Academic Catalog 2024-2025

Master of Public Administration (Urban Planning and Environmental Policy Concentration)

Program Description

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a 36-semester credit hour program accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The MPA Program’s mission is to educate students about public administration’s history, competencies, and quantitative skills needed by public administrators to become skilled and productive public and nonprofit employees. To this end, the MPA Program uses its curriculum to prepare students to compete nationally and internationally for professional careers in the public sector or for graduate study where the nature of the profession requires the master’s degree as the entry criterion.

The program is designed to prepare professionals to resolve the increasingly complex problems of managing urban growth. It is intended to respond to the increasing importance of planning and management as major instruments in improving and developing solutions to problems of cities and metropolitan regions. The Program seeks to give students a balanced inventory of conceptual, quantitative, and professional skills.

To this end, the Program’s curricular philosophy is to:

  1. Educate students on analytical approaches to decision-making in the managerial sciences.
  2. Provide students with problem solving skills and analytical competencies that are relevant to management positions.
  3. Emphasize knowledge of the workings of governmental and non-governmental organizations.
  4. Develop the student’s ability to make use of academic research.
  5. Provide a foundation in computer and information technology.
  6. Sharpen writing and oral communication skills.
  7. Emphasize knowledge of basic management processes and techniques.

Admission Criteria

The Department seeks highly motivated, high-achieving oriented students who have a strong interest in pursuing a public service career. Prospective students must first apply for admission to the Graduate School. Applicants are then referred to the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs for acceptance.

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School applicants for admission to graduate standing in the MPA Program must submit:

  1. The Texas Southern University Graduate School Application and a non-refundable application fee;
  2. A typed essay, 250-300 words, which states career objectives and gives reasons for desiring admission to the program;
  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to give an evaluation of the applicants past scholastic performance, research, ability for advanced work in public administration (if any), and person motivation;
  4. Two (2) copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended. Applicant’s undergraduate cumulative GPA must be at least 2.70 or 3.0 in the final 60 hours; and
  5. The MPA program uses Public Administration: Theory and Practice (PAD 500) as a measure of English proficiency. This requires students to earn a grade of B or better in PAD 500.  Students that do not earn a grade of B or better, need to take English 501 - Graduate Professional Writing.

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the Master of Public Administration are summarized below:

  1. Completion of forty-eight (48) credit hours. Of the 48 credit hours, twenty-four (24) credit hours are required core courses. In addition to the core requirements, students are required to take twelve (12) hours in specialization courses, internship for six (6) credit hours and the Capstone seminar course for three (3) credit hours. The remaining three (3) credit hours may be satisfied by electives.
  2. At the beginning of the first semester, each student will prepare a degree plan in consultation with his or her advisor. This plan of study should be drawn up and submitted for approval to the Graduate School no later than the second semester in residence.
  3. Satisfactory performance in PAD 710 Capstone Seminar course. A student is eligible to take the course if the student has:
    1. Earned a 3.0 or above graduate GPA for each course or cumulative GPA in public administration courses and a cumulative GPA of 3.0;
    2. Completed all core course requirements;
    3. No outstanding incompletes; and
    4. Filed a degree plan.
  4. Fulfillment of general requirements for graduation as outlined by the Graduate School.

MPA Course Requirements Curriculum Summary 

Core Curriculum21
Urban Planning and Environmental Policy9
Other Courses3
Total Hours36

Core Curriculum

PAD 500Theory & Practice3
PAD 502Research Meth In Pub Adm3
PAD 503Quantitative Methods I3
PAD 507Organization Behavior & Theory3
PAD 631Gov Budgeting & Financial Mgmt3
PAD 640Pub Pers Admin Th & Pract3
PAD 710Capstone3
Total Hours21

Urban Planning and Environmental Policy

Select nine (9) credits from the following:9
Planner's Guide to the History of City Growth and Development
Planning Theory & Practice
Principles of Planning Law
Iintroduction to GIS Urban Pln
Applications of GIS Urban Planning
Total Hours9

Elective Courses

Select one of the following:3
Leadership & Decision Making
Program Evaluation
Pub Fin Mgmt
Man Fin Anal Methods
Intergovernmental Relations
Urban Admin Systems
Human Services Admin
Independent Study
Administrative Regulations
Total Hours3

Electives offered by other schools/colleges may be taken upon approval by faculty advisor and program coordinator.

Other Requirements

PAD 700Internship3
Total Hours3