Program Details

Master of Public Administration

To successfully lead a public or nonprofit organization in today's environment, administrators must develop superior executive, public policy, and resource management expertise. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program strives to meet these challenges.

The location of the MPA program in the College of Business and Public Administration allows students to easily integrate public management coursework with business management, accounting, finance, marketing, and information systems - courses taught with the public sector in mind. Additionally, appropriate graduate courses from other Drake University disciplines such as law, education, journalism and mass communication, pharmacy and health sciences, and the liberal arts provide alternative multidisciplinary options that enhance the unique nature of the MPA degree.


  • Affordable degree program earned in about two years in a part-time evening format
  • Emphasis Areas in Executive Development, Resource Management (Human Resources, Financial Resources, Health Care), or Public Policy
  • 36 credit hour program
  • Any undergraduate major accepted from accredited institution
  • Full library research database available with off-campus access
  • Travel Course
  • Students have participated in fellowships and internships available through the National Labor Relations Board and Presidential Intern Program.

Academic Preparation
Learning Outcomes

Graduate Program of Study
Admission Requirements
Career Options

All faculty hold the highest degrees in their field.

The MPA program encourages students from all academic backgrounds to apply.

Following admission to the program, students will receive the MPA Student Handbook, which further details the grade point and academic performance requirements for all MPA students. The student also will have an academic advisor to assist with course scheduling.


  • Public Interest and Leadership - Each student can understand the characteristics and apply the values and responsibilities for the public interest as it relates to public and nonprofit leadership
  • Communication - Each student can demonstrate the ability to prepare and deliver professional oral presentations and to research and write concise and documented organizational reports
  • Global - Each student can identify and compare managerial best practices in a global context.
  • Diversity - Each student can understand the implications for public organizations and nonprofits in a pluralistic and diverse society and the accepted approaches for operating successfully in this environment.
  • Ethics - Each student can recognize ethical issues in public and nonprofit management and apply a framework for addressing them.
  • Strategic Perspective - Each student can apply appropriate strategic models to public policy decision making and evaluation.
  • Analysis and Problem Solving - Each student can identify organizational opportunities and public policy challenges and utilize quantitative methodologies in their analysis.
  • Information Technology - Each student can demonstrate the ability to apply information technology where approporiate and can recognize opportunities created by information technology and incorporate them into strategic decision making. 

Students in the MPA degree program complete seven core courses plus five elective courses in a specific area of emphasis. Each area of emphasis allows students to address their own career objectives. The areas of emphasis are designed to meet the following educational and professional missions:

Executive Development Emphasis Mission: To develop the ability to transform, lead and direct organizations in a dynamic environment. Emphasis is on leadership and strategic planning enhanced by options relating to performance measurement, quality improvement and management in a global context.

Public Policy Emphasis Mission: To develop the knowledge and skills necessary to design, implement and evaluate policies and programs in public/nonprofit organizations in an economic, social and legal context.

Financial Resource Emphasis Mission: To develop the abilities and skills necessary to identify, acquire and manage effectively financial aspects resources of diverse organizations.

Human Resources Emphasis Mission: To develop the abilities and skills necessary to identify and manage effectively the human resources aspects of diverse organizations.

Health Care Management Emphasis Misson: To develop the ability to transform, lead and direct health services organizations in a dynamic environment.

Nonprofit Management Emphasis Misson: To develop the ability to transform, lead and direct nonprofit organizations in a dynamic environment.

The elective course options for each area of emphasis are available for reference by selecting from the following:
Executive Development
Public Policy
 Financial Resources
Human Resources
     Health Care Management
     Nonprofit Management

Core Curriculum Courses - 21 hrs.

The MPA core curriculum provides a framework for understanding public and nonprofit sector issues as well as developing a foundation for the functional skills necessary for managing public and nonprofit organizations.

Changing Environment and Management of Public and Nonprofit Organizations (MPA 215)  3 hrs.
Managing Human Resources as Assets (MPA 216), or
Human Resource Management (MGMT 282)  3 hrs.
Applying Information, Research and Analysis in Nonprofit and Public Environments (MPA 217)  3 hrs.
Financial Aspects of Public and Nonprofit Organizations (225)  3 hrs.
Public Policy Decision Making and Analysis (MPA 226)  3 hrs.
Values and Ethics in Decision Making (MBA 240)*  3 hrs.
Applying Innovative Solutions to Current Problems (MPA 260)  3 hrs.
  (NOTE: MPA 260 to be taken after completion of 18 credit hours)

*Two options are available for those who seek an alternative core course learning experience to replace MBA 240, based on the emphasis area: Option #1: Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Strategy (MPA 252) for Financial Resources, Health Care, or Public Policy Option #2: Leadership and Human Capital Development (MPA 254) for Human Resources, Nonprofit Management, or Executive Development.

The MPA curriculum is a 36-credit hour degree program that can be completed on a two classes per semester/part-time basis in two calendar years.

To be considered for admission to the MPA program, students must hold a bachelor's degree (in any major) from an accredited college or university. In making an admission decision, Drake reviews each student's college transcripts for relevant course work and undergraduate GPA. We also take into consideration any graduate course work and professional experience.

To apply, students must complete the Application for Graduate Admission and pay the $25 application fee. Students who received their undergraduate degrees from Drake University are not required to pay the fee. The application must include official college transcripts sent to Drake from each undergraduate institution the student attended (including any community colleges), and for any graduate coursework completed. In addition, applicants must include two letters of recommendation, and a current resume.

International students, or students whose native language is not English, must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. A minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based exam or 213 on the computer-based exam is required. All international students must satisfy Drake University's specific requirements as outlined in the Application for Graduate Admission.

Drake University's College of Business and Public Administration Graduate Programs office must receive all necessary application information and supporting materials before an admission decision will be made. Drake's admission decision is based upon each student's individual credentials. Undergraduate GPA and academic performance on any prior graduate work are used in the admissions decision.

Application Deadlines:
   December 1 for classes starting in spring (January)
   April 15 for classes starting in summer (May/July)
   July 15 for classes starting in fall (August)

For further information on the application process and our admission requirements, please review our compiled lists of FAQs based on the following subject areas:
Application and Admission
     Financial Aid
Although most MPA students enter and exit the program as full-time employed professionals, students who wish for assistance in career planning may utilize the full resources of the Drake Career Center.

Related Programs and Information

  • MPA Emphasis Areas
  • FAQs about MPA Application and Admission
  • PAdm 282 - Comparative Management and Policy Analysis in a Global Context (study abroad course)

  • Click here to return to Program List

    The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business Privacy Policy | About the College | News | Events | Programs | Directory | Internships | Employment
    Forms | Resources | Contact Us | Campus Map | Site Map | FAQ | Kelley Insurance Center
    | Center for Professional Studies

    Drake University | College of Business & Public Administration | Aliber Hall | 2507 University Avenue
    Des Moines, IA 50311-4505 | (515)-271-3142 | | Web applications by Spindustry Systems