Public Administration

Master of Public Administration

UTSA’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program prepares students for public service careers and leadership roles in government, public and nonprofit realms. The MPA Faculty works to nurture a student’s commitment to ethical public service in their respective communities. All classes are offered through in-class instruction and held in the city’s political, economic and cultural center, on the conveniently-located UTSA Downtown Campus. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Our Mission: The MPA program at The University of Texas at San Antonio educates responsible leaders and ethical public servants through a curriculum incorporating original research and practice. The program’s diverse graduates, representing a wide range of professional and community backgrounds, serve the public locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Bridging research and practice, MPA graduates demonstrate the decision making, management, communication and analytical skills necessary to sustain a responsive and effective public sector.

Click to view current MPA Graduation & Employment Data 

Program Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission, applicants must:

  • satisfy University-wide graduate admission requirements.
  • complete (or have completed) an undergraduate course in U.S. government or politics (3 hours).
  • submit a letter of intent.
    • The 500 word letter of intent should state the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the M.P.A., how their educational and/or career experience has prepared them for the M.P.A. program, and how the degree will help the applicant achieve her or his goals.
  • submit two letters of recommendation are required from persons familiar with the applicants academic and/or work abilities (normally, professors and/or work supervisors).

Applicants may be admitted as unconditional, conditional, or special graduate students. Admission as a special graduate student does not guarantee subsequent admission as a degree-seeking student; such students must reapply for degree-seeking status.

VIP Admissions Program for Current UTSA Students and Alumni

Request Information from the UTSA Graduate School

MPA Student Handbook

Degree Requirements

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove deficiencies, is 40. In addition to these basic degree requirements, students without previous work experience that supports attainment of careers and leadership roles in public and nonprofit organizations must complete an additional 6 semester credit hours of PAD 6963 Internship or PAD 6966 Internship; 46 credit hours are required for students without prior work experience.

For a complete listing of courses that satisfy degree requirements see the graduate catalog.

Degree candidates must complete the following requirements:

A. 25 semester credit hours of core courses:

PAD 5003  Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management

PAD 5023 Research Design and Methods

PAD 5033  Theories of Public Organizations

PAD 5233  Applied Research I

PAD 5323  Public Policy Process

PAD 5363  Public Budgeting and Finance

PAD 5393  Economics for Public Affairs

PAD 6001 Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar

PAD 6923 Applied Research II

Normally, students enroll in PAD 5003, Introduction to Public Service Leadership and Management, and PAD 6001, Leadership and Communication Skills Development Seminar, during their initial semester.

B. 15 semester credit hours of Public Administration electives, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor. 

C. Comprehensive examination. Degree candidates are required to pass an oral comprehensive examination. The examination is administered in the form of a presentation to a faculty committee of the exit paper written by the student in the required PAD 6923 Applied Research II course.

Total Credit Hours: 40

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership (NPAL) is a 15-semester-credit-hour program offered by the Department of Public Administration established to provide students who are currently managing or working in the nonprofit sector, or who seek careers in the nonprofit sector, with essential management skills and a foundation in the theory and values fortifying the nonprofit sector in America.

The certificate enables graduate students with good academic standing from multiple program areas to develop their expertise, explore the current issues facing the sector, enhance their employment opportunities with nonprofit and public agencies, and meet the growing complexity and demands of the nonprofit sector.

To meet the curricular requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership, students must complete 15 semester credit hours from the following:


A. Required Courses (9 credit hours):

PAD 5033 Theories of Public Organizations

PAD 5913 Nonprofit Organizations

PAD 5923 Nonprofit Leadership and Management

B. Two courses from this list (6 hours):

PAD 5333 Program Evaluation

PAD 5343 Human Resource Management in the Public Sector

PAD 5933 Fiscal Resource Development in Nonprofit Organizations

PAD 5943 Strategic Planning and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations

PAD 5953 Grant Development and Proposal Writing

PAD 5963 Nonprofit Financial Management

PAD 6973 Special Topics (with permission from Advisor)

Total Credit Hours: 15

*A blanket substitution will allow PAD 5333, Program Evaluation to apply as elective hours for students who are within the 2013-2015 and 2015-2017 catalogs.  

Students enrolled in the graduate certificate program are not allowed to substitute courses from other programs. Students are encouraged to plan ahead in order to complete the certificate requirements.

Admissions requirements

For currently enrolled UTSA graduate students*:
Students currently enrolled in a graduate degree program must be in good academic standing. The student should contact the Program Advisor of the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program and complete the intent form.

For new students:
Students who are not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program are required to apply for admission to UTSA as a special graduate student and to indicate their intent to seek admission into a certificate program. Applicants will be required to meet University admission requirements for special graduate students.


If it is determined by the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program Advisor that a student requires prerequisite background courses to adequately prepare for the courses included in the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program, this will be noted in the student’s file. The student will be notified that the prerequisite courses must be taken before enrolling in Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program coursework or within the first semester of coursework.

For specifics on the Certificate Program, contact Patricia Jaramillo, 210-458-2716,

*Please note:  Current UTSA graduate students who complete their degree program before the certificate program must reapply as a special/non-degree student in order to finish required certificate program coursework, per the graduate school.

For more information, contact:

Department of Public Administration

Durango Building (Downtown Campus) DB 4.114

Patricia Jaramillo, PhD