Online Programs

Master's Degree in Public Administration and Policy: Online Courses

A Proven Curriculum from a Recognized Institution

When you choose the online Master of Public Administration and Policy from American University, you receive an education that provides a targeted blend of courses in public administration and policy analysis. The MPAP curriculum takes you from start to finish in a predictably sequenced curriculum in as few as 24 months, during which you take two courses per semester, including fall, spring, and summer.

The online program consists of 12 three-credit courses (36 credits in all), each eight weeks long. It includes a well-planned sequence of public administration courses and public policy courses from American University’s acclaimed MPA and MPP programs. The MPAP program culminates in a capstone course that allows you to incorporate everything you’ve learned into completion of a policy analysis or administrative project for a real-world client. Over the course of this program, you will develop knowledge and skills in public administration and policy analysis to:

  • Effectively recognize, communicate, and contrast foundational concepts and issues in public policy and administration
  • Practice public administration constitutionally and legally by understanding the Constitution, due process, and equal protection rights
  • Master the foundations of policy analysis and economics to make better-informed public policy decisions
  • Understand federal budget processes and assess financial implications of public decisions
  • Use data and quantitative methods to solve problems, conduct analyses, and evaluate public programs
  • Bridge theory and practice to successfully address complex organizational problems
  • Perform human resource management tasks in the public and nonprofit sector
  • Understand leadership theory and develop enhanced leadership skills
  • Apply project management concepts to improve public sector and nonprofit performance
  • Synthesize the full range of your skill set by applying it to a salient project in collaboration with a client organization

In each course, you will complete one learning unit per week in an activities and deadline-driven learning process, which allows you to build your studies into your lives and work in a flexible manner. Our instruction offers hands-on, case-based learning and regular opportunities to work and interact with your peers. You will learn through a system called Engage, which is designed with students in mind and has a heavy focus on collaboration and community.

As an online student, you will enjoy access to all of American University’s School of Public Affairs resources and services. You will be able to take part in our growing online learning community while enjoying ready online access to events taking place on campus. Our team of advisors and technicians is at your side throughout your online learning experience with us.

Our online courses are led by award-winning faculty members and experienced instructors from American University’s School of Public Affairs. They are part of our Department of Public Administration and Policy, which includes some of today’s most respected educators in their areas of specialization. Its over 50 faculty members, affiliated centers, and experts are at your disposal.

Public Administration and Policy Courses

3 credit hours each

This online course introduces students to the evolution of public administration as a profession, discipline, and career. The managerial, political, legal and constitutional, ethical, informational, and technical contexts of public administration are emphasized, as well as the challenges these afford public administrators confronting contemporary issues.

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This public administration course deals with the legal basis of government authority and the ways in which legal processes authorize yet limit executive action. Using statute and case law, key executives study the delegation of legislative power, rule-making, administrative appeals, and judicial review. Attention is focused on the legal issues in which key executives are most likely to become involved.

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This public policy course introduces students to the scope, methods, issues, and evolution of policy studies. Students learn and apply various frameworks for approaching the enterprise of policy analysis, become familiar with the logic and applicability of analytical techniques, and gain an appreciation for the ethical issue, values, and context of government policy.

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This online course introduces students to the concepts managers need to become informed consumers of microeconomics-based policy analysis, including resource scarcity; opportunity cost; supply and demand; consumer and producer surplus; market equilibrium; competitive markets; economic efficiency; market failure; intended and unintended consequences of policy interventions; equity; and cost-benefit principles.

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This online class teaches students about public sector budgeting and budgetary processes, including budget execution and control, cost estimation, capital financing and debt management, performance budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, basic government accounting, and financial statements.

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This course prepares students to conduct and interpret statistical analysis. They learn how to describe samples and how to make inferences about populations from samples. They gain an understanding of bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques, as well as hands-on experience using statistical software to work with datasets.

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This course introduces students to research designs and related methodological tools used to evaluate the need for a program or policy, its implementation, and its impact on key outcomes. Students learn how to design, conduct, and critique evaluations, as well as how organizational, programmatic, and political factors can influence evaluation.

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This course examines concepts and theories that explain organizations and organizational behavior including factors such as the nature of the political environment, organizational structure, staffing, information management, and budgetary constraints. The impact of these factors is explored in the context of policy development and implementation.

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This course explains policies and managerial processes for human capital including staffing, human resource development, classification, performance appraisal, equal employment opportunity, and labor-management relations.

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In this course students develop their leadership style and capacity. It includes supervision, motivation, team-building, group dynamics, communication skills, conflict resolution, effective work relationships, employee development, and diversity.

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This course conveys fundamental concepts of project management for carrying out discrete operations in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private sector organizations providing public services. This includes project design, planning, scheduling, systems engineering, cost estimation, innovation, and processes for conducting high-risk operations in risk-averse environments.

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This course affords students exposure to the institutional, legal, and ethical dimensions of policy analysis in organizational settings. Students perform a policy analysis project for a client.

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