Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration curriculum focuses on 21st century theoretical and practical perspectives of public service leadership.  Individualized programs of study can be tailored around specific areas of societal demand and student interest.    


The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree prepares students for meaningful contributions in the world of public service, particularly for transformational leadership in local and state public agencies and non-profit organizations.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Administration: Apply principles of public administration to increase effectiveness and efficiency in public service provision and delivery.
  • Public Policy: Analyze public policy to improve public decision making processes.
  • Political Strategy: Develop strategies for problem solving.
  • Finance: Apply principles of public finance to decision making.
  • Ethics: Apply ethical reasoning strategy to a public administration case study.

Requirements for Admission

The prospective graduate student in the MPA program must demonstrate his or her readiness to succeed in graduate-level academic coursework by satisfactorily fulfilling one of the following admission options. All graduate admissions options listed below require an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Option One

A 3.0 grade point average (GPA) calculated over the most recent 30 graded semester (45 quarter) credits completed in either a baccalaureate or post baccalaureate program, including credits earned toward a credential. All credits used for GPA calculation must be from a regionally accredited institution.

Option Two

A GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 calculated over the most recent graded 30 semester (45 quarter) credits completed in either a baccalaureate or post baccalaureate program, including credits earned toward a credential. All credits used for GPA calculation must be from a regionally accredited institution. A satisfactory score on an accepted graduate admissions exam is required.

  1. Graduate Record Exam (GRE): achieve the required minimum scores on two out of three of the subsections of the GRE.  (Minimum score for Quantitative: 141, minimum score for Verbal: 150, minimum score for Analytic Writing: 4.5)
  2. Miller Analogies Test (MAT): achieve a minimum scaled score of 400.
  3. Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT): fulfill the formula GMAT + (GPA X 200) > 1000.

Option Three

An earned master's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution.

Option Four

Submission of a portfolio of evidence that shows adequate preparation for graduate studies. The portfolio will contain: writing samples that show graduate level communications and analytical skills; a detailed resume showing professional development and achievements; awards; professional recognition; letters of reference from persons who can attest to the applicant’s ability to do graduate level work; and a letter of explanation detailing the reasons the student believes he or she is a good candidate for graduate study in the field of Public Administration.

Transfer of Coursework

A maximum of 9 semester credits may be accepted in transfer toward electives in the MPA degree program.  (See Academic Policies and Procedure section.)

In addition to university policies concerning transfer of coursework, the MPA program will accept transfer of military coursework which meet the following requirements:

  1. Course requested for transfer must include an official transcript or copy of an ACE evaluation which verifies graduate-level work;
  2. Coursework must be letter graded or provide verification of completion with a grade of "B" or higher;
  3. Coursework must be comparable to program requirements (if marginal comparability, a written statement of rationale must be provided); and
  4. Military coursework will be accepted in transfer as fulfilling prerequisite and elective requirements only.
  5. Transfer of nine elective credits to the MPA Degree to eligible Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, retired and prior military service members for completion of military coursework comparable to OLCU 614 Leadership & Team Development, HRCU 618 Career Management, and HRCU 605 Talent Management Qualifications and provisions of this nine credit transfer opportunity follow: 

a. The service member must qualify for admission to the MPA degree program. (See Graduate Admission section of this catalog).

b. Active Duty, active reserve, retired and prior service military members in the following ranks are eligible: Commissioned Officer (any rank), Senior NCO (E7 or above) or CW2 or above.

c. Commissioned Officers must be graduates of a commissioning program (OCS or equivalent, ROTC, Military Academy) and an officer basic career course. Senior NCOs must be E7 or above and graduates of a career NCO Advanced Course. Warrant Officers must be CW2 or above and graduates of a Warrant Officer Candidate School and a Warrant Officer career course.

d. The seven-year rule for completion of all coursework toward the MPA degree applies, including transfer credit for military schooling. (See Seven-Year Limitation in Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.)

e. Recipients of the nine credit transfer must complete all remaining coursework for the MPA degree at Brandman University in accordance with academic policy.

f. This is not an online only program. Service members who qualify may enroll in the MSHR program, if available, at a nearby campus or as an online student.


The MPA program consists of two segments. The first segment is the 27 credits for the specific core requirements, and the second segment consists of 9 elective or emphasis area credits.

MPA Core
OLCU 601Democracy, Ethics and Leadership3
PADU 600Introduction to Public Administration3
PADU 605Public Finance3
or ACCU 602 Financial Reporting & Analysis
PADU 607Public Policy Analysis3
BUSU 610Data Analysis for Decision Making3
OLCU 613Seminar in Organizational Dynamics3
HRCU 622Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining3
PADU 630Local Government3
PADU 688Action Learning Project3
MPA Core Subtotal27
Elective or Emphasis Area
Select elective courses or emphasis area9
Elective or Emphasis Area Subtotal9
Total Credits36

Prior to enrolling in the capstone course (PADU 688 Action Learning Project), all core courses must be satisfactorily completed with one exception; one core course may be taken concurrently with the capstone.       

MPA Electives/Emphasis

Individualized Electives

MPA students may select an individualized set of electives (9 credit limit) from the graduate courses listed in the following areas (in consultation with an academic advisor): Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Administration, Human Resources, Business Administration, Organizational Leadership, Marketing, Computer Science and Public Administration courses. These electives may be used to acquire either specific leadership related competencies or greater knowledge about the student’s intended professional area.

Students may transfer up to nine elective credits into the MPA program of study.

Emphasis Area

Organizational Leadership Emphasis

This leadership focus is best suited for students interested in careers in the non-profit sector.

OLCU 621Frontiers of Public and Nonprofit Leadership3
OLCU 626Dynamics of Public and Nonprofit Leadership3
Select one of the following:3
Foundations of Organizational Leadership
Self, Systems, and Leadership
Leading Organizational Change
Total Credits9