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Curriculum Requirements

All course work for the Clemson, Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is offered using Zoom online technology and students generally meet live one evening per week (per course) from 6:30-9:10 pm. All courses are recorded and asynchronous course components are accessed through Clemson's online course management platform. 

The program of study for the MPA program requires the completion of 39 or 42 total credit hours, depending on the student’s choice of the comprehensive exam or a capstone final research project. If a student chooses the comprehensive exam, they are required to complete 39 total credit hours. Because the capstone project is an actual course, if a student chooses this as their final project they are required to complete 42 total credit hours.

The program requires the following 7 (21 hours) core courses:

  • Perspectives on Public Administration - PADM 8210

    Study and practice of public administration in the US in the 20th century; historical development of the field of public administration; current approaches to the study and practice of public administration.

  • Public Policy Process PADM - 8220

    Major models of policy making including incrementalism, rationalism, pluralism, and elitism; selected areas of public policy including transportation, poverty, energy, and the environment.

  • Research Methods for Public Administration - PADM 7020

    Use of social science research methods for addressing issues in public management and policy; research design; measurement; sampling and polling; various aspects of locating, collecting, and processing data, including survey design and archive searches.

  • Public Data Analysis - PADM 8410

    Various aspects of database management, storage, and retrieval; data description; univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis in policy studies and decision-making theory.

  • Administrative Leadership - PADM 8620

    Foundations of ethical leadership in public organizations; personal and organizational values underlying decision processes in the public service.

  • Public Personnel Administration - PADM 8270

    Organization, techniques and theories of personnel management; interpersonal relations in organizations; personnel change and development; changing conditions in the public service; educational specializations, unions, collective bargaining; ethics for the public service.

  • Public Financial Management - PADM 8290

    Organization and techniques of governmental financial management; budgetary theories; intergovernmental financial relations.

You must take all of the courses listed above, plus one of the government courses described in the next column and five electives. There are some exceptions to this policy. Please inquire as to these exceptions during your advising sessions.

  • American Government - PADM 8600

    In-depth study of the American political system, its institutions and processes.

  • State Government Administration - PADM 8670

    State government problems and policy issues emphasizing the modernization of government institutions and comparative state politics.

  • Local Government Administration - PADM 8680

    Administration of local government from the perspective of the professional administrator; the growth of the manager form of local government; the role of local government administrators with regard to policy making, management, and the delivery of services.

We strongly suggest that students take Research Methods and Public Data Analysis in sequence. Additionally, once students have completed the core coursework they may take the comprehensive exams if they are not choosing the capstone project.

Students must complete 18 or 21 elective hours depending on the student’s choice of the comprehensive exam or capstone final research project. One course (3 hours) of total elective hours must be a government course.

Students may declare a specialization from one of five MPA specializations or they may create a hybrid specialization with a mix of courses from MPA elective courses.