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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 MPA student handbook describes our program, admission procedure, degree requirements, program policies, student resources, and include a description of all our courses. The handbook provides valuable information to start, plan, and complete the MPA degree.

"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

Egan Library

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

Core Classes (21 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

Capstone (3 credits)

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.

MPA Concentrations


In addition to the required core classes and the capstone course, MPA students must take four electives. UAS offers a number of choices for students to fulfill the elective requirement. A list of courses and course descriptions, including electives offered can be found in the Attachments.

Students have the option to use those four electives to earn an MPA general concertation or to pursue a special concentration in Natural Resource Policy, Municipal Governance, Higher Education Administration and Rural Development

General Concentration

The MPA provides many opportunities for students to advance in their professional development. The general concentration is designed to give students freedom in choosing electives that best fit that development.

In this concentration, students can choose for their 12 elective credits any of the electives that are offered in the program. This allows students to define and develop their own plan that meets their current and future needs to be successful in their professions.

Higher Education Administration (12 Credits)

The Higher Education emphasis in the MPA program prepares individuals to engage with critical issues in higher education through the acquisition of analytical and critical thinking skills and knowledge of the application of theory in organizational development, policy and law and historical and contemporary issues in higher education.

  • PADM S651 ̵ Introduction to Higher Education 3 credits
  • PADM S653 ̵ Organizational Development in Higher Education 3 credits
  • PADM S655 ̵ Higher Education and Public Policy 3 credits
  • PADM S657 ̵ Higher Education Law 3 credits

Rural Development (12 credits)

The Rural Development concentration has a special focus on the needs of indigenous and other rural communities, including management of tribal governments, community organizations, and indigenous-controlled profit and non-profit corporations. Coursework for this concentration is offered by e-Learning technologies through the Rural Development program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Students interested in this concentration should contact the UAS MPA Program Coordinator at 907-796-6303 or the UAF Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Program Advisor at 907-474-5293.

Recommended Courses:

  • RD F601 – Political Economy of the Circumpolar North
  • RD F651 – Management Strategies for Rural Development

12 credits to be selected in consultation with the UAF Rural Development Advisor and MPA Program Coordinator.

General Electives

Among many courses that can be accepted as electives, the MPA program is also offering some actual and specific topics as electives.

  • PADM S625 – Economics and Public Policy 3 credits
  • PADM S635 – Natural Resource Policy 3 credits
  • PADM S637 – Local and Global Sustainability 3 credits
  • PADM S638 – Sustainable Energy and Environment 3 credits
  • PADM S639 – Adaptive Management 3 credits
  • PADM S640 – Food Security and Sustainability
  • PADM S641 – Land Use Planning and Resilient Communities 3 credits
  • PADM S642 – Climate Governance in the North 3 credits
  • PADM S643 – Role of the City Manager 3 credits
  • PADM S645 – Municipal Governance 3 credits
  • PADM S661 – Social Entrepreneurship 3 credits
  • PADM S662 – Governing Nonprofit Organiz. and the Board of Directors 3 credits
  • PADM S663 – MArketing for Nonprofit Organizations 3 credits
  • PADM S676 – Political Leadership and Civility 3 credits
  • PADM S693 JD1 – ST: Ethics in Public Administration 3 credits
  • PADM S693 JD2 – ST: Employment Law in the Public Sector 3 credits
  • PADM S693 JD3 – ST: Selected Topics in Public Administration 3 credits

In addition, the student can earn credit through an internship program, such as a legislative internship.

Planning Your Degree

Planning Your Degree

There is no mandatory order of classes that students will take, however, there are course sequencing issues that should be paid attention to. All core courses are offered every Spring and Fall terms, so plan accordingly. Introductory course (PADM 601 – Introduction to Public Administration) and the capstone course (PADM 690) are also offered every Summer term.

Upon entering the degree, students should meet with the MPA Program Coordinator or their Faculty Advisor to create a tentative degree plan. This plan is structured to enable students to create an individualized roadmap to keep track of what classes they will need to take that will account for course sequencing. An individual degree plan that will help to ensure the most productive course of action for persistence to graduation.

The main advice is: in the first phase take introductory courses (PADM 601, 604, 614, 616), in the second phase take PADM 622, 628 and some elective courses, and leave PADM 688 - Program Evaluation, and the capstone (PADM 690) for the last phase in the program.

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 the family, work and other obligations students may have you will have to budget your time well.

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 the 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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