If a career in the public sector interests you, a Master of Public Affairs degree online could be your next step to influence change in your community or a career path in government agencies at various levels. The UTRGV MPA degree program enables graduates to serve in areas of public policy analysis, grant writing, managing local government, non-profit professions and political and public administration research just to name a few. Coursework is robust and provides the latest theories, trends and real-world practice-based scenarios that result in the skills you need for more rewarding opportunities.
About the Program
A survey of the theories and practices that form the foundation of public administration in the United States. Prerequisite for beginning graduate students who have no academic background in public administration or who have no practical experience in public service. Will not count for credit toward the 36 hours for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.
This course is the introduction to the study of public administration. Students are introduced to basic concepts and foundational theories relating to bureaucratic analysis, organizational theory and behavior, functions of public management such as personnel administration, budget decision-making, government regulations and administrative law. In addition, students are introduced to the necessary critical thinking techniques and intellectual standards of thought that will be essential in the rest of the course work in the program.
The primary objectives of this course are to help the students gain skills in research methods and the quantitative analysis of data. This course introduces students to the basic concepts, tools, techniques and uses of applied quantitative and qualitative research relative to public administration. Topics discussed include: research design, data gathering, statistical analysis and the methods of formal preparation and presentation of reports. This course also covers advanced topics in applied research including the various steps in the creation of a research design. The course includes laboratory assignments that cover univariate and bivariate analysis as well as multiple regressions. A survey of advanced statistical methods is also provided. Students will get hands-on experience using SPSS.
Analysis of the major personnel management problems and issues in government. The recruitment, selection, development, advancement and evaluation of personnel will be examined. Employee-employer relations, affirmative action, collective bargaining and interpersonal and ethical relationships will be studied.
Policy Implementation and Program Evaluation is an advanced course with the application of quantitative methods to the evaluation of public policies and programs regarding their implementation. The main objective of this course is to provide the students with up-to-date tools of program evaluation. This course will examine key concepts, methods, and approaches in the field of evaluation research. Students will be exposed to the theoretical and methodological diversity inherent in current evaluation practices across a number of substantive areas (e.g., social services, education, and business). The comprehensive range of activities involved in designing, implementing, and assessing the utility of social programs will be a primary focus of the course. Practical training in program evaluation is provided as students learn techniques in all phases of designing and implementing a program evaluation. Included in the training is the development of a model, conducting the study, analyzing the results, and writing the evaluation report. Students are expected to fully design an evaluation plan capable of implementation in a real-life setting of public management. Students successfully completing this course should be able to understand an evaluation study in great detail and form a well-grounded judgment about its value. Complemented with appropriate technical background or help, they should be able to design an evaluation study best suited for the program and the practical constraints at hand.
This course defines leadership and identifies critical attributes that make for good leadership. It also examines the role of public institutions in promoting leadership. The examination covers various leadership styles and the theories of leadership attributed to them.
This course provides students with the tools and techniques for ethical analysis of public policies. This class is designed to enhance understanding about the ethical debate that surrounds most public policies and to deepen the awareness of the ethical standards in public administration or public services, in general. Starting with the foundations of ethical study, this course introduces: the major ethical philosophies; the application of these principles to decision making for a better understanding of the "values" that underpin or prescribe public policies; and the codes and standards of ethics in public administration. This course applies the standards of thought found in the critical thinking materials and techniques.
This course examines basic principles of financial management with a focus on governmental operations. The following topics are covered in depth: budget as a financial instrument, cash and debt management, capital budgeting, risk management and pensions, purchasing, and basic public sector accounting principles and procedures.
This course covers various processes used by public policy analysts in understanding the nature of the problem to be analyzed, structuring the research strategy, gathering data and other information, formulating the answer to the problem, and writing the memo or report. Innovative techniques for accomplishing the above steps are covered including cost benefit analysis, problem definition techniques, and different types of commonly encountered policy analysis situations. (The case method is used in this course.)
This course analyzes computer software applications including word processing, spreadsheet, database management, graphics, desktop publishing, and statistical analysis software. Also covered in this course are important changes in data management through new technologies and how public organizations budget for and manage their IT departments.
This course analyzes the political, administrative and fiscal relationships among governments in the American political system, the constitutional and theoretical basis for federalism, the national-state-local government relations and regional arrangements.
A comprehensive review of the major eras of public administration during the 20th century. An in-depth look at public administration in the first decade of the 21st century. A futurist look at reasonable expectations of public administration during the next few decades.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has specific deadline requirements that you must meet in order to enroll. Please read the admission guidelines for this program.
Upcoming Start Dates
August 26, 2015
Apply by July 29
October 21, 2015
Apply by September 23
January 6, 2016
Apply by December 9
March 2, 2016
Apply by February 3
Tuition & Financial Aid
UT Rio Grande Valley's 100% online accelerated graduate programs offer affordable tuition, and financial aid is available for those who qualify.
Total program cost
Per credit hour
Per 3-credit course
*Tuition and fee rates shown above are proposed rates for the 2015-2016 academic year. We estimate that tuition and fees will total no more than the rates shown above; however, rates are subject to change. Approved tuition and fee rates for UTRGV will be available prior to the fee payment deadline for August 2015 enrollment.
UTRGV is an equal opportunity institution in the administration of its financial aid programs. In keeping with this policy, financial aid is extended to students without regard to race, creed, sex, national origin, veteran status, religion, age or disability. For additional information regarding funding please visit our Student Loan page.
- Application Fee: $50
- Graduation Fee: $32
Participating students from partner organizations have the opportunity to receive a $2,000 (which will be pro-rated over the duration of the program) scholarship based upon successful completion of the scholarship requirements.
If you are not sure if your organization is a participating partner, please contact a representative at 844-218-2727. In order to qualify for the scholarship, all required documents must be submitted by the posted deadline. Scholarships are not retroactive.
Please review all the admission requirements for the UTRGV MPA online degree program. For specific questions or more details, contact an enrollment specialist at 844-218-2727.
Submit your application and one-time $50 application fee online.
Submit transcripts from all colleges and/or universities.
3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution