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Master of Public Administration

Through Dordt’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, you'll gain the leadership skills you need to thrive in a public or nonprofit setting. The MPA, sometimes referred to as the public sector MBA, will give you invaluable experience in program evaluation, public finance, and organizational theory that will be beneficial in a variety of fields including social work, criminal justice, city management, and non-profit work.

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Program Overview

The MPA program is 100% online. By earning a degree in Dordt’s MPA program, you will feel equipped to serve others in management positions in a variety of industries.

Drawing on the depth of the Kuyperian tradition that Dordt was founded on, Dordt’s MPA program is not only informed by a deep Christian worldview but is also rooted in a vision of Christian engagement that emphasizes the value of societal institutions.

  • Develop skills in critical thinking that will equip you to analyze structure and direction in the field of public administration
  • Discern your talents, tendencies, and challenges as a leader
  • Understand key theories and trends in organizational leadership and management
  • Be equipped to make wise, strategic, tactical, and logistical decisions in managing organizations
  • Uncover the ways worldview and practices inform and shape one another, and
  • Articulate how biblical principles drive sound action in public administration.

To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.

Students enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program are required to complete 36 credits. Cohorts begin in the fall semester.

Students who plan to complete the program in two years will average 18 credits a year. Fall and spring semesters have two seven and a half-week modules in which students take one three-credit course in each module. The summer semester has two seven-week modules in which students take one three-credit course in each module. These plans assume students are working full time during the semesters.

MPA 501 Introduction to Public Administration (3)
This course will survey the field of public administration with specific attention given to the development of public administration as a profession. The history of public administration as well as the major theoretical disagreements in the field between science and values will be covered in detail. Students will explore their own approaches to administration and public service in light of these theories.

MPA 511 Organizational Theory (3)

This course will study contemporary theories and practices which undergird the management of organizations, with special emphasis on those in the public and nonprofit sector. This includes topics in organizational strategy and business planning, collaboration, leadership, developing and maintaining organizational culture, improvement and evaluation, and instituting/managing change.

MPA 512 Leadership (3)

This course will examine the theory and practice of organizational leadership, with an emphasis on leadership in public and nonprofit organizations. This includes a study of the ethical dimensions of leadership as well as aspects of self-knowledge and evaluation that will help students develop effective personal leadership strategies. [Cross-listed: Social Work 686]

MPA 513 HR Management (3)

This course will introduce and discuss the major topics in Human Resource Management (HRM), particularly as they pertain to employment in the public and nonprofit sector. This course will address the major HRM tasks of workforce design and planning, managing employee competencies, and managing employee attitudes and behaviors while moving through the employment cycle from recruitment, selection, and compensation to evaluation, training, development, and retention. [Cross-listed: Social Work 687]

MPA 514 Public Relations (3)

This course will introduce the field of public relations and equip students with the tools they need to make wise, timely, and tactically sound decisions when in leadership roles, particularly in the public and nonprofit sector. Students will learn to identify their target audience and its characteristics while tailoring effective messaging which makes strategic use of varied media, including print, broadcast, electronic, trade, and social media. Emphasis will be placed on ethical practice and how values can shape an organizations relationship with its publics through case studies and other course assignments.

MPA 515 Project Management (3)

This course provides students with the principles and techniques of project management. Focus will be given to event and planning implementation as well as an exploration of technological tools available to assist in project management. Students will also learn about and apply theories of organizational change in the context of project management.

MPA 516 Crisis Intervention (3)

This course will introduce students to a new and growing field of literature on crisis intervention. Special attention will be paid to mental health issues, emergency preparedness and other crises that require coordinated responses and intervention. Students will learn about and apply best practices in crisis intervention in an organizational setting. Students will think critically about the role of the nonprofit and public sector in the community in times of crisis. [Cross-listed: Social Work 678]

MPA 522 Budgeting and Public Finance (3)

This course will introduce basic principles of budgeting and finance as it relates to the public and nonprofit sector. Students will gain competencies in reading, creating, and developing budgets. Forecasting for future sustainability will be addressed in content and in course assignments. [Cross-listed: Social Work 684]

MPA 531 Program Evaluation (3)

This course will build upon basic quantitative skills to develop a greater understanding of using quantitative analysis in research, both practical and academic, and in program evaluation. Developing skills in evaluating effective and efficient programs will be central to this course. Undergraduate work in statistics is a prerequisite for this course. [Cross-listed: Social Work 683]

MPA 532 Policy Analysis (3)

This course will include the tools and frameworks of policy analysis. Theories of policymaking and analysis will be presented and utilized in course projects. Students will employ policy analysis tools to evaluate governmental or organizational policies.

MPA 542 Contemporary Policing (3)

This course will focus on the development, operation, and evaluation of both evidence-based policing methods and community initiatives, including developing effective public-private partnerships in this area. Students will learn to develop effective crime prevention programs through critical analysis of case studies and current research with a goal of identifying the key factors that influence effective policies and the challenges of implementation.

MPA 543 Advanced Criminal Procedure (3)

This course will foster a nuanced understanding of the logic and caselaw which animates the guarantees of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Students will study foundational cases in the field, trace their development to modern standards, and discuss the decisions both made and anticipated which sit at the cutting edge of current law. Prerequisite: Undergraduate work or professional training in criminal procedure.

MPA 551 Nonprofit Administration and Organizational Theory (3)

This course will focus on administrative matters that are often unique to the nonprofit sector. Students will explore the nonprofit sector as a reflection of civil society creation and development. Topics such as volunteer management, commitment to mission and other management areas will be addressed. [Cross-listed: Social Work 681]

MPA 552 Grant Writing and Fundraising (3)

This course will prepare students to pursue funding opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Event planning, social media campaigns and other activities of fundraising will be covered as well as an introduction into grant writing. Students will apply their learning with projects from their real-life work. [Cross-listed: Social Work 685]

MPA 553 Nonprofit Law (3)

This course provides an overview of the law as it relates to the nonprofit sector, students will be given a foundation in a Christian legal perspective along with an overview of legal issues in several areas relevant to nonprofits. In each area, students will explore foundational concepts, emerging issues, and practical application to a chosen nonprofit organization. Areas of potential coverage include formation, governance, employment, operations, fundraising/donations, advocacy, partnerships, and taxation.

MPA 580 Jurisprudence and Lawmaking (3)

This course will study the major philosophies of governance, with an emphasis on practical application and just lawmaking, particularly within a Kuyperian worldview. Students will be introduced to classical thought in this field while also studying contemporary application as an avenue for analysis and critical evaluation of the views of human nature, theories of change, and implementation of incentives that drive modern policymaking.

Accreditation

The MPA program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission.

Specializations

The Dordt University Master of Public Administration degree program offers three program tracks to help students focus their learning for their projected career path:

Admission Requirements

To apply for admission, students will need to:

  1. Fill out the online application
  2. Send in all official transcripts (including undergraduate and graduate)
  3. Submit information for at least one reference (academic or professional) on the application

Materials can be mailed to:

Dordt University
Graduate Studies Office
700 7th Street NE
Sioux Center, IA 51250

Students may be admitted under one of the following categories:

Regular Admission

Regular Admission is granted to all candidates who have met all the admissions criteria. Additional requirements include:

  1. A bachelor’s degree (GPA of 3.0 or higher) from an accredited institution.
  2. Completion of an essay on MPA and career goals
  3. A letter of recommendation addressing the prospective student's suitability for graduate study, especially in public administration.

Conditional Admission

Conditional Admission may be granted to applicants who do not currently meet all the criteria for regular admission.

The student must complete nine semester hours of graduate credit at Dordt University before conditional status is reviewed. The graduate course work GPA must be 3.0 or higher. Other regular admission requirements must be met before conditional admission status can be changed to regular admission status.

Special Admission

Special Admission may be granted to those who do not plan to become candidates for the Master of Public Administration program but wish to participate in one or more graduate courses. Contact the Graduate Studies Office for more details.

Students can transfer a total of six semester hours of graduate work with a minimum of a B grade.

Note: Courses older than 10 years at the end of a student's Dordt studies will not be accepted for transfer credit.

Cost

Tuition and fees for 2022-2023 are as follows:

  • Graduate Courses: $540/credit
  • One-time Technology Fee: $100
  • Program Completion Fee: $100

Graduate courses taken for graduate credit are worth three credits.

You may now pay your tuition and registration fees by credit card.

Credit card or online bank payments can be initiated through Dordt's new third party servicing agent, ACI. Dordt University uses ACI for collection of online payments. For credit/debit card payments, ACI charges a fee of 2.65% ($3.95 minimum). For ACH payments from your checking account, ACI charges a fee of $0.75.

The Canadian Exchange Rate is determined the first and 15th of each month and can be viewed online or by contacting the Business Office at (712) 722-6013.

In an effort to make graduate education at Dordt available to as many people as possible, program costs are kept as reasonable as possible. Financial aid in the form of federal loan programs is available. Students who wish to apply online should go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. For more information, contact Harlan Harmelink in the Financial Aid Office at (712) 722-6082.

Scholarships & Grants are also available.

The Dordt University Federal ID is #001859.

FAQ

The MPA program requires 36 credits. The courses are a combination of general public administration courses, emphasis-specific courses, and electives that deal with relevant, challenging issues.

A typical plan of study takes about two years to complete, with students taking one 7-week course at a time. Some opt for a slower pace, completing the program in four years.

Yes, all courses are 100% online, with both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.

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