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Master's in Public Administration: Non-Profit Specialization

Department of Public Administration; housed in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government in the College of Urban and Public Affairs; Master's in Public Administration degree (with a Non-Profit Management specialization) to be received upon graduation.

How many credits?

The course will consist of a minimum of 60 credit hours (including 24 credits related to Non-Profit Specialization), total credit hours depending on the program pursued. The degree program will consist of 6 quarters of academic study with 4 to 6 credit hours for Peace Corps service. For the Peace Corps credit, students will, in consultation with their faculty advisor, develop either a PA 505 Reading and Conference course, identifying a coherent course of study including reading and assignments that would link to the on-site experience, or use the experience for their PA 509 Organizational Experience, a field experience that integrates theory and practice.

Pre-Peace Corps service coursework:

The course of study in the Nonprofit Management Specialization in the Public Administration degree program at PSU prepares students to be effective managers and leaders, and gives them the skills to develop and maintain sustainable, functioning, mission-driven organizations and projects. Students are readied to meet the challenges of managing in an ever-changing environment. The Nonprofit Management Specialization provides an integrated academic/practice-based learning environment wherein students take their academic and theoretical learning and apply it to important issues affecting nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations, community groups and governmental units. Students are required to take 30 hours in general Public Administration courses. The program also provides students with the opportunity to link to the Global Leadership Specialization offered by Public Administration, including courses in global leadership and development, thereby enhancing their international education.

The strength of the Nonprofit Specialization-and indeed PSU's entire Public Administration program-is the integration of theory (coursework) and practice. Many current students are interested in the global NGO scene and have developed field experiences that augment that interest. Students who have chosen to specialize in Nonprofit Management have gone on to careers in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors.

How would the Peace Corps experience be integrated into the students' academic Program?

The program will work with MI participants individually to map out a well-integrated and complementary course of study prior to PC service, while they are in the field overseas, and after they return to campus to complete the degree requirements. The PA 509 Organizational Experience typically involves students in working on an administrative or management issue confronting a nonprofit, NGO, health services, or public organization, although students have taken on management issues in for-profit and private sector businesses. It is an opportunity for the student to relate her/his academic experience in the master's program to practice. Application of content is an important component of the experience.

Upon completing Peace Corps service, what academic requirements would students need to meet to be awarded a degree?

Unless a student has completed more than 42 credit hours prior to the Peace Corps placement, he or she will need to return and enroll for an additional three to four courses. An advisor will work with students to ensure that they have completed substantive work before leaving on their Peace Corps assignment. In addition, students will need to submit a final presentation and paper(s) that complete the PA 509 experience.

Proposed program of study:

Studentsare required to complete 60 credit hours to graduate (20 three-credit courses). Twenty-four (24) of these credits relate to the Nonprofit Management Specialization.

For full information on the MPA, Non-profit Specialization program and course descriptions go to:

For further information on the MPA Non-profit Specialization Peace Corps Master's International option go to: