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).
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 that include a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester credit hours for students who are graduate degree-seeking, or 3.0 in the last 30 semester credit hours for students who are special graduate (non-degree-seeking), and be in good standing at last institution attended. Applicants must also satisfy the MPA program requirements for admission with a 500-word letter of intent that states the applicant's reasons for pursuing an MPA, how their educational and/or career experience has prepared them for an MPA program, and how they anticipate that the degree will help them achieve their stated goals. Additionally, all students must have completed (or will complete upon enrollment) an undergraduate course in U.S. government or politics (3 semester credit hours). Two letters of recommendation are required from those familiar with the applicant's academic and/or work abilities (normally, professors and/or work supervisors). It is recommended that applicants submit a résumé. Applicants may be admitted as unconditional, conditional, conditional on academic probation, or as a special graduate. Applicants may be considered for conditional admission on probation if their grade point average (GPA) is 2.75 to 3.00 in the last 60 undergraduate credit hours. For applicants whose GPA is below a 2.75, conditional admission on probation will be considered if they have professional work experience which would relate to preparedness for the degree. Applicants will be admitted conditionally if they lack the required undergraduate American Government course or need to address deficiencies required for the master's program.
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; 46 credit hours are required for students without prior work experience.
Degree candidates must complete the following requirements:
|A. 25 semester credit hours of core courses:|
|PAD 5003||Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management||3|
|PAD 5011||Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar||1|
|PAD 5033||Theories of Public Organizations||3|
|PAD 5323||Public Policy Process||3|
|PAD 5363||Public Budgeting and Finance||3|
|PAD 5393||Economics for Public Affairs||3|
|PAD 6823||Research 1: Design||3|
|PAD 6833||Research 2: Applied Quantitative Methods||3|
|PAD 6923||Capstone Seminar: Research Paper in Public Administration||3|
|Students enroll in PAD 5003 and PAD 5011 during their initial semester.|
|B. 15 semester credit hours of Public Administration electives, chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.||15|
|C. Comprehensive examination. The oral comprehensive examination is administered in the form of a research presentation to a faculty committee, and includes a review of essential competencies.|
|Total Credit Hours||40|
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 5033||Theories of Public Organizations||3|
|PAD 5913||Nonprofit Organizations||3|
|PAD 5923||Nonprofit Leadership and Management||3|
|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 Hours||15|
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 Certificate Program Regulations 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.") Course Fee: STSP $9.
PAD 5011. 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). (Formerly PAD 6001. Credit cannot be earned for both PAD 5011 and PAD 6001.) Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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.) Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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.") Course Fee: STSP $9.
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.") Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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.") Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
PAD 6823. Research 1: Design. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.
An introduction to conducting social science research, with emphasis on research design as the means to address the common obstacles to making appropriate comparisons and drawing casual inferences. The course prepares students to develop their own research projects, and to understand and habitually articulate and incorporate the elements of effective research design in their work and in assessing the work of others. The course reviews common quantitative and qualitative methodologies for answering research questions, and also includes modules on skills such as professional writing, source and data acquisition, evaluation, and management. (Formerly PAD 5233 Applied Research I. Credit cannot be earned for both PAD 6823 and PAD 5233.) Course Fee: STSP $9.
PAD 6833. Research 2: Applied Quantitative Methods. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.
Prerequisite: PAD 6823.
A review of basic statistics, the course develops an intuitive and practical understanding of statistical techniques, and prepares students to generate, manage, evaluate, analyze, and present data. The course reviews descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis, probability theory, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis, and provides the skills to describe data sets, and to use them to make inferences about the entities they describe to aid analyzing management, public policy, program evaluation, or public opinion issues for which appropriate data exist. (Formerly PAD 5023 Research Design and Methods. Credit cannot be earned for both PAD 6833 and PAD 5023.) Course Fee: STSP $9.
PAD 6923. Capstone Seminar: Research Paper in Public Administration. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.
Prerequisites: PAD 6823, PAD 6833, and at least 24 completed MPA credit hours.
This course enables students to integrate the knowledge, skills and values gained in the MPA program by applying theory to practice on a research topic of each student’s choice. It serves as an important bridge between the classroom and the world of professional practice. This class is usually taken in the last semester in the program. The grade report for the course is either “CR” (satisfactory performance) or “NC” (unsatisfactory performance). Course Fee: STSP $9.
PAD 6951. Independent Study. (0-0) 1 Credit Hour.
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 3 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree. Course Fee: STSP $3.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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). Course Fee: STSP $3.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.
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. Course Fee: STSP $18.
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. Course Fee: STSP $9.