Home Graduate Master's programs Master of Professional Studies - Public Administration

Master of Professional Studies - Public Administration

The Master of Professional Studies in Public Administration program (MPS-PA) is a twelve month, 12-course (36 credits) professional degree program designed for students interested in learning public administration and government management with an international perspective at a top-tier research institution located in the Washington DC region.  Students may additionally choose to take this program on a part-time track and graduate in twenty one months.

The Public Administration curriculum provides the skills, frameworks and tools needed to effectively and responsibly lead and manage public sector and non-profit organizations, including management, leadership, finance, ethics, human resources, quantitative and qualitative analysis, budget implementation, and the rules and regulations of public governance.

The coursework is complemented with site visits to federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations; guest lectures and discussions with leadings scholars and practitioners from the Washington, D.C. region and around the world; internships; and social events. 

Typical Curriculum and Course Descriptions

Students move through the program as a cohort, taking the same classes.  The 2017-18 MPS-PA cohort will be taking:

PLCY 711 – Public Management and Leadership

The purpose of this course is to help equip students with knowledge of management and leadership concepts essential to performing successfully and responsibly in public organizations. We will begin with discussion on the nature of public administration and move an examination of organizational structure issues, public sector innovation strategies and decision-making mechanisms. We will also examine the “people” side of government organizations as well as management and leadership roles within organizations. Many case studies are examined in depth to provide real life context for the course content.

PLCY 692 – Leadership Principles and Practices

This course emphasizes how understanding group and organizational life is a critical leadership competency. This class is both practical and theoretical, and learning will be through a variety of approaches, including very active class participation. Through lectures, discussion, case studies, videos, surveys, readings and experiential activities, this course offers opportunities to learn about and to understand the dynamics associated with the exercise of leadership and authority in organizational settings.

PLCY 688M – Ethics of Public Administration

This course examines moral and ethical issues underlying public policy practices, decision-making, and policy objectives. The aim of this course is to provide an overview of selected moral and political issues and methods of ethical deliberation, judgment, and argument.

PLCY 698T – Managing Across Sectors

This course views the concept of cross-sector governance and provides both theoretical understanding and practical grounding. It focuses on the roles and relationships of institutions in each of these sectors in pursuing public purposes such as emergency management, economic development, environmental protection, transportation, education, and human investment.

PLCY 689X – Performance Management

This course provides frameworks, tools, and skills to improve program results in an environment where policy challenges span organizational boundaries and third parties implement programs. Several results-oriented frameworks and case illustrations will be examined in depth, including the Government Performance and Results Act, state and local Performance-Stat systems and the use of performance dashboards, the Obama Administration’s initiatives on performance, and international and US initiatives to foster civic engagement through open government and web based performance reporting.

PLCY 640 – Policy Analysis and Microeconomics

This course introduces students to an intermediate level of microeconomic analysis with special application to public policy.  It is designed to be an integrated analysis of the functioning of the market economy; how it allocates scarce resources through the decision making of its component agents and their interactions in markets.  More importantly, many resource allocation issues are influenced by public policy, and most public policies address issues of resource allocation. We will discuss resource allocation based on the behavior of individual agents (eg. consumers, firms, and governments), the response of economic agents to changes in incentives; market allocations in competitive and non-competitive environments. And finally, we will explore what occurs when markets fail and the appropriateness of government interventions to remedy failures. There will be applications to current public policy issues including: the current housing crises, whether Wal-Mart has been good or bad for the economy, health care reform, issues of global warming and many others.

PLCY 798Y – Non-Profit Management

Nonprofit organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropy, civil society, and social entrepreneurs are major players in how public policy is developed and implemented, as well as how change occurs in the United States as well as countries around the world. In the United States alone, the nonprofit sector encompasses over a million organizations, annually reports trillions of dollars in revenue and assets, represents approximately ten percent of the workforce, annually generates over four hundred billion dollars through donations and volunteers, and is primarily funded by government. The nonprofit sector is so heavily intertwined with the public sector that government executives will find themselves interacting and partnering with nonprofits on a regular basis. Through discussions of contemporary trends, challenges and issues, this course provides an introduction to the nonprofit sector and the leadership and management skills required to achieve social impact.

PLCY 752 – Managing Differences : Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating Agreements

This course is designed to enhance the student's negotiation and leadership skills for managing differences between individuals and groups. The course uses the conceptual framework of "interest-based negotiation" developed by Roger Fisher and his colleagues at the Harvard Negotiation Program, an approach that is now used extensively in professional schools of public policy, law, business, and planning. The students will study the nature of conflict and examine negotiation frameworks for handling two and multiparty situations. The course is experiential, involving students in class skill building negotiation exercises with a culminating exercise based on a major current national or international conflict.

PLCY 699O – 21st Century Policy Challenges

The course provides an overview of the policy development process in the context of a number of key areas: defense policy, social policy, America’s role in the world, and environmental policy. The course focuses on how managers must lead within a larger policy context and how knowledge of broader agency issues impacts management.

PLCY 688A – Comparative Political Institutions

This course examines political institutions in comparative perspective. At times, it turns the spotlight to the United States, both to compare its institutions to those of other countries and to assess the critical stresses and changes it faces. The course has one overriding aim: to enhance the ability of public policy practitioners to comprehend the fundamental transformations unfolding in key political institutions. The most prominent institution is the nation-state, which has exercised sovereignty over policies and processes for more than a century, but now is besieged by rivals for power and legitimacy.

PLCY 670 – Finance

Introduces the principles of resource allocation over time, role of debt in context of changing sources of governmental revenues, long- and short-term debt instruments, analysis of mixed public-private economic development projects, leasing, and the impact of borrowing devices.

PLCY 610 – Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy

Introduces statistical methods needed for evaluating and choosing among policy options. Topics include probability; decision-making under uncertainty; the organization, interpretation, and visual display of complex data; prediction and inferences about causality; hypothesis testing; and linear and multiple regression. Develops analytical skills and the ability to apply theory to complex, real-world problems.

Sample Course Schedule

Semester

Full Time Program

Four courses per semester and finish the program in 1 year

Part-time Program

Two courses per semester and finish the program in 2 years

Sample Course Schedule
Fall 2017PLCY 711 – Public Management and Leadership
PLCY 692 – Leadership Principles and Practices
PLCY 640 – Policy Analysis
PLCY 688M – Ethics of Public Administration

PLCY 711 – Public Management and Leadership

PLCY 640 – Policy Analysis
Spring 2018

PLCY 698T – Managing Across Sectors

PLCY 670 – Finance

PLCY 689X – Performance Management

PLCY 688A – Comparative Political Institutions

Note: PLCY 790 Project Course can be kicked off in the semester

PLCY 698T – Managing Across Sectors

PLCY 670 – Finance

Summer 2018

PLCY 790 – Project Course

PLCY 610 – Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy

PLCY 798Y – Non-profit Management

PLCY 752 – Managing Differences

Graduate in August 2018

PLCY 610 – Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy

PLCY 752 – Managing Differences
Fall 2018 

PLCY 692 – Leadership Principles and Practices

PLCY 688M – Ethics of Public Administration
Spring 2019 

PLCY 689X Performance Management

PLCY 688A – Comparative Political Institutions

Note: PLCY 790 Project Course can be kicked off in the semester
Summer 2019 

PLCY 790 – Project Course

PLCY 798Y – Non-profit management

Graudate in August 2019

Admissions Criteria

Admission to the Master of Professional Studies in Public Administration program is competitive.  Applicants must demonstrate that they have the academic preparation and ability to handle the rigorous curriculum.  The School welcomes students from nearly every undergraduate major, and from across the nation and around the world.

How To Apply

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its Apply Yourself/Hobsons application system.  Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions.

All application materials must be submitted electronically.  You can access the on-line application system at https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantConnectLogin.asp?id=umdgrad

If you have any questions at any point in the application process, please contact our admissions office at policy-applications@umd.edu or 301.405.6331.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for this program is currently $51,146 regardless of residency – and is billed at a prorated amount of $17,049 each semester. If you are participating in the part-time track, your tuition will be prorated based on the amount of credits you take each semester.

A limited number of partial fellowships are available for MPS-PA students.

When to apply?

MPS-PA - Fall 2016

Best consideration for FundingJanuary 15, 2017
Final InternationalMarch 15, 2017
Final DomesticJuly 20, 2017

Contact Us

For more information regarding this program – or to visit us on campus, please contact:

Student Affairs

School of Public Policy

University of Maryland – College Park

301.405.6331

policy-applications@umd.edu

For application and admissions questions, please contact us at policy-applications@umd.edu.