Graduate Programs

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

A view of Cleveland from North Coast Harbor
A view of Cleveland from North Coast Harbor, photo by Bill Rieter

On this page:
About the Program | Course of Study | Career Opportunities | Contact

Important Information:
Admissions | MPA Student Resources | Student Handbook (pdf) | Curriculum Sheet

About the MPA Program

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University is committed to nationally recognized excellence in public administration education, to the development of leadership in the search for solutions to urban problems, and to an enhanced understanding of public policy and public affairs in a global and diverse society.

To advance intellectual and administrative leadership in public administration, the MPA program:

  • Prepares a diverse student body to assume the challenges of public service by providing them with a foundation in general public administration and specialized skills grounded in one of the Program's areas of expertise;
  • Discovers, constructs, interprets, and disseminates knowledge and understanding about the practice of public affairs; and
  • Serves the region, including the professional community, by extending intellectual resources and applying knowledge.

The program’s curriculum is designed to accommodate part-time, mid-career students, as well as full-time students. Courses are offered primarily during the evenings and a few on weekends.

The MPA program is a multidisciplinary program. Courses are offered by the Levin College, the Ahuja College of Business and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. The program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). In addition, the Levin College has been designated a “Center of Excellence” in Public Administration by the university and the Ohio Board of Regents.

Mission
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program’s mission is to advance intellectual and administrative leadership in public administration by preparing students to assume the challenges of public service. Coursework gives a diverse student body a foundation in general public administration and specialized skills grounded in one of the program’s areas of expertise. It also helps students to discover, construct, interpret, and disseminate knowledge and understanding about the practice of public affairs. The MPA Program also serves the Northeast Ohio region, including the professional community, by extending intellectual resources and applying knowledge.

The MPA Program has built this mission on a commitment to nationally recognized excellence in public administration education and research, to the development of leadership in government, to public service for solutions to urban problems, and to an enhanced understanding of public policy and management in a global and diverse society. Through its activities, the Master of Public Administration Program supports the educational, research and public service missions of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and Cleveland State University.

What is a Master of Public Administration Degree?
Depending on the university, graduate education in the field of public affairs and administration can have different emphases and the degree granted can have a number of different names. While a master’s degree in public administration – the MPA – is the most common degree, it also may be known as a master of governmental administration, a master in public affairs, a master of international relations or a number of other specific concentrations. In every case, the degree is a professional one and the educational program is designed to train individuals for government service and related fields.

While the title of the program is not important, the substance is. Every graduate program has a core curriculum designed to teach the skills required for effective public management planning, decision-making, nonprofit management and other related policies.

Graduates of public affairs programs have a wide range of skills. They are prepared for many different jobs yet they have something in common. They understand the challenge, anticipate the excitement, and accept the responsibility that comes with managing in the public sector.

Why Public Administration?
In 1960, the government employed one out of eight persons in the workforce. By 1980, this figure had increased to one in six. While the growth in public sector employment has slowed, government spending still accounts for over a third of the Gross National Product.

The scope of government extends beyond these impressive numbers. The demarcation between the public and private sectors is blurred. Laws, regulations, tax policies, contracts, grants and loans require an interaction between the two sectors so that even in the private sector an understanding of public administration and government is critical.

The Core Foundations of Public Administration
The MPA core curriculum covers the following areas:

  • Political and legal institutions and processes
  • Economic and social systems
  • Organizational and managerial skills and practices
  • Concepts and techniques of financial administration
  • Techniques of analysis, including quantitative, economic and statistical methods and computer systems
  • Human resources management in the public sector

These core elements constitute the building blocks for a diverse field of study. The choices range from city management and international affairs to personnel administration and strategic planning.

Educational programs in public administration draw on a wide variety of academic disciplines such as political science, economics, business administration and law. Public administration is a unifying field of study that effectively merges the specialties of others. Yet public administration has its own unique set of competencies and areas of expertise as it applies the disciplines of other fields to the public and nonprofit sectors.

The Levin College of Urban Affairs Master of Public Administration is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Course of Study

The curriculum of the Master of Public Administration Program is divided into core courses, specializations, electives and a capstone course for a total of 42-44 credit hours.

Core Curriculum:
The core courses introduce students to the principles of management and public administration as well as provide a solid foundation in public finance, economics, and research methodology. The core of the MPA curriculum (16 credit hours) is required of all students and consists of the following:

  • UST 600: Introduction to Public Administration
  • UST 601: Applied Quantitative Reasoning I
  • UST 603: Public Finance and Economics
  • UST 630: Public Human Resources Management

Areas of Specialization:
All students must complete a minimum of two courses or eight credit hours in an area of specialization. The areas of specialization and related options are listed below. See the Graduate Programs Advisor for specific curriculum plans. The specialization areas are:

  • Public Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • City Management
  • Economic Development
  • Health Care Administration
  • Public Financial Management

Elective Credit:
The electives are designed to enhance current skills, to fill gaps in substantive areas, or to develop an additional concentration. For example, students may take additional courses in Human Resources Management, Public Finance and Budgeting, Urban Planning, or Environmental Policy. Students in the Health Care Specialization may emphasize Health Care Management or Long-Term Care Administration. Completion of the option in Long-Term Care Administration can be used toward fulfillment of the educational requirements for licensure of the State of Ohio Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators. Depending on the chosen track and method of degree completion students must complete up to two elective courses to reach a minimum of 42 credit hours.

Capstone Requirement (UST 692):
UST 692 is a generalist public administration capstone seminar that provides a final common experience for MPA students. In this course, students integrate learning from the MPA core curriculum with professional practices encountered in public and nonprofit organizations. Students prepare and defend a capstone paper.

Career Opportunities

Students enrolled in the MPA program are preparing for leadership and management in government, nonprofit, and public service organizations such as:

  • Federal, state, county and local governments
  • Regional authorities and special districts
  • Nonprofit and volunteer organizations
  • Economic and community development
  • Health and human service organizations
  • Criminal justice agencies
Contact Information
Prospective students please contact:
Lindsey Hobson, Levin College Admission Recruiter
Telephone: (216) 687-4506 / E-mail: urbanprograms@csuohio.edu

Current students please contact:
Dave Arrighi, Levin College Graduate Advisor
Telephone: (216) 523-7522 / E-mail: d.arrighi@csuohio.edu