Department of Public Administration

The Department of Public Administration offers the Master of Public Administration, as well as the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership.

Master of Public Administration Degree

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Mission Statement

The MPA program at The University of Texas at San Antonio educates responsible leaders and ethical public servants through a curriculum incorporating original research and practice. The program’s diverse graduates, representing a wide range of professional and community backgrounds, serve the public locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Bridging research and practice, MPA graduates demonstrate the decision making, management, communication and analytical skills necessary to sustain a responsive and effective public sector.

Program Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy University-wide graduate admission requirements, submit a letter of intent, and complete (or have completed) an undergraduate course in U.S. government or politics (3 hours). The 500-word letter of intent should state the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the MPA, how their educational and/or career experience has prepared them for the MPA program, and how the degree will help the applicant achieve her or his goals. Two letters of recommendation are required from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or work abilities (normally, professors and/or work supervisors). Applicants may be admitted as unconditional, conditional, or special graduate students, or as non-degree-seeking. Admission as a special graduate student or as non-degree-seeking does not guarantee subsequent admission as a degree-seeking student; such students must reapply for degree-seeking status. Applicants may be required to complete an American Government course if the class was not taken as an undergraduate student.

Degree Requirements

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove deficiencies, is 40. In addition to these basic degree requirements, students without previous work experience that supports attainment of careers and leadership roles in public and nonprofit organizations must complete an additional 6 semester credit hours of PAD 6963 Internship or PAD 6966 Internship.

Degree candidates must complete the following requirements:

A. 25 semester credit hours of core courses:
PAD 5003Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management3
PAD 5023Research Design and Methods3
PAD 5033Theories of Public Organizations3
PAD 5233Applied Research I3
PAD 5323Public Policy Process3
PAD 5363Public Budgeting and Finance3
PAD 5393Economics for Public Affairs3
PAD 6001Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar1
PAD 6923Applied Research II3
Normally, students enroll in PAD 5003, Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management, and PAD 6001, Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar, during their initial semester.
B. 9 semester hours of prescribed electives, select three (3) from the following list:9
Management Information Systems
Ethics in Government Administration
Public Policy Analysis
Program Evaluation
Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
Diversity Policies and Management
Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit Leadership and Management
Strategic Planning and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
Administrative Law
C. 6 semester credit hours of Public Administration electives, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.6
D. Comprehensive examination. Degree candidates are required to pass an oral comprehensive examination. The examination is administered in the form of a presentation to a faculty committee of the exit paper written by the student in the required PAD 6923 Applied Research II course.
Total Credit Hours40

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership (NPAL) is a 15-semester-credit-hour program offered by the Department of Public Administration established to provide students who are currently managing or working in the nonprofit sector, or who seek careers in the nonprofit sector, with essential management skills and a foundation in the theory and values fortifying the nonprofit sector in America.

The certificate enables graduate students with good academic standing from multiple program areas to develop their expertise, explore the current issues facing the sector, enhance their employment opportunities with nonprofit and public agencies, and meet the growing complexity and demands of the nonprofit sector.

To meet the curricular requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership, students must complete 15 semester credit hours from the following:

A. 9 semester credit hours of required courses:
PAD 5033Theories of Public Organizations3
PAD 5913Nonprofit Organizations3
PAD 5923Nonprofit Leadership and Management3
B. 6 semester credit hours selected from the following courses:6
Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
Fiscal Resource Development in Nonprofit Organizations
Strategic Planning and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
Grant Development and Proposal Writing
Nonprofit Financial Management
Special Topics (with permission from Advisor)
Total Credit Hours15

Course substitutions are not permitted except under extenuating circumstances and prior department approval is required.

If it is determined by the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program Advisor that a student requires prerequisite background courses to adequately prepare for the courses included in the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program, this will be noted in the student’s file. Prerequisite courses must be taken before enrolling in Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program coursework or within the first semester of coursework.

Students not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program are required to apply for admission to UTSA as a special (non-degree-seeking) graduate student and indicate their intent to seek admission into the certificate program. Applicants must meet University admission requirements for special graduate students. Once admitted as a special graduate student, the student should contact the Certificate Program Advisor and complete the formal intent form.

Completion of the Certificate program will be recorded on the student’s transcript if the student has applied for and been admitted into the Certificate program and after completion of all coursework, and has applied for the Certificate by submitting the necessary application to the Enrollment Services Center. It is the student’s obligation to apply for the Certificate, much like applying for graduation, after completion of the coursework.

Students should note that if they are currently pursuing a degree in a graduate program and pursuing the Certificate, and they graduate from the graduate program before they complete the Certificate, they must reapply for admission to UTSA as a special (non-degree-seeking) graduate student and indicate their intent to seek readmission into the Certificate program.

All other requirements for certificate programs described in Chapter 3, Certificate Programs, of this catalog apply to this program.

Public Administration (PAD) Courses

PAD 5003. Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course introduces students to the discipline of public administration with an emphasis on the importance of public service ethic for a vibrant and active civil society. Public service is a vocation and centers on service to others. Students will be provided an opportunity to develop the self-awareness and capabilities to be successful and effective public servants. Topics include a basic introduction to the field and normative history, and context of public administration and related theories and a general overview of leadership theories and basic topics in public administration. Students should take this course in their first 6 hours of coursework. (Formerly titled “Introduction to Public Administration.”).

PAD 5023. Research Design and Methods. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Examines data analysis and hypothesis testing. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, inference, and multivariate regression analysis. Provides opportunities to develop proficiency in statistical software applications. (Formerly titled “Quantitative Methods for Public Administration.”).

PAD 5033. Theories of Public Organizations. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides an opportunity for students to synthesize, integrate, interpret, and reflect upon major theories of organizations. This course examines various concepts and approaches in use today in terms of their potential to improve (or inhibit) the performance of public organizations. Special emphasis is given to structural arrangements, human resource management skills necessary for increasingly diverse organizations and society, politics, power, organizational culture, and leadership process.

PAD 5103. Planning and Land Use Law. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Designed to provide a core background of the legal environment of planning and land use. This course will cover the various levels of government involved in defining this environment, with an emphasis on crucial historic and contemporary legal decisions that inform planning and land-use decisions. Special attention is given to the ethical and philosophical background that informs the balance of property rights and the public good. Topics covered may include regulatory mandates, eminent domain and takings, and the local tools of land use control.

PAD 5223. Urban Management. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

With a focus on local government, this course examines the intersection of administrative, political, fiscal, economic, and social processes for delivering public services. Students will explore the ways government creates opportunity and incentives, implements policy, serves citizens, and provides basic services in a complex environment. Topics may include contemporary issues in urban areas, urban finance, citizen participation, local government tax policies, sustainability, and intergovernmental dimensions of urban management.

PAD 5233. Applied Research I. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course represents the first half of the exit paper requirement. It will cover the necessary skills and tools requisite to preparing a successful, professional-level research paper. Topics will include designing an appropriate research question, research design, literature reviews, and tools of data collection and analysis. Tools presented will include the case study method and various qualitative techniques used in the social sciences. Students will use this course to prepare their own exit paper, in preparation for its completion in PAD 6923. (Formerly titled “Scope and Methods of Inquiry.”).

PAD 5243. Management Information Systems. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course examines managerial means of accessing, organizing, and using information and data in public and nonprofit organizations. The course emphasizes using information and communication technology to enhance managerial decision making. The major technologies and issues in management information systems are covered such as databases, telecommunications, Internet, wireless technology, and information security.

PAD 5303. Ethics in Government Administration. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Those who work in public service are responsible for developing and maintaining public trust by behaving ethically and with accountability. This course provides an introduction to the philosophy of ethics as it has developed in Western society. Students in this class will be introduced to ethics and how to analyze and confront ethical challenges as professional public servants as they relate to power, authority, accountability, justice, divided allegiances, and citizen priorities.

PAD 5313. Public Policy Analysis. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course examines the core component of policy making—the examination, comparison, and choice of policy alternatives. The values, assumptions, and tools associated with welfare economics, as well as alternative approaches to analysis will be studied in detail. Key issues such as informational capacity, public input, rhetorical tools of argument, and ethical obligations of the policy analyst may also be covered.

PAD 5323. Public Policy Process. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides a broad overview of the process of formulating, deciding on, and implementing public policies. Through theoretical approaches and case studies, this course examines issues such as the impact of politics on policy formulation, the role of nongovernmental actors in the policy process, the complexities of decision-making, and the challenges and opportunities facing policy makers in a diverse, global society. (Formerly titled “Public Policy Formulation and Implementation.”) (Credit cannot be earned for both PAD 5323 and POL 5173.).

PAD 5333. Program Evaluation. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

The course provides an overview of the design and methodological issues in evaluating public programs and policies. Addresses the uses and limitations of methods such as cost-benefit analysis, time-series analysis, case studies, and the logic of experimental, quasi-experimental and nonexperimental assessments.

PAD 5343. Human Resource Management in the Public Sector. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course explores the current state and practice of human resource management in public organizations. Traditional human resource management tasks and topics such as recruitment, selection, compensation, benefits, discipline and evaluation, are examined. An introduction to the legal issues in public human resource management may be covered. Students are also introduced to the history and political nature of human resource management.

PAD 5363. Public Budgeting and Finance. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides a foundation in public budgeting and finance that includes an exploration of concepts, processes, and principles essential to effective professional practice in the public sector. Topics include the politics of the budgetary process, budget preparation, budgeting for performance, capital budgeting, revenue strategies, debt management, and budget reporting and analysis. (Formerly titled “Public Sector Financial Management.”).

PAD 5373. Social Policy. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of social policy issues in the American context. This course analyzes social policy from the standpoint of both theory and practice and explores its impact on society at all levels. Topics include the economics of redistribution, political institutions and participation, and the role of the courts and bureaucracy in shaping social policy. Issues in social policy design, implementation, and evaluation are also examined.

PAD 5383. Housing Policy. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of U.S. housing policy at the federal, state, and local level. This course places housing policy within the context of sustainable communities and includes an analysis of issues such as the economic functioning of housing markets, urban politics, and challenges associated with social and geo-spatial segmentation. The course also focuses on the collaborative nature of housing policy design and implementation, including the role of the public sector, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit sector.

PAD 5393. Economics for Public Affairs. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course introduces the use of economic reasoning and tools of analysis with a primary focus on application to issues in public policy and administration. Concepts and principles addressed include demand and supply, consumer choice, market structures, market failure, tax systems, inequality, redistribution, and cost-benefit analysis. The interrelationship between government and the private sector in a market economy is also explored with a particular emphasis on implications for public policy. (Formerly titled “Economics for Public Administrators.”).

PAD 5443. Diversity Policies and Management. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Provides an overview of policies, laws and historical framework on workplace diversity issues. Focuses on providing tools for leaders of public organizations to effectively manage a multicultural organization. Examines impact of changing workforce demographics on public management.

PAD 5473. Land Use Policy. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

A broad overview of the formulation and implementation of land use policies in the United States, with an emphasis on South Texas. Special attention is given to traditional local land use tools such as platting and zoning, as well as more contemporary and innovative strategies such as form-based zoning and regional planning bodies. Topics may also include: how our changing orientation to land functions as a key determinant of land use policy; environmental protection; the provision of affordable housing.

PAD 5503. Urban Planning and Society. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course examines the role of planning in the context of society, including the institutional setting and governmental environment of planning practice. Topics include citizen participation, growth strategies, community sustainability, zoning and development regulation, strategic and comprehensive planning, and development analysis. The role of planners in fostering social equity and in bridging public and private interests is also explored. (Formerly titled “Introduction to Urban Planning.”).

PAD 5513. Urban and Regional Economic Development. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Focus on economic development theory and tools for urban-regional economic development. Analyses of factors contributing to the economic growth or decline of U.S. cities or regions. Research approaches and development theories and practices provide the student with options for approaches and policies for economic development. Case studies of specific urban areas are analyzed.

PAD 5523. Community Sustainability. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course examines policy issues associated with the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of communities, and provides an exploration of policy tools appropriate for enhancing the effectiveness of such efforts. The course focuses on the nexus among diverse, yet related, policy areas such as transportation, land use, housing, education, resource protection, and economic development, especially against a background of socioeconomic context and community self-governance.

PAD 5573. Public Policy and Policymaking in San Antonio. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Examines the historical development and context of public policy in the San Antonio area. Considers the political, social, and economic forces shaping the local policymaking process in city, county, and special purpose governments. Topics may include fiscal policy, public investment policies, urban development policy, environmental policy, urban revitalization, economic development, and transportation.

PAD 5583. Urban Policy. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course explores the role of policy in urban settings and its impact on social welfare. Topics covered will include the history of urban policy in the U.S., evaluation of urban policies, and current urban issues. In addition, the role of federal government in urban policy will be analyzed. Students will also consider the role of public, nonprofit and private organizations in responding to urban challenges.

PAD 5913. Nonprofit Organizations. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course focuses on the role, characteristics, and management of nonprofit organizations. Central to the course is the unique role of the nonprofit sector in buttressing civil society. Students examine the difference between the nonprofit and public sectors, the values of the sector, nonprofit organizations as a means for collective action, and a brief history of the development of the sector. Additional topics may include legal issues, accountability, and voluntarism.

PAD 5923. Nonprofit Leadership and Management. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: PAD 5913 is recommended. This course focuses on leadership and managerial responsibilities and techniques in nonprofit organizations. Topics may include the roles and functions of boards of directors, recruiting and retaining volunteers and staff, and understanding the complex context of nonprofit organizations. Case studies are analyzed to further integration of course material and student experience.

PAD 5933. Fiscal Resource Development in Nonprofit Organizations. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides a practical approach to funding sources and activities for financing nonprofit organizations. Course material and activities are designed to promote knowledge about, and practical application of, fundraising activities that include fundraising planning, special events, marketing, corporate and foundation funding, direct mail and annual campaigns, planned giving, capital campaigns, and major gifts.

PAD 5943. Strategic Planning and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course introduces students to the basic concepts and processes of strategic planning and management for public and nonprofit organizations. The focus will be on external environment, strategic issues that face the organizations, and long-term planning perspective. The course teaches special techniques such as SWOT and strategic issue analysis to help students align organizational goals and strategies with developments in the political, social, economic, legal, and technological forces. Case studies are used to assist students in understanding the important concepts and applying strategic planning techniques to real-life problems.

PAD 5953. Grant Development and Proposal Writing. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Provides preparation for public managers to develop effective grant proposals. Examines important trends in philanthropy, specifically outcome measurement and program evaluation. Other topics include: creating partnership proposals, identifying possible funding sources, program design, and effective writing for grants.

PAD 5963. Nonprofit Financial Management. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course is designed to provide students with concepts and techniques for managing the financial health of nonprofit organizations. Basics of nonprofit accounting are introduced, as well as exploration of the ways in which effective nonprofits manage revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities. The course also includes techniques for budgeting, cash management, inventory management, donated receivables management, and debt management.

PAD 6001. Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar. (1-0) 1 Credit Hour.

This professional symposium will cover a variety of relevant topics for public, nonprofit and private sector professionals. Topics may include decision-making and leadership skills, professional writing, and business etiquette. Symposia may be taught by faculty or by professionals in the community. May not be repeated for credit. The grade report for the course is either “CR” (satisfactory performance) or “NC” (unsatisfactory performance).

PAD 6243. Administrative Law. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course covers the rules that govern the activities of administrative agencies and the body of law that defines those requirements. Topics may include rule-making, administrative hearings, and freedom of information, as well as broader questions of agency discretion, and the appropriate scope of judicial review.

PAD 6343. Study Abroad: International Public Administration. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. A lecture/seminar course associated with a study abroad program related to the study and practice of comparative governance. Involves international travel and field trips. May be repeated for credit when the destination country varies.

PAD 6923. Applied Research II. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

In this course, the student will complete their professional research paper, using the skills and background developed in PAD 5233 Applied Research I.

PAD 6953. Independent Study. (0-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission in writing (form available) of the instructor and the Graduate Advisor of Record. Independent reading, research, discussion, and/or writing under the direction of a faculty member. For students needing specialized work not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree.

PAD 6961. Comprehensive Examination. (0-0) 1 Credit Hour.

Prerequisite: Approval of the appropriate Graduate Program Committee Chair to take the Comprehensive Examination. Independent study course for the purpose of taking the Comprehensive Examination. May be repeated as many times as approved by the Graduate Program Committee. Enrollment is required each term in which the examination is taken if no other courses are being taken that term. The grade report for the course is either “CR” (satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination) or “NC” (unsatisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination).

PAD 6963. Internship. (0-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and 18 semester credit hours of graduate work. Work-oriented experience in a public service related setting where the principles, theories, concepts, and methods of the discipline can be applied. A research paper under the supervision of assigned faculty is required.

PAD 6966. Internship. (0-0) 6 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and 18 semester credit hours of graduate work. Work-oriented experience in a public service related setting where the principles, theories, concepts, and methods of the discipline can be applied. A research paper under the supervision of assigned faculty is required.

PAD 6973. Special Topics. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

An organized course offering the opportunity for specialized study not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. Special Topics courses may be repeated for credit when topics vary, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree.