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Program Overview

Program Overview

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) is tailored for busy public and non-profit managers who seek to enhance their credentials and broaden their horizons. The UAS MPA program comes to you where you live and work in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, and is delivered through live classes streamed over various internet technologies (anywhere students have access to high speed Internet connection). The program combines the relationships and structure of the traditional classroom with the accessibility of a distance delivered program to create a stable, supportive, and high quality education.

The University of Alaska Southeast is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The UAS MPA Program is an Institutional Member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Institutional Membership provides for access to their resources, the ability to seek their guidance, and to align evaluation of the UAS MPA program with national standards. Due to the size of the UAS MPA Program we are ineligible for national accreditation with NASPAA.

"The flexibility of the UAS MPA program fit nicely with my work schedule. Unlike other e-Learning programs, my UAS MPA classes were highly interactive and relevant to my career in local government." - Justin Doll, UAS MPA Graduate

How We Teach

The Live Classroom

The Live Classroom

The MPA classes are webcast in Alaska and the Yukon Territory through various internet technologies.

Each week students participate in a live, dynamic classroom, interacting with faculty and students from across the regions. Each class meets once a week from 6:00 – 8:45 pm  Alaska Standard Time.

Broadband (DSL/Cable) is highly recommended for TV quality video. Dial-up is not sufficient for most students’ needs. Courses are offered live through Adobe Connect, a webmeeting platform that includes video, audio and chat options.

"One of the top aspects of the MPA program was my ability to meet, learn and share with fellow professionals in a live classroom." - Will Ellis, UAS MPA Graduate

Degree Requirements

The UAS MPA requires 36 credits consisting of eight core classes, three electives and a final Capstone class.

Core Classes (24 credits)

  • PADM S601 – Introduction of Public Administration 3 credits
  • PADM S604 – Applied Research Methods 3 credits
  • PADM S614 – Public Policy and Accountability 3 credits
  • PADM S616 - Leadership 3 credits
  • PADM S622 – Human Resources and Organizational Development  3 credits
  • PADM S628 – Public Financial Management 3 credits
  • PADM S688 – Program Evaluation 3 credits
  • PADM S690 - Public Administration Capstone 3 credits

Capstone (3 credits)

Egan Library

PADM S690 – Public Administration Capstone 3 credits

The Public Administration Capstone is the final class for students completing their MPA degree. It demonstrates that Masters' degree candidates have attained the expected understanding of the curriculum. The class requires students to review the various core subject areas, plus Leadership and Democratic Governance, and to apply those concepts to an agency of their choosing. This paper is the assessment tool that proves competency. Students must pass the Capstone with at least a B to graduate.

Electives (12 credits)

To be determined by the student and approved by the MPA Director. Options include:

  1. Graduate non-core PADM Courses offered by UAS.
  2. 400 Level Classes: Two 400 level undergraduate classes may be applied to your graduate degree if they have not previously been applied to an undergraduate degree.
  3. Approved Graduate courses from other institutions: Students may take classes from the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, or from other accredited institutions that focus on some aspect of management. Students should forward the course description, institution, and syllabus to the MPA Director for approval before taking the class. 
  4. Independent Research classes (PADM698): Students may have a strong interest in an area that is not covered at UAS, nor can they find a suitable course from another institution. If this is the case, it may be possible to do an independent study on that particular subject. In this case students should present a proposal to the MPA Director.


Natural Resource PolicyConcentrations

The Natural Resource Policy concentration addresses Alaska’s need and strong demand for professional management training in natural resources and environmental management issues. Alaska’s abundance of natural resources and concomitant management issues are uniquely Alaskan as addressed in the State Constitution and need unique management solutions which the concentration provides.

(Choose 4 of the following 5 courses)

  • PADM 635 – Natural Resource Policy 3 credits
  • PADM 637 – Local and Global Sustainability 3 credits
  • PADM 638 – Sustainable Energy and Environment 3 credits
  • PADM 639 – Adaptive Management 3 credits
  • PADM 640 - Food Security and Sustainability

Rural Development

The Rural Development concentration is offered distance through the College of Rural and Community Development at University of Alaska Fairbanks. This concentration has a special focus on needs of indigenous and other rural communities, including management of tribal-governments, community organizations and indigenous-controlled profit and non-profit corporations.

  • RD F601 – Political Economy of the Circumpolar North 3 credits
  • RD F651 – Management Strategies for Rural Development 3 credits
  • Advisor-Approved Course 3 credits

Municipal Governance

The Municipal Governance concentration focuses on municipal governance in the circumpolar region with an emphasis on rural and non-rural communities in Alaska and the Yukon Territories. A practical perspective including the role and responsibilities of government in a polycentric context will examine authorities and delivery of local services such as strategic and land use planning, public safety, resilience, and financial management. 
  • PADM 641- Land Use Planning and Resilient Communities 3 credits
  • PADM 642- Climate Governance in the North 3 credits
  • PADM 643- Role of the City Manager 3 credits
  • PADM 645- Municipal Governance 3 credits

Higher Education

The Higher Education concentration focuses on higher education institutions and the organization development processes, contemporary theories and practical considerations including leadership styles and administrative processes with an emphasis on Alaska and the Yukon Territories.

  • PADM 651- Introduction to Higher Education 3 credits
  • PADM 653- Organizational Development in Higher Education 3 credits
  • PADM 655- Higher Education and Public Policy 3 credits
  • PADM 657- Higher Education Law 3 credits

Planning Your Degree

Planning Your Degree

There is no mandatory order of classes that students will take, however the core MPA courses are offered only once a year and two of the courses have prerequisites attached (PADM 688 Program Evaluation requires the prerequisite PADM 604 Research Methods in Administration and PADM 628 Public Financial Management requires the prerequisite PADM 625 Economics of Public Policy. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the MPA Director to create an individual degree plan that will help to ensure the most productive course of action for persistence to graduation.

Students should keep in mind that the average amount of time expected to be devoted to a single class per week is between 12 and 15 hours. Depending on family, work and other obligations students may have, the MPA program has articulated two tracks to help students plan their degree.

Example of a 2 Year Degree Plan

Example of a 4 Year Degree Plan

"The MPA curriculum helped me gain more in-depth knowledge of many fields. It allowed me the flexibility I needed to work full time and pursue my education part time." - Brian Brubaker, UAS MPA Graduate

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