MPA Specializations

The Master's of Public Administration program offers five specific fields of specialization. Students can declare an intended field of specialization upon admission to the program and enroll in 5 courses (15 credits) to create the field. Students are required to complete a Field of Specialization Form with a proposed program of study by the time they complete 30 credits of the MPA program; this must be signed by the faculty advisor and submitted to the Department office. The declared specialization and specific program of study may be changed based upon consultation with the faculty advisor. On occasion, a student may create a unique field of specialization with advisor approval, which must be documented in the student's file. 

Each specialization has required and recommended elective courses. In addition, certain skill development courses are recommended (9 credits of the 60 credit MPA). Additional suggested preparation and/or courses in other academic units, as well as other professional experiences, may be appropriate. 

In all cases, consult with your faculty advisor for further information and specific guidance relevant to your particular interests.


Global Management and Leadership

We have one Earth and 7.8 billion people who live together on it. Our concern is how we successfully and collectively navigate this growing opportunity — in theory and in practice! Our graduates are leaders of international nongovernmental organizations, serve in the U.S. foreign service and as public service professionals with a global focus in the U.S. and worldwide. Our faculty and students engage with communities, governments and organizations where critical realities for the global future are emerging: in Asia, the Middle East/North Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere. We address global challenges with innovative research. Much of the world’s population lives in poverty so we are committed to sustainable development as a means to address that challenge. We carry Senator Hatfield’s principles of public service with us wherever we go. Along with specialty courses, we offer one of the strongest sets of skill development courses of any MPA program in the nation, including project management, contract management, strategic planning, program and policy evaluation, sustainable development implementation, and more. Our global leadership and management specialization faculty and students make a difference that counts, across the globe.

Required courses:
PA 514 Global Leadership and Management
PA 542 Sustainable Development Implementation

Choose three courses from the following:
PA 523 Nongovernmental Organizations: Nonprofits on the World Stage
PA 529 Oaxaca Field Study
PA 544 International Field Experience (e.g. Cuba, Vietnam, Japan)
PA 549 Crosscultural Communications in the Public Sector
PA 550 Managing Information Resources
PA 558 Managing Public Projects and Programs
PA 565 Natural Resources Policy and Administration

Recommended skill development courses:
PA 517 Leadership Development for Public Organizations
PA 525 Grantwriting for Nonprofit Organizations
PA 536 Strategic Planning
PA 543 Creating Collaborative Communities
PA 545 Organizational Development
PA 553 Sustainable Development Policy and Governance
PA 554 Policy Analysis Research
PA 555 Program Evaluation and Management

Human Resource Management

The federal government employs 2.2. million people; states employ 2.7 million people; and local governments employ 8.1 million people and those employed by the nonprofit sector represent 21.9 million people. Most federal employees work in the Department of Defense followed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. State and local government employees are more likely to engage in occupations in education, healthcare and law enforcement. Further, more than 50 percent, 14 percent and 12 percent of employees in nonprofits, pursue occupations in healthcare, education and social services. These employment trends are accompanied by rapid demographic shifts in the workforce.

To remain on the cutting edge in meeting the needs of this changing environment, it becomes imperative to possess a range of skill sets than ever before. The Human Resource Management specialization is designed to do just that – satisfy this demand for competencies in the public sector.

In response, we carry on the legacy of Senator Hatfield’s principles of public service - a commitment to Oregon and its people and the public service professionals who serve them. Along with specialty courses, we offer one of the strongest sets of skill development courses of any MPA program in the nation.

Required courses:
PA 595 Labor Relations in the Public Sector
PA 593 Civil Rights for Public Managers

Choose three courses from the following:
PA 516 Current Issues in Public Management
PA 546 Supervision in the Public Sector
PA 547 Culture, Values and Leadership
PA 562 Managing Employee Performance in the Public Sector
PA 591 Employment Law and Policy
PA 594 Enhancing Diversity in the Workplace

Recommended skill development courses:
PA 517 Leadership Development for Public Organizations
PA 525 Grantwriting for Nonprofit Organizations
PA 529 Oaxaca Field Study
PA 536 Strategic Planning
PA 545 Organizational Development
PA 548 Advocacy Roles in Public Management
PA 549 Crosscultural Communication in the Public Sector
PA 550 Managing Information Resources
PA 555 Program Evaluation and Management
PA 556 Public Contract Management
PA 598 Values Based Management

Local Government

There is only 1 federal government and 50 states, but over 90,000 cities, counties, special districts, regional governments, and school districts in the nation managed by local government professionals. Local government employees than 63% of all government employees. In Oregon some 76% of all government positions are in local governments. They shape the quality of life where people live and work every day. Our graduates have an impact fast and where they can see. They provide services, respond to emergencies, pursue sustainable development. The Oregon City/County Management Association works with our students and our program in an effort to attract the best and the brightest for the next generation of leaders. We also offer one of the strongest sets of skill development courses of any MPA program in the nation, including such skills as project management, contract management, strategic planning, program and policy evaluation, sustainable development implementation, and more.

Required courses:
PA 560 Local Government Administration
PA 561 Intergovernmental Relations

Choose three courses from the following:
PA 517 Leadership Development in Public Organizations
PA 519 Civic Capacity
PA 542 Sustainable Development Implementation
PA 543 Creating Collaborative Communities
PA 545 Organization Development
PA 546 Supervision in the Public Sector
PA 563 Citizens and Administration
PA 564 Issues in Environment Policy and Administration
PA 583 Advanced Budgeting Concepts and Techniques
PA 593 Civil Rights for Public Managers
USP 531 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planners
USP 542 Land Use Implementation
USP 551 Community Economic Development
USP 568 Oregon Land Use Law

Recommended skill development courses:
PA 514 Global Leadership and Management
PA 536 Strategic Planning
PA 549 Crosscultural Communications in the Public Sector
PA 550 Managing Information Resources
PA 555 Program Evaluation and Management
PA 556 Public Contract Management
PA 557 Operations Research in Public Administration
PA 558 Managing Public Projects and Programs
PA 594 Enhancing Diversity in the Workplace
USP 591 Geographic Information Systems I: Introduction
USP 592 Geographic Information Systems II: Applications

Natural Resources Policy and Administration

Preserving our planet and its natural resources while using those same resources responsibly in our daily lives is one of the most critically important public leadership and policy issues today. Our graduates are executives and policymakers in agencies from the U.S. EPA and Fish & Wildlife Service to special districts at the local government level. Whether the discussion is about air, water, endangered species, toxic wastes, or climate change, our faculty, graduates, and students are engaged and active. We don’t have worry about how to think outside the box because we’ve never let ourselves or our students get into one! Collaborative policymaking for natural resource management is critical; our graduates are there when the policy is made and when leadership challenges and opportunities require action. We carry Senator Hatfield’s principles of public service to advance Oregon’s commitment to its natural beauty and resources. Along with specialty courses, we offer one of the strongest sets of skill development courses of any MPA program in the nation such as project management, contract management, strategic planning, program and policy evaluation, sustainable development implementation, and more.

Required courses:
PA 564 Issues in Environmental Policy and Administration
PA 565 Natural Resources Policy and Administration

Choose four courses from the following:
PA 539 National Policy Process
PA 542 Sustainable Development Implementation
PA 553 Sustainable Development Policy and Governance
PA 566 Water Policy and Administration
PA 567 Energy Resources Policy and Administration
PA 568 Forest Policy and Administration
PA 569 Fish and Wildlife Policy and Administration
PA 570 Environmental and Natural Resources Leadership
PA 574 Food and Agricultural Policy
USP 571 Environmental Policy

Recommended for those students without an economics background:
EC 532 Advanced Environmental Economics
EC 533 Advanced Natural Resources Economics

Recommended skill development courses:
EC 522 Economics of Sustainability: Theory and Practice
ESM 588 Environmental Sustainability
PA 514 Global Leadership and Management
PA 519 Civic Capacity
PA 525 Grantwriting for Nonprofit Organizations
PA 536 Strategic Planning
PA 543 Creating Collaborative Communities
PA 548 Advocacy Roles in Public Management
PA 549 Crosscultural Communication in the Public Sector
PA 550 Managing Information Resources
PA 554 Policy Analysis Research
PA 555 Program Evaluation and Management
PA 556 Public Contract Management
PA 557 Operations Research in Public Administration
PA 558 Managing Public Projects
PA 594 Enhancing Diversity in the Workplace
SOC 588 Social Sustainability: Theory and Practice
USP 543 Geographic Applications to Planning
USP 584 Negotiation in the Public Sector
USP 588 Sustainable Development Practices
USP 591 Geographic Information Systems I: Introduction
USP 592 Geographic Information System II: Applications

Nonprofit Management

Today the work of public service not only involves government but also over 1.4 million nonprofit organizations, from community service organizations, to charities, to foundations, managing over $3 trillion in assets. They employ some 10.7 million workers, roughly 10.1 percent of total private employment. Nonprofit organizations account for 9.2% of the wages and benefits paid in the U.S. They provide leadership and service opportunities for more than 25% of all Americans over 16 years of age. They add to the quality of life for all kinds of people with many different challenges. These are mission-driven and community-focused organizations that address critical needs on a daily basis. Today’s nonprofit executives bring together the qualities of the heart needed to identify and meet community needs with the well developed skills and knowledge needed to make things happen and sustain their organizations. Along with specialty courses, we offer one of the strongest sets of skill development courses of any MPA program in the nation such as project management, contract management, strategic planning, program and policy evaluation, sustainable development implementation, and more.

Required courses:
PA 520 Introduction to Nonprofit Management
PA 521 History and Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector
PA 522 Governance of Nonprofit Organizations
PA 524 Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations
*NOTE: PA 524 is taken by nonprofit students in lieu of PA 585;
nonprofit students must take one additional course approved by
their advisor to complete the 60 credit degree.

Choose one course from the following:
PA 523 Nongovernmental Organizations: Nonprofits on the World Stage
PA 527 New/Emerging Nonprofits: Development and Management
PA 528 Organizational Leadership & Decision Making in Nonprofit Organizations
PA 529 Oaxaca Field Study
PA 538 Advocacy and Political Participation by Nonprofit Organizations
PA 541 Social Entrepreneurship

Recommended skill development courses:
PA 514 Global Leadership and Management
PA 525 Grantwriting for Nonprofit Organizations
PA 526 Fundamentals of Fundraising in Nonprofit Organizations
PA 536 Strategic Planning
PA 543 Creating Collaborative Communities
PA 545 Organizational Development
PA 549 Crosscultural Communication in the Public Sector
PA 555 Program Evaluation and Management
PA 556 Public Contract Management
PA 581 Advanced Fundraising
PA 592 Volunteerism and Volunteer Management
PA 593 Civil Rights for Public Managers
PA 594 Enhancing Diversity in the Workplace
PA 598 Values-Based Management