statistics. With the approval of the student’s adviser, a maximum combined total of 15 semester hours of graduate credit transferred from other accredited institutions plus graduate credit earned in courses at Northern Illinois University as a student-at-large may be counted toward meeting the requirements of the M.P.A. degree. The limit on student-at-large hours may be waived in special circumstances, with the approval of the director of the Department of Public Administration.
The M.P.A. degree normally requires the completion of a minimum of 40 semester hours of approved graduate study in the public management core and a selected specialization. The student must complete a minimum of 40 semester hours of course work exclusive of internship hours.
In addition to credit-hour requirements, students must also prepare and defend a capstone paper while registered for PSPA 699A and PSPA 699B. The capstone paper must demonstrate the connection of theory and practice to a relevant public service issue or problem. Every student must complete at least 3 semester hours of PSPA 699A and 1 semester hour of PSPA 699B prior to graduation. Each student enrolled in PSPA 695 must enroll for 1 semester hour of PSPA 699A after the completion of 9 semester hours of course work; other students after 15 semester hours. After the completion of 30 semester hours of course work, the student must maintain continuous enrollment in PSPA 699A until the semester of graduation when the student enrolls in PSPA 699B to complete the capstone requirements.
Public Management Core (28)
Students with appropriate previous course work or professional experience may petition program faculty for permission to substitute elective courses for PSPA 609 or PSPA 610. In no case will any semester hours be waived.
Students must also complete the requirements of one of the following specializations, thus permitting the development of expertise in a particular field of academic and professional interests. Students will normally be expected to select elective courses from curricula other than public administration (PSPA) courses.
Specialization in Comparative Public Service
Through a study of public administration and management in a global context, students will gain an advanced capacity to assume a leadership role and use management skills to enhance the mission of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the U.S. and another country. In addition to learning skills and strategies for leadership and management of U.S. agencies, students will demonstrate an advanced ability to:
- Lead and manage in public governance in a country outside the U.S.,
- Participate in and contribute to the policy process in a country outside the U.S.,
- Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions in a country outside the U.S.,
- Articulate and apply a public service perspective in a country outside the U.S.,
- Communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry in a country outside the U.S.
Students must demonstrate ability to advance in one or more of the specialization competencies with a set of four or more courses (equivalent to 12 semester hours) at a university outside the U.S., approved in advance by the department chair, and successful completion of the capstone project (PSPA 699B). Students may enroll in PSPA 693 to earn credit for study abroad courses.
Specialization in Fiscal Administration
The critical examination of techniques and problems in the areas of fiscal management, accountancy, budgetary policy, and political economy.
- Approved graduate course work (6)
Specialization in Nonprofit Management
A study of the unique challenges posed by the administration of nonprofit organizations in both the domestic and global contexts, including communication and promotion, fundraising and grant writing, and intersectoral collaboration with the public and private sectors.
Specialization in Strategic Public Management and Leadership
Students will gain an advanced capacity to assume a leadership role and use strategic management and collaborative processes that facilitate the mission of government and nonprofit organizations.
Specialization in Local Government Management
A thorough study of local government administration, focusing on the operations of local governments and the analysis of local government and metropolitan issues.
Specialization in Public Service Law and Management
Through a study of public administration and management in a legal context, students will gain an advanced capacity to assume a leadership role and use management skills to enhance the mission of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations as it relates to public law and management. In addition to learning skills and strategies for leadership and management, students will demonstrate an advanced ability to:
- Lead and manage in public governance with legal insights;
- Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions related to the legal issues of a public organization;
- Articulate and apply a public service perspective while serving in a public organization or a law firm that serves nonprofit, local, state, and federal government agencies ;
- Communicate, interact, and provide a legal perspective within a diverse and changing citizenry.
Students must demonstrate the ability to advance in one or more of the specialization competencies with a set of four or more law school courses (equivalent to 12 semester hours) approved by the department chair, and successful completion of the capstone project (PSPA 699B). Students enrolled in the Public Service Law and Management specialization must be enrolled in the NIU Law School or have earned a law degree from an accredited law school.