Public Administration

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Degree Offered: MPA
Director: Akhlaque Haque, Ph.D.
Phone: (205) 934-4653

MPA Program Mission

In line with the mission of the University, the MPA program is committed to excellence in graduate education through teaching, research, service, and practice.  The program focuses on building the next generation of global leaders and responsible decision makers by enhancing their intellectual and social capacities through knowledge and skills provided within the framework of public service values embedded in the MPA curriculum. The Master of Public Administration Program prepares individuals for positions of leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors. It is a professional graduate degree for both pre-career students and in-service administrators. The program is designed to develop the insights and skills needed to plan and formulate policy, and to organize, manage, and implement programs and operations. The MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Its Board of Advisors consists of internal and external stakeholders comprised of community members, alumni and students.

The MPA curriculum is designed to ensure that students achieve competency in five domains:

  • To lead and manage in public governance.
  • To participate in and contribute to the policy process.
  • To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions.
  • To articulate and apply a public service perspective.
  • To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Degree Requirements

Students in the MPA program must complete a total of 42 semester hours or the equivalent, with an overall grade average of at least B. . Students without professional public service experience are required to do a three hour internship in addition to required coursework. Previous graduate work at UAB or another NASPAA accredited MPA program may be credited toward the degree if it is directly applicable. Students may select the thesis option or the non-thesis option.

Joint Degree Programs

  • For students who are interested in both public administration and the delivery of public health services, a coordinated MPA/MPH dual degree is offered.
  • For students who are interested in both public administration and the law, a coordinated MPA/J.D dual degree is offered.
  • For students interested in criminal justice and public administration a coordinated MPA/MSCJ dual degree is offered.

Admission Requirements

Because of its multidisciplinary nature, persons from all undergraduate majors are considered for admission to the program. Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit scores. The following are eligible for a GRE Waiver:

Students with a graduate degree from an accredited college or university.

Students with at least 5 years professional, full-time, progressively responsible mid-to-senior level management experience. The Statement of Interest and resume should provide clear evidence to for this waiver.

The LSAT may be substituted for the GRE only by JD/MPA applicants. Standardized GMAT score may be substituted at the discretion of the Program Director.

Two letters of reference are also required. Application for admission should be made online by visiting the UAB Graduate School website ( and clicking the ‘Apply Now’ button. Admissions will be made fall and spring semester. Deadlines for submitting application for admission are listed on the UAB Graduate School website.

Deadline for Entry Term(s): Each semester
Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office: Fall: July 1 Spring: November 1
Number of Evaluation Forms Required: Two
Entrance Tests: GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.). GRE waived for senior professional. See guidelines above.

Financial Aid

The Department of Government has a limited number of graduate assistantships awarded on a competitive basis, which can be awarded during any semester as vacancies occur. The Department has two scholarships which are awarded on a competitive basis each spring. Other financial resources are available through the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Internships and Placement

Students may apply for an internship placement at any time. A few paid opportunities do arise, although the majority of internships are non-paid. Typical placements are in city and county government, planning departments, public health agencies, social service agencies, state government agencies, and various nonprofit organizations. The Department has placed several students in the prestigious Presidential Management Internship Program, which provides an excellent opportunity for eventual employment in the federal government. Students are also encouraged to use the services of the UAB Student Development Office in the University Center for career planning and placement. The faculty in the program also assists students in job placement. Please click here to see what some of our graduates are doing now.

Joint Degree Programs

Coordinated MPA/MPH Program

The MPA/MPH is designed to train individuals for administrative positions in public health and related health organizations. The Master of Public Administration degree prepares students for careers as administrators in public and nonprofit agencies, and the Master of Public Health provides a background in public health principles and programs. Students must apply and be accepted into both programs, meeting each program's entry requirements. Students are required to complete a total of 60-64 semester hours for the coordinated degree. Core requirements of 21 hours from the MPA program and 39-43 hours from the MPH program are required. Full-time students should be able to complete all degree requirements within three years.

Coordinated MPA/JD Program

The MPA program at UAB and the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University offer a coordinated MPA/JD program. The offering of this dual degree reflects recognition of the complex interrelationship between the legal system, public policy analysis, and public management. It will be particularly applicable to those pursuing careers in government and/or public interest law. Students must apply and be admitted to the MPA and JD programs separately. The requirements for each degree must be met. Close communication with both programs is required. Depending on prior experience, a field placement may be required.

Coordinated MPA/MSCJ Program

The MPA/MSCJ is targeted toward individuals who wish to gain competencies in public management and the theory/practice of criminal justice. Students must apply and be accepted into both programs, meeting each program's entry requirements. Students are required to complete a total of 60 semester hours for the coordinated degree. Core requirements of 24 hours from the MPA program and 18 hours from the MSCJ program; an additional 12 hours of electives, 3 hours of internship and a 3 hour capstone course are required. Full-time students should be able to complete all degree requirements within three years.

MPA Alumni Association

An active alumni association welcomes graduates of the program into membership. The association makes both advisory and financial contributions to the program and seeks to elevate the level of professionalism in public administration through a variety of projects and services. One of the best qualities of our alumni is their willingness to remain in contact with the MPA program. Our students benefit from talks and events in which our alumni engage, shared their experiences, and mentor the next generation.

Contact Information

For additional information refer to the web site of the UAB MPA program: Inquiries concerning program admission or other questions about the program should be directed to the MPA Program Program Coordinator.

MPA Coordinator
Graduate Studies in Public Administration
Department of Government
University of Alabama at Birmingham
HHB 415, 1530 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1152
Telephone  (205) 975-3413 or
 (205) 934-2339

Master of Public Administration

A total of 39 hours are required to complete the MPA program. For pre-career students an additional 3 credit hours of internship (20 hours/week) is also required. For a total of 42 hours, a full time student, taking 3 courses per semester, plus one additional course over the summer, should be able to complete the program within two years. All courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate working professionals.

Plan I: thesis

MPA 600Administrative Ethics3
MPA 601The Public Policymaking Process3
MPA 602Scope of Public Administration3
MPA 603Public & Nonprofit Budgeting3
MPA 604Human Resources Management3
MPA 605Information Management for Government3
MPA 606Foundations of PA Research3
MPA 607Quantitative Methods for PA3
MPA 698Internship in Public Administration 13
Admission to Candidacy
MPA 696Independent Study in Public Administration 13
MPA 699Thesis Research6
State and Local Government Administration
Women in Public Administation
Crisis Management
City County Management
Administrative Law
Intergovernmental Relations
Marketing and Fundraising
Nonprofit Management
GIS for Managers
Equity and Diversity in Public Policy
Strategic Planning
Local Government Planning
Economic Development
Grants Management
Program Evaluation
Public Managerial Economics
Total Hours42

 Students taking the thesis option (Plan I) must takes three hours of Independent Study under the guidance of the thesis chair prior to taking the six thesis hours (total 9 hours for thesis).

Plan II: non-thesis

MPA 600Administrative Ethics3
MPA 601The Public Policymaking Process3
MPA 602Scope of Public Administration3
MPA 603Public & Nonprofit Budgeting3
MPA 604Human Resources Management3
MPA 605Information Management for Government3
MPA 606Foundations of PA Research3
MPA 607Quantitative Methods for PA3
MPA 698Internship in Public Administration 13
MPA 697Graduate Learning Portfolio 13
State and Local Government Administration
Women in Public Administation
Crisis Management
City County Management
Administrative Law
Intergovernmental Relations
Marketing and Fundraising
Nonprofit Management
GIS for Managers
Equity and Diversity in Public Policy
Strategic Planning
Local Government Planning
Economic Development
Grants Management
Program Evaluation
Public Managerial Economics
Total Hours42

 During the last semester of study, students opting for the non-thesis (Plan II) must register for MPA 697, Graduate Learning Portfolio (GLP) and complete a comprehensive portfolio based on the course work, mission/vision, and career plans.  

Graduate Certificates

The MPA program offers three graduate certificates focusing on three specialization areas within public administration, namely, public management, nonprofit management, and human services administration. The five-course curriculum is selectively chosen to provide necessary skills that apply directly to each graduate certificate. Courses are offered online and in-classroom.  The Nonprofit certificate is offered fully online. The certificate programs are housed in the nationally recognized NASPAA accredited MPA Program.

Application to the Graduate Certificates

If you are interested in pursuing a certificate in Public Management you must complete the application form prior to your first class. Students admitted into the program, either fully or probationary, may complete the application at any point during their course work.
Download the application form, fill it out, and return it to the MPA program coordinator by email or fax, (205) 975-5712.
You must be admitted as a non-degree seeking graduate student as defined by the UAB Graduate School. These requirements include an earned undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Students admitted to the MPA program, either fully or probationary, have met this requirement by virtue of their admission; however, the application form must be completed in order to receive the certificate. Contact the MPA program coordinator for additional information regarding the Certificates.


MPA 600. Administrative Ethics. 3 Hours.

Theories and principles of ethics. Understanding ethical issues and use of ethical principles in resolving ethical dilemma in public organizations.

MPA 601. The Public Policymaking Process. 3 Hours.

Public Policy as a decision-making process. Examines environmental and organizational factors, the choice of alternatives, and the implementation and evaluation of public policy, with applied references to specific functional areas e.g. housing, pollution, energy and transportation.

MPA 602. Scope of Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Explores differences between public and private sector organizations. Examines both institutional and behavioral elements as they apply to public agencies. Covers topics such as budgeting, personnel, ethics, federalism and other fundamentals of public administration.

MPA 603. Public & Nonprofit Budgeting. 3 Hours.

Examines the institutions, principles and techniques of governmental budgeting, including the practices and fundamental concepts of public budgeting, the budgeting process and financial management.

MPA 604. Human Resources Management. 3 Hours.

Examines the major concepts, theories, procedures and themes needed for effective management of human resources in the public and nonprofit sectors. Topics include merit and civil service systems, organized public labor, recruitment, classification, performance appraisal, disciplinary and grievance procedures, training and staff development, diversity and anti-discrimination policy and strategies, ethics/morality and personnel law.

MPA 605. Information Management for Government. 3 Hours.

The course is designed to introduce information and related technologies and how it affects people and government in a democracy. Students are exposed to information theory and modern day information technology tools to understand, interpret and manage governmental operations.

MPA 606. Foundations of PA Research. 3 Hours.

An introduction to research methodology presenting quasi-experimental and experimental research designs, exposition of qualitative and basic survey methods, and basic data analysis.

MPA 607. Quantitative Methods for PA. 3 Hours.

Using a pragmatic and applied approach, this course introduces statistical techniques used to analyze data in the social sciences including simple and multiple regression. Pre-requisite MPA 606.
Prerequisites: MPA 606 [Min Grade: C]

MPA 621. Open Government. 3 Hours.

The course will explore transparency and how governments operate in the context of transparency as well as how they, as consumers, can utilize their right to a transparent government.

MPA 662. State and Local Government Administration. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of state and local government administration. Introduces key concepts related to state and local government political structures and institutions; regional, state and county economic performance and state/local government finance.

MPA 664. Women in Public Administation. 3 Hours.

Studies in the leadership of women in public service. Focus on theoretical and professional development of women in government and nonprofit administration.

MPA 665. Crisis Management. 3 Hours.

Management and coordination of institutions to respond, plan, and mitigate crises. Focus on the role of managers in managing short and long term crises.

MPA 666. City County Management. 3 Hours.

Study of the typical nature of local government and the importance of local-state-federal relations, regional cooperation, and the nonprofit and public-private partnership in providing local government services.

MPA 667. Administrative Law. 3 Hours.

Explanation of law in society and the legal setting of public administration. Examination of substantive areas of the study of law including regulatory process, administrative adjudication, the administrative procedures acts, administrative due process, judicial review, liability and citizen's rights.

MPA 668. Intergovernmental Relations. 3 Hours.

The various relations among governments in the U.S. system. Focus on understanding the interactions, attitudes, and behavior of elected officials and bureaucrats of two or more units of government functioning in their public capacities.

MPA 671. Marketing and Fundraising. 3 Hours.

The use of marketing and fundraising strategies for nonprofits. Incorporates both theory and practice as students learn the fundamentals of marketing and resource development and apply them to hands-on projects in local nonprofit agencies.

MPA 672. Nonprofit Management. 3 Hours.

The day-to-day challenges faced by managers of nonprofit agencies, including the challenge of fund raising, balancing competing values as related to efficiency, effectiveness and equity.

MPA 673. Nonprofit Health. 3 Hours.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of role of the Nonprofit Sector and its important contribution to mission and success of our health system and social enterprise in the United States. The course examines various aspects of nonprofit health organizations including history of these agencies, sources of revenue, fund raising and marketing practices, accomplishments and achievements, criticisms and controversies, and the role of volunteer leadership and best management practices.

MPA 674. GIS for Managers. 3 Hours.

Examines the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) using GIS software. It integrates theory and socioeconomic applications of GIS in the public and nonprofit sector.

MPA 675. Equity and Diversity in Public Policy. 3 Hours.

Examines equity and diversity as concepts that affect both the internal dynamics of the public workplace as well the external effect on citizens as public administrators create policies and programs. The course addresses issues of cultural competency and teaches public administrators to recognize and understand equity issues that may arise based on diversity of race, gender, ethnicity, age, physical ability, religion, and sexual preference in the creation of public policies and programs in order to ensure that illegal forms of discrimination are minimized.

MPA 678. Strategic Planning. 3 Hours.

Presents the strategic planning process as it is utitilized in contemporary settings. Focuses on how the strategic planning process is applied in the public and nonprofit sectors.

MPA 681. Local Government Planning. 3 Hours.

This course examines the historical roots of modern land use planning and explores contemporary issues in planning such as sprawl and smart growth.

MPA 682. Economic Development. 3 Hours.

The course is devoted to understanding economic development practices in the United States. It focuses on how market forces combine with non-economic variables to influence the economic development process. Theories and case studies drawn from various disciplines, particularly economics and public finance, will be used to understand the economic development process.

MPA 683. Public Managerial Economics. 3 Hours.

Application of microeconomic theory to real life problems faced by managers. Emphasis on understanding the complex real life social and economic challenges using economic priciples and applying economic decision criteria in solving problems.

MPA 684. Grants Management. 3 Hours.

Covers the essentials of grant-writing and the management of grants.

MPA 685. Special Topics in Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Special topics seminar based on the research and substantive interests of the MPA faculty and students.

MPA 686. Data Management. 3 Hours.

Data Management provides a unique opportunity for students to explore the data management process. The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the collection of data, and policy analysts, practitioners, and academic researchers must be equipped with the tools to use this data in an efficient manner. Throughout the semester, we will explore the importance of data and then move to working with primary and secondary data sources. Using Excel and Stata, students will learn how to collect, clean, and present data in ways consistent with best practices in the data management field.

MPA 687. Resource Management. 3 Hours.

Focus on concepts and skills essential to managing public organization resources.

MPA 688. Global Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Focus on concepts and skills essential to administering national and global organizations.

MPA 689. Program Evaluation. 3 Hours.

Analytic tools for evaluating public and nonprofit programs and services.

MPA 690. Seminar in Public Services Issues. 3 Hours.

Examines starting and maintaining a faith-based service organization (FBSO). Topics include role of faith/spirituality, mission, governance, setting, staffing, funding, church/FBSO issues, state/federal involvement, cooperative ventures with other FBSOs, networking.

MPA 695. Special Topics in Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Explores special topics in public administration.

MPA 696. Independent Study in Public Administration. 1-3 Hour.

One-on-one learning experience between student and an instructor. Permission of Program Director required.

MPA 697. Graduate Learning Portfolio. 3 Hours.

Graduation Research Paper - Capstone project. Permission of MPA Director required.

MPA 698. Internship in Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Supervised field placement in government or a nonprofit agency for directed work experience arranged by the internship coordinator and as per the guidelines in the internship manual. Permission of MPA director required.

MPA 699. Thesis Research. 3-6 Hours.

Research and writing of thesis. Permission of MPA Director required.
Prerequisites: GAC M


Borry, Erin L., Assistant Professor, 2013, B.A., M.P.A. (Rutgers-Newark), Ph.D. (Kansas)
Bronstein, Janet M., Professor Emeritus, Health Care Organization and Policy; Co-coordinator of M.P.A.-M.P.H. degree program, UAB School of Public Health, 1986, Ph.D. (Kentucky), Health services utilization, health policy, community-based organizations
Ertas, Nevbahar, Associate Professor, 2009, B.S., M.S. (METU, Ankara), Ph.D. (Georgia State and Georgia Institute of Technology)
Gunther-Canada, Wendy A., Professor, 1992, B.A. (Utah), M.A., Ph.D. (Rutgers)
Haque, Akhlaque, Professor, 1995, B.S. (Dhaka), M.A., Ph.D. (Cleveland State)
Jones, Peter, Assistant Professor, 2015, B.S., M.P.P., Ph.D. (Kentucky)
Lewis, Angela K., Professor , 2003, B.A. (Alabama), M.P.A., Ph.D., (Tennessee)