About the Program

Master of Public Affairs Online

The UTRGV interdisciplinary MPA online program prepares graduates to advance into more rewarding positions in governmental agencies and non-profits.

About the Program

About the Program
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Complete in as few as 12 months
36 credit hours
$444.44 per credit hour

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.

Hear what our students say about UTRGV

Online Courses

PAFF 6301 Graduate Seminar in Public Administration

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6302 Scope and Methods

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6306 Public Personnel Administration

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6303 Policy Implementation and Program Evaluation

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6304 Public Budgeting and Finance

Coming soon

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6305 Political Leadership: Decision-Making and Management in Public Organizations

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6310 Public Service Ethics

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6319 Public Finance Administration

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6314 Formulation of Public Policy

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.)

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6315 Management of Governmental Information Systems

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6311 Intergovernmental Relations

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6362 Public Administration Capstone: Past, Present, and Future

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.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3
PAFF 6317 Grant Writing & Fund Development

This course is a survey of the field of grant writing and fund development for nonprofit organizations. This class reviews the various types of funding nonprofit organizations depend on, including state and local revenues, foundation grants, federal government.

Duration: 7 weeks
Credit Hours: 3


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

February 28, 2018

January 28, 2017

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.

Tuition Breakdown


Total program cost


Per credit hour


Per 3-credit course


Partner Scholarship

*We estimate that tuition and fees will total no more than the rates shown above; however, rates are subject to change.

Financial Aid

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.

Additional Fees

  • Application Fee: $50 domestic, $100 international
  • Graduation Fee: $32
Application fee can be paid online by credit card or electronic check only

Partner Scholarship

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.

Admissions Criteria

Online Application

Submit your application and one-time $50 application fee (for domestic applications) online.

Official Transcript

Submit transcripts from all colleges and/or universities.


3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)

Undergraduate Degree

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution


What our students say about UTGRV's Master of Public Affairs online program

Deciding to pursue your MPA online is the next step in expanding your impact in the community. We are dedicated to providing our online students with the best resources available, including outstanding, readily-accessible faculty, accelerated courses, and applicable skills that you can begin using in the workplace immediately.

Hear from our students why University of Texas Rio Grande Valley was the right choice for them.

We Will Be Lifelong Learners.

Our MPA online was the perfect option for Richard Lopez after 35 years of being out of school. Find out why.

"The assistance provided by the professors was really great. Through everything, there was that helping hand, that push, that motivation that keeps your spirit alive to finish the program."

-Richard Lopez, MPA

We Will Prepare Leaders.

Juan Gonzalez applied what he was learning in the MPA online program to his current role as Business Manager at World Radio Network.

"The courses... [apply] to what I currently do, and I've been able to take a step back and see the organization in different ways."

-Juan Gonzalez, MPA

We Will Fill Big Shoes.

Earning his MPA online fulfilled Juan Gonzalez's lifelong dreams of success. Find out more.

"It makes me feel proud. That's the bottom line. My parents made lot of sacrifices to see us succeed, and this is success."

-Juan Gonzalez, MPA

We Will Excel.

Since earning his MPA, William Cox has been promoted - twice!

"I was immediately able to accept a job in the Hill Country as an Assistant [Fire] Chief and now that I have a graduation date I was able to accept a job that required a master's degree."

-William Cox, MPA

We Will Succeed.

Apply what you learn to your day to day activities.

"This program is... to prepare students to advance in their careers, whether they're looking in public service, public sector, not-for-profit organizations... as well as the private sector."

-Aziza Zemrani, Associate Chair of Online MPA Program