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A Balanced Curriculum – MPA

Professor David Popp

Professor David Popp

Maxwell’s MPA program will prepare you with a generalist skill set in public policy analysis, public management and understanding the context of the field.  These broad based skills help our graduates to analyze policy alternatives and make strategic decisions for next steps – as well as manage the programs that are needed to reach these broader policy goals. Finally, we focus on courses that allow our graduates to understand the context of the field – in that effective analysis and management alone do not always lead to progress toward policy goals. It is critical to understand the underlying political (“big P” and “small P” politics), economic, societal and historical environment surrounding an issue.  This is all generalist, in that while we have concentrations – our graduates will be well equipped to enter the public sector and be a key decision maker, analyst, manager in almost any policy arena, domestic or international – because of the extensive core course requirements.

While there is not a required professional internship component, the core coursework in the MPA program is very professionally oriented. Your assignments will mirror the tasks you will need in the professional work setting:  group projects, one and two page memos, budget and proposal preparation, presentations, large scale analysis with executive summary reports with recommendations for further action, etc. You will be learning on two levels – expanding your knowledge in new policy and management areas, as well as honing and perfecting the skills necessary for the field through your assignments. The Capstone course provides an intensive four week team consulting project for a public sector agency.  Through elective coursework (across 7 areas of study) students are able to gain more research-oriented and interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives across public policy and management areas.

The MPA program runs on a 12 month calendar cycle (July – June).  Students are in residence the entire time. I am often asked if this 12 month program can really prepare students for their professional careers, since most all other programs are two years in length.  YES! If it did not, then our reputation and the success of our graduates would not be what it is! And, as you may have heard, Maxwell is a leader in our field and always has been!

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December 2022
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